Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Alisa: Marriage and Peanut Butter Truffles

I have been a longtime reader of Alisa’s blog, One Frugal Foodie (longtime as in years!). She also has a kickass book: Go Dairy Free (my Go Dairy Free review here). Bobby (my husband) and I are both semi-lactose intolerant (he is more so) and I am always inspired by Alisa’a dairy-free recipes. I hope you all enjoy this one!

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I was so honored when Maggie asked me to do a wedding-themed guest post! I have been with my husband, Tony, for fourteen wonderful years, and I am happy to tell Maggie that we grow closer every day.

Of course, one thing that keeps my husband happy is that I almost always have some type of homemade dessert stocked for his sweet tooth. A lot of men will tell you that they really aren’t into dessert. Yeah. Right. That is what Tony told me so many years ago … but when that first batch of a dozen cookies emerged from the oven in our first apartment together, I savored two with tea, and then somehow, as if by magic, all disappeared by the next day. After watching this scenario repeat time and time again, I finally started baking up just 4 to 6 cookies at a time, storing the dough in the fridge or freezer for (daily) dessert emergencies.

But with so many years of practice, my friends always ask me to bring a dessert to get-togethers … even weddings!

A few years ago, I was the Maid of Honor for a good friend, and she was completely stuck on what to do for wedding favors. Her budget was running thin, and she didn’t want something that could be thrown away. I suggested that we make some chocolates. Cheap, easy, tasty … the idea was a go. We decided on peanut butter “truffles,” which were inspired by that old “Buckeye” recipe.

As it turned out, just making these favors turned into a wonderful wedding memory. A few nights before the big day, four of us sat around with glasses of wine (of course!) rolling, dipping, and sneaking bites as we gossiped and shared in my friend’s excitement.

Peanut Butter “Truffles”

Recipe from Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook

Casually elegant, these glorified peanut butter cups earned me rave reviews at a close friend’s wedding. For party favors, we wrapped a few little treats up in tulle and placed one on each guest’s plate. All night long, people I had never met approached me with recipe requests for “those incredible truffles.” While I would love to gloat on my innovation and labor, the recipe is embarrassingly easy …

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Powdered / Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Smooth All Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Dairy-Free Margarine or Shortening, Softened
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 6 Ounces Semi-Sweet or Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Shortening

Method

  1. Combine the sugar, peanut butter, margarine or shortening, vanilla, and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl, and blend until smooth.
  2. Pinch off pieces of the peanut butter mixture and roll them into balls that are 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. Since you won’t be baking them, the thickness of the filling is really up to you.
  3. Place the peanut butter balls in a single layer on baking sheets lined with wax paper or non-stick baking mats (I flatten them slightly to keep them from rolling around), and freeze until they are firm, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. While those are chilling, Place the chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon of shortening in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on HIGH in 30 second intervals (just 2 to 3 should suffice), stirring vigorously between intervals, until the chocolate has just melted and is smooth. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate, as it can scorch easily.
  5. Remove the peanut butter balls from the freezer, dunk them in the melted chocolate to coat, and return them to the baking sheets to dry.
  6. Place the truffles in the refrigerator or freezer to chill for 1 hour, or until the chocolate coating is firm. The truffles should keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Yields approximately 2 Dozen “Truffles”.

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Thanks for the simple and delicious recipe, Alisa! Definitely must try this :) Bobby claims that he doesn’t have a sweet tooth, but I know better…

What is your favorite recipe or crafty thing to make? I like making homemade goodies for people for holidays, like bread and Christmas cookies. (This year I made gingerbread houses with Auntie Jo – who is my real aunt now!)

Women’s Work and a Recipe: Quinoa Flake Cookies (Gluten Free)

I had a really wonderful chat with a friend tonight about women’s work and what that means. Did you know yesterday was International Women’s Day?

I don’t consider myself a feminist, at least not in the traditional sense. I don’t think that women should have to have high-powered executive jobs or wonderful exciting careers to prove that they are just as capable as men. I do think that the work women do for their families should be considered just as important as the work that a CEO does (if not more important, actually). I think the feminists of the 60s and 70s got it wrong, and I think they actually made life harder for women of my generation.

I have a few career goals, but I also have family life goals. And in the meantime, here are some things I might do if I could do whatever I wanted all day:

  • Review a macrobiotic diet plan (this was such a fun experiment).
  • Make new creations with PB2… (PB2, where are you?? I ordered a new box over a month ago.)
  • Experiment with rice cooker recipes (I’m on this weird mailing list for rice cooker recipes – I don’t know why they send me recipes all the time, but I’m actually kind of glad for it!)
  • Bake more! I have been meaning to make these black bean brownies that I made a long time ago.

In an effort to use my womanly baking skills and show off a bit, I made these cookies for my office last night. Monday was a rough day and baked goods are always good for cheering up. I enjoy baking even if it’s not as “important” as working in an office.

Quinoa Flake Cookies (Gluten Free)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix everything together. You can mix the dry together and the wet together separately if you want, but I didn’t and they still came out good.

Drop onto a baking sheet – heaping spoonfuls – and bake for ~15 minutes. Make sure they don’t burn! Soft yet crispy – see:

What would you do all day if you could do anything you wanted? I forgot to mention I would also play with my fats…

Fat cat in a bag (we didn’t put him in; he just likes it).

This is the other fat cat on a couch.

Anyway… What would you do all day if you could do anything you wanted?

Sunday Recipe: Cornbread Casserole

While making this recipe I felt like I had transplanted myself to another era. This is a recipe of the 50’s (60’s? 40’s?). I could see my grandmother mixing these ingredients on a late fall afternoon, preparing a semi-homemade dinner for her family and waiting to hear about her husband’s and her children’s days.

I like to think that I’m going to be a good wife and mother some day. What this means exactly I’m not sure. I hope to cook good food, take care of Bobby, have a nurturing home, and in general have a healthy life. Being happy and healthy are probably my top priorities.

Coco asked today how you would rank the following: family, friendship, love, health, and career. My response was: love, family, health, friends, and then career. I consider love and family one and the same. As much as I enjoy working, I would probably be just as happy making a home (provided I could get over the guilt of not using my degrees) as I would working an exciting and demanding job. I would actually be happier as a homemaker, to be honest. What is your ranking?

One reason that I love cooking so much is that it brings up memories for me. Sometimes it brings up memories that are not even mine – I suppose I’d call them fantasies, or daydreams (like imagining my grandmother in the kitchen). So I’d like to share this inspiring recipe today, not because it’s particularly healthy or unique, but because it brought me a special happiness that I don’t always find in other parts of my life.

Maggie’s Cornbread Casserole

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Ingredients

  • 1 package of Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 container of 2% Greek yogurt (mine was 7 oz. of Fage; I’m sure that any ~1-cup container of any yogurt would suffice)
  • 1 can of yellow sweet corn (drained)
  • 1 can of creamed corn

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a baking dish. I used what I think is called a “loaf pan”. It’s about 9 inches by 4 inches and it’s maybe 3-4 inches high. It was almost full.
  3. Bake for 40-60 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean. Baking times will vary depending on what pan you use and how your oven bakes.

Enjoy with a friend or loved one. Make a memory and savor the moment.

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Does cooking evoke memories for you? What other activities are particularly meaningful for you?

Recipe: Banana Oat Cookies (with goodies!)

One of my very first recipes I ever posted was a recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies. I had been making them almost nightly for my housemates (this was my last semester at Cornell in December 2007)and they were disappearing as quickly as I could cook them. I called them Oatmeal Raisin Applesauce Cookies; that was one of the first times I “healthified” a recipe.

oatmeal-cookies-milk

This weekend I spent time in New Jersey visiting my family. My sister is an avid baker and she wanted to make oatmeal cookies on Saturday, so of course I recommended my recipe. We were out of applesauce and I don’t believe in margarine anymore so I told her how to change it around. They came out so well that I want to repost it here.

Banana Oat Cookies With Treats

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup flour (whole wheat or white)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves or other spice (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/3 cup sugar (could probably even use less)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups oats (quick cooking)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Soak raisins in hot water for 10 minutes while you prep the dough; drain.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together. Set aside.
  3. Mix the mashed banana, oil, sugar, egg white, and vanilla together.
  4. Stir in the flour mixture, then add the oats and goodies (drained raisins, walnuts, chocolate chips).
  5. Use a tablespoon to drop the cookies on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!
  7. Note: to make these vegan, you could probably just omit the egg white.

jan 03 2010 021

We had ours with homemade almond milk (recipe to come – I have to get it from Julia).

I brought back a bunch with me to New York because Bobby adores these. Oatmeal raisin is his favorite kind of cookie.

I’ve asked this before, but I’ll ask it again… what’s your favorite cookie? Mine was sugar cookie/snickerdoodle growing up, then it changed to chocolate chip and chocolate-chocolate chip, and now I think it’s oatmeal raisin. Or just oatmeal.

Merry Christmas! (Yes, I’m late)

Happy Boxing Day!

I’m still in Miami and loving this gorgeous “winter” weather. Bobby’s family has been amazing and we’ve been having a really fantastic time.

I’m actually home alone right now; I feel kind of sick so I’m missing out on dinner plans. I just had Christmas leftovers (turkey, mashed potatoes, and some veggies) and they were just as delicious today as they were yesterday. The recap is coming soon. In the meantime, check out these gorgeous pictures my dad sent me…

01 bouche

My mom makes Bûche de Noël every few years. Bûche de Noël is a traditional European dessert that’s served during the Christmas season. It’s also called a Yule Log. It’s mostly a French thing – the countries/provinces that make it (France, Belgium, Quebec, Lebanon, and more) are all francophone.

02 bouche

My mom usually uses 3 different recipes to make the 3 parts of the Yule Log: the cake part (sponge cake), the inside buttercream icing, and the chocolate outside icing (possibly buttercream as well? I forget).

This year she made a slug to be more realistic:

03 bouche slug

Reminds me of the banana slug that my dad and I saw in the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.

04-banana-slug1

Anyway.

My sister made Springerles, which are German cookies (biscuits?) that are made during the holidays. My Grammie always used to make them so I guess Julia took over that tradition this year. My dad said they were soft and flavorful. Definitely a success – Springerles are hard to get right.

04 springerles

To make the Springerles, you use a Springerle rolling pin to press the design onto a slab of dough; then you cut the slab into squares. This one is from Wikipedia:

Springerle_roller

Julia is a great baker, so she also made these loaves of Hungarian Bread for Grammie, Aunt Mattie, and Uncle Rudy.

05 hungarian bread

I love baking presents. It’s such a nice way to show that you care. You guys all know how much I loved making those gingerbread houses

I am going to go watch some TV (Glee, perhaps?) with a nice mug of tea. Want to be rested for tomorrow’s flight.

Merry (late) Christmas again, and enjoy your weekend. I’ll try to get up the many many recaps that I have for you this week!

How To Make Gingerbread Houses

Yesterday I gave you a teaser about my gingerbread house adventure – you get the full story today!

A week ago (last Sunday – when I blogged about exercise) I took the subway out to Flushing to visit my (Bobby’s) aunt and uncle. Auntie Jo had offered a while ago to teach me how to make real gingerbread houses – the recipe was from her German housekeeper (I think she said it’s from 45 years ago). I jumped at the opportunity – Auntie Jo is so sweet and I love learning new things about baking.

When I got there we got breakfast (see this post for my New York bagel). Auntie Jo had made the dough the night before (you have to chill it) so when we got back, we started with the baking process. Here is the recipe (hand-typed from Auntie Jo’s recipe book):

dec 14 2009 064

It says…

GINGERBREAD HOUSES (from Cookie Cookery)

Mix together until smooth:

  • 1 cup shortening (2 bars)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup molasses

Stir into above and mix well:

  • 1/2 cup hot water

Beat 2 eggs and stir into the sugar mix.

Sift together, adding slowly:

  • 5.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon

Place dough in containers and freeze or chill. Roll to 1/8 – 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out with a pointed knife following a cardboard patter: 2 each of front, side, and roof. Chimney is optional.

Warm oven to 350. Bake 10-15 minutes. Let cool. Put together with Royal Icing. Decorate.

ROYAL ICING

Add 2.5 cups of sifted confectioner’s sugar and 1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar to 2 egg whites.

Heat, stirring, in the top of a double boiler until warm and smooth. Remove from heat, beat in electric mixer at highest speed for 5-6 minutes, until icing stands in peaks. Cover bowl with damp towel and put into refrigerator. Can tint with food color, or may squeeze through a pastry tube with decorating tip.

Use to cement house together. When sides are secure, use to place ornament candies on house.

<—End Recipes—>

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This was the baking station: a beautiful recipe book (handmade), a cutting board, cardboard cutouts (for making the house shapes), flour, a rolling pin. The dough is in that metal bowl.

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First, you flour the cutting board. Then you roll out the dough (with a rolling pin) until it’s about 1/4 – 1/8 inches thick. Use the cardboard shapes to cut out the pieces for the house.

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Auntie Jo showed me how to scoop under the dough before cutting it out so that it comes off the cutting board more easily.

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I had fun cutting out the pieces! Mine were not as nicely shaped as Auntie Jo’s, but she has more practice than I do (I’ll keep trying).

Duke (Ellington) kept us company:

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(He didn’t get any gingerbread.)

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After we did the houses, we still had dough left, so we did some cutouts – that’s a carrot cookie cutter. It is so cute. The house pieces came out and we put them in the garage to cool:

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While they cooled, we took a break…

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…To eat cinnamon toast with butter and hot tea with milk and sugar.

me morris jo

Uncle Morris DJ’d and played us some lovely jazz music while we baked that afternoon.

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Then it was time to make the icing. We didn’t use a double boiler; we just boiled water in a pan and put the metal bowl with the icing batter inside.

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And we beat the icing in the mixer – beautiful. We used a pastry tube thing to squeeze the icing (like glue) and put the houses together.

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The roofs go on last. We actually ended up with an extra base, so I put a heart on it and gave it to Bobby.

After I put on the roofs, I packed up the houses and took them home to finish decorating (it was late). I just decorated them yesterday (Saturday), and this is how they came out:

dec 20 2009 024

I used gummy bears and chocolate chips.

dec 20 2009 036

I’m giving them to my coworkers and my cousin (in-law-to-be). I think they make great gifts – I’ll definitely be making them next year too.

Thank you Auntie Jo for teaching me! And to Uncle Morris for great company :)

I’m actually on my own now… Bobby is en route to Miami (should touch down in about 25 minutes) and I miss him. But I’ll see him on Wednesday. I’m still missing the cats, too.

Have you ever made gingerbread houses? Do you give baked goods as presents? What are your favorite things to make?

Baking and Making Gingerbread Houses

This week has been a little bit crazy; I’m glad to be sitting at home relaxing (finally).

On Sunday I spent the day with my aunt (well, aunt-to-be-after-I’m-married) baking. Auntie Jo and Uncle Morris picked me up in Flushing and took me to this great bagel shop where we had breakfast:

bagel whole wheat ham swiss

A whole wheat bagel with ham, swiss, and mustard. It was so good. I didn’t quite finish it but I did bring the leftovers home and had them later. Auntie Jo suggested it and she got the same!

I hate to do this to you, but I haven’t finished decorating the houses so I’m going to save the gingerbread post for tomorrow or later this week. But I do have a teaser:

gingerbread man

I made cookies too! Bobby and I saw gingerbread men in Central Park the other day (for $4.50; what a ripoff) so I made this guy for him. I also made a bunch of other cute little shapes, most of which have been eaten this week by me. I always make dessert for Bobby and then end up eating it myself.

Other things we’ve had this week are… Fried Rice (Bobby makes this; he’s much better than me at it):

fried rice healthy

And a salad (though salads have not been very satisfying to me lately… I always end up eating something else if I have one):

salad chicken

This one had organic rotisserie chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, parmesan, and I think I used teriyaki sauce for dressing because I don’t have any dressing. We ordered everything from a delivery service called Fresh Direct, which is awesome. Kate and Simon recommended it.

I am missing my sweet cats right now.

cat couscous cats kabocha couscous cat kabocha

They are in New Jersey with my parents because Bobby and I are going to Miami this week to spend Christmas with his family. He leaves tomorrow and I’m joining them on Wednesday. I haven’t gotten to see his family for a while so I’m excited!

What are your holiday plans?

Low Sugar Black Bean Brownies

When I saw this recipe over at 101 Cookbooks, I knew I had to try it. Many Asian desserts use the red adzuki bean and I always like them a lot. I recently bought a loaf of red bean bread, which is similar to cinnamon swirl – except the swirls were a smooth and creamy red bean paste. It was delicious. I wanted to try this recipe with the adzuki beans, but alas, I was short on time and couldn’t find canned adzuki beans. I did buy a bag of dried adzukis for another time, but decided to settle for black beans, at least for now.

I also decided to try three permutations of the recipe. I love butter, but some people watch calories. I subbed out the butter in 2 variations and tried them with applesauce and then with mashed banana. I made three half batches and tested them on my coworkers, friends, and roommates. I think the banana won out in the end, but the applesauce was a close second and (surprisingly) butter was a definite last.

Another change I made had to do with the sweetening method used.  I always cut down the sugar when I bake so this time I severely reduced the amount of agave nectar called for. If you like your desserts very sweet, up the amount of agave nectar to up to a 1/2 cup for the recipe listed below. You can also substitute honey for agave nectar at a ratio of 1:1. If you don’t know where to find agave nectar, try Trader Joe’s or any local health food store.

I made three half batches, so I’m going to list the recipe for a half-batch below.

  1. In the first version, I used creamy unsalted butter.
  2. In the second I used unsweetened applesauce.
  3. In the third I used mashed banana.

This is how (my version of) the recipe goes.

Adapted from Baking With Agave Nectar: Over 100 Recipes Using Nature’s Ultimate Sweetener by Ania Catalano.

Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter OR 1/2 cup applesauce OR 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup soft cooked black beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup instant coffee
  • dash of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9×9-inch pan with wax or parchment paper. Spray with nonstick cooking spray (optional – but makes for much easier removal, as I found out. I did not use the spray, and mine stuck to the paper.)
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter/applesauce/banana in the microwave (about 1 minute). Stir to melt completely. Place the beans, 1/4 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a few spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into a food processor. Mix on high until creamy, about 1.5-2 minutes.  The beans should be smooth.*  Set aside.
  3. In a separate medium-sized bowl, mix together the rest of the walnuts, the remaining chocolate mix, the instant coffee, and the salt. Mix and set aside.
  4. In another bowl, beat the eggs until light and creamy (I did this by hand and didn’t get them as creamy as I would have liked; the brownies turned out fine anyway). Add the agave nectar and set aside.
  5. Add the bean mixture to the chocolate mixture, stirring well. Then add in most of the egg mix, saving a few tablespoons to drizzle on top.
  6. Pour the batter into your baking pan. Beat the remaining egg mixture a big more, then drizzle overtop of the batter. Using a toothpick, mix around the batter and egg drizzle to create a marbled effect.
  7. Bake about 35-40 minutes, until brownies have set. You can use a clean toothpick to determine whether they are done. Let cool, then cut into squares. It’s best if you refrigerate them before cutting as they are quite soft.

These are the ones with applesauce (I mixed the beans a little bit longer than I did with the buttery batch, so they look very smooth):

And these are the banana ones (they were slightly thicker because I used a different shaped pan):

The butter ones are pictured at the beginning of this post – as you can see, they are a little more chunky than either the applesauce or banana ones! As I kept on making batches, I learned the proper times for mixing the beans and the appropriate amount of egg mixture to reserve for drizzling. It all comes down to personal preference, so bake as you like!

*Note: In Asian desserts, sometimes the red beans are whole. If you want more of the bean flavor in these brownies, don’t blend them too long in the food processor. When I make these with red beans I’m only going to mix for about 30 seconds to keep some of the beans from being completely mashed.

Vegan Cinnamon Buns | Healthy Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Everyone loved these vegan cinnamon buns. I was looking for a healthy cinnamon rolls recipe, and I came across this recipe from Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk, a great vegan blog. I changed it a bit.

  • Halved the recipe but still used the full packet of yeast.
  • Doubled the amount of filling (meaning I used the normal amount, even though I was halving the recipe).
  • It’s not quite vegan, because I used honey in the glaze… But only because I didn’t have powdered sugar. So you can easily make it vegan again.

Anyway, these disappeared after dinner, so I think they were a success. Here’s my version of the recipe…

Vegan Cinnamon Buns | Pumpkin Sticky Buns Recipe | Healthy Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Buns Ingredients

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegan margarine
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar (I used brown)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or allspice, or cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves… a mix is good)
  • 1.25 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • nonstick cooking spray

Cinnamon Buns Filling

  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar (I used granulated)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons margarine

Cinnamon Buns Glaze

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • (See original recipe for the vegan glaze)

Directions

  1. Mix the yeast and water and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix the pumpkin, milk, butter, sugar, salt, and spices – put it in the microwave for 20 seconds to bring it to room temperature.
  3. Add the pumpkin mix to the yeast water and mix until smooth.
  4. Add the 1.25 cups of flour; mix until smooth.
  5. Use some of the 1/2 cup of flour to dust a surface for kneading. Then sprinkle flour on the dough and knead for 10 minutes, continually adding the remaining flour so that the dough doesn’t become too sticky.
  6. Coat a bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the dough inside, rolling it around to coat it with the spray as well. Leave in a warm place, covered, for about 45 minutes or until the dough has at least doubled.
  7. Punch the dough down and let it sit, covered, for 5 more minutes.
  8. Make the filling – mix together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and margarine.
  9. Flour your surface again and roll the dough out into a 10 inch square. Spread the filling out (I used my fingers) all over the dough.
  10. Roll up the dough into a cylinder and pinch the ends closed. Cut the cylinder into slices – the thicker they are, the bigger the buns will be. I made about 14, including the end bits. Spray nonstick cooking oil in a square pan and place the rolls inside. Cover and let them rise for about 25 minutes; they should double in size.
  11. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  12. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes or until golden. Let cool for 20 minutes.
  13. Mix the honey, sugar, water, and vanilla together and drizzle over the buns.

I think these healthy cinnamon rolls would be great warm with vanilla ice cream… Unfortunately I didn’t have ice cream, and now they’re gone. Guess I’ll have to make another batch.

Spiced Holiday Bread Braid Recipe

Julia, my sister, is going to give our Grammie and Aunt Mattie homemade bread for Christmas this year. Last night we decided to do a run-through to see how it would come out. I found a recipe for a Cardamom braid in Cooking Light, so I modified it (a lot) and came up with my very own. It’s quite simple to make and came out better than any bread I have made in the past.

Spiced Holiday Bread Braid Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Lemon rind from one lemon plus a dash of lemon juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons spices – allspice/pumpkin pie spice/cinnamon
  • Dash of salt
  • 4.5 cups whole wheat flour (separated), plus extra for kneading
  • 2.5 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 egg white
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Directions

  1. Mix together the first 6 ingredients (milk, sugar, butter, lemon, spices, salt) in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. The temperature should be about 120 – 130 F.
  2. Combine 2.5 cups of the flour with the yeast. Then add the milk mixture from the saucepan and mix together. Gradually add the remaining two cups of flour. (You can do this in a mixer – mine was not very cooperative. I think it would be better to try by hand.)
  3. Once you have a ball of dough, knead for about 10 minutes over a floured surface. Continue to add flour as the dough absorbs it; the dough should remain slightly sticky.
  4. Spray the inside of a bowl with cooking spray, then place the ball of dough inside. Cover and keep in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough has about doubled in size.
  5. Punch down the dough and let it rest for a few minutes.
  6. Preheat the over to 375F.
  7. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts and roll them into ropes – if you want a long, thin, braid try for about 20 inches; if you want it fatter, try for 15 inches. Pinch together the ropes and then braid them. When you have finished the braid, pinch the other end together.
  8. Place the braid on a sprayed cookie sheet; cover and let it sit for another 25 minutes.
  9. Paint the braid with the egg white and water mixture, then sprinkle the additional sugar over the top. Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Remove and let it cool.

We had it with butter and that fresh fruit dip I keep raving about.


I really like using almond milk – it’s light and naturally sweet. I’m not a huge regular milk fan anyway (though I do like whole milk and heavy cream).

More posts to come – I expect to make A LOT of cookies over the next day or so.

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