Category Archives: Breads

Short-Cut Cinnamon Buns, Because Yummy Shouldn’t Be Laborious

Too good to eat only one. And made so quickly, too!

Cinnamon Buns! I love them. I eat them. I used to hate making them, because of the long process: make the dough, let the dough rise, punch it down, let it rise again, roll it out, roll it up, cut it and let it rise, and fiiiiiiinallly bake it and eat it. And that’s not including all the steps for the filling. Ugh. Am tired just thinking about it. Generally, if I wanted cinnamon buns, I had to make them in the morning for dessert in the evening, or at the very least, make them the night before.

But no more!

I came up with a super-easy short-cut version! In my version, there’s only one rising of the cinnamon buns before baking, and frankly, you *could* skip that too (the buns would just be much more dense and not as fluffy).

The secret?

Start with my Easiest Pizza Dough in the History of Ever! Then you spread cinnamon butter all over it, roll it up, pop it in a pan to rise (only 1x!), and bake it. I can start these before dinner and have them for dessert! 

Short-Cut Cinnamon Buns

  • 1 batch pizza dough
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened to just beyond room temperature

Make the dough. Let it rest at least 10 minutes before rolling it out into a lasagna pan sized rectangle.

Mix softened butter with sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla until it is properly mixed and essentially a cinnamon spread. Spread butter on rolled out dough.

Roll up dough, length-wise. Use dental floss to cut roll into two inch slices (see technique below).

Place in a lasagna pan and let rise in a warm place until the dough has expanded and the side of the buns are sticking together.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Let sit until cool. If you like icing, mix up some icing (icing sugar, milk, vanilla extract, cream cheese is optional) and drizzle on top. Eat and enjoy the sticky, yummy, cinnamon buns!

Don’t they look yummy! (Spoiler alert: they ARE yummy!)

KITCHEN HACK

How to cut delicate doughs (or soft cheeses)? With dental floss! Yup, you read that right! You slide the thread underneath the dough/cheese and cross the end of the string overtop, and then pull. It slices easily and without compressing the dough or cheese all flat. I first did this when I made swiss rolls as a teenager, and it is such an easy technique to get perfect slices! Obviously, you don’t use flavoured floss, and the thinner the floss, the better. Try it out yourself!

KITCHEN HACK #2

Want to make fluffier cinnamon buns? Add in a tablespoon of corn starch to the dough when you’re making it, as in this recipe for Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns. The corn starch takes up space without sticking to itself as flour does, which makes the dough that much more tender. This technique is good for all sorts of baked goods!

But back to my cinnamon buns. You could make these cinnamon buns taller and more like commercial buns if you make them in a 9×9 pan as opposed to a lasagna pan, and cut them in 4 inch buns (i.e. taller). Personally, I’m happy with the small buns, because…portion control. Of course, that just means that I need to eat two servings, amirite?

Next Post: A Memories of Meals Past post, combined with a Salads I Have Known and Loved post. That’s right, we’re about to get all ancient grains up in this blog!

Linking up at Meal Plan Monday, Nifty Thrifty SundayClever Chicks Blog Hop, The Art of Homemaking, and Happiness is Homemade!

Fake-It-Til-You-Make-It Fattoush Salad, & Boosting Nutrition Profiles

Salad looking lovely! (Was promptly eaten, fyi)

Salad looking lovely! (Was promptly eaten, fyi)

The days after Christmas are always filled with delicious foods, and oftentimes, with self-recriminations over eating all those delicious foods (not that I speak from personal experience or anything). So I developed this recipe to be a) delicious and b) healthy! And I made it using only what I had in the house, hence the name: Fake-It-Til-You-Make-It Fattoush Salad!

Fattoush is a Mediterranean salad, made with crunchy bits of pita. I suspect that it originated as a way to use up stale pita — toss it with olive oil, vinegar, a few herbs, and some veggies! These days it’s made with fresh pita, usually dabbed with oil and baked until crispy. I didn’t have any pita in the house, but whipped some up myself using this recipe. (Who knew it was so easy?)

My dad, who is of Mediterranean origin, will shake his head if he reads this post, because fattoush usually contains some dried sumac as a seasoning. Do I have it in the house? No! Am I the Queen of Substitutions? Yes! So I just mixed up a dressing that seemed vaguely Mediterranean-ish (heavy on the olive oil and garlic), sprinkled on some pomegranate seeds, and called it good. The DH called it delicious!

Make some fattoush yourself, and modify the ingredients to match what you have in the house! Then feel virtuously healthy and enjoy another Christmas sweet! (Hey, it’s all about the balance, is it not?)

Fake-It-Til-You-Make-It Fattoush Salad

Serves 2

  • 8 baby tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 head Romaine lettuce, sliced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, cubed
  • 1 pita
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. pomegranate seeds

Dressing

  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp. blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. high quality olive oil, plus extra to drizzle over the finished salad
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley
  • dash of dried thyme
  • pinch of dried tarragon
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar

Split pita in half, spread 1 tbsp. oil on each half, and toast in oven on high heat until it starts to get crispy. Let cool, and break into bite-sized pieces.

Mix dressing ingredients together and set aside.

In a bowl, mix the vegetables together, add in the pita pieces, pour the dressing over it all, and toss to mix. Plate immediately, and drizzle with more olive oil.

Enjoy!

Pita from scratch! (So cool to see it puff up in the oven when baking!)

Pita from scratch! (So cool to see it puff up in the oven when baking!)

But…didn’t I write something about a nutrition profile in the title of this post? Indeed I did! While salad for a meal is in and of itself healthy, why not bump up the nutrition level? Which is exactly what I did! I used blackstrap molasses in the dressing instead of regular molasses, because it’s higher in iron and lower in sugar.

Plus, when I was making the pita breads, I sprinkled either side of the pita with freshly ground flax seeds (omega fatty acids, baby!) as well as ground psyllium husk (up with fibre!). Ideally, the pita would have been whole wheat, but again, I was working with what I had in the house.

Had I had more time, I probably would have made some lentil sprinkles to add to the salad as well, just to make sure there was some protein in the dish, but hey, one does one’s best. When I make this dish again though, those lentil sprinkles are IN! (Totally picturing my culinary purist father throwing his hands in the air at the addition of lentils to fattoush. Tee hee hee!)

Next Post: Those peppermint chocolate candy cane cupcakes that I mentioned last time! Probably. Unless I make some chocolate whoopie pies with peppermint buttercream. Hmm. Any strong feelings either way? Let me know in the comments!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Clever Chicks Blog Hop!

Memories of Meals Past: Pack-n-Go Lunch Burritos

Totally not posed. I just plated it and snapped a quick photo before eating. I mean, it was lunchtime! A gal's gotta eat!

Totally not posed. I just plated it and snapped a quick photo before eating. I mean, it was lunchtime! A gal’s gotta eat!

So I was planning on writing a post about growing sprouts from lentils. And then…I realized I had eaten all the lentils in the house when I made my last batch of lentil sprinkles to add to my lunchtime salads. Huh. Ok, well, I am nothing if not the Queen of Substitutions, so I just replaced the lentils with peas! I mean, lentils, peas, same dif yo’! Except not.

Because my pea sprouts did not grow. They grew…and then stagnated. Ugh. I have no patience sometimes, so I didn’t bother to figure out where I went wrong. I just wanted sprouts and when I want my sprouts, I want them now. So I dispatched the DH to the local bulk store to pick up some lentils. I asked for 1/4 c. of dried lentils. He came back with 1/2 c. of dried lentils, because the DH is generous like that. Cost him all of 36 cents. Which means…a double batch of lentil sprouts! Have I mentioned that the DH isn’t into sprouts? Ha ha! Too bad, so sad, because it’s lentil sprouts for everyone!

But not in this post. Because my sprouts are still sprouting, so instead let’s talk lunch!

This here’s a picture of one of my super-yummy lunches from last week. It’s a super-healthy burrito, packed the night before, and quickly assembled for lunchtime consumption.

Why was it so easy to assemble? Because it was all prepped previously!

Les ingredients:

  • Spanish rice n’ beans. I used this recipe, except that I added a whole bunch of white beans for protein. Spanish rice is very forgiving, so just make it up as you go along. It’s basically rice and tomatoes, cooked together with some flavourings like onion and oil, and for those who don’t care about authenticity, taco spice. You know I added taco spice, right? 😉
  • lettuce, chopped
  • cheddar cheese, grated
  • green salsa Or red salsa or guac or whatever you crave. I had green salsa in the fridge so that’s what I used. But I’ve got some avocados ripening on my kitchen counter — they’re next up on the chopping board, because I’m craving some burritos with guacamole now!
  • sour cream This really added to the delicious mouth feel of these burritos.
  • homemade tortillas What? You’ve never made tortillas? But this must be rectified! Use this recipe, it’s super-easy. And if you don’t have time, don’t bother. But if you have time, definitely do it! They taste ah.maze.ing! So pure and fresh and oh, just make them, seriously!

Package in containers, bento-box style (or Tupperware-style, more like) and pop in the fridge. Bring to work and make all your colleagues jelly that they don’t have the fresh, tasty, healthy lunch that you do! Also, the mouth-gasms? Totally worth the work of making the Spanish rice and the tortillas. (Am drooling as I type this, just remembering. Plus, the rice and tortillas are really easy to make. And cheap, incidentally.)

The official taste tester. Or sniff-tester, rather. Because these burritos are mine, all mine!

The official taste tester. Or sniff-tester, rather. Because these burritos are mine, all mine!

In case you were wondering if the burritos were appetizing, I present Exhibit A. The local office cat, checking out my lunch. (FYI, they passed the cat sniff test, and were rapidly consumed by me before said cat could get her paws on them. I gave her a kibble instead, poor kitty.)

Next Post: Ok, so lentil sprouts, for realz! They’ll have grown by them, and been omnomnom’d by me. After being photographed for you, so stay tuned! Mmm…dreaming of crunchy sprouts now. And chocolate, because when am I ever not?

Linking up at Meal Plan Monday!

Memories of Meals Past…and Future, Because this Sandwich Bread Recipe is Just That Good!

Freshly baked homemade bread, all sliced and ready to be devoured!

Freshly baked homemade bread, all sliced and ready to be devoured!

A few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for a sandwich bread (Amish Sweet Bread) which the writer said sliced easily. I had yet to find the perfect homemade bread recipe (although I have figured out the perfect dinner roll) so I thought I’d try it out. It does make a sweeter bread, but you can adjust the sugar to your taste. Personally, I love it with all the sugar in it, but I do admit to having a serious sweet tooth.

This bread? So. Good. Ohmigosh, soooo good! I’ve made at least six loaves since I first came across the recipe. Each batch makes two loaves, which is perfect for me; I can eat one over the next few days while it’s fresh, and slice and freeze the second one so I can eat extra yummy homemade toast at midnight. It’s a total midnight snacking win!

This bread slices so easily, and is great for sandwiches. I’ve made cheese sandwiches with it and they really make lunchtime that much better! I’ve also taken the bread camping and made grilled cheese sandwiches. My sister was with me and the bread was so good that she didn’t even wait for the sandwich to be grilled — she just ate it un-grilled! And then wished I had brought more so that she could have another sandwich, but this time grilled. So yes, it’s good bread!

Lately, I’ve been eating this bread with homemade jam too. I came across a really easy Vanilla Apricot Jam recipe that doesn’t even require pectin. The ingredients? Apricots, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. If you’ve never made jam before, try this one and you’ll be a home-canning convert! It’s easy, and most importantly, it’s DELICIOUS!

But back to the bread. In my next batch, I’m going to replace some of the water with some whey leftover from my latest batch of homemade yoghurt. Whey is high in protein and other nutrients, and hey, waste not, want not! (Also, healthy, and I’m all for that.)

In closing, make this bread! Seriously. That is all!

Next Post: Should I post about my Skor Mini Cupcakes? Or a Blueberry Cream Cheese Tart? Mmm…delicious choices!

Linking Up at: Stone Gables, Amaze Me MondaysA Proverbs 31 Wife, Inspire Me Mondays, and Southern Plate.

Dinner Roll Odyssey: Soft & Tender Dinner Rolls

Fluffeh-licious and you know it!

Fluffeh-licious and you know it!

Finally my long-awaited post is here! I’ve been promising Part II of my latest Food Odyssey (Dinner Roll Odyssey) for a while now, and at last the time has arrived!

I love bread and I love buns and homemade bread is the best there is, I think. I like knowing that there are no preservatives or unwanted additives, and the smell of bread baking in my condo just fills me with a sense of satisfaction!

The first recipe in my Dinner Roll Odyssey was Copycat Texas Roadhouse Rolls. They were quite nice. But I’m in search of GREAT! So I did some googling and came across a recipe from The Kitchn, called Soft and Tender Dinner Rolls. I made them. They were also quite nice! But they didn’t have the flavour that I was looking for. So I decided to play around with the recipe a bit.

I reduced the sugar by a tablespoon, and eliminated the milk. I added in another half cup of water along with a heaping tablespoon of milk powder. I’ve found that in other recipes, using milk powder instead of milk gives a nice caramel undertone, so I thought I’d try it in this recipe too!

And oh, the fluffiness of these rolls! IT’S. SO. FLUFFEH!!!! They’re pillowy soft and very airy, almost Kaiser bun-like in texture. They’re definitely the most like store-bought buns in terms of texture. The flavour still isn’t what I wanted, but these buns are PERFECT for “sopping up the last bits of sauce”, as the article in The Kitchn notes.

The winner-winner-veggie-chicken-dinner for this particular Food Odyssey? Well…it’s a split. The Copycat buns win for flavour, but the Soft and Tender rolls win for texture. Frankly, they’re both homemade bread, and fresh bread is just the best. But why don’t you try it out and let me know what you think? Here’s the recipe! And I can just say one last time…IT’S SO FLUFFEH!!!

FLUFFEH Dinner Rolls (adapted from The Kitchn)

  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • 1/2 c. warm water
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. milk powder mixed with 1/2 c. water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 tbsp. butter, melted

Mix the yeast and the warm water until the yeast is dissolved and let sit until the mixture is slightly foamy. Mix the milk powder and the water together, and add to the yeast mixture, along with the oil, sugar, salt, and the egg (beaten). Mix resultant mixture lightly. Add in the flour and mix (so much mixing, I know, but you’re almost done!) until a dough forms. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let sit in a warm area until roughly doubled in size, about an hour.

Line a lasagna tray (roughly 9 by 13 inches) with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 24 pieces, roll into balls and place in the prepared tray. Put back in the warm area until the dough is doubled in size, about an hour.

Brush melted butter over the top of the dough, and bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven, until the tops of the buns are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let sit in the tray briefly to cool, and then remove the parchment paper from the lasagna tray, and break apart the buns to serve warm. If you want o serve the buns cold, you can let the rolls cool in the tray, and only break them apart once you’re ready to eat them. That way the sides remain nice and soft!

Fluff balls in training.

Fluff balls in training.

Kitchen Hack: For a “warm area”, I just preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit when I start mixing the yeast and water, and then turn it off as soon as it preheats, and open the door for about 30 seconds to let some of the hot air escape. The resultant temperature is just right for the “let sit in a warm area” that bread recipes are always talking about.

These are great buns to freeze, and I’ve made several batches and stuck them in the freezer for lunch sandwiches, to serve with soup at dinner, or just for a midnight snack, warmed up in the microwave with some butter. Mmm….bread!

Next Post: Skor Mini Cupcakes! Mini chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate buttercream, toffee bits, and a piece of Skor bar! So pretty, and more importantly, so yum!