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.

Apple Spice Bundt Cake – Craving Fall Flavours

Today, I found myself craving fall flavours, which to me means apples.  There is nothing better than the smell of cinnamon baking in an apple spice cake.  This recipe is comfort food that has a delightful combination of ginger, cinnamon and applesauce.  For the icing I have chosen to sprinkle icing sugar and make a simple icing sugar and milk drizzle.  It would also be a perfect flavour combination to go with a cup of coffee in the early morning on the dock at the cottage.

Here at home, everyone has been working hard during the summer months.  Next week Mom, Dad, Sarah and I will be going up north to the cottage for a week.  My Dad has moved his office to downtown Toronto from North York.  He enjoys the downtown office, but he is looking forward to the greenery of the cottage and doing some fishing.  Everyone is looking forward to some cottage recipes, which include: easy barbeque recipes, fresh salads and maybe even some ice cream.

Ingredients

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 cup vanilla yogurt

1 ½ cups apple sauce

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Nonstick cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk 2 1/2 cups flour with baking powder, salt, ground ginger and ground cinnamon; set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated.  Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with one addition of yogurt and one addition of applesauce.
  3. Coat a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan with cooking spray or grease the pan lightly with margarine. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  4. Bake cake on bottom rack of oven until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes.
  5. Cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack; cool completely, topside up.  Tap the top of the bundt cake pan with a wooden spoon to make sure the bundt cake comes out evenly and does not break apart.

Icing Sugar Drizzle

1 cup icing sugar sifted, 3 teaspoons of milk stirred together and drizzled lightly on top of cake.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Snickerdoodles are a fluffy, delightful, cinnamon cookie that is good for any time of the year.   My sister Sarah originally thought there were Snickers bars in these cookies – but no such luck, they are nut and chocolate free.  Perfect for me!

The cookies look delicate and delicious on a fancy plate.  I have photographed them here on an antique plate that has little feet.  As a small child, furniture and cake plates with little feet always seemed amusing.  I fully understand why adults adore them.  While I was at it, I brought out tea cups because tea and coffee tastes better in a fancy cup.  This is the reason why most people have a favourite mug or tea cup in their cupboard – something constant and cheery.

P.S: Jonathan – we are going to have lots of tea cups and antique plates in our future home for afternoon tea or when my Mom or sisters drop by.  You can tell by my Pinterest page that I have thought about our future home, and what I will bake in the future.

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

½ tsp cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

Coating:

1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder.

2. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until smooth (about 2 to 3 minutes).  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. If the dough is soft, cover and refrigerate until firm (about one to two hours).

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Shape the dough into 1 inch (2.5 cm) round balls.

5. In a large shallow bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon.

6. Roll the balls of dough in the cinnamon sugar and place on the prepared pan, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

7. Bake the cookies for about 8 – 10 minutes, or until they are light golden brown and firm around the edges.

8. The centers of the cookies will still be a little soft. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Can store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about 10 days.  Makes about 4-5 dozen cookies.

My Birthday Weekend 2012

Today is my birthday and this past weekend I celebrated my birthday with my fiancé Jonathan and my family.  On Saturday night Jonathan made a reservation for the two of us at Splendido in Toronto.  I had been looking forward to it all week.  On the menu was organic salmon all the way from Ireland.  The organic salmon was simply exquisite.  It was flavourful, fresh and expertly prepared with a white bean purée and blood oranges for garnish.

For dessert they brought out a candle and happy birthday sign.  There was also a chocolate cookie that Jonathan enjoyed.

Our main dessert was mini cheesecake with an apple sorbet.  The flavours were delicate and delicious.  The presentation was cute and gave me lots of ideas for my foodie blog.  Part of my gift from Jonathan was the Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes and Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts.  I am extremely excited to start trying out some of these recipes.

Sunday night my Mom prepared a special dinner for my birthday.  Mom made savory chicken crepes.  (A recipe I have not yet mastered)  An organic pear and organic green salad made the dinner complete.  For dessert Mom made her famous Apple Crisp.  This recipe I have made before so I feel I can share the recipe.  The apple crisp turned out wonderfully.  There was even vanilla ice cream that went perfectly with the warm apple crisp.  Each bite was like a little piece of heaven!

Apple Crisp Recipe

5 Granny Smith Apples (or any apple that you like baking with)

¾ cup oats

¾ cups brown sugar

½ cup flour

½ cup butter

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

1.  Toss together apples and cinnamon.  Then place apples into bottom of lightly buttered baking dish.

2.  Mix together oats, brown sugar, flour, butter and salt until it forms a crumble topping.

3.  Sprinkle crumble topping over apples.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Serve warm.

 

Coffee Cupcakes

Coffee Cupcake

Coffee cupcakes of mine turned out to be more like a coffee muffin with icing.  Since I am allergic to nuts and chocolate, coffee and espresso are my version of chocolate.  The cupcakes have a bold and really tasty coffee flavor, which is delightful.

However, I felt a tad guilty after being so indulgent that I did a twenty-minute work out the next morning, perhaps that could be categorized as “just healthy living”.  Most healthy living advice is to have balance in your diet and exercise routine.  Eating the odd cupcake is wonderful and to be encouraged, as long as you don’t eat ten cupcakes.  The twenty minute work out I used was based on Women’s Healthy Magazine, some great tips and how to do exercises that are better than crunches.

Back to the cooking though, I used the Joy of Baking website’s vanilla cupcake recipe and then added ¼ cup of brewed coffee, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and removed the lemon zest.  Initially I added the lemon zest, but my Mom came in the kitchen and said cinnamon and lemon zest would not taste good together – so I picked out the lemon zest bits the best I could.  For this round of cupcakes the icing recipe is the same as the carrot, cinnamon, maple cupcakes, except that I added ¼ cup of brewed coffee.

The cupcakes had not cooled enough when I iced them, so the icing on top of my cupcakes is a little runny looking, and on some cupcakes it dripped.  I put the extra icing in the refrigerator and it firmed up, as extra icing for later.

Coffee cupcakes

Coffee Cupcake Recipe:

½ cup of unsalted butter at room temperature

2/3 of a cup of organic sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon of organic pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cups of all purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of salt

¼ cup of milk

¼ cup of brewed organic coffee

Cream cheese icing:

1 cup of cream cheese, at room temperature

¼ cup of butter, at room temperature

3 cups of confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup of brewed organic coffee

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners if desired.

In the electric mixer bowl, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Beat in the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture, brewed coffee, and milk.  Do so in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl so that all ingredients are properly combined.

Fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 17 – 20 minutes.

Or – insert a toothpick into a cupcake and if it comes out clean – your cupcakes are finished.

Let cupcakes cool before icing!

Makes about 12 cupcakes.

Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

These cupcakes are carrot, maple and cinnamon flavoured with a cream cheese icing. This time my recipe was inspired by the internet and this recipe in particular. Sometimes the internet can be just as good as a cookbook!

Modifications to the recipe are that I boiled and puréed the carrot instead of grating the carrot like a regular carrot cake. I also used butter instead of canola oil. These cupcakes were rich and tasty. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, however I had a huge mess to clean up after. Using the piping bag was fun and also messy. I always seem to get blobs of icing coming up the top. A few of the cupcakes had the food colouring unevenly mixed, but there were a few good ones. I was inspired by the Martha Stewart cupcake cookbook that I saw in Chapters.

Practice always makes perfect, so I will continue to practice my creativity with cupcakes and baking.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
4 eggs
1 cup melted butter or canola oil
½ cup maple syrup

Icing
1 cup cream cheese
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tbsp of milk or until even consistency, not too watery
2 drops of red food colouring