Thursday, March 27, 2014

Classic Cinnamon Rolls

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Though I was an absolute fan of the Cinnamon Roll Cake, it need not be made in the same manner every time. In the more traditional approach, Cinnamon Rolls can be satisfying freshly baked and eaten, or frozen and stored for a rainy day (or when the inevitable craving strikes). Individual portions make the saving, waiting, and sharing a bit easier than having a double-layer cake you may find yourself eating the majority of...or am I the only one? However the cinnamon roll is crafted, both versions of this recipe are easy favorites if they aren't already household staples!

Ingredients
Servings: 10 large rolls
Prep Time: ~2hrs 30min

Dough
1/4 Cup of Water, lukewarm
2 Packages of Active Dry Yeast, rapid rise
1 1/2 Cup Nonfat Milk, lukewarm
3/4 Cup Butter, unsalted, melted
2/3 Cup Sugar, granulated
2 Tsp Salt
4-5 Cups Flour, All-Purpose

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1/3 Cup Butter, melted

Glaze
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract (or Grand Marnier)
2-3 Tbsp Milk, Nonfat
2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted, room temperature

Pecans, Optional



Dough: Pour the water into a mixing bowl and sprinkle with the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Let sit for five minutes. Gently, using a whisk, mix the milk, butter, remaining sugar, and salt until smooth. Stir in the flour, one cup at a time, until a semi-tacky dough forms. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour onto a clean surface and knead dough until it is elastic and no longer sticky (may take up to 1 cup). Place the dough into a lightly oiled  medium-sized bowl, and evenly coat the dough with the oil. Cover the bowl and set aside until the dough doubles in size (~2 1/2 hours).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.




Rolls - On a floured surface, flatten the dough into a large rectangular panel ~1/3 inch in thickness (18 x 9 is a fair guide, with rolls approximately 1" - 1.25" in height before a second rise). Coat with the melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar until evenly-coated. Roll the panel into a large log and slice into the desired number of rolls. Gently press ward upward from the bottom center of each roll to separate and lift the middle. Place each roll about 2" apart on a non-greased baking pan. Brush each roll with the remaining melted butter. Set aside to rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees for up to 12-15 minutes, or until golden.

Note - If the dough is difficult to cut (i.e. it flattens out when slicing), place in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden slightly before cutting the remaining pieces.



Glaze - After the rolls have cooled, use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the rolls. If the rolls are warm, the heat will allow the glaze to drip into a sheer finish. If the rolls are cool to room temperature, the glaze will remain thick and white. Sprinkle with nuts before or after, slice up and serve, or eat straight from the pan!

Nutrition Info (1 cinnamon roll):
Calories 461, Total Fat: 15.9g, Sat. Fat: 10.1g, Cholesterol: 42.6mg, Sodium: 352.4mg, Carb: 72.5g, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugars: 35.5g, Protein: 6g
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Thursday, March 06, 2014

Pretzel Egg Bun

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As I ate my way through Soft-Baked Pretzel deliciousness, I remembered a picture a friend sent me from San Francisco: a savory muffin with a soft-boiled egg inside. Well, that was new (to me). Though I may enjoy myself a pretzel every now and then, I remembered that a pretzel roll served with a poached egg was always so much more. Surely it was no surprise that combining all of the above would result in one of my favorite new baked treats: a Pretzel Egg Bun. The salty and soft pretzel wrapped warmly around the egg, pairing naturally into this twosome. Now if only I could find such a bread in my local bakeries. Until then, here is my interpretation of a breakfast treat you can't help but eat! Enjoy!
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Soft-Baked Pretzels

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When I think of bread, I often (and unfortunately) forget the Soft-Baked Pretzel. On another culinary adventure, I made a batch of bread dough, altered it some, and tested a few options. Lessons learned? If you fry it, no need to 'bathe' it. The fry was favorable to balls of dough, but less so in the formed pretzel attempt. If you bake it, 'bathe' it. To achieve the brown layer, an alkaline bath is integral in yielding something pretzel-like in appearance and taste. No bath results in salted bread: great for breadsticks, but a pretzel fail. As one could hope for, these savory-skewed Soft-Baked Pretzels paired deliciously with old-fashioned or stoneground mustard. Enjoy!
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