Cinnamon Buns and Toledo Museum of Art

Cinnamon BunsJonathan and I have been married a week now.  So, for our first weekend breakfast in Windsor as a married couple I made cinnamon buns!  They came together well in my standard mixer and with a bit of hand kneading of the dough.  The cinnamon flavour was tasty and the cream cheese icing was glorious and not overly sweet.  I made the cinnamon buns the night before so there would be less cleanup in the morning and I could simply reheat them and add the icing.  I will definitely make these again for Christmas morning or just as a treat.  They were delicious and I was happy with the way they turned out.  Next time I will cut this recipe in half because it made three dishes full of cinnamon buns.  I have one dish in the freezer right now, so we will have a sweet treat for another day.

Cinnamon BunsCinnamon Bun

In the afternoon we went on an adventure to Ohio to the Toledo Museum of Art.  It is a spectacular museum featuring aMe infront of a Claud Monet Painting at Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa and the Center for the Visual Arts building designed by Frank Gehry.  The galleries featured a wide range of art from modern, classical, glass art, and impressionist.  We will have to come back soon to see even more wonderful art.  Claude Monet is one of my favourite painters and I was beyond thrilled to see one of the lily pond paintings.  In grade 1 my teacher read us the book Linnea In Monet’s Garden and from then on I was hooked on impressionism and those magical water lilies.  Some day I hope to teach a grade 1 class and read that book!Toledo Museum of ArtJonathan at the Toledo Museum of ArtChandelier at the Toledo Museum of ArtToledo Museum of ArtPunch Bowl at the Toledo Museum of ArtToledo Museum of ArtFrank Lloyd Wright art at Toledo Museum of Art

Ingredients:Cinnamon Buns

for the sweet dough: 
1 cup milk
¼ cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons quick rising yeast
4 eggs

Instructions

For the sweet dough, gently warm the milk, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small pot. Don’t bring to a simmer; warm just enough to melt the butter.

Meanwhile, measure one-half of the flour into the bowl of your stand mixer along with the yeast. Add the warm milk and melted butter mixture to the flour and beat with your paddle attachment until smooth. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating until smooth before proceeding. Switch to a dough hook and add the remaining flour.

Remove and knead until a soft dough forms that is no longer sticky to the touch, about 5 minutes.

In an oiled bowl let dough rise for 20 minutes.  Put plastic wrap over top of bowl and a clean towel and let sit until doubled in size.  Roll out dough after 20 minutes into a rectangle shape and add cinnamon filling.  Add water to the outside of the rectangle with a pastry brush to help seal in the filling.  Slowly roll the bread around the filling and seal sides.  With a sawing motion slice the cinnamon buns in 1 inch pieces and place into a greased pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 F and bake for 25 minutes.  Let cool before enjoying.  These can be saved for the morning or put in the freezer for another day.

Cinnamon Filling

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup unsalted butter cold (cut into pieces)

1/4 cup raisins

Mix together all ingredients.

Cream Cheese Icing

¼ cup butter, room temperature

½ cup cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Milk 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup

Cream together the butter and cream cheese in your standard mixer, slowly add icing sugar.  Then add vanilla extract and milk.  I like my cinnamon bun icing a little more watery than cupcake icing, but still stiff enough that it will sit on the cinnamon bun without being watery or too runny.  You can test this by putting some icing on a metal spoon and watching the consistency as it runs off the spoon.  Add milk slowly so that it doesn’t become too watery.  If the consistency is too watery slowly add a little more icing sugar.

Mini Pumpkin and Oatmeal Muffins

Pumpkin Oatmeal Mini MuffinsToday’s baking project is pumpkin oatmeal mini muffins!  While looking around the cupboard to see ingredients to use, I found pumpkin puree and decided on a recipe for delectable breakfast treats.  The recipe is relatively healthy compared to a few other recipes I have, but still a treat.  Oatmeal mixed into the batter makes these muffins over the top.  I love the grainy texture and dimension it gives the muffins.  I ate at least three when they were warm out of the oven.

One of my younger sisters is at her university convocation today so it is a special day.  We are having a barbecue this evening on the patio to celebrate.  I am making the buns for the hamburgers.  My Mom is making her famous dessert crepes with vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries and a chocolate drizzle.  It is one of my sister’s favourites!

On the wedding planning front things are under control!  Tomorrow I will be taking the church bulletin over to be printed.  An engagement photo of Jonathan and I will be on the cover and I am excited to see it all printed up.  It is going to be a great keepsake.  Tonight Jonathan and I will be going over the list of essential photographs that need to be taken at the wedding.  I am extremely excited for the big day!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Mini MuffinsPumpkin Oatmeal Mini Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (250 mL) rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Instructions

1.     In large mixing bowl, combine flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt.

2.     In another bowl, whisk together milk, egg, oil and vanilla.  Always separate wet and dry ingredients when baking muffins.  Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients.  Add in pumpkin puree and combine thoroughly until all ingredients are moistened. Spoon muffin batter into a greased muffin pan.  Makes approximately 12 muffins or 24 mini muffins.

3.     Bake in centre of oven at 375°F for about 18 minutes (I would recommend to check them at 16 minutes though, no one likes burnt muffins). Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely.

4.     Once cooled you can wrap these muffins up individually in a zip-lock bag or with plastic wrap and freeze for two weeks.

Cheddar Cheese Scones

I made these lovely cheddar cheese scones yesterday for breakfast and they were phenomenal.  The warmth and perfect flaky texture was absolutely everything a scone should be.

The recipe is from Canadian Living – my Mom told me that their recipes are thoroughly tested, so it’s really no surprise that they turned out so well!  The changes I made to the recipe were to use buttermilk instead of Balkan-style yogurt and I didn’t have whole wheat flour in the cupboard.  (The recipe says to use one cup whole wheat flour and one cup all-purpose flour, but that is optional.)

If you are looking for a quick and easy breakfast or snack – this recipe is awesome! Even my sister Sarah – who is a picky eater – loved them.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preparation

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Cut in margarine into the dry ingredients until a nice crumbly texture is created. Mix in grated cheese. Mix in the buttermilk and egg. You should have a nice firm dough. If it seems too dry, add a little bit more milk.

Roll out dough, or pat it out with your hand. Use a measuring cup to cut out 12 circles. Preheat oven to 400ºC. When oven is warm put scones in, and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Pancakes are a classic breakfast food for Saturday mornings with family.  They are easy to make and are always satisfying with some delicious maple syrup on top.  I saw this recipe originally on the blog Smitten Kitchen and I made a few changes.  I didn’t add any nutmeg, walnuts or raisins, and I reduced the amount of grated carrot.  There is a recipe for a cream cheese topping for the pancakes, but I felt that would be far to decadent for breakfast.  If you are feeling like the pancakes need a little extras something, give the cream cheese topping a whirl.  The base recipe was fantastic; the brown sugar, cinnamon and ground ginger gave such a soothing warm flavour.  I love cinnamon – I feel like it makes things taste like a warm hug.

Carrot cake is such a classic and so I was truly delighted to find a pancake version.  My sister Laura has made a similar version to these pancakes, but with pumpkin purée.  I would really like to try that next because it sounds amazing.

Pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large egg
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk or regular milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cups finely grated carrots (a larger carrot is best)

Cream cheese topping (optional)
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Dash of ground cinnamon

Instructions

1.  In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and sugar.

2.  Wash and peel one large carrot.  Then grate the carrot finely (approximately 1 cup or more if desired).

3.  In a separate bowl beat the egg and then add into the dry ingredients.  Add in milk and vanilla extract and stir thoroughly.

4.  Mix in grated carrot.

5.  Use a bit of canola oil for the pan and make your pancakes.

6. Enjoy with maple syrup at brunch.

Cream cheese topping instructions

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy and lump-free. Whisk in powdered sugar, two tablespoons milk, vanilla and cinnamon. If you’d like the mixture thinner, add the remaining tablespoon of milk.

Mom’s Banana Bread Recipe

Banana bread is a classic and we had some perfectly ripened bananas (nice and brown), which makes the flavour better.  It is a classic because it’s great comfort food and is always fun to make when there are extra bananas lying around the house.  I feel like this recipe could be made healthier next time by adding in some chia seeds, but I wasn’t able to go out to the grocery store today.

The recipe is super easy, just add the dry ingredients and mix well with a fork, beat egg in a separate bowl and then mix in with the other wet ingredients all at once.  It only takes one bowl, and a pot to melt the butter, which is nice.  I love recipes that make less mess and whip up quickly.  In addition the smell of warm banana bread is always welcome in the house.  I would recommend this as one my favourite recipes and a real treasure for a relaxing breakfast with a hot cup of tea or coffee.

Why buy banana bread at a bakery when you can make it yourself? Seriously.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/3 cup of milk

1/3 cup of melted and cooled butter

2 eggs beaten

1 cup of mashed banana

2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup of sugar

½ tsp of salt

2 tsp backing powder

½ tsp baking soda

Mix dry ingredients and then mix in wet ingredients stir well.  Bake 45-55 minutes at 350°F.

Savory Bacon and Cheddar Muffins

My wonderful fiancé Jonathan is usually on the ball when it comes to food trends.  So when he asked for savory bacon muffins, I had to oblige.  Together we searched around the internet for a recipe and then I modified it to what you will see below.

Further enhancing the savory flavour of the bacon is delicious sharp Balderson aged cheddar cheese.  The regular orange cheddar is also used for colour and flavour.  Instead of using sugar in this recipe I decided to use buckwheat honey that comes from a farm near Peterborough, Ontario.  Buckwheat honey has a richer darker colour and slightly more molasses like flavour.  It was also less sweet than regular sugar, which is perfect for savory muffins.

While making these muffins Jonathan showed me the blog Freezer Burns.  This is a blog devoted to reviewing frozen foods from the grocery store.  After watching some videos from this food enthusiast, I am extremely happy that I make homemade treats such as savory bacon and cheddar muffins.  No Bagel Bites or Pizza Pockets for you, Jonathan!

The end result was a tasty treat.  Muffins are best enjoyed the day they are made for optimal freshness, but they also freeze well.  If you like bacon, you will love these muffins!

Ingredients

  • 7 strips of bacon
  • ½ cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup of grated Balderson aged white cheddar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp buckwheat honey
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs

*Buttermilk can be made at home.  Mix one tsp of lemon juice with one cup of milk.  Once the lemon juice is added, stir!

Instructions:

1.  Cook bacon over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes or until crisp.  Drain bacon on paper towels; let cool and crumble or slice.

2.  In a bowl or measuring cup grate the cheeses.  Set aside enough cheese for garnishing the muffins.

3.  In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, pepper and salt; stir in remaining bacon and Cheddar.

4.  Whisk together in a separate bowl the milk, buttermilk, oil, and eggs.  Then pour over dry ingredients.  Stir with a wooden spoon until moistened. (Don’t over stir muffin batter) Spoon the muffin batter into greased or paper-lined muffin cups.

5.  Garnish the muffins with extra cheese and bacon bits.  If you need more cheese that is okay too (the more the merrier).

6.  Bake in centre of 375°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops are firm to the touch and muffins are golden.

7.  Store in an airtight container for two days.  Or freeze the extra muffins for up to three weeks.

St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

Generally I do not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, however since receiving Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes for my birthday, I could not resist the St. Patrick’s Day cupcake recipe.  The result was delicious!  These cupcakes are sweet and extremely indulgent.

Baileys Irish Cream liqueur makes the icing silky and irresistible.  With the icing I went for a homemade look, and spread the icing with a knife and made it look as even as possible.  I am in Waterloo visiting Jonathan again and I (sadly) do not have a piping bag with me.

Jonathan and I, each had one cupcake with our morning coffee.  Or rather, I had coffee because Jonathan does not yet share my coffee addiction.  I tried a new brand of organic coffee this morning and was disappointed.  Later this afternoon we will have to go to Seven Shores Urban Café and Market in Waterloo.  They have the best fair trade organic coffee in Waterloo.

The rest of these cupcakes will go to my dear sweet sister Sarah, who is studying away at Laurier University.  Hopefully, they will make her St. Patrick’s Day in residence sweeter.

After eating these decadent cupcakes Jonathan and I will definitely be making grilled vegetables, rice and grilled chicken for dinner.  It’s all about having a well balanced diet.  A cupcake or two doesn’t hurt.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Ingredients:

3 cups of all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup of butter at room temperature

2 cups of light brown sugar

4 large eggs

¾ cup of buttermilk (you can make your own butter milk by adding 1 tsp of lemon juice)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Combine all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.  In an electric mixer (or by hand like I did) cream the butter and brown sugar until thoroughly combined.  Next add in eggs and combine.
  3. Add in slowly the flour mixture in first addition.  In second addition add in butter milk.  In third addition add in remaining flour mixture.  Combine until batter looks evenly mixed.  (I added in 1 tbsp of Bailey’s into the pound cake batter, but this is optional.)
  4. Distribute batter into greased cupcake tin or into paper liners and fill until ¾ of the way full.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until the cupcakes look lightly golden on the edges.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes in the cupcake tin before transferring to a wire cooling rack or a plate.
  7. Let cool completely before icing the cupcakes.
  8. Cupcakes will last three days in an airtight container at room temperature or they can be easily frozen for up to two months.

Baileys Irish Cream liqueur Icing

1 ½ cups of unsalted butter at room temperature

4 cups of confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)

3 tbsp of Baileys Irish Cream liqueur

½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Cream butter in an electric mixer or by hand with a wooden spoon.  Add in confectioner’s sugar in ½ cup increments.
  2. Add Baileys and vanilla extract.  Mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Use icing immediately or it can be refrigerated for up to five days.