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

I’m Finally All Caught Up

This is the last post of things from the end of the semester, and it’s devoted to baked goods in cupcake/muffin form.

I tried my hand at homemade carrot cake with the Carrot Cake Cupcakes from Baking Bites. It was a completely spur of the moment baking decision, as I should have been packing and organizing my room to move rather than baking. They were totally worth the lost packing time, even though they were ever so slightly over-baked.

They ended up sinking and being flatter than I expected, but that just meant that I could put more cream cheese frosting on top in order to create domes. Good plan!

Overall they were very good and I would like to make them again, but this time I’ll pay closer attention to them while they’re in the oven.

To be honest, I can’t remember exactly which recipe I used to make these cinnamon sugar doughnut muffins, but I’m pretty sure I used this one from How To: Simplify.

I wish I could remember because they were so good and I want to be able to make them again.

Well, that about wraps it up for baking from the end of the semester, so now I can look forward to my summer baking, which I can assure you will be very fun!

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

It Had to Happen Eventually

It was only a matter of time. I failed. That’s the only way to put it. I tried making apple turnovers, and I failed. Miserably. I should have known something bad would happen when the filling was running all over the puff pastry and also when the pastry wouldn’t stick together without LOTS of squeezing and manipulating from turnovers to purses. All I can say is thank goodness I didn’t leave the kitchen after I put them in to bake, or the aftermath would have been much worse than a few filling dribbles in the oven. I was so looking forward to breakfast pastries for the next couple of days, but it looks like that’s not going to be happening and I’ll have to find something else for breakfast tomorrow and Monday. I don’t even know if I want to photograph that poor baking sheet and the sad things upon it.

OH. I just had an idea. Maybe I can still salvage this by transferring everything to one of my glass dishes and baking it that way. Instead it’ll be a sticky, caramelly, appley, desserty thing, rather than a nice clean morning apple turnover. I’m going to see what can be made of the situation.

So, it looks like I’m going to need to clean the oven a bit, because I smell burning sugar. Wonderful.

AH SUCCESS! I can’t believe I salvaged that huge mess. It smells so yummy and I can’t wait to dig in.

Yay!

Edit: Oh, wow, I’m REALLY glad I didn’t toss these after the first attempt mishap. SO GOOD! I don’t want to stop eating them now that I’ve already had one. They’re the new Lay’s potato chip in my life.

Baking, Celtic Thunder

“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Au-tumn”

Okay, so Fall started a while ago, but I’m just now getting around to making my famous apple pie. It seems like during the past couple of years I’ve been slacking in the apple-y creations department, and I guess a part of that is that I haven’t gone apple picking and come home with apples go leor (“a lot”). I guess that’s one downside to college life in NYC. I remember only making one pie at Thanksgiving and then another at Christmas last year, and nothing else apple related. I want that to change this year, though. I’m thinking about making an apple crisp sometime soon, as well. Maybe apple turnovers and something else, too. I just need to get my hand on more apples, so it looks like a trip to Trader Joe’s will be in order; if only those little buggers weren’t so heavy once you have more than a couple of them. But I suppose the end results will be yummy enough and worth the hassle of lugging them down here from Union Square.

I’m getting super impatient in waiting for my pie to be ready to take out of the oven. . . . Come on apple pie, bake up faster, le do thoil (“please”), I want to eat youuuuu.

FINALLY. May I present, total deliciousness in a 9-inch pan.

And now on a CT-related note: HAPPY 32ND BIRTHDAY TO MY DARK DESTROYER!! A Ryan, Breithlá Shona Duit!

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

Oh the Things that Happen…

I’ve been breaking in my kitchen by making some of the few things I have ingredients for. The other day when a friend was staying with me, I desperately wanted to bake, and what resulted was snickerdoodles. Unfortunately, I remembered that my wonderful cooling rack was 250 miles away, which meant I had to find a different way to cool my cookies so that the bottoms would not either overcook by being put directly on foil after they were out of the oven or become soggy because of condensation due to a hot cookie being put on a cool surface. What resulted was something that I can only describe as being epic, ingenious, and hilarious. Because my friend happens to enjoy an Asian lifestyle and thus has many such accouterments for her own kitchen, we employed none other than chopsticks to cool my cookies, and they worked wonderfully. 

I never thought I’d see anything like this happen in my kitchen, but it was a brilliant idea that really worked in a pinch, resulting in deliciously perfect snickerdoodles