Monday, September 28, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1/2 Cup water (110-115°, bath water temp)
  • 2 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 11/2 Cups whole milk
  • 1/2 Cup butter (1 stick)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 6 Cups white flour (approximately)

  • 1 c sugar
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 c butter, softened

  • 1 # powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c softened butter
  • 4-6 Tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Dissolve the yeast and teaspoon of sugar in the warm water in a large mixing bowl and let sit about 5 minutes until foamy. While that is sitting, put the milk and butter in a glass pitcher or microwaveable dish. Heat in microwave about 1 1/2 minutes to 110-115°. The butter does not need to melt totally. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, milk/butter and about 1/2 of the flour to the yeast mix. Stir until smooth. Gradually add the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until you get a firm but soft dough. Reserve the final 1/2 cup of flour and place it on the surface of the table. Turn the dough out on top of that last bit of flour and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. The amount of flour will vary according to humidity levels in the flour and in your kitchen, so you might need a bit more. It is okay if the dough is soft, but it shouldn’t stick to your hands. Place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down and let rise again, about 30 minutes more. This can be done the night before, and the second rising can take place in the fridge while you sleep, which makes the rolls easier to bake for breakfast.

For the filling, combine the sugar and cinnamon. After the last rise, place the dough on a lightly floured surface (i use SilPat) and roll out to a long rectangle (usually about 10x15). Using a basting brush spread the softened butter all over the dough then liberally apply cinnamon and sugar. Tightly roll lengthwise and pinch seams together. Use a sharp knife to slice the cinnamon rolls 1 1/2 inches thick and place each roll in a greased 9x13 pan. Cover the rolls and let rise again for 30 minutes. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Chocolate Chippers

1 cup butter, room temperature (I soften mine in the microwave at 10% power for 90 seconds at a time until bendable, usually 3 times if it's straight from the fridge)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature (you can put these in a bowl of warm water if you're in a rush)
2 1/2 c AP flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 c chocolate chunks

Cream butter on high until white (3-4 minutes). Add sugars and cream until light and fluffy (usually another 4 minutes in my KitchenAid mixer). Really beat it to death, I realized as late as a couple of years ago that I was not actually waiting until the sugar and butter was creamed. Here's a good picture of how it might look (though yours will be darker because of the brown sugar). Add in vanilla and eggs (one at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition).

Sift the dry ingredients together and pour into batter. Mix on low (my setting is called stir) just until blended (about 20 seconds). Pour in your chocolate and stir them in by hand until evenly distributed. (You could also add nuts or M&Ms, sometimes I put in coconut and oatmeal along with chocolate chunks).

Scoop cookies with a big ice cream scoop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. I think the size is essential because you want them chewy on the outsides and gooey on the insides. Now here is the secret: refrigerate or freeze the cookie dough balls for at least 12 hours (preferably 48 hours). Supposedly this helps the eggs get absorbed by the dry ingredients.

Bake the cookies in a preheated 325 oven for 12-14 minutes, rotating cookie sheet halfway through. Take them out just as they are set and leave them on the hot sheet to finish cooking.