Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts

Monday, March 19, 2018

Raspberry Buttermilk Pound Cake with Vanilla Glaze

This past weekend we celebrated a significant 'milestone' birthday of one of our friends with a homemade five course meal interspersed with a couple of competitive games of Prosecco Pong (oh yes, we did!). The menu was intended to be one of the surprises for the birthday girl but her wish for a cheesecake as the 'birthday cake' was our command. Given her love of fresh fruits and famous for her fresh fruit salads, the Creamy Cheesecake Topped with Fresh Berries seemed like it might be the perfect choice. For those of you who have read the blog over the years, you know how much honoring and remembering birthdays means to me. It's the one day of the year where your friends let you know you matter to them and where you let your friends know they matter to you.

Keeping track of the likes and dislikes of friends has been something I have tried to do over the years. Sometimes I learn these things by listening, sometimes by asking, and sometimes by simply paying attention. Although there have been occasions when I have forgotten some of them. Usually not intentionally. But truth be told I relish the opportunity to shift a dislike into a like. Bu when planning the birthday menu I had honestly 'forgotten' one of my friends doesn't like anything made with tomatoes. It wasn't until we were plating the Lasagna Bolognese I relearned this. All I could hope for was this Lasagna Bolognese, one made with the less acidic tomato paste, would appeal to her non-tomato liking palate. Unless she was just trying to alleviate my angst over my forgetfulness, I think I may have successfully pushed her into reconsidering this dislike going forward. But there was one dislike I did remember, but intentionally tried to shift to the like column. In a casual conversation, I learned the birthday girl wasn't a fan of polenta. And a Mushroom and Herb Polenta was one of the courses planned for her birthday dinner. I had a choice. Either change that course or take the risk I could actually shift her thoughts about it. It was a potentially risky choice, given the fact it was her birthday dinner. But I decided to be a risk taker, as I felt pretty confident this recipe would turn any polenta 'disliker' into a polenta 'liker', possibly into a polenta 'lover'. I suppose I could have always feigned forgetfulness if she had politely taken only one bite. My only problem would be trying to repress what I knew (and I knew that wasn't going to happen). So it was with fingers crossed when the Mushroom and Herb Polenta was brought to the table and served. As it turned out, everyone, including the birthday girl, ate every morsel of the polenta on their plates. Maybe it was the infusion of the grated Parmigiano-Regianno cheese into the polenta or the melted Taleggio Cheese over it or the herb and truffled sautéed mushrooms responsible for decidedly turning one of her dislikes into a like. Whatever it was, I was happy to be two for two for the day.

A couple of weeks ago the birthday girl shared a beloved family recipe for a Buttermilk Pound Cake with me. Before making this recipe, I first had to figure out how to quantify the 'pinches of' measurements for two of the ingredients. Which meant spending some time going down the proverbial buttermilk pound cake rabbit hole. My search results for determining what a pinch of salt and pinch of baking soda should be was, as expected, not as easy as I hoped it would. Amounts ranged from 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon for each of them. Small differences between them, but sometimes small differences make big differences. Decisions, decisions.

Whenever someone gives me a recipe to make, especially one I haven't tasted, I have a tendency to tinker with it. Adding a thick Vanilla Glaze and along with layers of raspberry preserves were going to be my changes to the original Buttermilk Pound Cake recipe. It's been a risk taking couple of weeks.

Unlike many pound cake recipes following the 1-2-3-4 formula (1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs), this one uses a 1-3-3-4 (1 cup butter, 3 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs). The result is a slightly moister, perfectly sugary, more delicious pound cake.

While spending time looking for guidance on salt and baking soda amounts, I discovered some recipes recommended beating the sugar and butter for upwards of 11 minutes. At first I thought this sounded a bit excessive, however, seeing how the butter/sugar mixture transformed into incredible fluffiness and a perfect consistency for the eggs to be incorporated one at a time, I was thankful for having stumbled upon this recommendation. Instead of adding both dry ingredients and buttermilk in two additions, I began with mixing in 1/4 of the dry ingredients followed by 1/3 of the buttermilk. This sequence was repeated for a total of three additional times, finishing with the dry ingredients. The result was a smooth, thick, creamy, beautiful batter.

This Raspberry Buttermilk Pound Cake with Vanilla Glaze can be made in either a tube (angel food cake) pan or bundt pan. Aesthetically I think a bundt pan creates a more eye-appealing cake. But that's just me. After spooning one-third of the batter into the pan, I piped one-half of the raspberry preserves over the first layer using a pastry bag (you could also use a ziploc bag and cut one of the corners to create a tip). Without disturbing the first layer of raspberry preserves, I added another third of the batter, then the remaining raspberry preserves, and finally finished up with the batter as the top layer. Note: When adding the raspberry preserves stay away from the interior and exterior edges of the pan to avoid having the preserves bleed into the edges of the pound cake.

When putting the bundt pan into the oven, place it on a baking sheet to catch any of the batter that may spill over (a lesson learned after the fact). In a preheated a 325 degree (F) oven, the Raspberry Buttermilk Pound Cake bakes for approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes or until a testing stick inserted into the cake comes out clean. My baking time was exactly 1 hour and 25 minutes. Note: Do not open the oven to check on the cake for the first 60 minutes of baking time.

Allow the baked pound cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before carefully unmolding it. Depending on your bundt cake pan or your preferences, you can serve this Raspberry Buttermilk Pound Cake as is (with or without a dusting of confectionary sugar). But if you want to 'dress' it up at bit, I would strongly encourage you to make the Vanilla Glaze.

You can make the Vanilla Glaze as thick or as thin as you like. Less or more heavy cream will give it the desired consistency. You could also probably swap out whole milk for the heavy cream. Just add either of those liquids slowly to the sifted confectionary sugar, particularly if you want your glaze to have a thicker consistency.

Once the glaze sets, the cake is ready to serve!

Honestly, this is the best pound cake I have ever tasted! And if pound cake is one of those things on your 'dislike' list, this Raspberry Buttermilk Pound Cake with Vanilla Glaze will definitely have you reconsider changing your view of it. Take the risk and make it for your family and friends. It really, truly is an incredibly flavorful, moist, perfect crumb cake. One that definitely won't last long after it's made.

Raspberry Buttermilk Pound Cake with Vanilla Glaze (slight twist to Aunt Faulie's Pound Cake recipe)

Buttermilk Pound Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups (600g) granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups (390g) all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup (166g) raspberry preserves

Vanilla Glaze
1 pound confectionary sugar, sifted
1 pint (8 ounces) heavy whipping cream, added slowly
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of kosher salt

Buttermilk Pound Cake
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F). Prepare a tube or bundt pan. Set aside.
2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
3. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth (approximately 1-2 minutes). Slowly add the granulated sugar and continue to beat on high. Continue beating the butter sugar mixture for approximately 11 minutes or until your mixture is light and fluffy.
4. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Mix in the vanilla.
6. Beginning with the flour mixture, add the dry and wet (buttermilk) ingredients in a total of 7 alternate additions. Note: Begin with 1/4 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/3 of the buttermilk.
7. Scrape 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Using a pastry bag or ziplock bag with one tip cut, add 1/2 of the raspberry preserves, being careful to pipe at least 1 inch from the interior and exterior edges of the pan. Do not use a knife to swirl in the preserves, leave as piped. Add another 1/3 of the batter, followed by the remaining 1/2 of the raspberry preserves. Finish with the last 1/3 of the batter. Smooth top of the pound cake with an offset spatula. Place bundt pan on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven.
8. Bake the pound cake for 1 hour and 25 minutes or until a testing stick comes out clean. Do not open the oven during the first hour of baking.
9. Remove the baked pound cake from the oven. Allow to cool for 20 minutes in the pan before unmolding onto a cake platter or cake stand
10. Allow the unmolded pound cake to cool completely before glazing.

Vanilla Glaze and Assembly 
1. In a medium sized bowl, add the confectionary sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla. 
2. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, slowly add the heavy whipping cream until it reaches the desired consistency.
3. Pour or spread the vanilla glaze over the cooled pound cake. Allow the glaze to set before serving.
4. Store the pound cake covered at room temperature. It's best enjoyed within 48 hours, however, if by chance you have any left after that, enjoy it.

Notes: (1) If you don't want to make the vanilla glaze, sift confectionary sugar over the top. (2) The raspberry preserves added another flavor dimension to this poundcake, however, it would still be delicious without them. (3) The original recipe called for one teaspoon of vanilla, but I increased it to 2 teaspoons.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Chocolate Sheet Cake with Milk Chocolate Buttercream Icing

After an almost two month hiatus from running, one that felt like an eternity, I ran for the first time last weekend. As I was getting ready for this long awaited return to running, you would have thought I was about to run some high stakes or challenging course race. I felt queasy, nervous, and overly anxious about a two mile run. Yes, just two short freakin' miles. But in my post injury head, it wasn't only this distance I was worried about. No, what was taking up even more worry space in my mind was whether or not I would re-injure myself. As well as whether my body was truly healed or was it a case of wishful thinking. The bad news, relatively speaking, was my running pace was slower and much more labored than it had been before the injury. And the good news? After getting myself into a pre-run tither, it was a pain free run. I was simultaneously bummed about my pace and elated over the absence of wincing discomfort. Which I suppose you could say the glass was half-full, maybe a little more than half full. Having this 'first' post-injury run now behind me, I continue to be hopeful any lingering trepidation, including the queasiness, will continue to fade each time I go out for a run. I have only three months to rebuild up my endurance and speed (again relatively speaking). In early June, we have a destination run on the east coast. A ten miler. Piece of cake, right?

Speaking of cake, I have only recently become a big fan of the homemade sheet cake. This would be a significant shift from my love for and loyalty to layer cakes. Like a slab pie, there is something irresistible about a sheet pan cake. It's rustic and humble in its' presentation, yet so incredibly appealing. And so much easier to cut than a layered cake! Particularly when someone says they only want a very small sliver (really? chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and someone requests only a sliver? crazy!). This, however, may be one of those cakes where anyone with unswayable self-control will be requesting a second sliver. The taste of the icing alone will have them giving it up.

As much as I love this chocolate cake, it's the 'icing on this cake' that I am deeply, madly in love with. Paired together they are a match made in heaven.

After indulging myself with a small piece of this Chocolate Sheet Cake with Milk Chocolate Buttercream Icing I cut it up into pieces and gave it all away. I regretted this random act of kindness as soon as I got home with my empty baking sheet. Oh, how I wanted to have another piece of this insanely delicious cake!

The recipe for this one bowl chocolate cake has become one of recent favorites. Previously I had only made it as a two layer cake. However, there is enough batter in the recipe to make a 9"x12" or 9"x13" sheet pan cake.

This cake's deep, dark color comes from both the Dutch-processed cocoa and the coffee. These two ingredients create a cake with the most perfect color to contrast to the Milk Chocolate Buttercream Icing. As a side note, if you ever come across a recipe for a chocolate cake calling for warm water, replace with it a cup of coffee. Not only will the coffee intensify the flavor of the chocolate, it will deepen the color of the baked cake.

This Milk Chocolate Buttercream Icing is velvety smooth, glossy, and creamy delicious. The recipe makes enough to generously frost the sheet cake. You might even have a spoonful or two left to secretly enjoy.

Whip the icing using either a standing mixer with a whisk attachment or with a hand held mixer. The addition of heavy whipping cream adds suppleness, lusciousness, and richness to this Milk Chocolate icing.

The use of an offset spatula or large spoon to swirl the icing on top of the sheet cake makes the most beautiful swoopy looking cake. If you want a fancy, fussy finish, pipe on the icing using a pastry bag and your favorite pastry trip.

Top with sprinkles or not top with sprinkles? That was the question. After some deliberation, I decided the Chocolate Sheet Cake looked sexier without them and more whimsical with them. So depending on your mood or the one you are trying to create, either leave them off or sprinkle them on. Or if you can't really decide, serve the cake with a bowl of them on the side and let everyone choose for themselves. Several years ago, I came across the Callebaut's Chocolate Crisp Pearls for the first time in an incredible chocolate shop in Boulder, Colorado. Ever since then, they have been my favorites.

The next time you want to make a cake for your family and friends or to simply give it away, make this Chocolate Sheet Cake with Milk Chocolate Buttercream Icing. Or ice it with the Peanut Butter Frosting used in the making of the layered Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. I promise, whether you frost this cake with a rich, creamy milk chocolate icing or a smooth, lush peanut butter icing, everyone will go wild for your sheet cake! 

If serving to a large crowd, consider serving it on a large wooden board rather than in the pan or on a platter. Note: Don't remove the parchment paper if serving it on a wooden board.

Chocolate Sheet Cake with Milk Chocolate Buttercream Icing (minor changes to Julia Turshen's Happy Wife, Happy Life Chocolate Cake recipe as shared in her cookbook "Small Victories: Recipes, Advice, and Hundreds of Ideas for Home-Cooking Triumphs")

Serves 16-20  people, depending on how you slice it

1 1/4 cups (160 g) all-purpose flour 
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (75 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 Tablespoons (113 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup strong black coffee cooled or 1 rounded teaspoon espresso powder mixed into 1 cup boiling water then cooled
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla

1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (188 g) confectionary sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla
8 ounces good quality milk chocolate, chopped, melted. and slightly cooled
Pinch of sea salt or Kosher salt
2-3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Optional: Chocolate Crisp Pearls (Recommend the ones made by Callebaut) or Chocolate Sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a  9"x13" or 9"x12" baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly butter and/or spray top of parchment paper and sides of pan if not covered with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. Add melted butter, eggs, coffee, buttermilk, and vanilla. Whisk until batter is thick and smooth.
4. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Lightly tap the cake pan to remove any air bubbles.
5. Bake until top of cake spring back when lightly pressed and edges begin to come away from the pan. Approximately 25-30 minutes of baking time.
6. Transfer cake pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before icing.

Icing and Assembly
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or a hand held mixer), beat butter and confectionary sugar on medium-high speed until creamy (approximately 2 minutes).
2. Scrape down sides of the bowl, add vanilla and salt. Mix on low until incorporated. 
3. With the mixer on low speed, beat in melted, cooled milk chocolate until all is incorporated. Stop to scrape the bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy (approximately 2-3).
4. Add heavy whipping cream and beat until light and fluffy. Approximately 3-4 minutes.
5. Spread icing evenly over the top of the cake. Swirl icing with a spoon or offset spatula. Alternately put icing in a pastry bag fitted with pastry tip of choice. Optional: Top with Chocolate Crisp Pearls or Sprinkles.
6. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Allow the chilled cake to sit out at least 30 minutes before serving.

Notes: (1) For the flour weight calculation, I used the 128 g per cup equivalent. (2) I am partial to a chilled cake, so I like to eat it right out of the refrigerator. (3) Can melt chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Make sure to chop the chocolate evenly before melting. I used the Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate for the icing.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Raspberry Brownies

Happy Valentine's Day! Happy Galentine's Day! Happy 106th birthday to the state of Arizona! If there was ever a day calling for something decadent, something chocolate, it would be this day! However, for those of you who give up sweets for Lent, this has to be one of those days where chocolate temptation is everywhere around you. You might even wonder if you should have given up something else. But for those of you with enough will power to take you through the next 40 days, bookmark this Raspberry Brownie recipe. Because if you love a fudgy, intensely chocolate brownie, you will want to make this brownie. For those you gave up something else or don't give up anything at all, it is your lucky day. You don't have to wait to make them!

Over the past fifteen years, there have been a number of variations made to the well published, highly touted brownie recipe attributed to Katharine Hepburn. Some have reduced the amount of sugar; some have replaced the unsweetened chocolate with cocoa powder; some have increased or doubled the amount of flour; some have added additional chocolate; some have added coffee granules; and some have added another layer of flavor in the middle of the brownies. The addition of a thin layer of flavor, in the form of raspberry preserves, came from Maida Heatter as shared in her cookbook "Book of Great American Desserts". When I read 'If they gave Oscars for Brownies, this would win" in Maida Heatter's description of the Raspberry Brownies, the to make/not to make decision was made. When Maida Heatter, 'America's First Lady of Desserts', so boldly makes such a claim, I admit I wanted to believe her.

If there was ever cookbook author I have admired, it would be Maida Heatter. Since 1983 she has had eleven cookbooks published. I own ten of them them. Not including a double copy of the "Book of Great American Desserts". At one time I thought it had lost this book, so I ordered another one. As luck would have it I found the first book within days after receiving the second copy. If food blogs and instagram were around when Maida Heatter first starting sharing her recipes she would undoubtedly be the undisputed foodblog and social media dessert goddess. Although maybe she and Alice Medrich would share this title as both of these women have unselfishly shared not only their recipes but their baking knowledge. Their cookbooks both inspire and teach. Having made numerous recipes from Maida Heatter's cookbooks, I have never been disappointed.

And these Raspberry Brownies did not disappoint.

I made three changes to the ingredients in Maida's Raspberry Brownie recipe. None of them truly radical. I used caster sugar instead of granulated sugar, toasted the walnuts, and increased the amount of all-purpose flour from 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup. If you don't have caster sugar, you could absolutely use granulated sugar. If you don't normally toast your nuts before putting them in your baked goods, you really should. It honestly makes a difference. And if you like gooey, but not overly gooey brownies, then you will love the slight increase in all-purpose flour.

I also made some changes to the techniques use in the making of these brownies. After melting the chocolate and butter, I transferred the mixture to a bowl before adding the sugar, vanilla, and salt; used a hand mixer instead of a spoon to make these brownies; sifted the flour; used parchment paper to line the baking pan instead of aluminum foil; and, finished them with a dusting of Dutch-processed cocoa and confectionary sugar. Again, none of these changes were truly radical. But they were all ones I would highly recommend.

The use of an 8" square pan would be one of the non-negotiable aspects of this Raspberry Brownie recipe. The baked brownies are slightly thicker than 1/2". They would lose their moist, gooeyness if a larger pan was used. One of the distinctive, addictive features of this brownie.

These Raspberry Brownies take longer to make than the original Katharine Hepburn recipe due to the assembly process. But the extra time is worth it. After evenly spreading half of the batter into the prepared baking pan, it is covered with aluminum foil and placed in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes. Which is just long enough to firm up the bottom layer, making it easier to spread the raspberry preserves in a very thin layer over it.

After evenly spreading the remaining brownie batter over the preserve layer, the brownies sit at room temperature for approximately 30-45 minutes, giving the bottom layer some time to thaw before going into a preheated 325 degree (F) oven.

The baking time for these Raspberry Brownies ranges between 35 and 40 minutes.

So would these Raspberry Brownies win an Oscar? I would vote for them.

These are kind of brownies where it eating just one is extremely difficult. If you consider yourself a chocoholic, these are the kind of brownies you want to eat when you have a craving for chocolate.

If you are a big fan of the flavors of raspberry and chocolate, you will love these Raspberry Brownies. You might also love these Raspberry Truffle Brownies. If make either of these recipes, you will definitely make someone's heart really happy. Especially your own.

Raspberry Brownies (inspired by the Raspberry Brownie recipe shared in Maida Heatter's Book of Great American Desserts)
Makes 16 two inch brownies

2 ounces (57 g) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 cup (200 g) caster or granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup (43 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup (112 g) walnuts, roasted, and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (108 g) raspberry preserves (seeded or unseeded)
Optional: Dutch processed cocoa powder and confectionary sugar for dusting

1. Line an 8" square baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly butter or lightly apply cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Place butter and chocolate in a small heavy bottomed saucepan. Over low heat, stir frequently until melted. Transfer mixture to a medium sized bowl.
3. Immediately add in salt, vanilla and sugar. Blend using a hand held mixer. 
4. Add in eggs one at a time, beating until well incorporated.
5. Add in sifted flour, beating on low speed until there are no flour streaks.
6. Stir in walnuts. The batter will be thick.
7. Scrape half of the batter into the prepared plan. Smooth using an offset spatula. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until just firm enough to spread raspberry preserves. 
8. Spread the raspberry preserves in a very thin layer evenly over the bottom brownie layer. 
9. Spoon remaining batter on top the preserve layer. Carefully spread using an offset spatula or spoon.
10. Let mixture stand for 30-45 minutes until the bottom frozen layer has thawed.
11. While waiting for the mixture to thaw, preheat oven to 325 degrees (F).
12. When ready to place the pan in the oven, bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted gently in the middle comes out clean Do not over bake.
13. Transfer pan to a cooling rack. Allow brownies to cool to room temperature. 
14. Place pan in the freezer until firmed up (approximately 30-45 minutes). 
15. Remove brownies from the pan. 
16. Sift Dutch-processed cocoa powder and/or confectionary sugar over the top. 
17. Cut into 2" squares. Serve immediately and/or wrap in cellophane.
18. Brownies are really good at room temperature but incredibly great when chilled. Store brownies (well-wrapped) in the refrigerator.

Notes: (1) These Raspberry Brownies can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Serving them chilled optimizes their flavor and fudgy texture. 

Winter at Morton Arboretum, February 2017 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Cinnamon Rolls

For years I have yearned to make homemade cinnamon rolls. Tender dough swirled in cinnamon, topped with a creamy, gooey, slightly tangy cream cheese icing makes them comfort food irresistible. Convincing myself they were cumbersome and complicated to make, I put them on the list of 'maybe someday when I am ready'. Over the past couple of months the universe seemed to be sending me reminders of the promise I had made. Photos of drool worthy cinnamon rolls were popping up in my Instagram feed and recipes for them were in at least three of the last cookbooks I had recently purchased. It was becoming more and more difficult to ignore the 'signs' more than subtly suggesting time had come for me to stop using 'maybe' as an excuse for not keeping a promise. When looking in the mirror, even my alter ego was telling me to stop playing the 'maybe' game. Either put the cinnamon rolls on the 'will definitely make' or 'will definitely not make' list. But don't let them stay in recipe limbo or turn into a cinnamon roll tease. 

Someday finally came this week. And you know what I discovered? I was wrong about believing Cinnamon Rolls were cumbersome and complicated to make. Don't get me wrong, they aren't easy, but they aren't exactly rocket science difficult either. All it it took was making them to realize my thoughts and perceptions about them were flawed. Denying myself as well as my friends and family the pleasure of enjoying a sweet, warm out of the oven, sinfully delicious, homemade Cinnamon Roll seemed to be for naught. But I am not going to whine about all the years of going without cinnamon roll bliss. Delirium has a way of making you see things differently. Trust me when I say these cinnamon rolls will have your head spinning and heart racing. And that's just from taking in their intoxicating aroma while they are baking.

I can't even begin to tell you how many cinnamon roll recipes I have looked at over the years. Too many. Up until I recently discovered the sweet dough recipe shared by Sarah Kieffer in her cookbook "The Vanilla Bean Baking Book", did my dough-making fears lessen. I would be lying if I didn't say I have always been a little intimidated working with yeast based doughs. They are one of those things I feel are a little outside of my baking comfort zone. However, this dough made me feel differently. Not only does it come together relatively quickly, it can (and probably should) be refrigerated overnight. Which means you don't have to get up at one o'clock in the morning if you want to serve fresh, hot out of the oven Cinnamon Rolls for a late morning breakfast or brunch. But more on the essentially no-knead dough making process later.

I had a good feeling about these Cinnamon Rolls even before they went into the oven. 

From the ingredients used to the assembly process, there are a number of variations to all of the cinnamon roll dough recipes out there. This one uses instant dry yeast (not rapid rise), honey (instead of sugar), eggs, whole milk, unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, and kosher salt. 

The dough is literally made in less than fifteen minutes. Which includes the time you need to assemble all of your ingredients. Once made it rests for a total of two hours before being refrigerated overnight. Over the course of the two hours of rising time, the dough is gently pulled up and rolled over itself every thirty (30) minutes. And that's it! Note: The dough could be used right away (after the initial 2 hour rise) if necessary, however, it is much easier to work with after it has been refrigerated overnight.

Whenever I make a batter or a dough for the first time, I put it through the 'taste test'. I take a bite of the raw dough. If it doesn't taste good, I know the final product won't either. But if it tastes good, even great, I know it will be even better when baked. This dough passed the taste test with flying colors. 

On a lightly floured surface it rolled out beautifully. 

Another one of the variations in the Cinnamon Roll recipes I had found was the filling. Some called for melted butter, some for room temperature butter; the amount of cinnamon ranged from a couple of teaspoons to two full tablespoons; and some used additional spices (e.g., nutmeg, cardamom). I knew I wanted these Cinnamon Rolls to have a strong, bold cinnamon flavor. One tablespoon of cinnamon didn't seem like enough and two tablespoons almost seemed to be too much. But rather than compromise, I decided to take a leap of faith and use two full tablespoons of cinnamon along with a 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. It would now be hard to settle for a cinnamon roll made with one tablespoon of cinnamon after tasting these.

Remember how I told you that you didn't to get up one in the morning to have them ready for a late morning breakfast or brunch? Well that's still true. But after removing the dough from the refrigerator, you are about 3 and a half hours away from serving them. But it's not a labor intensive 3 and a half hours.

After rolling out the dough, slathering on the cinnamon sugar filling, cutting into 12 even pieces, and placing on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, the rolls are lightly covered with plastic wrap for a second rise. This time it's only ninety minutes and you don't have to do anything.

In a preheated 350 degree (F) oven, the cinnamon rolls bake for 27-32 minutes or until the rolls are golden in color. 

Once out of the oven, the cinnamon rolls rest for only five minutes before the icing is lathered on. 

Like the recipes for the dough and the filling, there were also a number of variations for the icing. Some called for using only cream cheese, some called for using both butter and cream cheese. I decided to go with the 'more is better' and went with the butter/cream cheese option. 

If there was one thing I would change about the icing it would be making more of it. Either increasing the recipe by half or maybe even doubling it. 

One bite of these Cinnamon Rolls and I was in heaven. The dough was moist and sweet, the cinnamon flavor was just right, and the icing complimented the roll perfectly. You need to make them. The return on the investment of your time will be worth the risk of taking on your dough making, cinnamon roll making fears.

"If we wait until we are ready, we will be waiting for the rest of our lives." If I had waited until I was ready to make these Cinnamon Rolls, more than likely I would have never made them. Worse yet, I would have never experienced the thrill of making of them. Sure, the taste of them was beyond amazing, exceeding all of my expectations. But the process of making Cinnamon Rolls, well, words can't fully explain what that felt like.

Cinnamon Rolls (Blended and adapted Cinnamon Rolls recipes from the cookbooks "The Vanilla Bean Baking Book" and "Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts")
Makes 12 

4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, warm (110-110 degrees F)
1/4 cup honey
4 cups (512 g) all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
10 Tablespoons (142 g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1 inch pieces

Cinnamon Filling
1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons, 113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (172 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons, 113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (113 g) confectionary sugar, sifted

1. Grease a large bowl with butter.
2. In a large measuring cup. combine the honey, eggs, and milk. Stir just until blended. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, yeast and salt. Stir on low speed to combine.
4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Mix on low speed just to combine.
5. With the mixer on low, add the butter, one piece at a time.
6. When all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat the butter into the dough until all the little butter pieces have been incorporated (approximately one minute).
7. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl. Note: The dough will be slightly sticky. You will need a spatula to scrape the dough into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, place in a warm place and let rise for 30 minutes.
8. Place your fingers or a spatula underneath the dough and gently pull the dough up and fold it over itself. Turn the bowl, repeat and fold again. Continue 6-8 more times, until all the dough has been folded over itself. Re-cover the bowl with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes.
9. Repeat this series of folding 3 more times, for a rise time of 2 hours and a total of 4 foldings. 
10. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 72 hours.

Cinnamon Filling
1. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
2. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium speed until creamy. Set aside.


1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Beat until smooth and well blended (approximately 2-3 minutes).
2. Add the confectionary sugar and kosher salt. Beat until smooth, fluffy, and creamy. Transfer to either a small bowl or pastry bag. Set aside. Note: Recommend making the icing while the cinnamon rolls are baking. 

1. Line a 9"x12" baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the sides of the pan with butter. Set aside.
2. Remove the dough from the bowl, shape into a ball, set on a lightly floured surface, lightly top with flour, cover with a light weight towel and let it come to room temperature. Approximately 60-90 minutes.
3. Roll the dough out to a 16"x12" rectangle. Spread the cinnamon filling evenly over the dough. 
4. Starting at the long side, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam gently to seal it and positing the dough seam side down.
5. Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Transfer the pieces to the prepared pan. Note: Cut off the uneven edges of the rolled dough before cutting them into 12 pieces.
6. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap, set in a warm place and let the dough rise until doubled (approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Note: My rising time was 1 1/2 hours.
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
8. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the cinnamon rolls for 27-32 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through until the rolls are golden in color. Note: My baking time was 32 minutes.
9. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let sit for no more than 5 minutes. Note: If you like your cinnamon rolls to have more of a crispy crunch to them, wait at least 15 minutes before spreading on the icing. However, would recommend spreading it on while still warm to create the softest, gooey-est cinnamon rolls.
10. Using an offset spatula or knife, spread the icing over each of the cinnamon rolls.
11. Serve immediately. 

Notes: (1) If like your Cinnamon Rolls slathered with more frosting, double the icing recipe. You won't be sorry. (2) The dough and icing recipes were adapted from "The Vanilla Bean Baking Book" and the cinnamon filling recipe was adapted from "Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts". (3) I used a 128 g per cup ratio when measuring the all-purpose flour. The original recipe called for a 142 g per cup ratio. (4) Instant dry yeast comes in granular form. Do not substitute rapid rise yeast for it. (5) If by any chance you have any left, cover them tightly and reheat for about 10 seconds in the microwave. The icing will melt a bit, but they will be warm bites of pure gooey deliciousness.

Images from the Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, CT (November 2017)