Okay, between Ginger Chewies, and now this recipe, I am going through molasses just as fast as sugar! No, mine aren’t as pretty as Martha Stewart’s (but really, is that even possible?), but all I had was dark, bold molasses and not the “Light” molasses that the recipe called for. I added just a little bit of vanilla to cut into the molasses flavor just a bit, and mine only took 8 minutes to bake in the oven, not the 12-15 as the recipe states. When making the frosting, I had to add a little milk to mine as I mixed it to make it a bit creamier – and I wouldn’t suggest using a whisk if you are following the recipe, it turned into a bit of a pain when the butter clumped with the sugar inside the whisk – just use an electric mixer. In the end, they tasted, well, incredible! I love it when I try a new recipe and upon sharing them, people go ballistic over them. The same thing happened with the Ginger Chewies. Which makes me wonder – you really don’t see that many cookies or recipes with molasses anymore. It certainly isn’t as “hip” as Green Tea or Candied Ginger, but there is definitely something comforting and welcoming about it – a hug for your tummy.
Monthly Archives: December 2008
Honestly, how much snow can one state possibly need, really?!
What is it about cinnamon rolls? Warm from the oven, covered in icing, that sweet spicy smell in the air that has the power to cause men to swoon cinnamon rolls. I have tried several cinnamon rolls recipes in the past, and they never quite turn out. The filling is awesome, but the dough leaves something to be desired, or vice versa, or the dough fails to rise (it is so hard to throw away what seems to be a perfectly good jar of yeast, just because it is getting up in age…). But I think I’ve finally got it. These are amazing. And I have to admit, I didn’t even make the icing Ree does, I just did a vanilla icing, rather than the maple. Still. They rock. And even after I made a ridiculously messy mess while rolling them up (every spill a cup of melted butter on the floor?), I still promise to make these again. I made half the recipe, and got three round pans out of it. One was made the next morning, and the other two are being saved for Christmas morning. Family, Presents, and Cinnamon Rolls. Can life get better? I submit that it cannot!
One thing about baking so much lately, is that I feel like I am almost constantly washing, drying, and putting away dishes, only to take them out and make them dirty again (and again and again). Even right now, at 9:43 pm, there are dirty dishes to be done, mainly because I have reached my limit of doing dishes today and couldn’t stand to put my hands in that scalding hot water again. But honestly, the amount of dishes that today’s recipe produced was worth it. This is definitely a great recipe to have on hand, and I know I will make it again. I love using vanilla beans. Splitting them open and scraping out the tiny black seed paste inside is somehow satisfying – and the wonderful fragrance that fills the workspace is one that makes you close your eyes, lean forward, and breath in as deeply as your lungs allow. I loved seeing the bits of vanilla throughout the sugar, and then mixed into the cake dough. There is something exotic about using vanilla beans in a recipe – and one of the few times that “black stuff” is okay in a cake! I would have certainly offered up some of this ridiculously good Cranberry Vanilla Coffeecake as payment for someone willing to do some dishes!
Finally, a new jar of yeast, and properly risen dough! The little critters acted exactly as they should have, and the recipe for Dinner Rolls by the Pioneer Woman came out wonderfully. I only made half a batch (which still made 20 rolls), and I will soon enough be making them again. Very easy, no kneading and yummy, fresh, buttery rolls coming out of the oven for dinner. Before I put the pans in the oven, I brushed the tops of the rolls with a little melted butter, and then sprinkled just a bit of kosher salt over each. Yum Yum Yum… I think I need to go eat another one, just to make sure they’re still good!
Two recipes for the price of one today, and two good ones, for that matter! Via a link on Joy’s blog, I felt an urgency to make this Butterscotch Banana Chocolate Swirl Cake. I threatened Justin and Trav away from the last of the bananas on our counter, and had all of the other ingredients on hand. As you’ll notice if you follow the link to the recipe, it only calls for half of the recipe for the yellow cake. As I didn’t threaten hard or fast enough, by the time I got to the bananas there was only one left, so I couldn’t just double the recipe. Instead I took Peabody’s advice and made the Pecan Pie Cake with the other half (I had all the ingredients for that on hand as well). To make them perty, I drizzled some butterscotch and chocolate ganache over the banana one, and poured the remaining chocolate ganache over the pecan one. Both turned out great, though Justin declared that the Butterscotch Banana one as his favorite, and requested four layers of it for his birthday.
Okay. The jar of yeast is officially going in the garbage. I made these yesterday. Helen’s look pretty incredible, eh? Ha. Not when you have crummy yeast like I did. The problem with mostly bad yeast, and not completely bad, is that when you mix it with warm water, it still foams a bit and looks okay. And then you mix it into your flour and eggs and butter and all sorts of other wonderful things, and it does diddly squat. The little punks just wouldn’t do their jobs. Rise! Grow! Release your yeasty gases! Nope. Nothing. I still went ahead and rolled out the (dense, flat) dough and spread on the dulce de leche and cream cheese, pleading with it to do something, anything, in the fridge overnight. They didn’t, couldn’t really, as they very obviously had passed on. So I baked the pan, still with (completely illogical) hopes that in the oven they would *poof* come alive and look magnificent coming out. They didn’t. The rolls looked okay. And they tasted okay, but not wonderful and yeasty and, well, you get the picture.
I decided to pull out a couple of bread/ biscuit recipes to try these next few days, so we’ll see what turns out! Tonight’s attempt was Angel Biscuits, from Cooking Light September 2007. I think I had two things against me – the biscuit cutter is getting rather dull (which kind of “squished” the sides down and didn’t allow the biscuits to puff up straight and tall) and I think I need a new jar of yeast (the dough never really rose). However, even with both those (pretty major) things against me, they tasted really great. The buttermilk definitely gives a bit of a tangy flavor, great with strawberry rhubarb jam or honey, or dunked in a creamy soup – like the white cheddar asparagus soup we had for dinner!
This past weekend I made a giant batch of sugar cookies (I added a bit of lemon zest this time – YUM!), and then the King family came over to help decorate them all. I mixed up five colors of frosting to keep everyone busy, and had plenty of colored sugars, jimmies, nonpareils, dragees, etc. The seven of us crowded around our table and proceeded to eat too much sugar, oh, and decorate the cookies! As you can see, Justin and Travis still had a little bit too much fun being creative with the cookies. We all agreed this is a great holiday tradition to start together!