Tag Archives: Vanilla extract

Simple Cinnamon Rolls

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I am usually a “grab a quick breakfast” kind of a girl.  I always have breakfast…you don’t want to be around me if I don’t have breakfast.  But, every once in a while I like to cook breakfast.  My two favorite breakfasts are belgian waffles (on the crispy side) and some good cinnamon rolls.  You can always go for the gooey Pillsbury ones right out of the package OR you can make these.  These are the simplified version of cinnamon rolls…there is no pastry dough here.  Here’s the instructions and recipe….

ROLLS

  • 2 1/2 Cups Bisquick
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2/3 Cup Mill (I use skim milk)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Mix all the above in a mixing bowl.  The dough is pretty sticky…I like to use the Silpat matts to roll out the dough.  I use about a 1/4 cup more Bisquick to keep the dough from sticking to the matt.  Turn the dough out about 10 times.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle.  The actual recipe says into a 16×9 inch rectangle.  I dont’ know about you, but things don’t ROLL OUT into a RECTANGLE.  Hello!  So, I roll it out the best I can into some sort of a rectangle shape.  Maybe there is a trick to rolling it exactly into the desired shape, but I don’t have a trick for you here!  Anyways, once it is in a sort of rectangle shape, I fold the edges up and over as seen below.  You will see why in a minute.

FILLING

  • 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/4 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
Spread the melted butter onto the RECTANGLE.  Once spread out evenly, sprinkler the cinnamon sugar mix all over until it is absorbed in the butter.  You need the little dough “dams” to keep the butter from oosing everywhere.  A little trick I learned after the 10th time of having melted butter everywhere.

Once all of the filling is spread out, roll up the dough starting with the longest side.  This is a little tricky because all the sticky goodness in the inside wants to squish out.  Stick with it and roll until it is a little log.  At this point, I pinch the edges closed and then seal the flap on the leading edge of the dough.  This is sometimes tricky as the butter makes it a bit slippery.  Do your best…no one will know if it doesn’t stick.

Once you do that, slice the log into one inch slices and place them on a cookie sheet.  I like to space my rolls apart so that they get a little crispy on the edges.  If you want your rolls more gooey, place the cinnamon rolls close together (touching each other).  Scoop any excess butter/cinnamon sugar mix up and drizzle it on top of your rolls.

Place in the oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes until a light brown.

I like to glaze my rolls as soon as they get out of the oven so that it melts all over.  It does make a mess in the pan though.  If you want it more neat, I would wait until they cool a bit and then add the glaze.  Mix up the following ingredients for the glaze.  You will be shocked how fast that powdered sugar is absorbed…kind of magic.

GLAZE

READY TO EAT!!!

 

Wishing you a wonderful day….

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Let Them Eat Cake

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It is no secret that I love to bake.  I could really take or leave cooking.  I like to cook as well, but it would be enjoyable if I had more time.  The reality is that I have limited time to do either.  So, if it comes down to cooking or baking…it is going to be BAKING!  

This time the occasion is my dad’s birthday.  I went back to my favorite location for baking recipes at the moment…MARTHA STEWART.  I can hear my mom and mother in law sigh in disgust; Martha seems to represent someone evil to them.  Despite all the stories (oh and the jail thing), I like her recipes and clear instructions.  Yes,  I know, she probably has an army of people working for her that make her house look so perfect and the kitchen so damn clean when she cooks with everything neatly organized in those little bowls.  But, can’t a girl dream….

I would like to think that would be the reality of my life if I didn’t have a full time job.  I would flit from one creative thing to another throughout the day while making sure that my sheets were pressed, the roses pinched back and dinner roasting in the oven.  Wake UP…you have to go to work tomorrow!!!

So, for the cake….I used the recipe from Martha Stewart for Butter Cake.  In addition, here are the details below.

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

Shot from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.
  3. Divide batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

First Cake Turned Over - Used My Patience on This One!

Cake All Wrapped up in Refrigerator Overnight

And, here’s the recipe for the amazing chocolate frosting….also from my friend Martha.

Ingredients

  • 24 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Yellow Butter Cake
  • Colored sprinkles (optional)

Melted Chocolate - Make Sure to Cool to Room Temperature Before Mixing w/ Butter/Sugar

Directions

  1. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Turn off heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes. Set bowl on countertop, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in cocoa mixture.
  3. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level; brush off crumbs. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting. Place the second layer on top, bottom side up, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting; repeat process with the third layer. Place the remaining layer on top of the third layer, bottom-side up; insert a dowel into the center of cakes if necessary. Spread entire cake with remaining frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

See the Disaster on the Side of the Cake - Fixed w/ A Little Construction

And, of course…my TIPS….these are the embarrassing things that no one else will admit to or tell you how to handle.

  1. The recipe is for two 9″ layer cakes.  The recipe in my cookbook is not clear so I doubled the recipe.  So, if you do this and fill up each of the cake pans, you have overflowing goodness on the bottom of your oven.  Lovely.  If this happens, act quick and place a cookie sheet on the rack below so you don’t have burnt goodness wafting through your house.  However, I did have extra cake for my husband which made him happy.
  2. When you are mixing the flour and milk alternately, the texture seems really weird (kind of lumpy).  It turns better as you empty your last batch of flour mixture.
  3. If you have a gas oven like I do, the baking temperature should really be more like 300 degrees and the time for baking is more like one hour.  My oven is calibrated, but it cooks the top and outside too quickly at 350.  For baking, I typically lower it by 25 to 50 degrees and bake longer.
  4. Be patient…HELLO!  You think I would know this by now.  When you take the cakes out of the oven and let them rest for 30 minutes, follow the instructions.  For the first cake, I followed the instructions and turned the cake over onto a wire rack.  It is simplest if you use two wire racks on either side to squeeze the cake together.  It worked great.  I guess I got cocky on my second cake layer and decided to do it by hand.  Ooops…the cake broke in half!
  5. Stick the cake layers in the fridge over night….it will fix everything.  Hopefully.
  6. Put a layer of parchment paper between your cake plate and your cake.  I didn’t and it was a pain to clean out the chocolate frosting out of all the little holes of the cake plate.  Lovely.
  7. Cutting even cake layers is harder than it looks.  Be patient and don’t cut too deep or you will have crooked layers.
  8. Use a cold cake to fix your problems.  I had a large hole in the side due to #3 above.  As a result, I was able to fill this area with some cake cut off the top and do some construction with the frosting.
  9. DO A CRUMB LAYER OF FROSTING AND THEN PUT THE CAKE BACK INTO THE REFRIGERATOR!  Best tip ever…this will make it so much easier to put your second layer of frosting on without crumbs all over the place.
  10. Make extra frosting for your husband to lick.  Otherwise, you will get mad at him!

Cake w/ Crumb Layer of Frosting - Goes Back into Fridge for 30 Minutes

Last, but not least…have fun!

Swirl Textures w/ Frosting & Sprinkles

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies….Because they are the best!!

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So, I found this recipe some years ago and I must make it every year.  It is the best.  Try It.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, butter, cream cheese, salt, almond and vanilla extracts, and egg yolk. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour until well blended. Chill the dough for 8 hours, or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/3 at a time to 1/8 inch thickness, refrigerating remaining dough until ready to use. Cut into desired shapes with lightly floured cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  4. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light and golden brown. Cool cookies completely before frosting.

Tips

  • Make sure that you chill the dough.  It will keep for up to a week.  I wrap mine in plastic wrap in a large ball.
  • Do NOT overcook these cookies.  They will not seem done … do not worry!  They should only get a slight tint of color.
  • Use lots of frosting…I used the simple frosting right out of the squeeze bottle (Michael’s) this year for the first time.  It is quick and simple.  But, I really prefer using homemade frosting from scratch and taking my time.  But, time was not on my side so I did what I had to.
  • Eat a lot of these….(and then workout)