Saturday, May 15, 2010

Summer and Strawberry Dreams

Ah…. Summer. I can see it coming in the distance. The far, far off distance. This last summer was pretty dang ideal in my book: lots of family, BBQs, camping, a backyard pig roast, a wedding (woop woop!), biking, lake cabins, beaches, fireworks, and I could go on.. but I won't because this blog is supposed to be about food :)

Also, this summer is actually when I did most of the baking I’ll be posting about on this blog in the next few weeks. Back in May, my cousin Caitlin graduated from Whitworth University. We had a whole bunch of family in town which was, as always, an absolute blast. After the ceremony everyone trooped over to our house for a little after partay and some good food.
Anyway, I can’t describe in words how much I love spending time with all my family in the summer, so I'm going to stop before I understate their radiance! [Love you guys! ]

Oh and the recipe I’m sharing today is originally called Strawberry Dream Tart. I got the recipe from the Colorado Collage Cookbook from the Junior League of Denver and I just have to say, these chicks make some gooood cookbooks. Lots of pictures, really well organized, and most importantly, delicious recipes. So, if you’re ever looking for a good gift the foodie in your life, any of their number of books would suffice. I can't post the recipe cause I'm pretty sure that's illegal, but if this hasn't come across enough already, I highly reccommend buying the book, or ask me if you can borrow our copy!

So here's the tart... note my awesome apron. It's actually Marcus's. I don't think he'll really ever wear the thing, which is understandable. I mean, I guess it's a guy thing. I don't mind though! You know how the saying goes: "One man's junk..."
Haha wow I never realized how funny that saying was. Okay sorry that was inappropriate. *cough* erm..moving on..

I didn’t make any changes to this recipe, except for I threw on some blueberries, too. Also that night we had Costco’s carrot cake with the cream cheese icing- always a winner, always dangerously addictive. Finally, on top of that, my dad was being totes Grillmaster (another reason I love summer at my house) so it was a good night for food :)


But even better than the food was the family..




We had the men playing with RC airplanes while the little boys were playing beerski.. hmm..



Okay I know I said earlier in this post that this blog is supposed to be about food, but I revise that statement and will reiterate what I said in my intro post. This blog is about food and everything good that surrounds it. Usually for me this involves family and friends, which is what you are, readers! So congrats! There is now a blog about you! <3

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

I'm just going to start out this post by saying this: God bless the Pioneer Woman.

What an inspiring human being. A wife, a mother of four, and a damn good blogger. She does food, photography, home and garden, a section on her kids, and another one about the ranch she lives on. She's a great photographer and writer-- whether she'll admit it or not, which she won't-- and her recipes have all been positively scrumptious so far. Her writing style is so dang refreshing and she's got the best sense of humor. This is one celeb I definitely would like to meet in person one day. And she makes herself pretty accessible to her readers so this doesn't seem like too far-off of a goal!

Anyway, I'll stop going on about her. Can't give her blog justice anyway, so you should check it out for yourself sometime!

Plus she has a really cute basset hound named Charlie. Can't get over this fellow.

This is one of the first recipes I tried of hers and I couldn't have asked for any better. These swirly little demons are what started me on the road to Pioneer Woman fandom.
Here they are in all of their cinnamony goodness waiting to go into the oven...


And here they are after being baked. Kind of look like a tortoise shell, don't they?

And smothered with cream cheese frosting... they were already being consumed before I even got the camera ready for the final shoot! Oh well, I guess that's the price to pay for following a good recipe :)


Ree usually uses this really tasty sounding Maple-coffee icing, but the company I was making these for requested the classics, so I went with a cream cheese icing instead. No complaints there, they turned out delicious. I don't think I'll ever use another cinnamon roll recipe. But next time I will definitely try making them with the maple-coffee icing because I absolutely love coffee in baked goods.

Here's the recipe for anyone interested in taking the venture as well!

Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

■1 quart Whole Milk
■1 cup Vegetable Oil
■1 cup Sugar
■2 packages Active Dry Yeast
■8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
■1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
■1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
■1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
■Plenty Of Melted Butter
■2 cups Sugar
■Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
■1 bag Powdered Sugar
■2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring
■½ cups Milk
■¼ cups Melted Butter
■¼ cups Brewed Coffee
■⅛ teaspoons Salt
Preparation Instructions

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).

When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.

Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees (see note below) until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy and don’t skimp on the frosting.

Note: My rolls don’t work for me at 400 degrees anymore. I now bake them at 375 degrees.

  • These were really fun to make and they really weren't too difficult at all! If you have any difficulties cutting the rolls neatly after rolling them up with the cinnamon, try refrigerating the logs of dough for a bit to firm them up.

    And you might as well get used to me saying now, cause I'll probably say it for almost every recipe I post on here...

These are best enjoyed fresh out of the oven!! Enjoy :)