Baking

How Many Ways Can I Use Cinnamon?

I just want to reiterate that I LOVE cinnamon; without a doubt, it’s my favorite spice/flavor. I’m always looking for ways to consume it, be it via cinnamon rolls, a sprinkling in my hot cocoa, cookies, anything.

I have a go-to cinnamon roll recipe, but even though it only takes about 90 minutes from start to finish, I still find baking them to be a messy hassle and not worth it for how often I crave them. Enter Cinnamon Roll Pancakes from Recipe Girl!

They’re pure heaven on a plate, that’s the only way to describe them. The cinnamon swirl cooks up and becomes crusty and delicious, spreading all over the pancake and creating a wonderfully crystallized coating.

The first  time I made them I decided against topping them with the glaze. They were perfect plain, and even though Recipe Girl highly recommends the glaze, it seemed like overkill when I topped them with it the second time I made them.

One issue I had with this recipe came up when I actually flipped the pancakes to cook the swirled side. More often than not the swirl would seep out from the pancake and start to burn in my pan. A few times that led to some smoking and burning, with me begging and pleading with the pan to not get too smokey and burned. I ended up rinsing out the pan after each pancake in order to avoid this, but that made the whole process take a lot longer than I anticipated, since I had to wait for the pan to heat up again each time.

The final results were entirely worth this slight hassle, and I think I’ve found the perfect substitute for when I want cinnamon rolls but don’t want to make a giant mess with flour all over the counter. The almost instant gratification with these isn’t so bad either, which is perfect for my impatient self.

And because this wasn’t enough cinnamon, I also tried my hand at a new Snickerdoodle recipe from Smitten Kitchen. This is probably the best one I’ve tried out so far, so I’ll stick with it if I want snickerdoodles in the future.

They went over really well when I brought them to a party at work, however they didn’t all disappear and so I brought the remainder home. For some reason they didn’t all get eaten immediately, but that was actually a blessing in disguise.

These cookies stay soft for SO LONG. I only had them in a ziploc bag, but they stayed fresh and delicious for more than a week. I’ve never experienced this with cookies before, and I wish I knew what was so special about them to have this result. For this reason alone–never mind that they’re delicious–these snickerdoodles get a top-notch rating and my wholehearted recommendation to everyone.

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Baking

Cinnamony Breakfast Treats

My favorite spice is definitely cinnamon. I love it in my apple pies, my cinnamon rolls, my oatmeal, and even in my hot chocolate. While I was at home I was itching to make cinnamon rolls, but my sleep schedule didn’t really allow it, seeing as how I started sleeping until noon with great frequency. When I make cinnamon rolls I like to make them in the morning and eat them fresh out of the oven while they’re still hot and gooey. There’s nothing better than that delicious cinnamon flavor mixed with soft and tender dough. Making them is truly a labor of love, and I guess that’s why I don’t make them all too often; it’s probably also because there’s just so much butter and sugar in them that they are not in the least bit healthy, and I can’t convince myself otherwise. Why must some of the most delicious things be the worst for you? I’d like to believe in all things in moderation, but it’s just so hard to resist these when they’re sitting in their pan, looking and smelling so irresistible.

While these aren’t exactly winning any health food awards, they are considerably less butter-laden than my go-to cinnamon rolls. These Cinnamon Bun Muffins from Crepes of Wrath are such a simple alternative to all of the rising and rolling and flour mayhem I usually have to go through when I want a cinnamony breakfast  food. I made them over break as a quick substitute, and my father likened them to the Drake Coffee Cakes, but better. I have to agree with his assessment, at least on an aesthetic level because most of them didn’t rise up and have actual “muffin tops”; they just kind of stayed in the tins and did their own little thing. I don’t know if that’s my fault or the yeast’s fault.

I can safely say, though, that there was too much yeast in them, because I could taste it. Maybe it’s because I didn’t get the milk hot enough to dissolve or because I used whole milk. Next time I make them I will also probably just use one packet, rather than two, which was what my measuring out four teaspoons somehow amounted to–don’t ask me how that happened.

This one was one of the only ones that miraculously rose up well, and might I say it looked and was very yummy; yeasty, but yummy. The icing helped to mask the yeast flavor, so plus one for the icing. I didn’t make the icing the way the recipe said, however. Instead, when I was making the cheesecakes, I set aside some of the cream cheese and powdered sugar mixture in the fridge and added just enough milk to get it to a nice consistency.

Yesterday, I was craving some sort of cinnamon something, and so I dug up a recipe I found a while ago for Donut Muffins. I omitted the nutmeg (I’m just not much of a fan), and instead substituted about a teaspoon and a half of cinnamon. I also added some additional milk to the recipe because it was just SO thick. I then baked them up in my mini muffin tin, and got adorable little mini donut muffins; they look just like doughnut holes.

Then, because there wasn’t enough cinnamon yet, I added a couple of shakes of it to the glaze I made. It was just powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon–really simple.

Once they cooled, I dunked each mini donut into the glaze and put them aside to set. Two of them happened to mysteriously disappear before I took this picture. I wonder what happened to them.

They are SO yummy. I might try a plain batch next time, just for kicks and giggles.

Baking

I’ve Been Waiting So Long For This Morning

I’ve been dying to make cinnamon rolls ever since August, but my sad kitchen situation has prevented me from doing so. My lack of counter space makes it hard to roll out dough, and I’m not about to roll it out on my disgusting, porous wooden tables. I wouldn’t do that in my own home, let alone in a college dorm. . . . Who knows what has been put on those tables before, and I certainly don’t want to know. My only option for dough-rolling was to clear off the small counter and scrub it like I’ve never scrubbed before. I was suitably satisfied with my scrubbing abilities afterward, so I felt fine doing it there. All I can say is why did it take me until today to clean the counter? I LOVE my cinnamon roll recipe, and if it wasn’t so unhealthy, I would love to make it more often. As it is, I haven’t made them since July, and I probably won’t make them again until Thanksgiving or Christmas when I’m home with my family. At least then I won’t be required to eat them all by myself. Because that’s such a hard job ;).

They turned out so wonderfully. I took some reviewers’ advice and turned them out into another pan so that all the filling could seep from the bottom of the pan and back into the rolls. Usually it all collects in the bottom and some goes to waste, but this way it can all be consumed, which makes for a very happy me. I also made a cream cheese glaze/frosting to top them off, and I must say it is delicious. Slightly tangy from the cream cheese, but not too tangy, and just runny enough that it can soak into the rolls and go down the sides. My last attempt at it was really frosting-y and thick, but I think this time resulted in the perfect glaze.

Yummy perfection in gooey roll form.

In addition to cinnamon rolls this morning, the quiet and solitude in my suite last night resulted in a delicious home made chocolate pudding. I tried making pudding from scratch before, but it just didn’t turn out as well as I anticipated. Since no one was home, I was able to take my time and slowly bring the pudding mixture to a boil to thicken it. Most recipes generally call for corn starch to be used as a thickener, but I had to substitute in flour, and I was pleased with the results. I also added some chocolate chips in order to give it a deeper chocolate taste, since I don’t like to rely on cocoa powder as the sole chocolate source. I’m definitely going to make this recipe again, keeping my alterations of course. I just wish I had some cool whip or something to make it into a mousse. It’s a very rich pudding, which is surprising, since I made it with skim milk. Goodness knows how it would have turned out with whole milk. It would most certainly be a glorious chocolate death.

Baking, Celtic Thunder, Crafting

The End of the Summer

Classes officially start tomorrow, meaning I don’t know how much crafting will get done during this semester. I do know, however, that with my Celtic Thunder concerts less than a month away, that there will certainly be posts chronicling those adventures, starting with my reactions to seeing them on QVC this Wednesday. I’m also going to try to bake up a storm on Sundays, so hopefully I’ll be able to post roughly once a week, although that may be stretching it a tad bit. In any event, I’m sad to be losing what crafting time I had this summer, because I’m sure as soon as my schedule becomes endlessly hectic, I’m going to get the urge to make something to relieve the stress (and to procrastinate). Oh well. But this semester should be a blast, so I’m not as sad as I might be if I wasn’t looking forward to two of my four classes (let’s face it, my two lit courses are just going to kill me no matter how hard I try or how on top of my assignments I stay, so what’s to look forward to with those). I wish I had an amigurumi to post about tonight, but the past few days have been rather busy–a nice preview of what is to come. Once I finally get the remainder of my kitchen things in the mail, I’m planning on making cinnamon rolls and muffins, so that’s something else to look forward to.

Baking

A Long Time Coming

Last week I went home for the first time since January, and I must say, I was FREEZING in my house. I’m just not used to being in air-conditioned places for long periods of time, so I spent a lot of time under a blanket. One good thing about the cooler indoor temperatures was that I was able to bake without personally baking. I started off slowly, with just a double batch of my chocolate chip cookies to bring to a reunion lunch the next day.

Then, on the morning of the lunch I made some cinnamon rolls with a cream cheese icing, but they didn’t last for very long, hence the lack of a picture. However, they didn’t look very different from the ones I made for Midnight Breakfast, so that picture will work just fine.

The next night I wanted to make a cake, but I changed my mind and settled on cupcakes and a vanilla buttercream frosting.

I do wonder what my parents have done with all the treats I left at home. Have they eaten them all? Let them go stale?

Baking

Catching Up

This past week has been insanely busy, thanks to finals and work, which means it was the PERFECT time to bake up a storm. Right? Well, that’s what happened. There was the bread and cake from Sunday, but then it just continued.

Tuesday was the school-sponsored "Midnight Breakfast", and I have learned my lesson and won’t be frequenting that event again, partially because it’s held so far from my dorm. So, like last semester, I took matters into my own hands and created a wonderful Midnight Breakfast for myself and my suitemates. Unlike the food from my school, this breakfast was actually hot and GOOD. Rather than cold waffles/pancakes/bacon/dry muffins, my creations consisted of homemade cinnamon rolls with copious amounts of frosting, pancakes, blueberry sauce, strawberries, whipped cream, nutella, and scrambled eggs. I know it wasn’t a wonderful cross-section of the breakfast world, but any more and we wouldn’t have been able to move or study.

The cinnamon rolls made the kitchen smell heavenly when they were in the oven; so much cinnamon-y goodness. The pancakes decided to be extremely temperamental, and so only a couple of them cooked up nice and evenly golden. 

  

 

Thursday morning prompted the baking of lemon blueberry scones, and the first batch was okay, nothing amazing. If I hadn’t been in a rush to get to an exam I would have baked them for a couple minutes longer to get them a bit browner. When I finally got around to baking up the rest of the batter, it had been sitting in the fridge for a couple of days, and so they turned out more akin to fortune cookies in respect to their taste. All in all, this scone-venture was a failure. I think i need to make one more batch so I don’t end on a bad scone note. 

I admit I didn’t make this cake. One of the secretaries at the school I work at bought it for the little party we had for my last day there. It was a pretty little cake, but once I saw the ingredients list it became much less pretty. I think I’m becoming a bit of a baking purist. But it’s the thought that counts, and it’s not like I’m going to hold this against her, partially because it was such a cute little cake.

Tomorrow, I’ll be baking up a cake for my suitemates’ graduation, so I need to start thinking about what it’s going to be and what it’s going to look like. Hopefully it’ll turn out well.