Baking

Pioneer Cinnamon Rolls {Updated}

A few of the things that have made me happy this week:

  1. There are 5 days until my 18th birthday!
  2. There 25 more school days until graduation…not that I’m counting…hem hem.
  3. I am officially photographing a wedding this summer! An exciting first :)

4. Instagram. Enough said :)
5. I’m going on a church retreat this weekend which will hopefully be tons of fun!
6. Planning birthday parties (both of my sisters have birthdays coming up soon, prescription too).
7. Sunny weather.
8. We now have 2 working cars in our family!
9. Writing lists.
10. Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls!

Last Christmas I made Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls for the first time and knew that it would definitely not be the last. They are truly one of the tastiest things I have ever had! This Easter I made them again, visit this but experimented with some different methods to see what works best for making these cinnamon rolls ahead of time. The second time around it was definitely easier to make them, viagra sale and I’m sharing some tips I’ve learned that make these rolls easier to create. I definitely think you should make these very soon…they are sure to bring some happiness into your life :)

Heavenly Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Tips on preparing the dough:

The dough is very easy to make- don’t get freaked out just because you have to use yeast. My only advice for this part of the recipe is to make sure that you leave plenty of time (it takes about 2 hours for the dough to be ready from start to finish). Also, it is easier to work with the dough after it has been in the refrigerator for a while. I always make the dough the day before I need it and it works out great.

Tips on preparing the cinnamon rolls:

The first time I made these, I halved the recipe and got 14 cinnamon rolls. I knew mine must have been larger than Pioneer Woman’s because according to her, I should have been able to make 25. This past time I made them I realized that I hadn’t rolled the dough out long enough (I’d made it too wide). In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter how big these are (I kinda liked the really big ones :), but if you want smaller cinnamon rolls, you need to make sure you roll the dough out pretty long.

Once you have the dough rolled out (on a floured surface), you pour the melted butter on it. This is just going to be messy, but it’s worth it. Rolling up the dough with that much oozy melty butter is a little tricky, but just do your best.

Tips on making the cinnamon rolls ahead of time:

These cinnamon rolls take a while to make, even if you already have the dough ready, which can be tricky for holiday mornings when you need to get going. This past time I made them, I tried two different methods of preparing the rolls ahead of time, and both ways worked great.

  1. Baking them the night before: The day before you need the cinnamon rolls, take your prepared dough, make the rolls, and go ahead and bake them. The next morning, simply heat up the rolls (microwave works great) and make the maple frosting. These rolls actually re-heat really well and, as long as the cinnamon rolls are just from the night before, there’s not really any difference between the re-heated ones and freshly baked ones.
  2. Preparing them the day before: If you really want truly fresh-baked rolls, use your prepared dough to completely make the rolls, except for baking them. Cover the pans with a towel and put them in the fridge. The next morning, simply take the rolls out of the fridge (put them in a warm place to let them rise a bit more while the oven is preheating), and bake them. While they’re in the oven, prepare the frosting.

Both of these methods worked out great for me and allowed me to have these delicious cinnamon rolls ready for a stress-free Easter breakfast before we went to church :)

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Gooey Peanut Butter Reese’s Bars

Last week at school we had a “senior shadow day” where we were supposed to spend the day learning from someone who works in a profession in which we are interested. I contacted Jen and Chris Creed, advice two wonderful and kind photographers who I have been lucky enough to get to know the past couple of months. I have to admit I was nervous about asking if I could shadow them because I didn’t want to be annoying, visit but they were so kind and enthusiastic about it. They asked me what I wanted to get out of the experience, what I wanted to improve on, and got a couple for us to shoot in Downtown Franklin. The photo session was so fun! I’m posting a couple of my favorites from the session (you can see the full session on my photography website).

I loved watching Jen and Chris shoot. They really try to push their creativity and some of my favorite shots are things I never would have taken on my own. Absolutely check out their photography! They are amazing people and super talented :)

I knew I wanted to make something for Jen and Chris as a thank you for allowing me to spend the day with them. After checking that they both like peanut butter (which they probably thought was a little strange ;) I made these Gooey Peanut Butter Reese’s Bars. Oh my goodness. These were incredible!

I had asked my dad to get the ingredients for the bars while he was at the store, and he accidentally got fat-free sweetened condensed milk! I was afraid the bars wouldn’t taste good or bake as well with the fat-free version, but I asked Jenny from Picky Palate on Twitter what she thought and she said it would be fine. And it was! So you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating these…they’re practically a health food ;)

Jen and Chris loved these, as did my family. The next day I brought in leftovers to school and my teachers and classmates loved them as well. Success all around! I will have to say that you do want to eat these at room temperature…I usually like things when they’re all warm and melty but definitely preferred these after they had cooled down the next day.

Gooey Peanut Butter Reese’s Bars

Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (fat-free works great!)
15-20 (or however many you want) Reese’s peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with foil and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, butter, and egg until a dough forms. Press the dough onto the bottom of the prepared baking pan.Top the dough with chocolate chips.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until well combined and pour over the dough. Top with the chopped Reese’s.
  4. Bake at 350 for 23-30 minutes, until the bars are golden brown and the center is set (doesn’t giggle when you move the pan). Let them cool completely before you cut them into squares.

Enjoy!

Note: The original recipe says the cook time is 23-25 minutes. I ended up cooking mine for closer to 30 because the bars wouldn’t set. When you take them out of the oven, they will be incredibly gooey. That’s ok, just let them cool completely (I know…willpower) before you eat them. It’s worth the wait!

Source: Kevin and Amanda

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I have a confession to make. I know as a food blogger, story I’m supposed to be all sorts of snobby about the food I eat and make everything from scratch. Oh and I’m also supposed to love eating all this fancy food and talk about organic ingredients all the time. Well, about it if you hadn’t noticed, cialis I don’t do any of those things. I am a (somewhat) picky eater and I love boxed cake mixes and canned frosting. The other day when I made that…interesting cake for Einstein’s birthday, I used canned frosting and ended up dipping pretzels in it and munching on it all night (it was delicious!). Usually I make my cakes from scratch and I think that there is no cake mix (that I’ve tried) that can beat a homemade chocolate cake. However, I have never successfully made a yellow cake that I thought was better than the boxed mix. In fact, I think I’ve only ever made yellow cake from scratch once! I knew I wanted to attempt it again and make vanilla vanilla cupcakes. It was hard for me to resist adding chocolate to these cupcakes, but I resisted and they turned out great!

I made these on St. Patrick’s Day, hence the slightly green frosting. The store only had Easter pastel colors, so I couldn’t get a deep green. Oh well! I practiced piping on frosting and think I did ok-ish…I just need to make lots more cupcakes so I can become a good cake/cupcake decorator :)

I used Sweetapolita’s yellow cupcake recipe (I love her recipes and photos!). The cupcakes were easy to make and tasted delicious- the vanilla flavor really shone through. I made two different buttercream frostings to see which I liked better, but they tasted pretty much the same to me. I combined them both for the frosting recipe bellow. I’m not a huge fan of buttercream frosting because it’s so sweet, but the vanilla frosting I made wasn’t over-the-top sweet and the cupcake helped tone it down.

So…what’s the verdict? Have I turned from my evil box-mix-cake-using-ways? Hem…probably not. These yellow cake cupcakes tasted really good, but honestly I like ones you get from a yellow cake mix just as much (they taste really similar). But, if you want to make something from scratch or if you don’t like using cake mixes, these cupcakes are really good. I can definitely see myself making them again and maybe putting chocolate frosting on them :)

There’s a slight possibility that I took these photos in the morning and a tiny chance that in order to get this shot, I had to eat part of a cupcake at 7am. But that probably didn’t happen *cough cough.*

Oh and how do you like my new logo thingy? I had fun designing it this afternoon. The font for the “Amilia” is called soymilk! I think it’s super cute :)

Vanilla Cupcakes

Source: Sweetapolita

Yield: 24 standard cupcakes

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (190 grams/6.5 ounces) self-rising flour

1 1/4 cups (160 grams/5.5 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 cup (2 sticks/227 grams/8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups (400 grams/14 ounces) granulated white sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup (250 mL) milk

1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners of your choice (24 total).
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flours and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
  5. Use a 3 Tablespoon cookie scoop to spoon the batter into the cupcake liners (you can use a spoon but the cookie/ice cream scoop makes them uniform in size). Bake in the middle of the oven for about 18 minutes, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center comes out just clean (a few crumbs is okay).
  6. Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Note: Makes enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes. Double this if you are making the vanilla cupcakes above.

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks, 16 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter (with a stand mixer or electric hand mixer) until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the powdered sugar until completely incorporated.
  3. With the mixer on medium speed, add the vanilla and salt and beat for about 2 minutes, until fluffy.

Note: My frosting had an almost grainy texture for some reason. Once the frosting was on the cupcakes, though, you couldn’t tell.

Store cupcakes covered or in a plastic container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

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Healthier Banana Bread

Wow! It has been a long time since my last food post. I haven’t had any time to bake or cook anything lately, diagnosis but this weekend I made lots of goodies so stay tuned! This first recipe is actually an adaptation of my favoritest banana bread. I searched so long for a perfect banana bread recipe and finally found one that tastes incredible. It really tastes more like cake than bread, anesthetist which is probably because it has quite a bit of butter and sugar in it (but it’s bread so I can eat it for breakfast ;) . This healthier version of the recipe has half the butter, uses reduced fat sour cream, and uses part white whole wheat flour. What’s the verdict? It tastes exactly the same! I was so thrilled! I will be working on an even healthier version of this bread, and will blog about it if it turns out. For now, I’m thrilled with this still amazingly tasty banana bread!

In other news completely unrelated to this banana bread, I saw another blogger fill our a neat alphabet survey from this blog and thought I’d be fun to fill out!

A is for age: I am 17 but will be 18 in a month! Not sure how I feel about that yet… :)

B is for breakfast today: I had a slice of this banana bread! It was super yummy. And part of a cupcake.

C is for currently craving: Hmm…an apple! Probably because I’ve eaten so many desserts today.

D is for dinner tonight:  We went over to my grandparent’s house for dinner and my grandpa made baked ziti which was amazing!

E is for favorite type of exercise: Horseback riding (yes, it’s exercise!) but I don’t get to do that very often.

F is for an irrational fear: Being buried alive- it absolutely freaks me out! I have told my family that they have to cremate me (I’d rather have a quick death by fire than a slow, horrible suffocation) or bury me in a flimsy, wooden casket in a shallow grave (I read an article on how to un-bury your self if you’re in a flimsy wooden casket). Whenever I tell my mom these instructions, she just looks at me like I’m crazy. And then posts facebook statues about me.

G is for gross food: I call the foods I don’t like “enemy foods.” Chicken pot pie, beans, squash, all seafood.

H is for hometown: Stockholm, Sweden. That’s right!

I is for something important: My family and God :)

J is for current favorite jam: Blackberry! Wait…what kind of jam is this asking for? If it’s talking about song, I’m loving Down by Mat Kearney and, for working out, I’m Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO ;)

K is for kids: Umm I know kids? I am a kid? I babysit kids? I tutor kids? I certainly don’t have one on my own!

L is for current location: Couch! My specific spot on the couch.

M is for the most recent way you spent money: Hmm…I gave a donation to this little boy who was getting heart surgery :)

N is for something you need: A back massage and a miracle pill to make my headache go away.

O is for occupation: Photographer, babysitter, tutor, student.

P is for pet peeve: When people are cutting their food and they keep scraping their utensils against the plate so it makes that horrible screeching noise. Gahh!

Q is for a quote: Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

R is for random fact about you: I sleep with a stuffed animal frog named Froggy. And I’m not ashamed to admit that!

S is for favorite healthy snack: Hmmm…apples! I eat like 2 or 3 a day. As of yet, it has not kept the doctor away. At all.

T is for favorite treat: Cake!

U is for something that makes you unique: My middle sister and I have shhttiiinng power. It’s a sister thing.

V is for favorite vegetable: Cucumbers, carrots, and bell peppers.

W is for today’s workout: I worked out on the elliptical.

X is for X-rays you’ve had: Lots on my teeth from when I had braces. I had to get x-rays on my abdomen once, but they accidentally did them on my chest. Then they did the abdomen one. And then they had to re-do it because it was blurred. It was not a fun experience, especially because I was sick!

Y is for yesterday’s highlight: Making this banana bread was fun. Oh and watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Z is for your time zone: Central time.

So now you know a little more about me! I’d love to get to know you better so feel free to answer some of these questions in the comment section!

And for those of you who are curious, I calculated that this banana bread has 174 calories per serving (with 12 servings per loaf). Not too shabby!

Healthier Banana Bread

Ingredients:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 egg
4 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 whole over-ripe bananas, blended so that they’re liquid

Directions:

  1. Cream togetherthe first 6 ingredients.
  2. Slowly add the flours and then the baking soda and salt. Add the blended bananas.
  3. Put in a greased bread loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Pi Day

Happy Pi day everyone! While I really don’t care about pi, rehabilitation I do care a whole lot about pie! For some reason, stomach I don’t bake pies very often. But every time I do, I absolutely love them. Here are some of my favorites:

Dreamy Apple Pie. It’s incredible. Eat with ice cream :)

Brownie Nutella Mousse Pie. Soooo fudgey and creamy and nutella-y.

Marshmallow Pie. I always make this pie for Thanksgiving!

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So what kind of pie am I making for today? Well..I’m not (gasp!). My mom bought a pie at the store since I already made a cake  because today is Einstein’s birthday! In Physics we had a project where part of it was making Einstein a birthday cake. There were a lot of impressive cakes! Mine was ummm interesting ;) I’m a baker, not cake decorator for sure!Don’t judge me! Haha I think it would have been better if I had remembered to add eye brows and ears…oh well! Live and learn. I hope you guys have a great pi day!

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