Saturday, November 26, 2011

Baby Shower Cake!

For a baby girl! Congrats Jen & Scott!

A Twist on the M&M Cake

Reese's pieces add a cute Halloween or Thanksgiving flair.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Redeaux

I don't know why I spelled "redeaux" like that. I'm not Cajun or anything, I just think it's a funner way to spell it. Anyway, if you took a guess in the mystery dough challenge, thanks a million. The answer was cinnamon rolls. 

Now you're probably thinking, "Wait! You already taught us how to make those here." Well, that is true, but I don't think I did too good of a job showing you the hands on components on that batch. So, I'm going to try to set things right by showing you one more time. This batch came out monumentally better by the way.

Dough from Scratch
1 cup milk (heated approximately 1 minute in microwave)
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
eggs, room temperature and beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated 
5 cups flour

2 Tablespoons of yeast

Good Cinnamon filler stuff:
1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
4 to 5 tablespoons ground cinnamon 

2 oz of softened cream cheese
1/4 cup of softened butter
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of powdered sugar

Now, in my previous attempt, I had dumped all this Dough Stuff Ingredients in at once and turned my machine into this:

Yes, that is a spoon stuck in there. Don't ask.
Well, now that I was lucky enough to have a KitchenAid Mixer purchased for me during a bridal shower last year, this has never happened again. But I digress...

First things first, take out the eggs and butter so they can get to room temperature. Believe it or not, there is a difference between melted and softened butter. Just don't ask me to explain what that difference is. It would bring me back to that whole flawed logic of recipes that demand unsalted butter, but then you half to add salt to them.

Get your dry ingredients together and gently give them a stir to incorporate them. Next , in a separate bowl, take your eggs and give them a light beating. If your butter is still as hard as a rock, briefly nuke it til it is soft in the microwave. Microwave your milk until it is warm,, not scalding. If you pour super hot milk or water into eggs, you will get gross scrambled eggs in your rolls/cake. Not cool. Add remaining wet ingredients to the egg bowl and give them a little stir. Finally, mix everything together in your stand mixer. I recommend pouring wet into dry so flour doesn't fly all over the place. I don't know this from previous experience or anything...*no comments from the peanut gallery!*

Your dough will be slightly sticky, but mostly, it will want to stick to itself. Spread a couple tablespoons of oil on your counter top, and dump your dough blob onto it. Give it a good knead for 3-5 minutes, just squishing it into self. I don't know why this step is necessary, but it's fun to do just the same. In the end you will get this nice little ball that you may have noticed I posted like 15 days ago.

This post was intended to be finished by 11/14!!!
The next step is sprinkling a healthy portion of flour on your counter top so you can roll this bad boy into an approximately 2 foot by 1 foot, flat canvas. I have used a cup in the past, but I can't tell you awesome a rolling pin is for this task. It was like, they created those things just to roll out dough or something! Who'd a thunk it!

Rolling pins: Not just for whacking husbands anymore!
The dough is kind of elastic, so don't be afraid to keep coaxing it outward. If it tears, you can just ball it up and roll again. Just get it down to about a quarter of an inch in thickness.

Next, make up the Good Cinnamon Filler Stuff using the ingredients above. Brown sugar is the only baking item that I know of where you actually want to press it into the measuring cup until it is packed like a brick. So get to it and mix that stuff up in a bowl. If you have more butter lying around, you can brush the flattened dough with some to help the sugar stick. If not, it's no big deal. Once the filler is thoroughly mixed, you can spread it on your dough canvas. Don't be stingy.

Smelled so good at this point, you'll want to eat it now.
But don't or you'll get the runs! (raw eggs)
 Next is the most technical part of the whole operation. Pay attention Myrtle! You've got to roll this puppy up after just having smashed into flat submission. It will initially try to stay flat, once you get the roll started, it tends to behave. I like a lot of swirl in my roll, so I rolled the short side towards myself.

Don't worry about a little side spillage. You can always
scoop it up later and sprinkle it on top.
Now, some people say you shouldn't roll the dough too tight, or else your rolls may rise to mountain peaks when they bake. Those people can piss off! They are too Polly Perfect for me. I like the tight roll because you get a really distinctive swirl pattern. Some may get taller, but others don't. It's not the end of the freaking world.

Now that you have a swirled log of cinnamony goodness, you may notice some fat areas and thin areas. Run your hands along the log to try to get a more uniform shape. Tap the ends to squish them back to flat rounds.

Jon just saw this photo out of the corner of his eye and shouted,
"What are you posting!!!"
Now, you need a very sharp, serrated knife. Pay attention, Myrtle, this is important. A dull knife will tear the dough. A non-serrated knife will pinch it down and you will lose the swirl. Do the best you can with a sawing motion, cutting the log into 1" rounds.

Look at that awesome swirl!
 Once the rolls are cut, you will need to place them, not touching, on a greased jelly roll pan. Put them maybe 1" apart. They will need to rise an hour at this point. As they rise, they will move to touch each other, which is what you want.

Bake those bad boys at 350*F for 20 to 25 minutes. Your house will smell fantastic and you will get beautiful, beautiful rolls that look something in the neighborhood of this:
So beautiful, I almost cried.
You can go ahead and make the cream cheese icing to pour over these beauties. Or, you can continue to stare in wonder. Eat and enjoy.

And, that, my friends, is the answer to the mystery of the dough blob.