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.

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Carrot Cake and Easter Weekend

This is my Mom’s famous carrot cake recipe.  It is always a hit with the family.  Carrot cake is a fair bit of work, but totally worth it.  The cream cheese icing is creamy and sweet and the cake is moist and delicious.

For the decorations I added a Lindt bunny and chocolate eggs for Easter.  I brought this cake to Peterborough with me for Easter dinner on Sunday night with Jonathan’s parents. We had ham, potatoes, glazed carrots, chicken and spinach curry and pork curry. Easter dinner was fantastic, and somehow everyone saved a bit of room for cake. I couldn’t have asked for a better Easter – and Jonathan’s parents tell me that they are very happy to have a baker in the family!

I made two cakes for the Easter weekend – one for Saturday night and one for Sunday night.  My Grandma wanted to keep things simple, so the angel food cake was from a mix.  I had fun making a brown sugar and whipping cream icing for the cake.  In addition my Grandma gave me some beautiful pastel coloured jellybeans for decoration.  With the cake were fresh strawberries and my Dad somehow found ice cream to go with the cake from Gran’s freezer.  My Grandma always has holiday meals planned out well in advance, and everyone in the family helped out with something.  Gran truly makes the best roast beef in the world, and it was even tastier surrounded by family.

At many family events where there are desserts, someone always buys gingerbread men and seasonally themed gingerbreads from Hurst Bakery in Aurora.  These gingerbread cookies are my absolute favourite  They are hard to describe, but they are certainly from the best bakery in Aurora.  If Jonathan and I move to Toronto someday we will always come back to Aurora to visit my parents – and to pick up some of these cookies.

Now, my new and ongoing foodie goal is to perfect a fruitcake.  It is the British tradition for weddings to serve fruitcake as the wedding cake.  For my wedding next year, I am going to start experimenting now on making the perfect fruitcake.  My Mom made her wedding cake, so I hope to carry on that tradition.  There may also be some assorted cupcakes.  Carrot cake cupcakes – sounds like an amazing idea to me!

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups sugar

1 tbsp baking soda

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 ¼ cup pureed carrot

¾ cup crushed pineapple

1 ½ cup canola or corn oil

1 tbsp vanilla extract

4 eggs

Lindt Bunnies and chocolate eggs for decoration

Cream cheese icing

1 cup cream cheese, at room temperature

6 tbsp butter, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Peel fresh carrots and slice into small pieces (about three regular sized carrots).  Boil carrots until they are tender.  Place carrots in food processor and puree finely.
  4. Strain excess juice from crushed pineapple.  Remove a bit of the juices from the crushed pineapple.
  5. Whisk together the eggs.
  6. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir thoroughly.
  7. Place batter in two 9-inch circular cake pans.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry from the center of the cake.
  9. Let cool for ten minutes in the pan.  Remove from pan and allow cooling for three hours on a wire cooling rack.
  10. Mix butter and cream cheese and vanilla extract.  Slowly add in icing sugar one cup at a time.
  11. Ice your layer cake and decorate as desired.  Serves 8-10 slices.