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    Entries in cinnanananom (20)

    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?

     

    Wednesday
    Feb122014

    Raspberry Cinnamon Rolls

    I thought for a long time about the title of this post.  It’s my Valentine’s Day recipe and I thought it should be something special, but in the end, I decided Raspberry Cinnamon Rolls sound so good, there’s no need for anything else. Not convinced?  What if I told you they’re topped with raspberry, cream cheese frosting?  Ah, now I’ve got your attention. 

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • ¾ cup milk
    • ¾ cup hot water
    • 3 Tablespoons butter
    • 3 ½ cups flour
    • 1 pkg yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    • ½ teaspoon salt 

    Mix together the hot water, milk, and butter.  You want to end up with something warm enough to melt the butter, but not hot.  Think warm bath temperature.  If it’s not warm enough, just pop it into the microwave for a few seconds.  Set that aside.

    In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.  Stir them to evenly distribute everything.

    Pour in the warm milk mixture. 

    Stir until it looks something like this, and then put it on the mixer with the dough hook. 


    Knead for 5 – 7 minutes, until the dough is nice and smooth. The dough will be quite soft, and slightly tacky.  Form it into something resembling a ball and place it into a buttered bowl.  Put it top side down, then turn it and flip it over so that the whole surface gets lightly buttered from the bowl. 

    Cover with a damp towel and allow it to rise.  You want it to double in size, which will probably take about an hour.

    Sprinkle some flour over your work area. 

    Dump out the dough and deflate it with your fingers or knuckles. 

    It needs a few minutes to rest before you start rolling, so while it’s doing that, measure ½ cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon into a container with a lid.  Mason jars are perfect if you have one. 

    Lightly flour the top of your dough, and then roll it to about ½ inch thickness.  You should have a rectangle that’s something like 18 x 14 inches.

    You need about 5 Tablespoons of butter.  Make sure it’s nice and soft.  You can probably accomplish that just by stirring it, but I actually had to throw mine into the microwave for 5 seconds.  You don’t want it to be melted, though.

    Spread a thin layer over the dough, leaving about an inch along one of the long sides bare. 

    Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar, again avoiding that last inch of dough. 

    It won’t be perfect, but try to make it mostly even. 

    Now for the raspberries.  Mine were huge, so I actually broke each one in half. 

    Place them on top, leaving a little space between them. 

    Hubby wasn’t sure about the raspberries, so I left some of mine as regular cinnamon rolls.  If you have picky eaters in your house, it’s an easy thing to do.  Now for the rolling.  Starting with the long edge nearest your (the edge without anything on it should be furthest from you) fold the dough over the first row of raspberries. 

    Continue to roll the dough until you have an 18 inch log.  When you reach the bare edge, wet a paper towel and wipe it along dough. 

    Pinch that together, sealing it to the side of the dough log. 

    Beautiful.

    Cut the log into one inch slices. 

    Place them into a liberally buttered pan and press down gently on the top of each one.  (as you can see, there are only 12 here, I put the other 6 in another pan)

    Cover them again with a damp towel.  You want them to become nice and puffy and begin to press up against one another.  That will probably take about 45 minutes.  Somehow, I didn’t get a picture of that.  I can’t even blame it on Elise, who was over visiting with me, because she reminded me repeatedly throughout the day to take pictures.  What can I say?  I’m scatter brained.  Anyway, preheat the oven to 350°, then bake them for 30 – 35 minutes.  They should be nice and golden on top. 

    Turn them out onto a cooling rack so the melted sugary goodness on the bottom doesn’t glue them to the pan. 

    Now for the delectable raspberry, cream cheese frosting. 

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 1 ½ cups raspberries
    • 8 ounces cream cheese
    • 4 Tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • ⅛ teaspoon salt
    • 2 ½ - 3 cups powdered sugar 

    Pour some raspberries into a microwave safe bowl.  I poured in a whole bag, but it was more than I needed in the end, so I’d say about 1 ½ cups of berries should be plenty.  You can use either fresh or frozen for this. 

    Cover with plastic wrap and then poke a couple of holes in the top. 

    Microwave until the berries are nice and hot.  Mine took something like 90 seconds, but just watch them.

    When they’re nice and soft and juicy, pour them into a mesh strainer set atop a saucepan or some other vessel.  Using a spoon or silicone spatula, stir and press them, forcing the juice through the strainer.

    Continue working with it until the raspberries become quite thick and most of the juice is in the pan below.  Discard what’s left in the strainer. 

    Place the raspberry sauce (the technical name is a coulis [pronounced koo-lee], if you’re interested) in a pan over medium-low heat.  Stirring constantly, bring it to a simmer.  If you start to get foam on top, throw in a small piece of butter.

    Continue to simmer and stir until it has reduced by about half and has a syrupy consistency. 

    A few seeds managed to sneak through the first strainer, so I poured it through an even finer mesh at this point. 

    See, nice and smooth.  Set it aside to cool. 

    Put the cream cheese and butter into a mixing bowl.  Make sure they’re room temperature. 

    Beat them until they’re nice and soft and well combined, then add the vanilla and salt. 

    Mix, then scrape everything down, and mix again.  Sift in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. 

    Frequently scrape down the sides of the bowl, and continue until you’ve added 2 ½ cups of powdered sugar.  Add 2 Tablespoons of the reduced raspberry stuff.  Make sure it’s no longer warm. 

    When that is incorporated, taste the frosting and check its consistency.  Mine needed an additional ½ cup of powdered sugar.  It doesn’t need to be stiff like a buttercream for cake, but you don’t want it too runny either.  Look at that gorgeous color!   

    Turn the cinnamon rolls back into pan they were baked in and cut them apart. 

    Now slather on lot of raspberry, cream cheese goodness.  Yeah, I’ll never understand people who drizzle a tiny bit of icing on a cinnamon roll.  They’re meant to be gooey and sticky and messy. 

    There you have it.  You will be blown away by how amazing these are.  Once again, homemade beats any box of chocolates or store bought treat. 

    What do you do for Valentine’s Day?