Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ahhhhh... cinnamon rolls!


I don't know about you, but when it comes to comfort foods, cinnamon rolls rank right up there at the top of the list. Today I had an order from a regular customer for 4 dozen cinnamon rolls. Since it's still quite cold here in Colorado Springs, it was a perfect day for baking-not only did it warm things up, but the house smells, well you know, heavenly. Since I had a little extra time today, I shot a few pictures while I was working so I could do a little tutorial on making cinnamon rolls. For the complete recipe, click here.

Here's the dough, ready to roll out.
The filling is a combination of melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
The dough is rolled out to a 24 x 10 rectangle on my silicone baking sheet.
I like the silicone baking sheet because it is measured off in inches and it is exactly 24 inches long.
After spreading on the filling, roll up the dough tightly, starting with the long end closest to you.
It should look like this when you're done.
For medium rolls, cut into one inch pieces, following the measurements on the baking sheet.
Tuck the loose ends underneath.
Put rolls on parchment lined bun pan and press down slightly with your hand.
The rolls should look like this when you're done putting them on the sheet. Now let them rise.
In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
The rolls are finished rising and ready for the oven.
The cinnamon rolls need to bake for 25 minutes total. I exchange and rotate pans after 13 minutes.
While the rolls are baking, I mix up the glaze. This is powdered sugar, melted butter, pure vanilla extract, and enough warm water to get the proper consistency.
 
Spread the glaze on with a small spatula as soon as they come out of the oven.
Let cool (if you can wait that long) and enjoy!

Update: You can also roll out half of the dough at a time. Still roll it out to 24 x 10. It will just be thinner. Roll up as normal, but cut the rolls in 2 inch pieces. Tuck ends under and press down well after putting on bun pan. This makes the rolls a little more separated if you like them that way. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Like" my facebook page...

For those of you who frequently visit my blog but have not yet "liked" my facebook page, you can do so by clicking here. Most of the time, I will have a link on the facebook page to new posts that I enter on here my blog. By "liking" the facebook page, you will never miss a recipe, tutorial, or cake decorating/baking tip that I post. Thanks to my regular visitors. I hope I can continue to post ideas and recipes that will be of interest to you.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Homemade dinner rolls-you can't get any better than this!



Today a friend asked if my roll recipe was posted on my blog. I was sure that it was, so I checked, and couldn't find the recipe anywhere... found pictures of both the rolls and cinnamon rolls, but not the recipe. In this post, I will give you a tutorial that shows how to make the rolls, step by step. I added this as one of my first recipes to the family cookbook that each of my children have. I started this cookbook as a Christmas gift for them back in 2006, which included all of our favorite family recipes in a 3-ring binder. Each year since then, with the exception of one year, I have sent them more recipes to add. Last year, I sent them new binders along with the recipes, as the many recipes "outgrew" the first one. I also use the same dough recipe for my cinnamon rolls. I have posted that recipe after the tutorial.

CATHY LEAVITT’S ROLL RECIPE

Pour 2 c. hot tap water into mixing bowl. Add ½ cup sugar and 3 packets (1 strip) or 2 T. granular yeast. Mix with dough hook and let sit until puffy; then add 2 ¼ cups flour, ½ cup melted butter, and 2 tsp. salt. Mix with dough hook until blended, then add ¾ cup flour and 1 slightly beaten egg. Mix with dough hook until blended, then add 2 ½ cups flour. Mix with dough hook until blended and flour leaves sides of bowl; then turn mixer on higher speed and knead with dough hook until smooth and elastic, but not too much. Dough will be soft and sticky. Oil and turn dough and let rise in bowl until doubled. Punch down, and form into 24 rolls. Let rise until double and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven. Remove from oven and butter tops.

Tips:
  • You may use “quick-rise” yeast to cut down the rising time. (Not necessary at our altitude)
  • To keep your rolls light and fluffy, do not add too much flour. When measuring, shake off excess flour, but do not pack. Your dough will appear quite soft and sticky, but as it rises, will develop gluten making it easy to work with.
  • Cover your bowl with plastic wrap for quicker rising.
  • You do not need to cover your rolls to rise after forming. You will know when they have risen enough if the sides are all touching and the pan is full.
  • When forming the dough into rolls, do not add more flour. The oil that was in the bowl should be sufficient to keep from sticking to your hands while forming the rolls.
  • Divide your dough into 24 equal pieces before your start forming the rolls. 
  • You may replace 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of oat bran, or 1/2 cup oat bran and 1/2 cup wheat bran. This will give a heartier texture and flavor, but still keep the rolls light and fluffy. This will make a very soft dough. DO NOT add more flour. 
  • I always use all purpose flour. No need to use bread flour. 
  • You can use this same recipe for breadsticks. Shape into 24 breadsticks, 12 per pan. After they have risen, brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with a combination of parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. Perfect with pasta or soup!
Mix dough in mixer until smooth and elastic
*(Please ignore this picture of me-was in my earlier, not so becoming days)
Let rise in oiled bowl until double
Divide dough in half, then quarters
In half again, making 8 pieces
Divide each piece into 3, making 24 equal pieces
Shape each roll, pulling over hand to make a ball shape
Continue to form ball
Pinch dough together on back
Place on parchment lined bun pan 4 rolls x 6 rolls
Let rise until double or all sides touch 
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes
Remove from oven and immediately brush tops with melted butter

CINNAMON ROLLS
Mix same as recipe above, except add 1/4 cup more flour. Beat until smooth and elastic with dough hook. Let rise until double. Divide dough in half and roll out each part into a rectangle (approx. 10" x 24"). Combine the following ingredients and spread each rectangle with 1/2 of the mixture. I usually just crumble and spread it with my hands.

1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 T. cinnamon

From the long end, roll up each section of dough and cut each roll into (12) 2 inch slices. Tuck ends under  and  arrange on parchment lined baking pans (you should have 1 doz. rolls on each pan), and press down slightly with the palm of your hand. Let rise until double, and bake for 23-25 min. at 350 degrees.  While warm, spread with the following glaze:

6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1-2 t. vanilla or other flavoring
Enough warm water or other liquid to make the proper consistency

(Updated 2/2016)

Click here for step-by-step cinnamon roll tutorial with pictures.


These are the best!!
*Better picute of me and newer KitchenAid

Indian Fry Bread


A friend from church asked if anyone had a recipe for bread for Navajo tacos. Immediately, I was taken back to memories of earlier days when a favorite family meal was Indian Fry Bread with refried beans or taco meat, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and salsa. Of course, sometimes the kids being rather picky would opt for only cheese, or if we wanted something sweet, we sprinkled on a little powdered sugar. Living in northeastern Arizona, Indian Fry Bread was very popular. I remember going to the AZ State Fair, and getting fry bread at a booth operated by Native American Indians from our church. It was always one of the most popular food booths at the fair. So, since I haven't made fry bread for many years and it is not really a food on the Weight Watchers program, I had to search a little to find the recipe. This recipe is courtesy of an old friend of mine, Norma Hayes, who wrote a cookbook, along with Shirley Davis, called Cooking for Crowds and Parties. I have used the recipes in this book more than I can remember. This original recipe made enough for 20 large pieces, so I always cut the recipe in half and it was plenty for our family of 5, with some left over. This recipe makes 10 large pieces. 

Indian Fry Bead

4 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 cup dry milk
3/4 T. salt
1 1/4 cups tepid (just warm) water
Oil for frying

Combine dry ingredients. Add water to form a soft dough. Use more water if necessary. Form into small balls; roll out and fry in hot oil. Remove when golden brown and drain on paper towels. Serve warm with beans, cheese, honey, or powdered sugar. 

Navajo Taco
You can cut the dough into smaller shapes and make sopapillas served with honey, powdered sugar, or cinnamon sugar. Perfect dessert to end a Mexican meal. 

Enjoy the recipe! As for me, this is just making me extremely hungry for bread and something sweet.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How's your penmanship?

Is your handwriting less than desirable? Do you stress out whenever you need to write on a cake? Here are some ideas that might help...
  • Writing on paper and writing on a cake are not the same. You write differently for each. When using a decorating bag, you must use your entire arm, from the shoulder down, instead of  just moving your hand and wrist, as you would with writing on paper. 
  • Make sure your icing is the proper consistency...not too stiff, but not too runny either.
  • Measure or eyeball where your letters will be so you can space them evenly. Sometimes it's easier to work from the outside in, or from both ends of the lettering to the middle.
  • Try using different fonts. Have your message printed out on a piece of paper just like you want it on the cake, so you can use it as a guide.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Write your message several times on a practice board, if necessary, before writing on the cake. 
  • Don't be afraid to scrape your lettering off with a small spatula and try again, if necessary. It's easier to do repair work on crusting buttercream or fondant.
  • When your letters need to be exact, use some sort of letter cutters. I like to use "Tappits." They work best with a very stiff, slightly dry gumpaste or modeling chocolate, rolled out very thin. I love modeling chocolate. Recently, I cut out very small letters with my scrapbook letter punches using modeling chocolate rolled out very very thin. You can also use letter punches with icing sheets. (The modeling chocolate tastes much better, of course.)
Here are some examples of lettering, some done freehand, and others using letter cutters or punches. Remember, I have been decorating cakes for over 35 years and my first lettering on cakes did not look like what it does now. Practice, practice, practice!

"Department of the Air Force" on seal and capital letters on cake all done free hand.
All lettering done with Tappits except "United States of America" punched out with scrapbooking punch.
Air Force Seal-all parts except for lettering cut out with Cricut Cake. Border piped with royal icing.
Upper and lower case Tappits. Upper case set comes with strip cutter.
"Dept. of AF" and "USA" cut out of modeling chocolate. The rest cut out of gumpaste.
Scrapbook punches
 
Another font...upper and lower case funky letter Tappits
Click here for a You Tube video on using Tappits.
Graduation cakes for twin sisters...a little different font for each...all done free hand.

Don't let writing on cakes intimidate you. Just keep practicing and you'll eventually have beautiful writing on your cakes.