Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Can I tell you how elated I was when I read that our next Sourdough Surprises project was going to be Cinnamon Rolls!  Pretty sure I did a happy dance.  Ever since I made Julie's Morning Rolls (Julie from Willow Bird Baking) I've been looking for an excuse to make them again, plus I was curious to see how they would be with a sourdough element to them.  It's like you guys read my mind!

The rolls have a ton of leavening in them already so it's the perfect recipe to use up some discard starter.  They turned out super scrumptious; moist, tender and sweetly coiled with loads of cinnamon.  The recipe is delicious to begin with and adding starter made them even more tender with a richer tasting dough!  The perfect thing to have for breakfast on Sunday morning.  And to bring to work on Monday, yes they were still delicious on Monday.

As this batch of dough makes 24 rolls I split up the love with two different fillings: toffee cinnamon with blond butter glaze, and sticky raisin.  Enjoy!!
dough (adapted from Julie's Morning Rolls)

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 and 1/3 cups warm milk
1 cup sourdough starter (100 % hydration, discard)
2/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces
4 and 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg

In a small bowl combine warm water and yeast (and a pinch of sugar if you desire). Mix and set aside in a warm place to proof. Combine milk and vinegar, set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 

With a pastry cutter or your hands, cut in the butter until you have pea sized pieces. Combine yeast mixture, milk, sourdough starter and egg. Add to flour mixture and mix until your dough forms. Knead a few times to smooth; transfer to a large buttered bowl. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to rise overnight.  Makes enough for 24 rolls.

toffee cinnamon rolls with blond butter glaze

1/2 batch dough
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 cup white sugar
8 ounces toffee chips

blond butter glaze

2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Next morning pull dough out of fridge and knead it on a floured surface briefly.  Cut dough in half and return one half to fridge for later use. Roll out the other half into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.  Brush melted butter (save 3 tablespoons of butter to brush on the baked rolls) onto dough leaving a half inch on the far corner.  Whisk cinnamon into sugar and sprinkle over dough followed by toffee chips.  

Starting at the end closest to you begin rolling dough away from you, keeping it tight as you go until you reach the end.  You should now have a long log.  Even it out with your hands to get it as uniform as possible.  Cut the log in half and cut each half in half again to get 4 smaller logs.  Cut each of these into 3 to get 12 cinnamon rolls. 

Butter a 9 by 12 baking pan and transfer rolls into pan leaving space for them to raise.  Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free spot for 1 to 2 hours.

Once the rolls are raised, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake rolls for 20 minutes or until golden.  Remove from oven and brush with remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter.  Return to oven for another minute or two.

Make the blond butter glaze: melt butter in a small heavy bottomed pot.  Whisk in confectioners sugar and vanilla, add enough milk to achieve a spreading consistency.  Spread glaze over cooled rolls.  


sticky raisin rolls

sticky batter

1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 brown sugar
1 1/2 cups raisins 


1/2 batch of dough
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup raisins

For sticky batter: cream butter in a stand mixer and add sugars and cinnamon.  Spread the sticky batter in the bottom of a 12 by 9 baking pan and sprinkle with raisins.

Follow the directions above for rolling out the dough with the addition of raisins. Place rolls on top of sticky batter leaving room for them to raise.  Let raise for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.  Let rolls cool for a minute or two and then carefully place a cookie sheet on top of pan and flip the baking pan.  Carefully lift off baking pan and let rolls cool before eating.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Toffee Almond Peach Crisp

I've often wondered if crisps and crumbles are an excuse to eat sweet crunchy toppings with fruit beneath them or an excuse to eat fresh fruit with sweet crunchy toppings on them. Or is it just another excuse to eat ice cream. 

Crisps and crumbles are the ultimate summer desserts because they use up the bounty of fruit that's everywhere this time of year, they're easy to put together, they cook relatively quickly and they go great with ice cream. 

I found this toffee peach crisp in my old bakers recipe box and frankly I don't remember where it came from before that.  It listed only the ingredients with no instructions and I also can't remember ever having made it, so I was intrigued and took a stab at it.  The original recipe called for walnuts but since I had almonds on hand I went with them.  I made a few tweaks here and there and came up with a fruity, crunchy, sweet dessert that's just screaming for ice cream.

toffee almond peach crisp

5 large peaches, peeled, and sliced
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
2 teaspoons potato starch

Toss everything together in a large bowl and chill while the topping is made:

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup muscovado sugar
1/4 cup raw cane sugar 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 ounces butter
1 cup toffee chips
1 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon and both sugars.  Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in toffee chips and almonds.

Butter a 9 X 9 inch baking pan.  Pour peaches in pan and cover with toffee almond topping.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is golden and fruit is bubbling. Cool and serve with lots of ice cream. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Vanilla Pound Cake

Happy 4th, put a pound cake under it.  This is my easy 4th of July dessert, a simple vanilla pound cake.  The beauty of this is of course it's many desserts in one.  Have it alone with a tall glass of lime ice tea.  Top it with berries and whipped cream or may I suggest a pound cake sundae.  Toast it up the next morning and butter and jam it.  If it's still around in a few days (which I doubt) turn it into trifle. 

This is mom's recipe by way of our next door neighbor back in the hood where I grew up.  It originally called for equal parts butter, margarine and oil.  When I became old enough to know better I reworked the recipe and now it's butter and oil.  I also switched out the milk in the original for sour cream.  The only thing that comes close to this vanilla version is the lemon one, wherein I add lemon rind soaked in lemon oil and top with a lemon glaze. Pucker up. 

sour cream pound cake

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature (plus some for the pan)
1/4 cup oil
2 cups white sugar
6 eggs
3 cups unbleached flour (plus some for the pan)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a 10" tube pan.  Cream butter, oil and sugar in stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add eggs two at a time beating well after each addition.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add vanilla extract to sour cream.  Add 1/3 of flour to egg mixture, then half of the sour cream.  Beat well and scrap the bowl.  Repeat with the rest of the ingredients ending with flour.

Beat the batter on medium for 3 to 5 minutes.  Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool for 10 or 15 minutes before turning out from cake pan.