Archive | May, 2014

Bourbon-Glazed Cinnamon Rolls

20 May

May 20th, 2014

When I think of cinnamon rolls, I immediately think of Cinnabon, the popular food franchise that you most often see in mall food-courts. Though I typically don’t eat at mall food-courts, I definitely love the smell of Cinnabon cinnamon buns! Honestly, I don’t think I have ever purchased one for myself to eat. Don’t get me wrong, I love them, but the thought of how guilty I would feel after indulging one is enough to prevent me from actually ordering it. But, every once in awhile, an indulgent is good, right? So this past weekend I wanted to indulge and decided to make some cinnamon rolls.

I wanted to start with the basics- plain o’ cinnamon rolls- no nuts or raisins added. I knew I didn’t want cream cheese glaze because cream cheese can be overpowering. So I decided on a sugar glaze, flavored with a bit of Bourbon, borrowed from my husband’s Whiskey collection.

The best part about baking these at home is the aroma that fills the place as they finish in the oven. Even better, you don’t have to wait until they are fully cooled to eat them…they taste the best when they’re piping hot!

Cinnamons Rolls (adopted from the Williams-Sonoma Blog)
¾C warm milk, heat for ~20 seconds in the microwave
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
¼C sugar
4 eggs
4 ½ C AP Flour
1 ½ tsp salt
6 T butter, cubed, room temperature

Y= 16 pieces

4 T softened butter
2/3C brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 egg
1 tsp water

1. In a mixer bowl, gently mix together the milk and yeast. Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
2. Add sugar, eggs, flour, salt. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until the dough comes together.
3. Once all the ingredients come together, add the butter chunks. Continue to mix until no butter chunks are visible and no dry ingredients are left in the bowl, about 5 to 8 minutes. If the dough feels too sticky, sprinkle in some flour.
4. Place dough into a slightly greased bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature for at least 2 hours. (I left mine to rise for about 5 hours).
5. For the filling: in a clean bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
6. After two hours and the dough has doubled in size, cut the dough in half. Set one half aside.
7. With the other half, roll out into a rectangle until it is fairly thin.
8. Spread half of the softened butter on the dough. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture so that it covers the butter.
9. Starting on the long end, roll the dough into a log. Carefully cut into 1 ½-inch pieces. (I found it easier to use a sawing motion when cutting the log.)
10. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
11. Place pieces in a greased pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise for 40 minutes.
12. Using a fork, whisk egg and water together. Brush cinnamon rolls with egg wash right before baking.
13. Bake at 375F for about 23-25 minutes.
14. These can be immediately glazed once out of the oven.

Bourbon Glaze
2 ½ C powdered sugar, sifted
4-5 T milk
2 tsp Bourbon (Bulleit Bourbon)

1. In a mixer, whisk together powdered sugar and milk, adding the milk 1T at a time.
2. Add Bourbon. Add more milk or Bourbon to adjust the consistency as needed.


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Raspberry Cheesecake

12 May

May 12th, 2014

This year for Mother’s Day, I kept it simple and decided to go with a raspberry cheesecake for both Mom’s. Since it’s getting warmer out, I wanted something that was more transportable. Also, I was pressed for time and didn’t want to be rushed in decorating a cake, which was my other option.

When I was looking for cheesecake ideas, I found a great article on the Kitchn about the difference between Neufchatel cheese and cream cheese. Basically, the main difference is in the fat content. Cream cheese has more milk fat than Neufchatel cheese. When picking up ingredients at Whole Foods, I coincidentally came across the two types of cheese. For experimental sake, I opted for Neufchatel cheese. Both came in 8-oz packages, with Neufchatel cheese costing a bit less. I used my usual cheesecake recipe and made an equal part switch with cream cheese for Neufchatel. The results? In terms of taste, there’s not much distinction between the two. The cheesecakes came out dense, creamy and a bit tangy. So, I say, use whichever cheese you can get your hands on.

The raspberries can be replaced with any berries. I used frozen raspberries, but if have fresh berries on hand, feel free to use them. I baked the cheesecakes at a low temperature of 265F for a little over an hour and there were no cracks at the surface. I did not use a water bath and I also used regular cake pans and not the Springform pans. However you bake them, just remember to let the cheesecake chill completely before serving.

Hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day weekend!

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Graham Cracker Crust
2 sleeves of graham crackers
20g sugar
½ tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp cinnamon
90g melted butter

Yield= Two- 6 inch rounds

1. In a food processor, combine crackers, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Pulse until finely crumbly.
2. Add melted butter and mix until mixture comes together.
3. Grease cake pans (using spray or butter)
4. Divide crumbs evenly between pans and press crumbs into the bottom of the pans.
5. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes.
6. Allow to cool.
4- 8 oz packages of Neufchatel (or cream cheese), room temperature
4oz sugar
zest of half a lemon
3 eggs + 2 yolks
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2T sour cream
1C of frozen raspberries (optional)

Yield= Two- 6 inch rounds

1. Combine Neufchatel, sugar, and zest in a mixer bowl. Mix until combined. Scrape bottom of the bowl as needed.
2. Add eggs and yolks. Continue to mix.
3. Add vanilla extract and sour cream.
4. Gently mix in raspberries to the mixture.
5. Divide filling between prepared pans.
6. Bake at 265F, about an hour. (Set your timer to 40 minutes and check every 10-15 minutes thereafter. Cheesecake is done when it is firmly set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
7. Once cooled, refrigerate overnight and unmold the next day.

Raspberry Compote
18oz frozen raspberries
1/4C water
3T water
zest of half a lemon
1 ½ T corn starch

Y= this was more than enough to spread on top of two cheesecakes. I ended up with about 1/4C leftover that I will use for another project.

1. In a saucepan, combine raspberries, water and zest.
2. Allow mixture to come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir continuously so the bottom does not burn.
3. In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch with a bit of water. Mix until a slurry forms. Pour into raspberries and stir to combine. Allow mixture to come to a slight boil. This will help thicken the compote.
4. Transfer compote to a bowl to allow to cool.
5. Spread desired amount on top of unmolded, chilled cheesecake.

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Lemon Tart

5 May

One of the best things someone can do for me is to give me free lemons…it’s like opening presents on Christmas morning. I jump for joy inside and it never gets old. And for whatever reason, lemons always make me think of desserts- the endless possibilities of things I can make with them. Even though tart-like desserts are not my go-to picks (I prefer chocolatey desserts), I still enjoy eating them every once in a while. And I always pair fruity/tart desserts with a good cup of black tea.

A gym-mate brought these lemons to our gym from her tree, and I took most of them since no one else wanted to. We don’t have a lemon tree, so any opportunity where there is free lemons, I’m there. The one day when we have a permanent home, that is the one thing I would plant in our backyard.

So why a lemon tart?  I have this oddly shaped tart pan, measuring about 11in x 8in that I have not really used much. It’s tricky using such pans because you have to estimate and calculate the measurements correctly so that you make enough dough and filling to cover the entire pan. Luckily, I used my usual double batch crust recipe. After rolling out the dough and before blind baking it, I used a fork and thoroughly poked holes throughout. This prevents the dough from puffing up too much. I increased the filling measurements and it was just the right amount, with about ¼ C filling leftover. It does require a lot of egg yolks, which is fine for me because I can use the egg whites to make French Macarons.

It is important to allow the tart to completely cool after coming out of the oven before covering and refrigerating. Otherwise, condensation will form on the surface of the tart when it is ready to serve. I prefer to dust a bit of powdered sugar before serving. Another option is to serve it with some meringue.

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12oz flour
2 sticks cold, cubed butter
7T cold water
1T cider vinegar
1tsp lemon zest

Y= 1-400g dough and 1-257g dough.

1. In a food processor with the dough attachment, combine flour, salt, zest and butter. Pulse until mixture becomes crumbly.
2. Add the water and vinegar in thirds, pulsing in between.
3. Finish mixing the dough by hand on a floured surface. Divide dough in two pieces – one piece at 400g. Wrap, refrigerate and allow dough to rest for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
4. At this point, you can also freeze the dough.
5. Roll out the 400g dough on a floured surface. Transfer the rolled out dough to the tart pan by carefully rolling it onto your rolling pin. Press the dough into the tart pan.
6. Using a fork, thoroughly poke small holes in the dough.
7. Line a piece of parchment paper on the dough, then fill with pie weights (I use uncooked beans for weights). Blind bake at 400F for 10 minutes, remove pie weights, and bake for another 10 minutes.

Lemon Filling
11 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
8 oz sugar
lemon zest from 4 lemons
1C of lemon juice
pinch of salt
6T butter, cubed
4T heavy cream

Y= enough to fill a 11in x 8in tart pan.

1. In a saucepan, combine yolks, eggs, sugar, zest, lemon juice and salt. Whisk to combine.
2. Place saucepan over medium heat. Continue to whisk the mixture to prevent the bottom from burning. You can also trade-off with using a spatula, which allows you to scrape the bottom of the saucepan.
3. Cook until the mixture has thicken, about 6 minutes.
4. Place a strainer over a clean bowl and pour the mixture through.
5. Add cream and stir to combine.
6. Pour lemon filling into cooled crust.
7. Bake at 375F for 12 minutes. Keep an eye out near the last few minutes as the filling can get brown. Once the filling has set, remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely before covering. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

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