Friday, April 24, 2009

Welcome Back Cinnamon Rolls

Nothing says we missed you like warm coffee and freshly baked cinnamon rolls. So move over Mr. Pillsbury, you ain’t got nothing on homemade cinnamon rolls. Although you are super cute and I do love it when they push your belly and you laugh…
Like most yeast breads, there is rise time involved, but you can break it into steps and let it rise over night so all you need to do is pop it in the oven for 20 minutes in the morning. This recipe is adapted from Chef Leslie Meyers, Instructor at L’academie de Cuisine.


½ cup of warm water
1 Tablespoon of yeast
¼ cup of sugar
½ cup of milk
1 stick of buttah
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
4 cups of all purpose flour

In a measuring cup combine the warm water, the yeast, and the sugar. Let stand until poofy. I call this step poofing, but really it is called proofing. The bubbles are proof the yeast is active. That way all you waste is sugar and water not the whole dough.

In a sauce pan warm up the milk and buttah until it is melted and then let the mixture cool.

In your mixer, add the eggs, the egg yolks, the yeast mixture, and the cooled milk/butter combo to combine. Add the salt and flour. When the dough pulls away from the bowl switch to the dough hook to knead for a couple minutes until the dough is smooth and glossy. If the dough is still sticky and not forming a ball, add ¼ cup more flour. The dough will be a smooth shiny yellow tan color.

When smooth and elastic, place in a bowl sprayed with Pam and turn the dough in the bowl so it to is properly lubbed up. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. This means you can either leave it in the fridge over night or you can let proof in a warm place for 2 hours.


1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup of cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecan (if you wish)
1 stick of butter soft or melted

Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

Punch down the doubled dough, and lightly dust your rolling pin and work area. Turn the dough out and roll 15 inch by 20 inch rectangle (sort of). 15 inches is about the length of woman’s forearm, 20 inches includes the hand. But just eyeball it. You want the dough to be about ¼ an inch thick.

Spread the butter out all over the dough.

Put on the cinnamon and sugar. Press into the dough so it sticks. Sprinkle nuts if you wish, and press those in as well.

Now, start to roll up the dough and filling with the long side closest to you, so you can make a long roll.
Just lift the dough, form a little lip and lift and roll until the end. Pinch the ends of the roll closed and push the seam together and roll seam down.

Using a serrated knife, gently saw the roll into 12 equal slices. Try to keep the round shape.

Butter a 13 X 9 pan, glass or metal doesn’t really matter. If the dish is dark glass or non-stick metal and dark, baking time will take a little longer.

Add any of the left over sugar mixture to the bottom of the pan. Place the rolls evenly in the dish. They won’t touch now, but after the second rise they will just kiss but be easy to pull apart.

Place the rolls on to the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and allow doubling in size. This means an hour in a warm spot another night in the re-fridge.

Once doubled, bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Icing

¼ stick of butter (soften by leaving out overnight)
6 oz of cream cheese (softened in the microwave, because I forgot to take it out)
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

In your standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Whip all the ingredients for as long as you wish. Just start slow or you and your kitchen will be covered in a cloud puff of powdered sugar. Unless you want reminisce about when you used to get into your grandmothers makeup drawer and spilled all of her dusting powder and then you were four smelled like Channel #5 for a week.

Set aside at room temperature.

When the cinnamon rolls are baked, let cool for 10 minutes before spreading the icing.

Makes 12 to 14 rolls.

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but when you break it into steps it really is about 20 minutes at a time. And the reward is the best cinnamon rolls you have had even better than ones at the mall and a much more manageable size to boot.

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy baking.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I declare… Éclairs!

Last night I recieved the most generous gift; I was given a copper pot set! I can scarcely believe it, somebody pinch me. I love, love, love the set. Thank you Blythe and Carl, for your wonderful friendship; which is most certainly gift enough. You will always have open chairs at our dinner table.

But, what to do with copper pots for a baking blog? The answer: a marvelous concoction of pate a choux, pastry cream, and chocolate ganache; each mind you requiring its own divine copper pot.

The Éclairs, albeit tasty and delicious, were really just a pleasant side effect of using my lovely copper pots. This recipe is adapted from my L’academie de Cuisine instructor, Chef Leslie Meyers.

Pate a choux

1 cup of water
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon of sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3 to 4 extra large eggs

Preheat your oven 425 F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In heavy bottomed pot over medium heat add the water, butter, salt, and sugar and allow the mixture to come to a simmer. Once the butter has melted all at once add the flour and baking powder. Now, get your whisking arm ready, because you will whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Once the dough has begun to thicken, stir with a wooden spoon and continue to stir/cook until a thick film of cooked starch has covered the bottom of the pot. It looks like a clear film that will be difficult to clean, and it is, just soak it. Once completely cooked and film developed, maybe 3 minutes.

Transfer to your standing mixer or food prep. Turn it on high, to let some of the heat out. When the mixture has cooled a little, add the eggs, one at a time. The dough should be glossy and sticky, if it is still flat not combined add another egg or part of it. When the dough is shiny and sticky, place it in a pastry bag with a large tip.

On the parchment paper, pipe thick lines of dough to create the choux éclairs bodies.

Bake at 425 F for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is puffed and blond brown.

Turn the oven down to 375 and bake for another 10 minutes until the choux are tough.

Turn the oven off, and let the choux cool in the oven. Opening the door, not only reduces the heat but also the humidity as well. Poke each choux with a toothpick to facilitate drying.

Pastry Cream

2 cups or an entire pint of half and half
¼ cup of sugar
5 egg yolks
¼ cup of sugar
¼ cup of cornstarch
Seeds of 1 bean pod of vanilla

In a heavy bodied pan over medium to low heat, simmer the half and half and the first sugar portion. Do not allow the mixture to boil.

Separate the eggs and add the second portion of sugar and the cornstarch in your standing mixture and whip until pale yellow. While the standing mixture is running, slowly, very slowly, stream in the warm milk mixture. When the eggs and milk is completely incorporated, transfer back to your pan and return to low heat.

Over the heat, stir for 7 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken and you can no longer taste the cornstarch. When thick, return to bowl to cool, cover with plastic wrap and allow to set in the refrigerator.

Transfer cooled cream to pastry bag with star tip to fill.

Chocolate Ganache

2 cups of dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup of heavy cream, warmed

Over a double boiler or in the microwave heat the heavy cream until it warm to the touch, but not boiling. Add the heavy cream to the chocolate; allow the heat from the heavy cream to melt the chocolate. Stir until smooth and shiny.

To assemble

Use a toothpick to create a small hole to fit the pastry cream tip into, and fill squeezing the cream until the choux is just filled. Line all of the filled choux on cooling rack with parchment paper underneath to catch the drips. Glaze, spoon, or pipe chocolate ganache over the tops of the filled chouxes. Viola you now have éclairs. Place in the fridge to allow the ganache to harden.

Serve to your happy office folk, who now on Fridays, wait in the lobby, until I bring breakfast.

Cheers, to great friends, wonderful reasons to celebrate, and excuses to eat together.

To all of you, much love, many blessings, happy baking, and may you all be blessed with caring friends who love to celebrate.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Baby Banana Muffins

When life hands you over ripe bananas make baby banana muffins. This recipe is very simple and in the mini muffin pan it takes less than 15 minutes to bake… Baby Banana Muffies… mmmm. So what do you think, baby + muffins = buffies? Or does that sound like the plural version of one 1990’s blond vampire slayer…

Banana Muffin Batter (you can choose any baking vessel you like big or small, I don't judge)

1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons of oil
2 Tablespoons of honey
2 super ripe brown ucky banana
1 cup of flour
½ teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

In your favorite handy dandy mixer: throw in all the ingredients starting with wet and then mix in all the dry. The batter will be brown lumpy and ugly. But like the ugly duckling, this yummy batter will bake into lovely swan of a breakfast treat. No worries (these muffins are completely vegeterian and no ducklings or swans were hurt in the making of this blog post.)

As always, many blessings, much love, and happy baking.