Cinnamon and Sugar Sweet Rolls

I admit it.  Baking with yeast takes it up a notch.  The Easter Bunny prepared this yummy treat for our family.  When a recipe can be started the night before, I am all in.   Cinnamon and sugar is a win win.  Add a serving of bacon or sausage, done and done. High Five!  These were made with love for my boys.   I can only hope that sharing this recipe brings sweetness to your life.

overnight-cinnamon-twist5

INGREDIENTS

Dough:
    • 4 1/2 cups (22.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
    • 1/3 cup (2.5 ounces) granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 4 large eggs (7 ounces)
    • 1 1/4 cup hot water
    • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) butter, melted
Filling:
    • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup (3,75 ounces) granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Glaze:
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed
  • Splash of vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl (to allow for about 7-8 cups of dough to double in bulk), whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
  2. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together the eggs and pour them into the well. Use the same measuring cup for the hot water. Pour it around the edges of the well (not directly on the eggs) and then add the melted butter to the bowl. Use a large spoon to mix the ingredients together until a soft, rather wet dough is formed. It won’t look like traditional cinnamon roll dough; it will be much softer and it’s ok if it looks a bit lumpy. Magic happens overnight, I promise.
  3. Cover the bowl with greased plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for 8-10 hours.
  4. Using about 1/4 – 1/3 cup flour (more or less), dust a clean countertop. Lightly punch down the chilled dough and roll it out on the floured counter to a long, skinny rectangle (about 24-inches long and 7 or 8-inches wide).
  5. Spread the 4 tablespoons melted butter on the rectangle. It will solidify and be easier to work with as you spread it on the chilly rectangle of dough. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and spread it on top of the butter, lightly pressing it in.
  6. Fold one long edge of the rectangle up to meet the other long edge so the dough is folded in half. Use a pizza cutter or knife and cut the dough into 1-inch strips. With each strip, hold an end in each hand and twist it up several times and roll it around the center into a circle (see pictures below for a visual). Place on a large, rimmed baking sheet (11X17-inch) lined with parchment paper (about 12 per tray).
  7. Cover the trays with greased, plastic wrap and let the rolls rise until puffy and doubled, an hour or so.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees F for 12-14 minutes until just barely golden on top (don’t overbake or they’ll be dry).
  9. For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla. Add more milk as needed until the glaze is thick but pourable. Let the rolls cool for 5 or so minutes before drizzling with glaze.

This recipe came from a friend of a friend and then from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, which has many fabulous recipes.  (thanks Mandy for the find!)

Healthy Breakfast Muffins

I would put these muffins in the category of “too healthy to be good.” But they are good! They are easy too, and made with things that are usually on hand. I make them quite often, even for company! (PS For the ultimate in convenience, you can even find pre-shredded carrots near the baby carrots in the grocery store!)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or 3/4 cup all-purpose and 1/2 cup wheat)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins*
1/4 cup chopped dates*
1/4 cup cranberries* (or any dried fruit works!)
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup skim milk
4 medium carrots, shredded
1 medium ripe banana, mashed

*if the raisins, dates or cranberries are tough, soak them in water for 10 minutes or so to soften.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt until there are no lumps. Stir in oats, raisins, dates, and cranberries. Add oil, egg, milk, carrots and banana and stir until just blended.

Fill each muffin cup with one ice cream scoop of batter; it will be thick. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. To store, freeze or keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Dutch Baby Pancakes

dutch baby

Need a special treat for a weekend breakfast?  Get out your favorite seasoned iron skillet or purchase one and start a whole new world of cooking.   I felt super special recently when a friend made these for my son (age 12) and I.  Chris served these pancakes (cooked in the oven, but more like thicker version of crepes) with blueberry syrup, maple syrup, powdered sugar, and a wedge of lemon.   A side of sausage and bacon was the perfect touch.  Hospitality at its best. Thanks Chris and Darci, you know how to make your house guests feel extra special.

3 T. butter, room temp
3 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 c. sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a medium cast iron skillet or oven proof nonstick skillet, Melt 2 T. of butter over medium heat.

In a blender, combine eggs, milk, flour, salt, vanilla, and 1/4 c. sugar.  Blend until foamy, about 1 minute.  Pour batter into skillet, bake until puffed and lightly browned, about 20 minutes,

Dot pancake with a tablespoon of butter, powdered sugar, and a small amount of lemon juice.  Slice into wedges and serve immediately.

Serve with fruit and your favorite breakfast meat.

Yummy Waffles

We have a brand new kindergartner starting school tomorrow, and so we started a new tradition in our house. We had breakfast for dinner. My college used to do this the night before finals, and everybody loved it. I make pancakes often, so we decided to kick it up a notch with some homemade waffles. I made some tweaks to the recipe I found online, and they were delicious!

2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 T. white sugar
4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
In a blender, blend the egg whites until they are frothy. Then on low speed, add the oil, milk and vanilla, mixing briefly. Mix the dry ingredients separately, then mix again on low in the blender. (The point is to mix the egg whites on high, then mix the rest as little as possible so they stay fluffy.) Pour onto waffle iron, serving with whatever fixin’s you like! Enjoy!

Everyday Granola

We have a foreign exchange student Marie who ate boxed cereal every day, until she one day tried this granola. Then she never ate boxed cereal again. It is her specialty, and we’ve adapted it from the (awesome) Smitten Kitchen cookbook. We almost always double this recipe and make it on two foiled cookie sheets.

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened (oops, we use sweetened) flaked coconut
1 cup walnuts, coursely chopped (sometimes we chop slivered almonds for variety)
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 large egg white
1 1/2 cup dried cherries (we don’t measuare)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients but the egg white and dried cherries. Whisk the egg white in small bowl until frothy and stir into granola. Spread in a single layer on cookie sheet lined with either Pammed foil or parchment paper. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until golden brown. Once cool, sprinkle on dried fruit and put in airtight container for up to two weeks or in the freezer for longer.

Chocolate-Chip Banana Muffins

imageThe smells from the oven will have you thinking Fall. These muffins are great if you need to take a treat to a friend, a quick breakfast, or something simple a little outside the box. Our taste buds say, yes please. My lucky friend that needed a treat told me I was her kids new BFF.

1 stick of butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. sour cream
2 bananas, mashed well
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (6 oz) pkg. of Nestlé’s semi-sweet chocolate morsels
paper muffin cups

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners and spray lightly with Pam.

Cream the butter and sugar with a mixer. Add eggs and mix well.

Dissolve baking soda in the sour cream. Let it “rise” for a minute, then add it to the butter and egg mixture. Mix well with beater on medium speed. Add bananas and blend in.

Add flour and baking powder together. Mix in thoroughly, but no longer than necessary. Add vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Fill muffins cups 2/3 full. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Makes approx. 18 muffins. Cool on cooling rack. These can be frozen in a large Ziploc bag and ready to eat on a busy school morning with a few seconds of defrosting.

Overnight French Toast

I can’t believe this recipe hasn’t been on the blog before now. I’ve made it a zillion times. I found it originally at epicurious.com, and it really saved me Christmas 99 when I was sick and had in-laws in town for 8 days. I made it twice, using different fruit and nuts each time. It is unbelievably easy and perfect for someone who isn’t a morning person. With the fruit and maybe some bacon (which you could cook on a rack in the oven at the same time), you have a complete breakfast.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1-2 T. sugar or cinnamon sugar12 3/4-inch-thick French bread slices
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 T. maple syrup
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
2-4 T. Grand Marnier (optional, but add whatever looks right)
Powdered sugar
Maple syrup

Place melted butter in bottom of heavy large baking pan with 1-inch-high sides. Sprinkle sugar or cinnamon sugar over butter (to caramelize). Arrange bread slices in pan. Beat eggs, milk, sugar, syrup, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt to blend in large bowl. Pour mixture over bread. Turn bread slices to coat. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Top with fruit and/or nuts if desired (such as dried cranberries, sliced almonds, walnuts, and/or pecans, or you could top with fresh fruit after baking instead). Bake French toast 10-12 minutes, until golden. Turn bread over and continue baking until golden, about 5-10 minutes longer. Transfer cooked toast to plates and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately, passing maple syrup.

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

I have something serious to tell you today. I’ve updated my favorite pancake batter. If this doesn’t sound earthshattering, well you don’t know how seriously we take our pancakes. Lately my son has been claiming mac and cheese as his favorite food, but I know that’s just because he’s not thinking about breakfast. Pancakes reign supreme in our household.

These are better than you can get in a restaurant, and you can make them in less time than it takes to get you there. Whip these up for family and friends, and you’ll get rave reviews. Double it if you have more than 3-4 people (or big eaters). And don’t mix the wet with the dry ingredients until you’re ready to cook, for maximum fluff factor. If you never want your guests to leave, serve with Sugared Bacon.

3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted

cooking sprayCombine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray (I wipe it off with a paper towel immediately, so the first batch looks as good as the last). Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I got this recipe off Pinterest, and I decided to make it and a recipe I’d found for the “perfect blueberry muffin” on the same day for a playground date. This one won our taste test hands down! I substituted 1/2 T vinegar with the rest of 1/2 cup milk for butter milk, and it worked great! It’s quicker and easier cleanup than muffins too.

Serves 6-8

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar**
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk

* 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
** This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.

3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.

4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

This one isn’t exactly an old standby, but I’ve made it a couple times lately to rave reviews from my family.
One of my favorite tricks is to cook a bunch of sweet potatoes and then wrap them individually in cling wrap. So that makes this recipe super quick to make by just thawing one out. And I feel like I’m feeding my family so healthily too! This is from the website www.nurturebaby.com, a nice site if you have babies.

2 cups of white whole wheat flour
(or substitute 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour)
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 large sweet potato – baked, peeled and pureed
2 cups milk
¼ cup melted butter
2 large eggs
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
In large bowl, combine first five (dry) ingredients together and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine sweet potato, milk, butter, eggs and sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients to mixing bowl; mix until just combined. (A few lumps are OK; over mixing will make the pancakes tough.) Pour ¼ cup portions of batter onto greased skillet. Cook on medium heat and flip pancakes when bubbles form on the surface. Pancakes should be a golden brown color.
Serve immediately, or freeze for later consumption. If freezing, place sheet of parchment paper between each pancake and store in zip-tight freezer bag. Store in freezer for up to 3 months.