Monthly Archives: July 2010

“Best of 2000” Cinnamon Buns – End of July NaBloPoMo

First of all, thank you Ms. Kanis! You were always a wonderful, attentive, fair teacher who knew what she was doing!

This recipe came from a cooking class I took back in high school. No other cinnamon bun recipe, prior to, or post, this one, has impressed me as much. To me, these are truly the BEST. Not just from the year 2000 either.

Very few foods offer me the pleasure of wiping my brain clean, then flooding with the very taste and texture of it. I don’t often go, “WOW, this is GOOD.” Once was a pizza I ate in junior high, it tasted vaguely of butter. Don’t ask. Another time was during eighth period Culinary Arts, a single bite of cinnamon sugar encrusted brioche-tasting dough.

After I lost the recipe last year, I have searched up and down, in and out, for it. Finally, when I went back to Jersey earlier this summer I visited Ms. Kanis at my high school to get a copy. So so happy I have it again. It’s gem.

I think I can justify eating one for breakfast if it wasn’t glazed. Save the glazed ones for dessert, although the glazed ones are definitely better than the non-glazed. The taste of butter dominates in the glaze and adds an extra “oomph” to the bun. These are sticky, chewy, gooey. Everything you need in a cinnamon bun.

This remains one of the only recipes that I do not alter.

“Best of 2000” Cinnamon Buns
adapted from Ms. Kanis, WWPHSS, with much love and gratitude
makes 12 large buns

Dough:
1 package active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 tsp.
1/2 c. warm water
1/3 c. plus 1/2 tsp. sugar, divided
1/2 c. warm milk
1/3 c. butter, unsalted, softened
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 1/2 c. to 4 c. all-purpose flour or bread flour

Filling:
1/2 c. melted butter, unsalted, divided
3/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. chopped walnuts, I toasted mine first
3/4 c. raisins, optional, we didn’t use it in class, and I’ve never used it

Glaze:
1/3 c. melted butter, unsalted
2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-4 Tbsp. hot water

To make the dough:

  1. Combine yeast, warm water, and 1/2 tsp. sugar in a measuring cup and stir, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix warmed milk, remaining 1/3 c. sugar, butter, salt, and egg; stir well and add yeast mixture.
  3. Add half the flour and beat until smooth. Work in enough of the remaining flour to make a slightly stiff dough, it will be sticky.
  4. Turn out onto a well-floured counter. Knead 5-10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour to the work surface as needed to keep it from sticking. As Ms. Kanis used to say, “As smooth as a baby’s bottom, or as smooth as my grandmother’s cheek.”
  5. Place in a well-buttered bowl, cover and let ruse until doubled in bulk. You can place it in the fridge overnight.

To make the filling:

  1. Punch down the dough and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll out on floured counter into a 15 by 20 inch rectangle.
  2. Spread dough with 1/4 c. melted butter.
  3. Mix together 3/4 c. sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle walnuts and raisins, if using.
  4. Roll up jelly-roll fashion, starting from the short side, so you end up with a 15 inch. log. Pinch edges to seal and cut into 12 slices
  5. Coat the bottom of a 9 by 13 baking pan (I used two 9 inch round pans) with remaining 1/4 c. melted butter. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar. Place slices close together in pans. Cover and let rise until doubled. Once again, you can refridgerate overnight. For a treat in the morning!
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 23-30 minutes, or until nicely browned. Let cool slightly, then spread with glaze.

To make the glaze:

  1. Mix melted butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 Tbsp. at a time until glaze is of desired consistency.
  2. Stir again before using.

If there is anything that makes me happy, even when I’m down, it’s these cinnamon buns. It fills your house with the comforting scent of cinnamon and sugar and your heart with happiness. Enjoy. 🙂

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast, Comfort Food, Pastries

Ribs for Lunch

Alas, we have come to the end of July, which means the conclusion of my National Blog Posting Month. I have posted every day for the past month, and I have enjoyed sharing both food stuffs and life stuffs with you. Although there were a couple days when I wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t have blogged, if not for my commitmend, I stuck it through, and I’m glad I did.

For this last post, I have no real food stuffs because, unfortunately, I’ve been out all day, to a company-sponsored BBQ lunch. Ribs was the main idea. Accompanied by the traditional potato salad, coleslaw, Boston baked beans, and a myriad of other sides. The meat was juicy but could have been cooked a tad longer, for more smokey goodness. I had strawberry shortcake for dessert, and make-your-own ice cream sundae for post-dessert.

Sadly, no other pictures of food since I have both an old camera and old batteries, which means the battery life is about 30 pictures. They are happily getting replaced soon.

I’m currently baking my brother a birthday cake. It will be in the shape of a soccer ball. Wish me luck! 🙂

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Filed under Meat, Uncategorized

Double Bean Fried Rice with Cashews

We always have leftover rice at our house. Always. It’s because no one like rice, except my brother. But my dad actually gets offended and yells at me if I give Franklin more rice at the dinner table.

That is why we always have leftovers.

Which is the blank canvas for a plethora of different kinds of fried rice. Lunch was fried rice with green beans and green soy beans (available at Asian food markets). Also toasted cashews, which adds a great nuttiness and crunch to every bite.

Double Bean Fried Rice with Cashews

2 c. leftover white rice, fluffed
1/2 c. whole cashews, coarsely chopped
1 c. trimmed green beans, cut in 1/4 inch segments
1 c. frozen green soy beans
1/4 lb. kielbasa sausage, diced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp. oil
salt to taste

  1. Heat oil in a hot wok over medium high heat. Add green onions, garlic, and cashews.
  2. Toast, stirring, for about a minute. Add the sausage and brown for about a minute.
  3. Add the green beans and cook for about three minutes, or until tender.
  4. Add the soy beans and heat through. Finally add the rice and distribute evenly throughout the vegetables.
  5. Heat for an additional three minutes. Salt to taste.

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Filed under Chinese, Lunch

Baking with Carolyn

I had my chocolate fix today. It should last at least a week. My sister, Carolyn, made a large batch of large brownie cookies with me. Usually I don’t break out the box mixes, but it’s much easier for Carolyn to begin to learn about baking if we work with a mix.

And it was good.

When you prepare a brownie mix the normal and place humongous scoops of it on a cookie sheet and bake it at 350 degrees you end up with ginormous black forest dark cookies. These disks have wonderfully chewy edges that remind one of candy and meltingly tender centres. Oh yeah, they also pack an impossible chocolate punch. Even the most die-hard chocoholics will need milk with these cookies.

I am no die-hard anything, except maybe for kouign aman, so by the time I had my third bite I was quite deliriously reaching for milk. Then I had a tenth bite, a fifteenth bite, and so on.

If you love chewy brownies, these kick the chewiness up ten notches. Next time you make brownies, make them into cookies instead. You will not regret it.

P.S. Carolyn makes a great little helper!

P.P.S. She helped me whip up a batch of cinnamon buns too, so guess what we are having for breakfast tomorrow? 😉

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Filed under Bars and Brownies, Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts

The Best of BetterBaking.com

This is one of my favourite cookbooks, of all the ones I own. I think I was first drawn in by the most breathtaking photo of a cheesecake I’d ever seen. It looked moist and soft and creamy and luscious and sinful. It was an Oreo cheesecake, but the author, Marcy Goldman explained that it was renamed because the company mailed her, asking her to stop using the name because of copyright issues. She did, and pointed out that it was out there in print from countless sources in countless recipes. She had a point.

The book includes many little stories like that, related to the recipes. She also offers tidbits of advice and suggestions throughout the book. It’s just so useful.

I’d always been drawn in by her recipe of a pastry called kouign aman, it’s also on my wish list of things to make. She describes that she found it in a little pastry shop in Montreal. This didn’t strike me as anything special until earlier this year when I realized, after sxploring the bakeries in Montreal, where I’d moved to for school, that the bakery that I have come to love was the exact same bakery described in her book! What a wonderful coincidence. Kouign aman is my vice, well, one of them anyways. I encourage you to find some, if you could. After the first taste, there is no turning back.

I understand there is a new edition now with a few new recipes. I would be interested in seeking what new yummy things she has added. Who knows? Since Ms. Goldman is based in Montreal, she might mention another bakery that I frequent. I encourage you to check out her website also.

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Filed under Book Reviews