Friday, August 29, 2014

Cinnamon Pecan Rolls with Salted Maple Glaze

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I recently became the proud owner of my very own Kitchenaid stand mixer. She's red and shiny and oh so beautiful! I've always wanted one, and I thank God for answered prayers and thank my family for fulfilling my dream!

As soon as Scarlett (yes, that's her name!) first arrived, I wondered about what to make first in my beauty of a machine. A simple but yummy loaf of bread? Some delicious, wholesome oatmeal cookies? Nah. I wanted to make something decadent and gooey and special. Cinnamon rolls, of course!
This cinnamon roll recipe is from the Kitchenaid cookbook, and it is pretty darn good! I adapted it to suit the ingredients I had available and it turned out awesome. A fabulous way to inaugurate a new machine!

Cinnamon Pecan Rolls w/ Maple Glaze
Adapted from the Kitchenaid cookbook
Sweet Dough:
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110F)
3 large eggs 
6-6 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon powder
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1. Combine milk, sugar, salt and butter in a saucepan and heat gently until the butter has dissolved. Set aside to cool down completely. Stir in the eggs and mix till incorporated. 
2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and the warm water and set aside for 10 minutes until the yeast is bubbly and frothy. If it isn't, there's either something wrong with your yeast or the water was too hot or too cold. If this is the case, discard the mixture and start over. If the problem is the yeast, you may need to buy a fresh pack.   
3. When the milk mixture is barely warm, combine it with the bubbly yeast mixture and stir to combine. 
4. Add 5 cups of flour and knead using your stand mixer for 5 mins. Add the remaining flour, 1/3 cup at a time until the dough doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl, but still sticks to the bottom. Knead for 5 minutes. 
If you're kneading by hand, starting with 5 cups, knead the dough adding flour until you have a slightly tacky dough. Too much flour will make your dough too dry. You want dough that is sticky but still can be kneaded. 
5. Gently coat the ball of dough with oil and place in a greased bowl covered with cling film for 1-2 hours and allow it to double in volume. 
6. Punch down and roll out into a 10" by 24" rectangle. 
7. Combine the sugars for the filling with the softened butter, cinnamon powder and flour. Stir well to combine. 
8. Spread this mixture evenly over the rolled out dough. 
9. Roll the dough tightly towards you into a 24" long roll or log. 
10. Using a sharp knife, slice the log into 24 slices. 
11. Place the rolls flat on one or two baking sheets, cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes, begin to preheat the oven to 180C/350F. 
12. Bake for 25 minutes until cooked through and slightly golden. 
13. Glaze while still warm. 

This would be awesome with a cream cheese glaze but I didn't have any cream cheese at home, and so I went with a salted maple glaze and it was AWESOME!

Salted Maple Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp maple extract 
2 tbsp melted butter
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp milk, or more as needed

Combine the melted butter, maple extract, milk and salt. Add in the powdered sugar and stir till smooth and glossy. If needed add some more milk 1 tbsp at a time. Pour evenly over the cinnamon rolls and enjoy!

These rolls were devoured in record time and both Scarlett and I were congratulated on a job well done! I've loved owning her and we've made a LOT of yummy stuff together since then. Here's to a long and happy life to Scarlett!

I hope you try this recipe and that you love these rolls as much as we did!

Until next time...

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

DIY Series: Smoky Barbecue Sauce

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When I have family or friends traveling from abroad, they always kindly remember to ask me if I need any ingredients. No one asks me if I need perfumes or shoes or clothes. They know my needs! Who needs to smell good when you can make your food smell amazing with smoke in a bottle. 

I love this recipe for barbecue sauce. It isn't too tangy, isn't too sweet and has a lovely burn from the hot sauce. I added a lot more than what I wrote in the recipe, and we loved it!

It is really simple to make. You just throw it all into a pot and let it simmer till for 10 minutes, let it thicken up a little and you have an awesome homemade barbecue sauce. 

Smoky Barbecue Sauce 
Loosely Adapted from
2 1/2 cups ketchup 
1/4 cup dark brown sugar 
3 tbsp honey 
2 tbsp prepared mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp (use less or more to taste) hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
1/2 tsp white pepper (can use black)
2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
3 tbsp apple cider (or white) vinegar 
1 tbsp cornstarch

1. Combine all the ingredients except the cornstarch in a heavy bottom saucepan. 
2. Stir well and allow it to come to the boil while stirring frequently. 
3. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook for 5 minutes. 

4. Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tbsp water and add into the saucepan. Stir constantly for 3-4 minutes until the sauce thickens ever so slightly. 
5. Turn off the stove, and allow the sauce to cool before transferring to an airtight jar. I prefer to store the sauce in the refrigerator. 

This sauce is lovely on so many things. Chicken wings, chicken tenders, burgers and even as a dipping sauce. The liquid smoke is not mandatory but it does add a lovely flavor to the sauce.

Apart from saving a penny or two, I like to make my own sauce because then I can always control the flavors. Sometimes I want a tangier sauce and so I increase the vinegar a little. Or the sugar if I want a sweeter sauce. Or I add chopped onion and garlic instead of the powders when I want it for certain sandwiches. I love having that freedom. 

I hope you try this one! 

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Peach & Apricot Muffins

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With peaches and apricots in every fruit market, can you blame me for stocking up. We had a few cobblers and a few baked peaches. We had a few more 'experimental' dishes that I won't elaborate upon. And finally I had to put the overripe peaches and apricots into the fridge where they were promptly forgotten for another 4 days. 

When I opened that box of fruit, the overripe fruit was so aromatic! It was breakfast time, and so I decided I would use them for my favorite breakfast dish or course, muffins. I guess you could say my philosophy is 'when in doubt about what do with it, use it in a muffin'! This time, it paid off!

Peach & Apricot Muffins
Loosely adapted from this recipe from
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tbsp melted butter 
1 large egg
3 tbsp buttermilk or milk (I used whey)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar 
1/2 tsp vanilla 
1 cup chopped peaches & apricots, peeled, pitted & chopped 

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. 
2. Prepare a 6 cup jumbo muffin tin, or an 8 cup regular sized muffin tin, by lining with paper liners.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, spices, baking soda and salt. Stir well to combine and set aside. 
4. In a smaller bowl, combine the oil, butter, egg, buttermilk, sugars & vanilla. 
5. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the oil mixture. Stir gently until almost combined. 
6. Add the chopped fruit and stir to combine completely. Do not overmix. 
7. Spoon each prepared muffin cup up to 3/4 of the way. 
8. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the top of the muffin springs back when touched, and is starting to brown. 
9. Remove from the oven, allow to rest in the pan for a while, remove from the pan and serve warm. 
As you can tell, I used a combination of peaches and apricots, but I think this recipe would work well with most stone fruit. Just peaches. Just apricots. Nectarines, plums, cherries - just go wild!

We loved this recipe. The sugar and spice really brought out the flavor of the fruit and had us coming back for more. 
I thought the muffin may be slightly too sweet because it is more sugar than I usually use in a muffin recipe. I was wrong! It all balanced out beautifully and my husband insisted I freeze the last 2 muffins so he could have them for breakfast later in the week. 

Go make this muffin! 

Until next time <3
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