All posts by Cocofancy

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

It would seem, from this post and my previous one, that I am on a cinnamon roll kick. I don’t know about that – to my knowledge I haven’t had a particular craving for them. That being said, these cookies are pretty awesome.

A few words of advice first:

  • Make sure the dough stays cold when you work with it in the rolling phase. I briefly stuck mine in the freezer, which made it much easier to handle – just don’t stick it in there too long
  • Roll the dough as tight as you can so that it takes the proper shape when sitting in the fridge. If you roll it loose, and you need to adjust it after it’s cut so that it doesn’t look horribly demented, you may end up breaking it and making it more demented.
  • An offset spatula is your friend any time you’re spreading butter on dough. Makes the process about 300x easer.
  • Do not let your dough sit out – just like most flaky pastry things, they’ll get less flaky and slightly more sad if you forget that you’re waiting for the oven to preheat for half an hour.

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

from Bakers Royale

Dough
2 cups + 2 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp light corn syrup (I used agave)
1 tsp vanilla

Filling
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar

Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp milk

Sift together first four ingredients for the dough (through salt) and set aside.

Place 1/2 cup butter, granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until light in color. Add in egg yolk, applesauce, corn syrup and vanilla, and beat to combine. Turn off mixer.

Using a sturdy silicone spatula or wooden spoon, fold in flour mixture until just combined. Dough may have some flour streaking – that’s fine; do not over-mix. Divide dough in half and wrap in waxed paper to refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place remaining 1 tbsp cinnamon and 1/2 cup brown sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Remove one wrapped dough. Dough will be sticky so place it between two large pieces of wax paper and roll dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Spread 1 1/2 tbsp softened butter over dough, then sprinkle half of the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture over it and gently press it into dough. Roll up dough, beginning with the long side. Place roll seam side down on the wax paper or plastic wrap and wrap tightly. Place rolled dough back into the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes. Repeat with second batch of dough.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove chilled dough from fridge and cut into 1/2-inch slices and place 1-inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the glaze, sift the powdered sugar and add in 1 tbsp milk at a time until drizzling consistency is achieved. Drizzle tops of cookies with glaze and let stand at room temperature until glaze dries completely.

Store cookies in air-tight container for best keeping.

cocofancy20140317

Cinnamon Rolls

Remember the Cooking Light cookbook I wrote about before? The following is is a mostly-followed version of that. I am somewhat surprised, with how this week has gone, that I settled on a somewhat involved recipe, but it turned out well and I was proud of them. As my boss described, this is one of those weeks where if you owned a hospital, no one would get sick; pretty much nothing has gone as planned, and we’ve been going from one hectic situation to another. It’s been a while since I had one of those weeks, and boy do I not miss it.

Add to that the cloudy-rainy that has been going on, and and you get a sad kitty. Don’t get me wrong – California most definitely needs all the rain it can get and I most definitely do not begrudge it, but it seems to be harder for me to handle when the shit hitteth the fan and I need my vitamin D on my days off. But it looks for the most part like the weather is returning to NorCal norms, for good or ill, and for that I am rather grateful.

Back to the food.

Quite a while ago I shared a recipe for no-knead cinnamon rolls, but I saw this recipe in the Cooking Light book and thought it might be nice to try something a little healthier. Unfortunately, I had to make a couple of ingredient substitutions that knocked the healthiness down a bit. I’ll share the original recipe below with only a couple of small alterations and notes on what I did.

Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

from Cooking Light

Dough
1 1/2 packages (3 1/4 tsp) dry yeast
3/4 cup warm fat free milk
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
1 large egg white
11.25 oz all-purpose flour, divided (about 2 1/2 cups)
7 oz whole-wheat flour (about 1 1/2 cups)

Filling
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup raisins

Glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
5 tbsp fat-free milk

To prepare dough, dissolve yeast in warm milk and 1/4 cups arm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Add butter and next 5 ingredients (through egg white); stir well. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 9 oz.  all-purpose flour (about 2 cups) and whole-wheat flour to yeast mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining 2.25 oz all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup), 1 tbsp at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky). Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°F), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentations remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; roll into a 16×12-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Coat surface of dough with cooking spray. (I don’t do cooking spray, so I used butter wherever it said to use spray.)

To prepare filling, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; sprinkle over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle raisins over dough and press gently into the dough. Roll up rectangle tightly, starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam to seal. Cut dough into ~16 rolls. Place rolls, cut sides up, in a 13×9-inch pan or in individual muffin tin cavities. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Uncover rolls. Bake at 375°F for 22 minutes if in pan, 15 minutes in muffin tin, or until lightly browned. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

To prepare glaze, place powdered sugar and vanilla in a small bowl. Add 5 tsp milk, 1 tsp at a time, stirring to form a thick glaze. Drizzle glaze evenly over rolls.

Red Velvet Mini-Bundt

Bundt! It’s such a fun word to say, don’t you think? Just has a certain something about it.

Prior to the first time I made this recipe, I had never had red velvet cake. To some that would seem blasphemous, and considering how much I like both chocolate and the color red, it seems rather strange that I would have not taken the opportunity. I think it all stems from me asking someone or another what red velvet cake was, and they explained that it was just chocolate cake with food coloring. Okay, that’s a little weird, but mostly straightforward.

The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that I never terribly liked cakes. I mean, they’re ok, but the the frosting usually has a bitter taste from too much powdered sugar and food coloring, and store-bought cakes are usually mediocre at best. Even boxed cakes that you do yourself….just not quite my cup of tea. Back when I first realized how happy baking made me feel, I got it into my head to make my own birthday cake. It seems counter-intuitive, doing work on my birthday or whatever, but it was an excuse to make something utterly extravagant, and I had so much fun with the adventure. The first year I made a mousse-cake, which went decently well. The cake portion turned out a little deflated, but then that was my first time making what amounted to an angle food cake-like batter. The second year I made BonAppetit’s Ribbon Cake, which was again a similarly airy cake with an AMAZING buttercream filling and a glaze. Not really what you would call normal cakes, but I think it was at that point that I realized cakes aren’t half bad if you do something interesting.

I have recently become more tolerant of cakes, mostly because I love making people stuff for their birthdays. So I figure I’ll branch out. Which brings me back to red velvet cake – never really tried it, but I wanted to do something vaguely easy (not filled chocolates) for the office for V-day while on my vacation. My thought was coffeecake muffins, but of course I had to gussy it up for the holiday. I couldn’t remember ever seeing anything about a red velvet coffee cake, so I did a little search and found a gem. Apparently the Culinary Institute has developed various recipes incorporating coffee into them, and teamed up with Starbucks to do so – a nice little marriage of two things I can’t get enough of.

The recipe I found added instant coffee to the red velvet recipe – maybe that’s what makes me love it, because it has a wonderfully rich, dark flavor that I can just munch on until the cows come home. I’m not 100% sure about run-of-the-mill red velvet, but I have a feeling this will be my go-to red velvet cake recipe for a while yet.

Red Velvet Coffee Chocolate Cake

from Brewing, Tasting, Cooking Coffee

2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter at room temperature
2 eggs
2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
2 tbsp espresso coffee or instant coffee powder
2 oz. red food coloring
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp vinegar

Icing
12 oz. neufchâtel (low-fat) cream cheese
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup white chocolate, melted and warm
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped sweetened shredded coconut (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare baking pans. (Apparently with bundt cakes you’re supposed to grease and flour them – I’ve been doing it wrong. Might explain why I suck at getting them out. Also, there’s apparently a specific way to get them out of the pan – you should totally google it.)

In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar and butter, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition.

Mix the cocoa, coffee, and food coloring together. (If you’re using gel food coloring, squeeze a goodly amount in, then add the vanilla at this time to dissolve the cocoa and coffee.) Add to the sugar mixture and mix well.

Sift together the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternating with buttermilk. Blend in the vanilla.

In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture.

Pour the batter into your prepared pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the heat and cool completely before frosting.

For the icing: Whip cream cheese, butter, warm white chocolate, sugar and vanilla together in mixing bowl. Fold in optional ingredients if desired. Spread on top of cooled cake.

Finally working on secondary projects

I had planned on doing so many things on my vacation. I took a week off – which turned out to be nine days as it was bookended by my weekends – and I thought, “Wow! I could do so much in that time!” I completely took into account that the first two days would be Candice down-days, where I would probably just sit around and play video games and whatnot. That was spot-on. But one of the other things I had imagined I would have time and energy to work on was a side-project Etsy store called Puppy Bistro. I have some product, and an idea of what I want to charge, I just need to get something together for the packaging and a banner for the Etsy site, and everything will be up. Not a lot to accomplish, but it just didn’t happen while one vacation. I believe housecleaning happened in its place, which was a very good thing – just not quite what I wanted to do.

We have finally started on it in earnest, though. Keep an eye out here in the next couple of weeks – I’ll be sharing the progress.

Turkey!

My phone ran out of space just as the turkey jumped on the railing of the enclosure and turned around to puff up at the emu. He ended up bowing is submission to the emu's more intimidating stature and turkeying off, but not before I stole a petting. Very soft feathers.