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Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category

Cinnamon Rolls

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Welcome to this week’s edition of good idea/bad idea.  Good idea:  Cinnamon rolls.  Making them on a Thursday night:  not so much.  Yeasted bread after getting home from work around 7?  Sure, why not?  While the results were definitely worth the extra effort, as the rolls were appreciated by a horde of hungry co-workers, if I had it to do over again, I would probably wait to make these on a weekend.

I think my favorite part of these cinnamon rolls is the cream cheese glaze.  I mixed things up from the original recipe, and I was extremely happy with the results.

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze (Adapted from Bon Appetit)

For the dough:

1 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 envelope Rapid-Rise yeast

1 teaspoon salt

Non-stick cooking spray

For the filling:

3/4 cup golden brown sugar

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/4 cup unsalted butter

For the glaze:

4 ounces cream cheese

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the milk and butter in a pan and heat over medium heat until the butter is mostly melted and the milk is between 115 and 120 degrees.  Pour the milk mixture into a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add 1 cup of flour, the yeast, sugar, egg and salt to the stand mixture and mix on low for three minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally.  Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of flour and mix until the dough forms a ball.

Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead the dough until the dough is smooth, about 10 minutes.  Coat a large bowl with the cooking spray, and place the dough in the bowl.  Turn the dough to coat it with the spray.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a towel, and leave the dough in a warm place to rise.  The dough will take about two hours to double in size.  (My kitchen is inexplicably drafty, so I’ve found it helps to preheat the oven when the dough is rising to keep the temperature in the kitchen constant.)

Once the dough has doubled, punch down the dough and roll it out into a rectangle that measures 11 inches by 15 inches. I took a cutting board and used that to roll the dough to the appropriate size.  Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.  Spread the butter over the dough and sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.  Starting on the long end, slowly roll the dough into a log.  Cut the log into discs that are 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.  I got 18 discs out of the log.

Coat a square pan with cooking spray and place the discs in the pan.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and rest for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the rolls until golden brown, about 22 minutes.  Cool the rolls.  (I cooled mine in the pan since I was planning on taking the rolls to work.)

While the rolls are cooling, make the glaze.  Using a hand mixer, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar.  Add the milk to thin the glaze out a little bit and add the vanilla.  Glaze the rolls and enjoy!


Weeknight Calzones

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Once upon a time, there lived a girl who never wanted pizza.  It’s not that she didn’t like pizza.  In fact, she liked it quite a bit.  It’s just that when pizza was offered as an option, it was never what she wanted.

I hate to say it, but that girl is me.  I don’t know what it is, but I’m never in the mood for pizza.  I always enjoy it when I eat it.  What’s not to love?  Dough, tomato sauce, cheese, and any other topping you could imagine.  If asked, though, I’d rather eat something else.

The problem is my husband LOVES pizza.  We, ahem, buy pizza bagels on a regular basis.  Every time we debate what to order in, his first suggestion is pizza.  So, when my cube-mate offered me a recipe for mini calzones, I knew what I had to do.  I had to give them a try.  The results were delicious, and this recipe has become a weeknight staple.


Chicken, Spinach, and Artichoke Calzones (adapted from Cuisine at Home)

3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella

1/4 cup shredded Parmesean

1 chicken breast, cooked and diced

1 package Garlic and Fine Herbs Boursin

1/4 cup minced onion

1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts (I used about 5 artichoke hearts in brine, rinsed)

1/3 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 pound prepared pizza dough

1 egg, beaten


Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

For the filling, combine the cheeses, chicken, onion, artichoke hearts, spinach, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Mix to combine the ingredients evenly.

Divide the dough into four equal segments.  Dust the dough and the work surface with flour.  Gently roll and stretch the dough into an eight inch round and let rest.  I let mine rest for about 10 minutes.

Place 1/4 of the filling onto one side of each dough round.  Stretch the dough over the filling and crimp the edges to seal the calzones.  Brush each calzone with the beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.


Place the calzones on the heated pizza stone and bake for 12 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!




Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I didn’t mention this in my scone post, but I am not a baker.  Most of my attempts at baking have been miserable failures, but I keep trying.  I am determined to figure out this whole baking thing!

Last night, I attempted cornbread, and I was very happy with the results.  The cornbread turned out very light and moist, just as the recipe promised.  I don’t have a cast iron skillet, so I took Cooks Illustrated’s advice and used their “corn muffin” recipe and baked the mixture in an 8X8 square baking pan.

Corn Muffins (Adapted from Cooks Illustrated The Best Recipe Soups and Stews)

1 3/4 c yellow cornmeal

1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/2 c sugar

3/4 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 c. rapidly boiling water

1 1/4 c buttermilk

2 large eggs, beaten lightly

2 tbsp butter, melted (the recipe called for unsalted butter, but I used salted)

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Coat the baking pan with cooking spray.

Measure 1/2 cup of the cornmeal into a medium bowl.  In another bowl, combine the remaining cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside this mixture.

Pour 1/3 cup of the boiling water into the bowl with 1/2 cup of cornmeal.  Stir quickly to combine.  Continue adding water, one tablespoon at a time, until the cornmeal and water become a thick mush.  I used 8 tablespoons.

Gradually whisk in the buttermilk, breaking up any lumps.  Whisk in the eggs.

Stir the dry ingredients into the mush mixture until just moistened.  Stir in the melted butter.

Fill the baking pan with the cornbread batter.

Bake until the top of the bread is golden brown, about 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven to cool for about 5 minutes.


Maple Oatmeal Scones

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

When I was in college, I used to make a special trip to the Otter Creek Bakery to sample their Honey Cornmeal Scone.  Thus my love affair with scones began.  Though I’ve never found a recipe to rival the Otter Creek Bakery’s scones, I am always willing to try a new scone recipe.  The following recipe is a new favorite!

Maple Oatmeal Scone (Adapted from the Way the Cookie Crumbles)


1 3/4 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c whole wheat flour

1/2 c quick cooking oats

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tbsp granulate sugar

1 tsp salt

2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/4 c cold buttermilk

2 eggs, lightly beaten


1/2 c confectioners sugar

1/4 c maple syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the flours, oats, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  I combined these ingredients in a stand mixer with the the paddle attachment.

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Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is pea-sized pieces.  Combine the buttermilk, the syrup, and the eggs.  Quickly add the buttermilk to the flour and butter mixture.  The dough will be a little sticky.

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Flour a counter or a cutting board.  Place the dough on the floured surface.  Coat a rolling pin and your hands in flour, and roll the dough out to about 3/4 of an inch.

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Cut the dough into 3 inch rounds with a cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Lightly knead the scraps together and cut more scones.

I don’t have a 3 inch round cutter, so I actually used a pint glass we had on hand.  I floured the edges of the glass before cutting the dough, and the glass worked great in a pinch.

Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes until the tops are crisp.  Instead of a baking sheet, I actually placed the scones on a pizza pan and placed the pan on top of our pizza stone.

While the scones are baking, make the glaze by combining the confectioners sugar, maple syrup and vanilla.  Once the scones are done, cool for 5 minutes and top each scone with 1 tablespoon of the glaze.

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I made these scones and put them in a tupperware container.  We ate the scones for about a week for breakfast.  They were delicious!


Chicken Salad

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Recently, I have had a hankering for chicken salad.  I’m not sure why I love chicken salad so much, but every so often, I have to have it.

This recipe is one of my new favorite chicken salad recipes.

Chicken Salad Contessa (adapted from Food Network)

2 Split Chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

2 cups chicken broth

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

1/2 cup pecan halves

1/2 cup walnut halves

1/2 cup mayonnaise (Hellmann’s Olive Oil Mayonnaise)

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tbsp tarragon leaves

1 cup red grapes, halved

Place the chicken breasts in a pan with the chicken broth.  Cook over medium high heat for 20 minutes.  Cut the chicken into cubes.  Return to pan with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Picture 098Cook the chicken for an additional five minutes.  Remove from the heat, and put the chicken in a bowl to cool.

The original recipe called for toasting the pecans and walnuts, but out of sheer laziness I decided to skip this step.  Instead, I just chopped the wanuts, pecans, and grapes.  I bought too many pecans, so I used about 3/4 c. pecans and 1/4 c. walnuts.

Picture 100Once the chicken is cooled, mix the chicken, nuts, and grapes with the mayo, sour cream, and tarragon.

I served the chicken salad as a sandwich with spinach and cheese.

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Hot Dog Buns

Monday, April 12th, 2010

I’m not going to lie.  When my husband suggested we have bratwurst for lunch yesterday, I was a little worried.  It’s not that I dislike bratwurst– that is far from the truth.  What I dislike most about making bratwurst is picking out buns.

I stood in the bread aisle for about twenty minutes before picking out an option to try.  I feel like I’ve tried every hot dog bun carried in our local supermarket, all with disappointing results.

My husband’s favorite type of bun is the New England Style.  I enjoy these as well,  but unfortunately, they are impossible to find in the great state of Colorado.

New England Hot DogSo, we’ve had to improvise.  We generally use whole wheat buns, and I think we’ve tried every available brand from our local supermarkets.

Sara Lee Soft and Smooth Wheat buns:  These buns were tasty, but when toasted in the oven, they fell apart.  These were the perfect size for hot dogs, but they were on the small side for bratwurst.

Whole Foods Whole Wheat Buns:  I hate to say this since I generally like Whole Foods’ products, but these buns were pretty bad.  They were dry to begin with, but once toasted, they were completely dried out.  I thought these would be great, but I was very disappointed.

Our new favorite, though, is the Oroweat 100% Whole Grain Whole Wheat bun.

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These buns were delicious, and they maintained their shape and structure once toasted in the oven.  I think we’ll use these hot dog buns for the foreseeable future.