Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Check it out!

I was asked to guest post over at my friend Mila’s blog Free Bird Train on how I balance work and school with being a single mom. Go over to her blog and check it out!

Friday, August 5, 2011

What to do when...

When you have a hungry child...

And access to the most perfect kitchen ever

And these two beauties?

Why, you pull out your cookbooks and YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE!

I've always wanted to make cinnamon rolls, but was intimidated by how long they take and just them in general. I saw Ree's recipe in her The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook and wanted to try those until I saw that it made a gazillion (give or take a few thousand) so I decided to try one of the few that Our Best Bites had posted on their site. I specifically wanted a recipe with a cream cheese frosting, which Our Best Bites didn't actually use, so I snagged the icing recipe from The Farm Chicks In the Kitchen, which is an awesome cookbook!

It all starts with some ingredients...

Apparently cars are very important in the making of cinnamon rolls.

First you microwave the butter and milk together for about a minute and set aside.

Put 2 cups of flour, yeast, white sugar and salt into the bowl of your mixer or a mixing bowl. Since I was using my Mom's kitchen I got to use her awesome Bosch. If it ever goes missing...It wasn't me. It might have been my sister.

Once the milk and butter mixture has cooled from hot to warm, pour it in and add the egg.

After that's well combined add the rest of the flour just until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. (If you're using a stand mixer, now would be the time to switch to a dough hook.) If you're using a stand mixer, let knead for 5 minutes, or turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes by hand.

Once the kneading is done, let it rest for 10 minutes on a floured surface.

Now the amazing filling. Soften the 1/2 cup of butter, then mix in cinnamon and brown sugar. Gosh, that was hard!

Roll the dough out into rectangle that's 12x14 inches. If you're me, you'll have spent the 10 minute resting time mildly panicking when you can't find your mom's rolling pin and have started considering using a glass bottle as a rolling pin (Name that book!!) when you remember where it is. Also, you will learn that 12 inches is not nearly as big as you think it is, and will have to attempt to make your rectangle smaller. No biggie.

Spread with the filling and roll the long side up.

Here's where I differed from Our Best Bites, and I wish I hadn't. They recommend that you score the roll with a knife to make sure you get even rolls and the correct number. They also swear by using floss to cut the rolls. I did neither and while I didn't have a problem cutting them, I ended up with 13 vs 12. Yup. I didn't hear anyone complain though.

Let rest for in a warm place for about 30 minutes. This is where I took a tip from The Farm Chicks - They recommend that you turn on your oven to the lowest setting it till go, let it warm up, wait 2 minutes. Turn it off, and slide your cinnamon rolls in for 30 minutes then take them out and let the oven warm up to the baking temp. My mom's oven will only go as low as 250, so I only let them rise in there for 15-ish minutes but it really worked!

You then bake them for only 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and you have beautiful cinnamon rolls!

The cream cheese frosting is super simple, but I wasn't sure if it'd make enough so I doubled the recipe and I'm glad I did!

Pure beauty! This pan didn't last a whole 24 hours and even got the stamp of approval from my non-sweet toothed boyfriend. The whole tablespoon and a half of cinnamon in the filling is what does it for me, along with the fact that these aren't very bready rolls. I wish I had a pan of them right now!

Everyday Cinnamon Rolls
Our Best Bites

1 cup milk
4 Tbs butter, cut into chunks
3 1/4 – 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 (.25 ounce) package instant or ‘rapid rise’ yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened

Cream Cheese Frosting
The Farm Chicks
4 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. softened cream cheese
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract