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    Entries in all rolled up (13)

    Monday
    Nov302015

    Rolling Out the Holiday Cookies

    The holidays are rolling around, so I thought this year I'd post a few cookie recipes. Although, if I’m honest, this idea has been rattling around in my brain for awhile now, and I just needed an excuse to make them. Back at Halloween, we got ‘booed’. If you’re not familiar with this, basically, an anonymous neighbor gives you a bag of treats, and then you pay it forward to two other people in the neighborhood who haven’t yet received one. Well, I decided to get my two people a loaf of Pumpkin bread from a local bakery. I placed the order for the two loaves at the drive thru, and the girl asked, “Would you like to try our new snickerdoodle bars?” Um, yes please. Well, when I got home, I discovered she had actually said snickerdoodle bread, and unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as good as that sounds. It got me thinking, though. How could I do a new spin on snickerdoodles? Cinnamon Roll Cookies, of course!

    Here’s what you’ll need for the dough: 

    • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
    • 1 egg
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 5 ½ cups flour 

    For the filling: 

    • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • Pinch of salt 

    For the icing: 

    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 ½ - 3 teaspoons water 

    I have to give credit for this cookie dough recipe to the lovely ladies over at Two Sisters Crafting. After searching for a cookie that had all the characteristics I wanted, easy to roll out, not a lot of spreading, soft texture, etc., theirs seemed to fit the bill.  I halved the recipe and followed it almost to the letter. The only change I made was to cut back the amount of flour a little, and you’ll see why.

    For your ingredients, you want the egg to be room temperature, but the butter should be a little on the cool side. Depending on the temperature in your house, give it maybe an hour or two out of the fridge. You should be able to press a dent in it with your thumb fairly easily, but the rest of the stick should hold its shape.

    Drop two of those into the bowl of your mixer.

    When the butter is still a bit on the firm side, I like to give it a little smash, just to help the mixer out. (What? I know it’s a heavy duty Kitchen Aid mixer, and can surely handle a little butter without my help, but I tend to baby my equipment slightly. That thing has put in a lot of work over the past fifteen years, so it's the least I can do.)

    Until the butter softens up a little bit more, it will tend to stick to the paddle. Just stop frequently and scrape it out with a silicone spatula.

    Once it’s not quite so clingy, go ahead and add the sugar.

    Mix just until they’re combined. I know, usually cookie recipes call for creaming the butter and sugar for at least a minute or two, but the Two Sisters said otherwise, so I did as I was told… skeptically… but I still did it.

    Next, add the vanilla and egg.

    Mix just until they’re incorporated. Add the flour and baking powder.

    Once again, mix just until everything is combined. At this point, I realized this dough was going to be a little bit dry for my purposes. Not only do you need a dough that you can roll out, but then it needs to also be rolled up, and this dough was going to crack.

    Using the 5 ½ cups I’ve called for, you probably won’t run into this problem, but if you do, this is where the sisters and I part company. They recommend adding more vanilla or a little milk to the mixture. The problem is, even a little bit of milk can change the texture and make the cookies a little more cakey. For regular sugar cookies, that’s not a big deal, but for this particular application, I opted to use 2 Tablespoons of half melted butter instead.

    Once that was incorporated the dough was perfect.

    Because the dough can’t really afford to add more flour, we’re going to roll it on parchment. Always start with a shape resembling what you want to end up with in the end. In this case, you want something square/rectangular.

    Unfortunately, the parchment will slide around while you’re rolling and I don’t really have any cool tricks for preventing that. Please let me know if you do. The secret to keeping a square shape, however, is to always roll towards the corners. As long as you do that, it will stay rectangular. See? 

    You want it to be about ¼ inch thick.

    In a small container with a lid, combine ½ cup sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.

    Put the lid on and shake until everything is combined.

    Brush the dough with two tablespoons of melted butter.

    Unlike bread cinnamon rolls, you want to cover the entire surface. Butter acts like glue for cookies, while it does the opposite for bread.

    Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over the top, leaving about an inch bare along the far edge. I only used like ⅔ of mine.

    Now comes the trickiest part. Carefully fold the edge nearest you over the dough. It will crack a bit, but just fix it with your fingers.

    Then, using the parchment, slowly roll the dough. I’ll admit, this is easier said than done, but just be patient.

    When you get to this point, fold the last few inches over the top.

    Then gently press the seam together with your fingers.

    Roll the whole thing up in the parchment.

    Then wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour, anything longer than that is fine, as well.

    When you’re ready, preheat your oven to 350°. Remove the cookie roll from the fridge and unwrap it.

    Slice the log into ½ slices and lay them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Leave at least an inch between them. This picture is not actually of the pan I was cooking, but of the pan I was going to freeze, so I didn’t leave much room. That being said, if you don’t want to bake them all now, like most other cookies, you can place the ready to bake dough on a parchment lined pan and freeze them. When they’re frozen, just place them in a freezer bag and bake as many or as few as you want. Just add 2 minutes to the baking time.

    Now, place the ones you are baking now into the 350° oven for 8 – 10 minutes. When they’re ready, they won’t be browned, but they’ll be slightly puffy, they’ll look dry on top, and they might have a few little cracks around the edges.

    Allow them to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before moving them, parchment and all, to a cooling rack. When they’ve cooled completely, it’s time to make the icing. Sift 1 cup of powdered sugar into a bowl. Add 2 ½ teaspoons of water and stir until it’s incorporated. It will be fairly thick, but if it’s hard to stir, go ahead and add another ½ teaspoon of water.

    Pour/scrape the icing into a plastic bag (zip top, sandwich, piping, any of them will work)

    Cut off the very tip and squeeze the icing over the cookies in a zigzag, drizzle like pattern.

    And there you have it. Cinnamon Roll Cookies. Aren’t they just the cutest things? These cookies are actually even better the next day, so once the icing is set, and you’ve had a chance to enjoy one, move the rest to an airtight container.

    So it turns out the sisters were right. The texture of these cookies was exactly what I was hoping for. So thank you, Two Sisters Crafting

    What is your favorite holiday cookie?

     

    Sunday
    Jun072015

    That's How Breakfast Rolls

    After all that pizza mayhem, I’m somewhat pizza’d out. That being said, I still had half of my pizza dough in the freezer. As I mentioned in that particular post, it wasn’t as chewy as I’d have liked for a pizza crust, but it still made fantastic bread. I wasn’t about to just let it go to waste, so what could I use it for? Well, we have a bakery here called Great Harvest.  They actually have lots of franchises all over the country, but they have a very mom and pop, local feel about them. You may remember the name from back when I did my version of their Mazurka Bars. Well, some of their locations make what they call Breakfast Rolls. Think the shape of a cinnamon roll, but savory rather than sweet, with egg, potato, and bacon. Well, mine have bacon in them. I’m not entirely sure what the meat product is in theirs. That’s not a criticism, I just really don’t know what the little pink bits of “meat” are. Their rolls are fantastic, and I love being able to drop in and pick one up on the go. They’re so good, in fact, that they inspired me to make my own version.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • ½ of this dough recipe
    • Potatoes – diced and cooked until soft
    • Bacon – cooked and crumbled
    • Grated cheese
    • 1 egg 

    This is a great recipe because you can pretty much make everything in advance and then just throw it together, or roll it together, as the case may be, whenever you feel like it. I made pan fried potatoes to go with dinner one night, and bacon for breakfast one morning. I just made sure to make extra and put it aside for my rolls. So, first up, you need to roll out your dough into a rectangle. Something like 15 inches wide is what you’re shooting for.

    Scramble an egg with a teaspoon or so of water and lots of freshly cracked pepper. Seriously, go heavy on the pepper, you won’t regret it.

    Brush it on the dough.

    Be sure to liberally cover every inch. Unlike the butter you would use on cinnamon rolls, the egg acts as glue, so you don’t need to leave a border.

    Spread the potato and bacon around, this time leaving a half inch or so on the top and bottom.

    Cover that with grated cheese. I used a combination of extra sharp cheddar and Colby jack.

    Then, just roll the whole thing into a long log.

    Pinch the seam together with your fingers.

    Slice the log into 12 equalish pieces. I like to make the ends bigger because they are smaller around.

    Grease a 9x13 pan. I saved the grease from cooking the bacon and used that, but if you prefer, you can just use butter.

    Place the slices into the pan and press them down a bit to help them spread.

    Cover the pan with a damp towel and allow them to rise. It will probably take something like 45-60 minutes. They’ll be nice and puffy and their edges should be touching.

    While they’re rising, preheat your oven to 350°. Bake the rolls for 30-35 minutes. When they’re done, they’ll be nice and golden, and the cheese will be bubbly and well…

    Using a spatula, loosen the rolls and make sure they haven’t attached themselves to the pan, then dump them out onto a cooling rack.

    It’s not entirely necessary, but I rubbed the entire surface with butter to make them tender and shiny. I highly recommend it.

    If you eat them while they’re warm, they’ll be gooey, cheesy, deliciousness with bits of tender potato and crispy, salty bacon.  Drooling yet? 

    With the leftovers, allow them to cool completely, then place them in ziplock bags and pop them into the freezer. They reheat beautifully in the microwave. They are a seriously fabulous breakfast that you can just grab and go.

    Thank you, Great Harvest for the inspiration, and for providing them whenever I don’t happen to have any in the freezer or don’t have the time and/or motivation to make my own.