Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sweet Potato Cinnamon will never look at a sweet potato the same way again.

Autumn has officially arrived, even if the temperatures outside say otherwise. I came across a recipe online the other day which incorporated one of my favorite side dishes and breakfast foods, sweet potatoes and cinnamon rolls.

This is an excellent recipe and gives you delicious, fluffy cinnamon rolls that are gooey and will leave you wanting more. If you are wondering if they taste like mashed sweet potatoes, the answer is...not even slightly. These have a great flavor and remain moist.

Here are the ingredients:

2 envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup melted butter
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Extra Melted Butter, set aside (about 1/4 cup)

2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Take the yeast, warm water, and sugar and stir together until bubbles being to form. Let stand 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, pour the yeast mixture and 1/2 cup flour, and mix together with electric mixer. Add mashed potatoes, egg, buttermilk, sugar, butter, orange zest, cinnamon, salt, and soda, and mix together with mixer. Next, using a large spoon, incorporate 4 cups flour to the mixture, and stir until dough forms, coming together to hold a shape. Dough will be very sticky.

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover with a damp towel and either place in refrigerator overnight to rise or let stand in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled in bulk.

While dough is rising, mix all of the ingredients for the filling together until well blended.

Flour surface of a large area of counter top, and with dough still in the bowl, punch down. Turn dough out onto the well floured surface; roll into an 18- x 10-inch rectangle. Next, take the extra melted butter that you sat aside and spread it evenly onto the dough. Next, spread evenly with the filling leaving a 1-inch border. Roll up the dough, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. Cut into 1 1/2-inch slices, and arrange in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Bake rolls at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Allow rolls to cool slightly. While rolls are cooling, this is the perfect time to make the icing. In a bowl, combine powdered sugar and the vanilla extract, gradually add the milk a teaspoon at a time until icing is to a pouring consistency. Once the rolls have cooled, drizzle the icing over the top.

This recipe is a little more involved than the others and does take awhile to finish. But, trust me on this is definitely WORTH the wait!! Enjoy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Annie Lou Unleashed in the City....

Since this blog is still so new, I figured it would be a great time to unleash my special recipe upon the bustling metropolis that is NYC. Are you ready to get baked, NYC? Buckle your seat belts.

Truth be told, this cookie isn't all that special, it is your normal chocolate chip cookie with a few twists. However, when you taste it, you will understand how amazing this is. I started making these about 6 years ago in college after doing a little trial and error baking, and have never looked back. I really liked to make these for my dad when he was still alive. He would take them hunting so that he would have a delicious treat when he was out in the cold. Dad...this one is for you.

The "Annie Lou" Cookie

2 1/2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Ground Oats (this is the gives the cookie a richer flavor than flour alone!)
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
2 Sticks Butter (this should be at room temperature!)
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs (these too need to be at room temperature...and this goes for whenever you're baking!)
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 package of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 package Toffee Bits

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Take the dry ingredients (flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt) and mix them together in a bowl and set aside. Next, you need to take the butter and whip the butter until it is smooth with a mixer set on medium. Next, take the sugars and cream together with the mixer on medium for about 3 minutes, scraping the sides as needed (Note: the key to any cookie recipe is to really cream the butter and sugars together for a longer period of time than you think necessary, so always do this for at least 3 minutes!). After that, crack open the eggs and throw those in the bowl along with the vanilla, and mix again until it is all thoroughly incorporated. Take the bowl with the dry ingredients and start to pour in a little bit of the mixture at a time, beating it on medium, until everything is mixed together well. Next, dump in the chocolate chips and toffee bits into the bowl and with a large spoon, stir the dough until the chips and bits are evenly distributed throughout. Spoon (or, if you are meet, wash your hands and use them instead!) the dough out onto your cookie sheets, and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes (depending on how soft or crunchy you want them to be). Lastly, and cerntainly not least......EAT!!!!!!

I love making double batches and then putting the dough in the freezer. This is a great way to do the same amount of work, but have the ability to have freshly baked cookies whenever you want to. I just take wax paper, plop down the remainder of the dough and form it into long logs (like the shape of the tubes of slice and bake cookies), roll it up in the paper, and then throw the bags in the freezer. When you need it, you take it out, slice it off, and bake it like normal.

Is this recipe that much different than a normal chocolate chip cookie? Nope, but the taste really is amazing. The best part about this cookie is that you can dress it up how you like. Like milk chocolate chips and peanut butter chips? Go for it! You want nuts? Do it! But, just make sure you have a glass of milk to wash it all down with.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Death by Chocolate? It was worth it.

It is officially my first baked good since creating this blog. What did I choose? CHOCOLATE CAKE. Why? My friend Ashley's birthday is today, and she is so awesome that she deserves being the reason for my first blog entry. Plus, there is nothing quite like a delicious, rich chocolate cake. Here are the ingredients for the cake:

Butter (for greasing the pans)
1 3/4 C. all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 C. sugar
3/4 C. Cocoa Powder (I am using Hershey's)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 C. Buttermilk (remember to shake the carton to mix up the milk!)
1/2 C. Veggie Oil
2 Egg (at room temperature of course!)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extra
1 C. Freshly Brewed Coffee (this doesn't make it a mocha flavor, promise!)

This cake is really simple. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. You are going to next grease your cake pans (8-inch) with a big of butter until the surface is covered and then flour them (just coat the flour with a fine dusting and tap out any excess).

Basically you mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl and all of the wet ingredients. In a larger bowl, sift in the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Take an electric mixer (on low) and slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Next, add the coffee and stir until it is all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and then back 35-40 minutes (I have a gas oven, so I baked it for 35 minutes). To test, just stick a toothpick in and take out the cakes when the toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan (about 20 minutes or so) and then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Now for the frosting.....

6 oz. Semisweet Chocolate (I am using Hershey's baking chocolate)
2 Sticks Butter (this reciped called for unsalted, but I am using salted...I like the flavor better)
1 Egg Yolk (room temperature)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

First, chop up the chocolate up and put it into a double boiler (put a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of bowling water). Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature. Next, in a bowl, beat the butter on medium-high with an electric mixer until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating another 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, and then add slowly the powdered sugar, then turn it up to medium, scraping sides constantly, until smooth. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 tsp. of hot water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the mixture and mix until blended.

Once you are finished with the frosting, place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second later on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

This last step, the easiest, should be done in moderation: EAT!!! Then again, who has the willpower for moderation? It is CHOCOLATE after all!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Preparing to "Get Baked"

Truth be told....I'm not a blogger. I am horrible at keeping journals and hardly ever feel the need to write. However, I do enjoy baking. Pies, cakes, cookies, cupcakes....they are all fun. I enjoy trying new recipes and tweaking them to my preferences. So, in the spirit of sharing (and remembering which recipes work and don't work), I decided to create this site to document my way through cups of flour, teaspoons of vanilla, and mountains of chocolate chips. Try the recipes and feel free to leave helpful feedback. So let's go NYC.... let's all "Get Baked."