Addicting Orange Rolls

This. Was. Amazing.

So delicious, I really wish I was eating it now.

They were light, fluffy, with a hint of orange and the most amazing frosting (not glaze).  It tasted like an orange creamsicle!

Ingredients (Adapted from Little Sous Chef)

Rolls
2 C warm water
2 Tbs active dry yeast (roughly 3 packets)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter, room temp
2 tsp salt
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
5-6 cups flour
1 egg

Filling
1/2 c semi-melted butter
1/2 c sugar
zest of 1 orange (we used a cara cara orange)

Frosting
8 oz cream cheese at room temp
1 c butter at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
zest from 1 orange (cara cara)
3 1/2 c powdered sugar

1. Combine water and yeast in the bowl of stand mixer, let stand for 5 min.
2. Add sugar, butter, salt, dry milk, and 2 cups flour
3. Turn mixer on low and beat until smooth
4. Gradually add the remaining flour until it starts to pull away from the bowl
5. Beat for 3 minutes until smooth and elastic – we used the dough hook, scraping down a few times
6. Place dough in a greased bowl and let sit until it has doubled in size
7. Make the filling by combining the butter, sugar and orange, set aside
8. Make the frosting by creaming the cream cheese and butter, then add the vanilla and sugar.  Finally, add the zest.  Set aside – but also taste it, it’s delicious!
9. Split the dough in half, roll each piece into a rectangle, spread with half the filling, and roll lengthwise – you want a long log.
10. Cut rounds roughly 1″ long – we used string, but a sharp knife will also work.
11.  Place in a pan so they aren’t quite touching.  Let rise.
12.  Bake for 18-20 min at 350, until slightly golden.
13.  Spread with a generous amount of frosting and serve!

Note: these worked great as a make ahead.  Once they were placed in the pan, we put them in the fridge.  The next morning, we let them sit out for an hour or so before baking.  Delicious!

Did you celebrate Pi(e) day?

I don’t normally celebrate this nerdy day, but since it was Saturday, and an epic Pi day (3/14/15), and I own a Pi(e) plate….you get my drift.  Nick actually suggested we buy one, then I offered to make one instead.  The rest, is history.  Delicious, delicious history.

Do you have a go-to pie recipe?  I’m an apple pie girl, through and through.  Warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream.  My current favorite is the sour cream apple pie that we make every year for Thanksgiving.  It’s delicious.  Apples with a touch of sour cream, it’s a delicious combination.

Want to give it a try?  Here’s the recipe!

6 to 8 Apples: Fuji, Granny Smith, Gala, Macintosh are all good – peeled and sliced
1 Egg (beaten)
1 c Sour cream (you can add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg)
1/4 c Flour
1/2 c Sugar (use ¼ if you are using a sweeter apple)
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Pillsbury crust
Crumble
1 stick Butter (1/2 cup): soften and cut into pieces, using a pastry cutter
1/2 c Oatmeal
1/2 c Flour
1/2 c Brown sugar
INSTRUCTIONS
Combine filling mixture and pour into crust, bake for 30 min at 400F
Combine crumble and add to pie after 30 min of baking. Bake an additional 35 min at 350.
 Serve with vanilla ice cream!

Flourless, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip Cookies

We had a hankering for something sweet on Saturday night.  After a major kitchen cleaning, we found a large amount of oats.  So instead of brownies from a box (which are delicious), we decided something with oatmeal would be good.

A google search for “healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies” came up with all sorts of recipes with applesauce and bananas.  And I don’t have those things just sitting around the house.  And I didn’t really need them to be that healthy.

I finally stumbled upon a recipe for flour-less, oatmeal, peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies. (Original Recipe from Tasty Kitchen)

The cookies turned out great and will probably be making their way into the cookie rotation, at least until we eat up our oats!

Ingredients

2/3 C Rolled Oats (I used closer to a cup and am going to try a little more oats the next time I make them, Nick isn’t excited about this modification)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 C Peanut Butter (I used TJs creamy, salted)
2/3 C Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
2/3 C Chocolate Chips

1. Combine oats and baking soda in a bowl
2. Combine peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in a mixer until smooth.
3. Add oats/baking soda and mix
4. Add chocolate chips and mix until just combined
5. Scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet (I used a cookie scoop and a jelly roll pan with a silpat)
6. Bake at 350F for about 10-12 min.
7. Let cool on a baking rack and enjoy!

Note:  The recipe made roughly 20 cookies, 2 batches of 10 in the oven, ~10×17 pan

My Epic Gingerbread Space Needle

I’m an engineer who loves to bake and take pictures.  And last night, my 3 worlds collided.

Last week, I was perusing one of my favorite blogs, Not Martha, and noticed her adorable mini gingerbread houses!  So I went to the store after work and bought the supplies – mostly molasses and flour.  I sat down that evening and just couldn’t get motivated, so I asked Nick what he thought I should make.  After brainstorming a bit, we decided the house from Up would be “fun.”  After looking up pictures and sketching a few things out, I decided the house from Up would be WAY too much trouble.  And by the end of the night, I decided the Seattle Space Needle made WAY more sense.

So I sketched, and did math, and sketched, and did more math, and finally had a decent plan of attack.  I even busted out an arctan or 2!  Kids, stay in school and learn math.  It’ll come in handy one day, I promise.

I’ll spare you the details, but it involved a lot of gingerbread, royal icing, and sprinkles.  And Nick added in the 12th man flag for the added Seahawks touch.  We just happened to have the right color post-its.

There were a few tense moments, but it came together quite well!  The main support is solid gingerbread and icing.  A lot of icing.  And I guess the rest is also gingerbread and icing as well.  It’s technically all “edible” – less Emmett (anyone?).  But I wouldn’t eat it.  It’s structural gingerbread and flavorless icing.  Nick was a little disappointed.  BUT was quite impressed by the finished product.  Definitely a team effort, I needed all 4 hands in the house – and 3 cans of beans – to help put it all together.  I think Mochi was bummed I didn’t drop much on the floor 🙂 Ready?!

seattle space needle made out of gingerbread seahawksSeattle space needle made from gingerbread seahawksseattle space needle gingerbread seahawksHappy Tuesday!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

So here’s the problem with the phrase “gluten free”.  I always associate it with “healthy.”  I know that’s not the case, but it really helps justify things like cookies!

We were in need of some sweets the other night, but I didn’t want to use butter or flour if at all possible.  I found a recipe on minimalist baker taken from the Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook.

I had to adapt it a bit because I didn’t have enough almond meal.  But I think it turned out pretty darn tasty!  SO much so, that I made more last night.  Oops!

Ingredients

3/4 c almond flour (I just pulverize almonds in my magic bullet)
3/4 c oatmeal/oatmeal flour (I just put half the oatmeal in the magic bullet to make it a bit finer) – if you are truly GF, make sure you get GF oats or just use all almond flour
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c chocolate chips (ok fine, I used closer to 1/2 a cup)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbs melted coconut oi

1.  Combine the dry ingredients into a bowl
2.  Combine the egg, vanilla and melted coconut oil until creamy
3.  Add the dry ingredients to the we ingredients
4.  The recipe says to put it in the fridge for at least 30 min.  I just spread the dough on the inside of the bowl and stick it in the freezer for about 5-10 min.  Works fine.
5.  Make little cookie balls and put them on a parchment lined baking sheet – I fit the entire batch on my jelly roll pan.  Around 17-18.  Push them down a little.
6.  Bake at 400 for 7-10 min, until the edges are golden.
7. Let them sit on the tray for 5ish min and then remove to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

Chili Lime Brittle

Chili Lime BrittleLast week we were visiting with friends when a bag of Chili Lime Tequila Tortilla Brittle got whipped out.  Yeah.  Right?  It was addicting.  Just the right combination of salty, sweet, and spicey!

It was really tasty, but I try not to pay money for sweets (this is not a hard and fast rule, but it helps me stay away from time to time).  We decided this might just work by swapping lime chips for saltines and using my brittle recipe for the best dessert ever.

I had a relatively light Sunday, so I thought I’d give it try! Result?  Delicious!  This version needed a little more lime/salt punch, so I’m thinking I’ll try again and add a little lime salt (I haven’t tried this yet….so no promises).  I might also try different chips.  I used Tostitos lime chips, but perhaps a stronger chili-lime chip may help.  But overall, not a bad dessert! Or afternoon snack…..

So here’s what I used, ingredients:

1 stick of butter
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 c brown sugar, lightly packed
~1.5 c lightly smashed lime chips (I used tostitos lime chips, but might try a limey-er or chili-lime chip next time)
~1/8 c chopped and toasted almonds (optional)

1.  I actually used my FAVORITE brittle recipe, but cut it in half – just in case it was nasty.  I typically use a full jelly roll pan for my usual recipe, but since I cut it in half, I used foil to make a mini pan inside my bigger pan.  Can you see what I did?  If you have a pan that’s half the size of a full jelly roll pan, obviously use that.

2014-Lime Brittle-00072. Prep the brittle – melt the butter and sugars in a pan until they get frothy.  Then pour over the chips.

2014-Lime Brittle-00103.  Bake at 385 for 8 min (my oven cooks hot, so I always turn it down a touch, just keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t burn).  It should get a little golden and bubbly.  Remove it from the oven and sprinkle the almonds over the top immediately (otherwise they won’t stick).  Enjoy!

Has anyone ever tried making something like this?  Any tips?

Chocolate Making with Rachel Dunn

Over the holidays, my girlfriends and I decided to buy a travelzoo deal for a chocolate making course.  Yes, this is a far cry from cauliflower pizza.

We finally cashed in our chocolate making vouchers last Friday night at Rachel Dunn’s in Concord.  Waivers in hand (yes, waivers!), we were ready to make chocolate!

To be honest, I was skeptical.  I don’t consider myself a chocolate pro, but I’ve been around the chocolate block a few times.  This isn’t my first chocolate rodeo.  I’ve dipped peanut butter balls, molded chocolate, and dipped cake pops with the best of them.

Once at the shop (or is it shoppe?) we donned the requisite hair net and apron.  So much for looking cute on our girls night out!

Turns out, Rachel Dunn is kind of a big deal.  She appeared on the Rosie O’donnel show a few times back in the day and has been pretty popular ever since.  Her chocolate knowledge is kind of incredible.  She knows her stuff.

So, how does chocolate making work?  Well, they should really call it a chocolate dipping class.  We basically dipped and decorated over 20 different items! We learned some dipping techniques and how to make the things we dipped (turns out they have to be made at least a day or two in advance – really makes you appreciate finer chocolates).

We even learned how to make a strawberry tuxedo.  Super fancy, right?!

So if you’re looking for a fun activity to do with friends, check out Rachel Dunn’s Chocolate Class!  Our travelzoo deal was $25 (the class is usually $55).  Not positive I’d pay $55 but totally worth it for $25!  It looks like she offers others – we saw a chocolate mouse from her class the night before.  So who knows, maybe we’ll find ourselves back another day!

Whipped Cream, Cream Cheese Frosting

Also known as the best frosting ever.

If you’re a fan of cream cheese frosting, try this recipe.  It’s lighter than normal cream cheese frosting (in texture….probably not in calories).  And it holds its shape, even at room temp.

Ingredients

1.5c whipping cream
1 3/4c + 2 Tbs powdered sugar
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla

1.  Combine whipping cream and 2 Tbs powdered sugar in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  Scrape down the sides at least twice.  Beat until it’s STIFF.  When you pull the whisk out of the whipping cream, there shouldn’t be any peaks.  It should just separate.  Found a good pic over at dirtylaundrykitchen.com

stiff-whipped-cream2. Remove the whipped cream from the mixing bowl and set aside in another – similarly sized – bowl.

3. Combine the cream cheese, vanilla, and 1 3/4c powdered sugar in the stand mixer (I don’t actually wash out my bowl, just scrape it and move on – this only works if you do the whipped cream FIRST).  I used the paddle attachment and beat until well combined.  When it looks well combined, turn up the mixer to 8ish and beat for another 30 seconds.

4.  Fold the cream cheese in with the whipping cream.  FOLD don’t STIR.  You’ll get rid of all the fluffy-ness if you stir it.  Once it’s well combined, you can pipe with it immediately, or leave it in the fridge until you’re ready.

For cupcakes, I use the 1M tip from Wilton.  At the very least, you’ll need the tip, a coupler and a pastry bag.

1M Wilton Tip
Coupler
Disposable Frosting Bags

Let me know if you’re interested in learning how to frost a cupcake. I could definitely do a post on that!

What I love about this frosting, is that it seriously dresses up a cupcake.  I made box cupcakes and added my frosting.  It’s a lot easier than making both from scratch, but still has a homemade feel!

Nick’s working on polishing off the leftovers.  So far I’ve been good and only eaten one – after dinner on Saturday.  We’ll see how long that lasts!

Quick and easy bread recipe

In general, we don’t eat a lot of bread.  Or rice.  Or pasta.  We’re not on a “no carb” diet and we’re not gluten free, we just try to keep it out of meals as best we can.

That being said, I can’t get enough of warm bread, fresh out of the oven.  I once bought a loaf of bread at the store, just because it was warm.  I had no need for it, but it just seemed like the right thing to do.

This past weekend, while the rest of the country was getting pummeled by snow, California was getting rain.  This meant that we all retreated into our homes and bundled up – because 50 and rainy is barbaric!  Beef stew sounded like a perfect cold weather meal.  But what sounded even better, was beef stew and homemade bread.  I’m a glutton for punishment, I know!

That’s when I found this awesome recipe! No kneading, and best of all, you can store it for up to 3 weeks!

So I quickly whipped up a 1/2 batch (wasn’t sure I wanted to blow 6 cups of flour on the recipe until I knew it was good) and went about my day.

That evening, I pulled off a “chunk” of dough, and threw it in the oven.  Voila!  A lovely mini loaf that I could split with Nick.  Delicious and portion controlled!

On Monday, Nick had dinner in a luxury box at Oracle arena, while I had leftover stew.  It sounds like he got the better end of the deal, but in fact he did not! I had a homemade, fresh out of the oven roll to go with my leftover stew!

And last night, we made another mini loaf.  Yeah, we’re fans of leftovers.

After posting a picture on instagram/facebook, a lot of people seemed interested, so I thought I’d let you all know what I did.

Here’s the recipe I used, adapted from here.

1.5C Warm water (warm NOT hot)3/4 Tbs Yeast
3/4 Tbs Salt
3 1/4C Bread Flour

1.  Mix the water, salt and yeast in a bowl or tupperware
2.  Let it sit and wait until the yeast has dissolved and starts to bubble a little
3.  Add flour and mix until everything is combined
4.  Put it in a 9-10c tupperware – or any container with a lid that holds about 9-10 cps
5.  Cover lightly and let the dough rise until it basically fills the empty volume
6.  Put it in the fridge

When you want bread:

1.  Cut off a piece of dough from your mix, form it into a loaf-like shape and place it on some parchment paper
2.  We use our baking steel, and get the oven to 450F
3.  We put the parchment straight on the baking steel and bake for 12-20min, depending on how big the loaf is.  Most of ours have been “mini” so the baking is pretty short.  A full loaf will probably take closer to 30min.  Just FYI.  Keep an eye on it and pull it out when it starts to get nice and golden brown!

Bread 3

The dough gets tastier as it ages, and it definitely tasted better last night than it did on Sunday!  Doesn’t this make you want some warm bread?!  I know!  So go do it!

Rice Krispy Treats are the New Cake Pops

I think my current goal is to make Rice Krispy Treats the new must-have dessert.  As popular as cake pops at birthdays and cupcakes at weddings.

Rice Krispy Treats are the new Cake Pops!

I’ve already made the 4th of July version as well as the white/purple/pink version.  And let’s not forget the epic rainbow version that has yet to get any repins on pinterest.

You can understand how excited I was when I was asked to make “paint brush rice krispy treats” for Lana’s 3rd birthday.  Yet another rice krispy “recipe” to add to my list!

Ingredients (double batch)

12 cups rice krispies1 stick of butter
1 Tbs Vanilla
2 10 oz bags of marshmallows

Wilton candy melts
Vegetable Oil
Sticks

1.  Melt the butter, vanilla and marshmallows in the microwave.
2.  Mix in rice krispies
3.  Press into a jelly roll pan
4.  Let cool and cut into 1″ x 1.5-2″ pieces
5.  Melt the candy.  I used about 1/2 of a cup of unmelted chips + 1.5tsp of vegetable oil
6.  Dip the stick into a plain color (I used white) and then put the stick in the rice krispy treat – repeat with all the rice krispy treats
7.  Dip the treats into a colored chocolate.  Then tip it upright and tap a few times on the counter – this will help make them look “drippy” (the oil help makes the chocolate drip a bit better)8.  I cooled them on styrofoam blocks – you can lay them down if you want, but I think they look a bit better if they try upright.
9. Voila!

I added the paint palette afterwards.  I wanted to make sure people knew that the “drips” were on purpose and not me being sloppy.  Yeah, that thought literally went through my head.

Happy Monday!