Sunday, November 30, 2014

Orange Sweet Rolls

I grew up eating Orange Sweet Rolls... you know, the kind that came in the terrifying pop can (I swear they still scare me). Were they packed with artificial flavors? Sure. Were they super duper sweet? You betcha... But they were so dang good.

My childhood friend and I would polish off the orange rolls and then move on to pizza rolls and cherry 7up for lunch/dinner... All while watching SNL. Classy, right?

When I stumbled across this recipe, I knew I had to try it... Do you want to know a secret though? I'm terrified of yeast. Mix too much and you're eating hockey pucks... Make the water too cold when mixing and the yeast wont rise. That's too much pressure, y'all...

These rolls were fairly easy though and rose perfectly and had a delicious buttery-yeasty taste. The orange isn't too overpowering nor the frosting too sweet. They. Are. Perfection.

For the Dough:
3 (2 1/4 ounce) packets active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups warm water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs, beaten
4-6 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange zest

For the Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2-3/4 teaspoon orange flavoring (optional)

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees, when it reaches temperature shut off.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the yeast and warm water and allow it to sit for 5 minutes until it bubbles.
Add in the honey, melted butter, salt, and beaten egg. Whisk to combine.
Attach the dough hook and add in your flour, 1 cup at a time until you reach 4 cups. After that, add a 1/2 cup at a time until the dough comes together and pulls away from the bowl. The dough will be sticky but shouldn't stick to your fingers. Oil a large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover and allow to sit in the warm water until the dough has doubled in size, around 45 minutes.
When the dough has finished proofing, place on a large floured surface and roll out to a 16"x24" rectangle.

Combine filling ingredients in a large bowl and spread out in an even layer over the rectangle...

Butter a large baking pan, about 13x9". Starting at the farthest width, roll into a jelly-roll shape, towards you, seam should be on the bottom. Cut into 24 even rounds, about 1 inch in size using a sharp knife. Place in your buttered dish...

Cover with a towel and place in your warm oven to proof again, around 20 minutes or until the rolls are doubled in size.

Remove the rolls from the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown and cooked through. Meanwhile, make your frosting...

Whisk together all of the ingredients for your frosting, you may need to add more powdered sugar or cream to reach desired consistency. The frosting should coat the back of a spoon but still be pour-able. Drizzle over the warm rolls and serve.

Light, doughy, and slightly tangy... Heaven. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Candy Cane Popcorn

Oh boy is this popcorn addicting... Use microwave popcorn or pop up a batch of your own in your popcorn maker or on the stove top (our preferred method) and it whips up in minutes. It would make a beautiful coworker or neighbor gift this Holiday season... Just don't feel guilty about consuming mouthfuls at a time...

Oh and plus, cover anything with candy and it's perf.

You Will Need:
2 bags microwave popcorn popped
6 ounces almond bark
6 candy canes, pulverized and crushed

  1. Pulse candy canes in your food processor until crushed and powder like... Set aside. 
  2. Place popped popcorn in a large bowl. 
  3. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the almond bark until it is smooth and shiny. Pour over popcorn in bowl, sprinkling with crushed candy canes as you go, and toss to combine. Pour out on to a large parchment lined cookie sheet and allow to cool completely.
  4. Once cooled, break apart and shovel... Shovel in your mouth like there's no tomorrow!

I love the creamy almond bark, salty popcorn, and minty candy canes... This popcorn is crack! Christmas crack...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sugar Cookie Cheesecake

If you're looking for a simple yet festive Holiday treat this season, this cheesecake is for you.

It's studded with a crunchy sugar cookie crust that's stuffed with festive sprinkles... and that's just the vessel for the thick, creamy cheesecake. I'm a sucker for a cheesecake with a golden brown top...

Cheesecakes can really be made into any flavor combination but I love a classic cheesecake. Pillow-ey, thick, and so creamy...

For the Crust:
2 cups sugar cookie crumbs
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 Tablespoons festive jimmies

For the Cheesecake:
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan, set aside.
In the bowl of your food processor, pulse together the cookie crumbs and sugar. Slowly pour in the melted butter until incorporated. Stir in the sprinkles. Press crust into prepared pan, covering the bottom and about an inch up the sides. Bake in preheated oven until lightly golden, 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, make your cheesecake filling.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until creamy, scarping the sides and bottom as needed. Add in the vanilla and mix to combine. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated
Pour cheesecake filling over prepared crust and bake for 60-75 minutes until set (the center should still wobble slightly). Cool completely on the counter-top before moving to the refrigerator to cool completely for a minimum of 4 hours.
When ready to serve, remove from fridge and allow it to come to room temp for 10 minutes. Slice and serve!
Enjoy the crunchy buttery crust and smooth cheesecake filling!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Sometimes, you just need a classic breakfast.

My biscuits with homemade sausage country gravy are amazing. Fluffy, buttery biscuits are covered with thick peppery gravy loaded with sausage. 

And the best thing about this recipe? It's fat free...

(I'm going to hell for lying...)

For the Biscuits:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup unsalted butter, very cold and cut into pieces
1 cup cold milk
1 Tablespoon melted butter

For the Gravy:
1 pound breakfast sausage, ground or links
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper 

Start by making your biscuits: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In the bowl of your food processor combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder, pulse to combine. Add in the butter and pulse until crumbs the size of peas form. Slowly add the milk with the machine running and mix just until a dough forms. Remove dough on to a floured surface and pound out into a rectangle. Cut 6-8 biscuits out and place into a cast iron skillet greased with cooking spray or melted butter. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until puffed and golden, during the last 2 minutes, brush the biscuits with melted butter. When biscuits are finished, remove and set aside to cool slightly while you make the gravy.

In a large pan cook your sausage until cooked through. Remove the sausage, keeping the drippings in the pan. Add in the 1/3 cup of flour and whisk, it will be very dry and thick. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Stir in cream and milk, whisking over medium heat until it starts to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. Stir until thickened, around 5 minutes. Add the sausage back to the pan.

Place desired amount of biscuits on a plate...

...and slather with gravy...

Now shovel in your mouth and enjoy. Fluffy biscuits and peppery gravy goodness... Yum!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Bring on the Holiday recipes and drinks! I will be the first to admit I have a Starbucks Holiday drink addiction... The Caramel Brulee Latte is out of this world. Lately though, I've been a little disappointed with the Gingerbread latte. The flavors are overly sweet...

When I ran across this recipe at Bakers Royale, I knew it would be holiday cupcake perfection. I know you're thinking lemon frosting sounds strange but it is the perfect compliment to the spicy cake. The addition of coffee makes these cupcakes super fluffy and moist.

Also, if you are looking for another fantastic Holiday recipe, this Gingerbread Dip from Crafts, Cakes, and Cats is for you! It is easy to whip up and tastes fantastic... It would be the perfect addition to your holiday pot lucks or get-togethers,

Now, let's get to baking shall we?

For the Cupcakes:
(Makes approximately 10-12)
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (or 4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg
1/2 cup strong, very hot coffee
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 teaspoon lemon juice

Gingerbread cookies for decorating

Start by making the cupcakes:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, and salt, set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter and sugar until combined. Add in the molasses and large egg and mix just until the ingredients are incorporated. In a measuring cup, mix together the baking soda and hot coffee until the baking soda is fully mixed in. Add the coffee mixture to the butter/molasses mixture and stir just until everything is incorporated, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add in the flour and stir to combine.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake pan with liners. Fill each cupcake tin about 1/2 way full with batter and bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. The cupcakes will be finished when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, start your frosting. Beat together all frosting ingredients until smooth. Place the frosting into a bowl and chill for 20-30 minutes.

To decorate, I smoothed a thin amount of frosting onto the cupcake and dipped the tops in crushed gingerbread cookies. I then piped a small amount of frosting into the center of the cupcake with a 1" baking tip and topped with a whole gingerbread cookie.

These cupcakes are moist and spicy and the frosting gives the perfect tart compliment to the spicy cake... It's your favorite latte at 1/2 the price. Enjoy!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Caramel Apple Pumpkin Pie

Are you ever faced with the age old pie dilemma: apple or pumpkin? 

Well, I've essentially solved that problem for you. This pie has a flaky crust and a layer of caramel apples topped with creamy pumpkin pie filling... The best of both worlds.

No more small slices of each (which I'm not opposed to) or only to have only ONE pie... Who does that? Plus, now you can just have two pieces of this pie instead for ya know, research.

For the Crust:
6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
4-6 Tablespoons ice water

For the Caramel Apple Filling:
4-5 apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons water

For the Pumpkin Pie Filling:
2 cups pumpkin puree (I used homemade, canned is also fine)
1 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Start by making the crust: In the bowl of your food processor, pulse together the flour, salt, and sugar just until combined. Add in the butter and shortening and pulse just until pea sized pieces form. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the water starting with 1 Tablespoon at a time. You want to add the water just until the dough forms a ball. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, flatten slightly, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, start on the apples. 

For the Caramel Apple Filling: Place the apples, unsalted butter, sugar, cinnamon, and pinch of salt into a deep skillet. Cook over medium heat just until the apples have softened. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Add to the apple mixture and stir continuously over medium heat until less cloudy and significantly thickened, remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Remove dough from fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 9-10" circle, place in pie plate and crimp to your desired taste. Prick the bottom of the crust lightly with a fork to reduce a mushy bottom. 

Pour caramel apples into the bottom of your pie dish.

Place all the ingredients for the pumpkin pie filling to your food processor or blender and mix just until combined, pour over caramel apples.

Slightly push down apples into the filling if they poke up, either way do not worry about it as the pumpkin filling will rise up and souffle over the apples.
Bake the pie in your preheated oven, on the middle rack, for one hour. Check the pie around the 45 minute mark to make sure the crust isn't getting too browned.
Remove the pie and cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge to cool and set completely. 

Slice and serve, topping with whipped cream or ice cream as desired. This pie is easier to slice when it is slightly cooled. This would be the perfect dessert for your Thanksgiving table... enjoy!

*recipe adapted from Zoe Bakes