Red Velvet Pancakes

Red Velvet Pancakes are perfect for a Valentine's Day morning. They're fun for children, and yet can still be romantic for adults. These are adapted buttermilk pancakes that are light and fluffy. If you make too many, just throw them in the freezer and then pop them in a toaster before you eat.

Red Velvet Pancakes are perfect for a Valentine’s Day morning. They’re fun for children, and yet can still be romantic for adults. These are adapted buttermilk pancakes that are light and fluffy. If you make too many, just throw them in the freezer and then pop them in a toaster before you eat.

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Maple Walnut Granola

My husband LOVES this recipe! - Maple Walnut Granola is fast, easy, delicious, and soooo good for you. You can take it on hikes, eat it with milk for breakfast or have it as a snack. Plus, unlike store bought kind, you actually know what's in it. #granola

Maple Walnut Granola is fast, easy, delicious, and so good for you. You can take it on hikes, eat it with milk for breakfast or have it as a snack. Plus, unlike the store bought kind, when you make it yourself, you actually know what’s in it.

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The Softest Cinnamon Rolls Ever with Pumpkin Butter Filling

SOFTEST PUMPKIN ROLLS
People are going to be begging you for this recipe when they taste how soft this sweet bread is. It’s filled with spiced pumpkin butter and a coat of brown sugar for that little bit of extra sweetness. These are perfect for taking to that family dinner and showing off to mom what a great baker you turned out to be.

Every baker has a weakness: something they just can’t quite get right no matter how many times they try it. For some, it’s dinner rolls. For others, it’s pie pastry. For me, it was those devilish swirly confections known as cinnamon rolls.

The first time I ever actually tried them was when I lived in my very first apartment as a married gal. I made the Pioneer Woman’s pumpkin cinnamon rolls. I’m sure they’re amazing, but I have no idea how they taste because they came out absolutely raw and inedible.

It wouldn’t have been so bad had I not taken the cinnamon rolls to a dinner our lovely friends had invited us to. I didn’t know how to check for doneness and so when they were taken out of the pan, the rolls were all squishy.

I blame my oven. It was the oven from hell.

Moving on..

It just goes on from there. My filling fell out one time. I added too much flour another time. I overbaked them. I underbaked them. I just couldn’t get it right.

But, today was the day. On this glorious occasion of Guy Fawkes,  I decided I would finally make perfect and delicious cinnamon rolls. And you know what. I did. 

SOFTEST CINNAMON ROLLS EVER
Ain’t they purdy? I couldn’t be more proud. I’m all puffed up like a rooster.

There are several secrets I have learned.  One is potato.  Another is to lay off the flour. These tricks keep your bread soft and supple.

That’s such a scandalous sounding word.

SOFTEST CINNAMON ROLLS EVER
That lone cinnamon roll is all that’s left of the other pan. I know, I know, but I’m doing lots of running to balance it all out.

Take that baking vice! Now only 100 others to conquer.

SOFTEST CINNAMON ROLLS EVER
Mani: 1
Cinnamon rolls: 0
Discounting all previous losses of course…

Here’s What You Need:

Rolls:

  • 1 russet potato
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin butter

Glaze:

  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • chopped pecans

Here’s What You Do:

1. Peel russet potato and chop into 1-inch pieces. Boil in a medium saucepan with salt until tender.

2. While potato is cooking, warm milk in microwave to about 95 Fahrenheit degrees. Combine in large bowl or stand mixer with sugar and yeast. Let stand for 5-10 minutes or until frothy.

3. Once potatoes are cooked, drain and add cold butter. Mash butter and potatoes until combined. The butter should cool down the pot enough to add eggs.

4. Add eggs and 1/2 cup flour to potato mixture, whisk until combined.

5. Add potato mixture to milk mixture. Combine using a whisk by hand or with dough hook on stand mixer.

6. One cup at a time, add remaining flour and knead in using hands or dough hook, about 5-7 minutes.  I used my hands. The dough is done when it is still slightly sticky, but can be easily handled. Don’t add too much flour or your rolls will be dry.

7. Grease a large bowl and form dough into a ball. Leave dough in bowl, covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel, in a warm place until doubled in size. This takes about an hour.

8. When dough has doubled, punch down, and turn out onto a generously floured surface. Roll out into a 12×8 rectangle. It doesn’t have to be exact. Allow it to rest for a moment.

9. While dough is resting, grease either a 13×9-inch pan or 2 9-inch circle pans. Set aside.

10. Melt unsalted butter for the filling.  Mix in brown sugar and brush onto dough. Make sure you spread it out to all the corners and edges. Then top with pumpkin butter. Again, make sure the dough is completely covered. Try to spread it as evenly had you can.

11. Starting in the bottom middle and working outward, begin to roll up your dough. Be careful, this dough is quite soft and can tear easily! I was really dismayed when I originally did it, but it’s very worth it. If it does tear though, it really isn’t a big deal. As you roll, every so often, gently tug the dough backward to stretch it slightly to get a tight spiral.

12. Cut log into 12 even pieces and distribution evenly into pans. Cover them and allow them to rise in a warm place for 15 minutes. Turn oven to 425 Fahrenheit degrees.

13. Once rolls have risen, bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. If the tops start to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil.

14. Once rolls are done, make glaze by combining cream and sugar. Drizzle all over rolls before serving and sprinkle chopped nuts over the top.

SOFTEST CINNAMON ROLLS EVER

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Sweet Potato Belgian Waffles

SWEET POTATO BELGIAN WAFFLES WITH SALTED CARAMEL AND TOASTED MARSHMALLOWS
Belgian waffles are a tasty treat any time of the year, but the addition of sweet potato and cinnamon gives this year-round indulgence a taste of Autumn. Caught in between breakfast and dessert, these waffles can be topped with anything from fresh fruit to hot fudge.

When I first moved to Manhattan, one of the hardest things for me to get used to was public transport. It can be complicated, noisy, and unreliable. Sometimes there are  performers on the subway.  Sometimes there are crazy people on the train. Sometimes there are cats on the bus.

Yes. Cats.

Meet Waffles.

That's a bona fide bus ridin' cat if ever I saw one.
That’s a bona fide bus ridin’ cat if ever I saw one.

That’s what I named him.

My sister tried to name him Monsieur Le Fluffe, which may or may not be a way better name. So maybe Waffles Le Fluffe.

This fluffy fella was just snoozing on the bus one day as I came home from church, completely unperturbed that he had boarded a warm busy bus. He was also taking up two full seats. How very cat-like.

I don’t know what happened to Waffles Le Fluffe. I had to get off before anyone did anything or he got to his own stop. I’ll probably never know.

Speaking of waffles…

SWEET POTATO BELGIAN WAFFLES WITH SALTED CARAMEL AND TOASTED MARSHMALLOWS
Look at those chocolate chips and marshmallows getting all cozy on top of that blanket of caramel, it’s positively scandalous.

Have you ever had Belgian waffles before?

Have you ever had sweet potato Belgian waffles before?

Belgian waffles are thicker and softer than normal waffles, with a crispy outside, soft inside. Not to mention they are riddled with pockets of molten sugar. They are exceptional and they are the only things able to distract me from wondering about the mystery cat.

Roast toasty marshmallows, roasted toasty marshmallows...
Roast toasty marshmallows, roasted toasty marshmallows…

Note that this recipe works best if you make it the night before and allow the sugar chunks to partially dissolve before frying them up in your waffle iron.

Here’s What You Need:

  • 1 packet of yeast
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree
  • 2/3 cup whole milk, warmed to 95 degrees
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar chunks, chopped from sugar cubes, or pearl sugar. I used sugar cubes, but you can find pearl sugar online or sometimes at your local Walmart.

Here’s What You Do:

1. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine warm milk, sugar and yeast. Allow 5 minutes for yeast to proof. Yeast is alive if it gets bubbly and frothy. If after 10 minutes your yeast has done nothing it’s probably dead and you should start over.

2. Once yeast is proofed, add butter, sweet potato, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix to combine.

3. Slowly add flour with mixer on low. Once flour is added, turn mixer to medium and allow it to run for 5 minutes for the gluten to form in the dough.  Dough is finished when it is elastic and barely sticky. Add more flour if needed.

4. Remove dough from mixer and put into a large greased bowl. Allow dough to rise in a warm place, covered with a damp cloth, until doubled in size.  This will take about half an hour to an hour. I usually turn my oven onto 250 F degrees, let it heat up, turn it off, then put my dough inside.

5. While dough is rising, if you are using sugar cubes, roughly chop them up into small chunks about a quarter of an inch big.

6. After dough has risen, punch it down and separate into twelve equal balls.

7. Carefully combine sugar and dough by sticking the sugar chunks straight into the dough balls. They will sort of look like strange little land mines. Allow dough to rest for at least five minutes before cooking.

8. At this pont, the waffle dough is technically ready to cook. However, I found that cooking immediately either left me with unmelted sugar pockets, or a burnt waffle. Leaving the dough in the fridge overnight allows the sugar to slightly dissolve in the dough. Even though the dough is a little more wet as a result, the end outcome is far better.

9. Cook waffles in Belgian waffle iron on medium high heat and serve warm with your choice of toppings. I chose salted caramel and toasted marshmallows.

SWEET POTATO BELGIAN WAFFLES WITH SALTED CARAMEL AND TOASTED MARSHMALLOWS

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