Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sweet Cinnamon Goodness

You know how, when you've just gotten off of a plane that sat for two hours on the runway and you are facing a three hour lay-over, and the only thing that you've had to eat in six hours was that complimentary package of five small pretzels, you step into the terminal and you are assaulted by the smell of sweet cinnamon goodness? Cinnabon! The bane of weight conscious travelers and mall walkers across the US. It smells divine. It tastes better. It is, in fact, heavenly.

As I've stated here before, I am a bashful baker. Yeast terrifies me. But I aspire to be a master baker. Today, I made cinnamon rolls, a clone of that magnificent concoction, Cinnabon.

Clone of Cinnabon

1 pkg yeast - 2-1/2 teaspoons
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup warm milk
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
4 1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

Frosting: (I use a glaze, recipe below, instead of this)
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions: Dissolve yeast in warm water and add warm milk. Add beaten eggs, melted butter, salt, white sugar stirring with a wooden spoon til combined.
Add 2-1/2 cups flour and mix well to combine. Sprinkle 1 cup bread flour on a countertop and place the dough on top and knead/incorporate the flour into the dough. Gradually add an additional 1/2- 3/4 cups flour as you knead for 6 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let double in size.

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After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter, leaving 1/2 inch butter free on the long side of your rectangle. If you don't you won't be able to seal the dough. Sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon

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mixture and roll up dough, pinching the seam well to seal, and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a well- greased (Crisco) 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake rolls in preheated oven for 20 minutes. (cover with foil after getting golden so they won't get too brown) After removing from the oven, IMMEDIATELY invert the pan to remove rolls. If you wait too long, they won't come out easy!

Cream cheese icing: while rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls.

Admittedly, it's been years since I had a Cinnabon, so I cannot say that they taste just like the airport and mall treats, but they are light and fluffy, gooey, and delicious.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Beans, Beans, Good For Your Heart

The more you eat...

I grew up eating pinto beans, but never really mastered cooking them. I think because I never had the forethought to soak them overnight. I would rather just open a can of Luck's. And, with age has come a certain aversion to the after effects of beans.

I had a bag of dry pintos and a sudden desire for them so I decided to try them in the pressure cooker.

Ahhh, the pressure cooker. I have very little experience with it. My mother used it often, but refused to instruct me in using it and I never pursued it. She was terrified of it exploding and instilled that fear in me. However, I faced my fear and gave it a try.

I rinsed and picked through the beans before placing them in the pot with a chopped onion, 2 tsps of salt, 1 tsp of cumin, and about 6 cups of water. I tightened the lid and turned the stove to high. Once it started cooking, I lowered the heat to medium low and let it cook for 50 minutes.

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I missed the smokiness of ham or bacon, but the texture was great and the taste was good. Of course, I could have added some ham or bacon to the cooked beans once the the pressure released and let them simmer for a while and will do so the next time I get a craving.

Of course, I made a pan of cornbread and a pot of turnip greens to fully countrify the meal.