Dude, this is going to be quick…
It is marathon weekend! Well, a half for me and a full for others…but anyway you look at it…there are miles to cover and fun to be had!
I have a playlist to make – which, by the time I am done making it, will be more fitting for a 70 year old who needs pumped up for a few laps around the mall and not the 20 something girl that will be wearing a sparkle skirt and mouse ears Saturday morning, knocking out 13.1 miles.
I have to pack. Like, find my flip flops and contact case. Bathing suit? In mid-January? Yikes. These legs are white. Like blinding pasty white…a white that only exists on the legs of Ohioans in mid-January. Sunglasses…if not for the sun, then for the glare coming from my kneecaps. And sunscreen…large vats of the goop – see pasty whiteness above.
I have Thursday night TV to watch….Big Bang and Grey’s is new this week. I am a TV nerd without a DVR….
Important stuff people…and I have to get you this scone recipe, because seriously…you need to make these this weekend!Read More
It is 4pm and I am crashing. Crashing fast. I am in a tail spin…Top Gun-esque. Maverick is in my head screaming about a jetwash and ‘coupling up’ (whatever that is). I hear Iceman shouting, Mayday Mayday…Mavs in trouble and something about a flat spin and heading out to sea. And then sadly, Goose dies (but thankfully comes back to become Dr. Mark Green) and Meg Ryan cries. While a bit dramatic, this is how I feel. And it is sad. Other than keeping myself alive, fed, clothed and housed…I have no other real responsibilites…Nothing compared to say, my mother. Who is like a freaking Tasmanian Devil. She read me her to-do list yesterday and by the time she was done, I needed a nap. True story.
Since an afternoon catnap is not always an option or if you are my mom, it isn’t in your vocabulary … a pick-me-up is necessary. Something to get you up and over that hump and back into full swing. Carbs and caffeine to the rescue! I know, I know, I know…every health magazine recommends eating healthy protein and a piece of fruit…but sometimes, sometimes you want cake! And coffee! And then more cake! And as long as it is not every day…I say go for it. Moderation is key. And sometimes, cake is necessary.
A slice of cinnamon sugar pound cake, a hot cup of coffee, and ten minutes to sit in silence and regroup. To sit and think about nothing other than how awesome cinnamon and sugar taste in combination. No thoughts of bills, meetings, schedules, emails, etc are allowed to creep in to your happy place. Cinnamon and sugar…they make the world right again, reset button pushed. Bring on the rest of the day…I can handle it.
Oh and hey, this would be perfect for any Easter brunch. Can you believe Easter is just 10 days away?!? Oh my goodness, where is this year going? We are already in April!?! I’ll be 29 in two months!?! Is it really 2012 already? I wrote 2010 the other day…not joking. Time is flying. It is freaking me out. I am going to eat more cake.
Cinnamon Sugar Pound Cake
Makes 1 loaf
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 + 1/2 Sticks Butter, softened
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1+1/2 Cups White Sugar
4 Large Eggs, room temperature
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 3 Tablespoon Butter
- 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Make cinnamon swirl first. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon – this may take a few minutes. Bring mixture to a boil and let boil for about 1 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. (cutting a piece of parchment paper the size of the bottom of the pan and inserting it into the bottom of the pan will ensure the bottom will not stick). Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In another mixing bowl, cream together 1 + 1/2 sticks of butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and beat until fluffy ( a few minutes). Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. With mixer on medium speed, add eggs one at a time, beating for about one minute after each addition.
With mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. When done, make sure to take a rubber spatula and fold the batter a few times to ensure that all the ingredients are combined.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth out surface. Take the cooled cinnamon swirl and drizzle it over the top of the cake batter. With a butter knife, begin to drag the knife through the batter, swirling and marbeling the mixture. Place cake in preheated oven and bake for about 60-70 minutes until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Check the cake about half way through baking and rotate it 180°. If the top begins to brown beyond your liking, tent with a piece of tinfoil.
Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. Wait at least 30 minutes before inverting and removing from pan. Let completely cool on wire rack.
Store cake well wrapped and it will last about 4 days at room temperature. It can also be stored, wrapped tightly, in the freezer.
It is officially Christmas season. Bring on the Christmas music. String the lights. Decorate that tree. Hang the mistletoe…
The time of year between Thanksgiving and Christmas is magical. Don’t you think? I am not a fan of the whole shopping scene. I am one of those shoppers grateful for the Internet and the Fedex man. I am, however, a fan of twinkle lights downtown, Christmas trees glowing in windows, cinnamon pine cones, nights of hot chocolate and gift wrapping, and of course the kitchen being in full swing, pumping out cookies.
Cookies. ‘Tis the season, right? I mean, yeah, there is fudge and caramels and candy, but cookies are really the dessert centerpiece of the Christmas season. They are the pumpkin pies of Christmas. In honor/gratitude/love for Cookies…I will be, for the next month…until Christmas, blogging about COOKIES!
No chicken pot pie, no pot roast, no pie, no cakes, no muffins…just cookies. So if you are looking for cookies to bake for your cookie exchange at work or for cookies to bake with your little ones to leave for SANTA ( total Will Ferrell Elf’s voice)…Hopefully, you can find inspiration here.
Let the crazy cookieness begin!
First on the list…Snickerdoodles.
I can remember my first snickerdoodle. It was at the mall and from Mrs. Fields. It was good. Like really really good. Crunchy edges and chewy center. Sweet cinnamon. So good, that I ran home ( OK, mom probably drove me since I was like 12) and made my very first batch. I then ate them, probably wrestling away what I could from my brothers – life as the only girl. They remain to this day a top 3 cookie. You wanna know what I never make? Snickerdoodles.
That ends today. These are reminiscent of those I first tasted 15 years ago. Crunchy, chewy, sweet, cinnamony – its a word in my kitchen! I am now wishing I still lived with my brothers, because I desperately need someone to wrestle these cookies from my clenched fists.
I kinda forgot how much I loved these cookies…
Makes about 2 dozen
2 + 3/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Cream Tartar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Butter, softened (room temperature)
1 + 1/2 Cup Sugar, plus 1/4 Cup extra for rolling
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Set aside.
In another mixing bowl, beat together softened butter and 1 + 1/2 Cups of sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 to 3 minutes). Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well mixed. With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients. Beat until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated. Remember to scrape the sides and bottom of bowl to ensure uniform dough.
In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and 1/4 Cup sugar - stir to combine.
With a cookie scoop or teaspoon, scoop out cookie dough and roll into balls – about the size of a golf ball (about 1 inch in diameter). Roll cookie dough in cinnamon and sugar mixture. Make sure the dough is completely covered. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (optional…it just makes cookie removal easy!)
Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to cooling rack.
Best enjoyed with a cold glass of milk or a cup of hot chocolate.
Cinnamon and Raisins…
They were made for each other. In bagels, cookies, breads, oatmeal, etc… When these two forces combine…magic happens. Serious magic. No other way to explain it. There actually might be little elves in my oven. It is possible. Anything is possible.
I love cinnamon raisin swirl bread. Guess what I love almost more than the bread itself? The aroma that fills my house when its baking. Oh yeah, magic is happening in my oven. I hope this is what heaven smells like.
This is a yeast bread. I know what you are thinking – no thanks, it looks good – but yeast is scary. Guess what? Its not. And I don’t know where this thought/fear originated from. I have never feared yeast. Its intriguing actually…its tiny itty bitty living organisms, that eat sugar and give off carbon dioxide, therefore giving lift or rise to your bread. Kinda gnarly right? Nerd alert!
The only problem that I can forsee when playing with yeast would be maintaining/finding a warm, draft-free place for the bread to rise. Yeast enjoys warmth, not hot, but not cold. Warm. I have solved this problem. You are welcome.
Turning the oven light on will create a warm, not hot, atmosphere and its draft free since its a closed environment. See, problem solved. So now you have no reason not to make this bread. And even if your bread doesn’t rise properly or look ‘right’, that’s OK. It will still taste fantastic and the sense of satisfaction you will get from eating a slice of bread that you made, with your own two hands…well, it doesn’t get much better. I like it, and I bet you will too.
So let’s bake some bread!
Start by warming milk to 110°F. Too cold and the yeast remain dormant, and too hot, well, you kill them. Be nice to your little yeast guys and keep them warm and cozy!
Add the warm milk to a mixing bowl and sprinkle with the yeast. Whisk to combine. See the bubbles, its alive! To this you will add the flours, butter, a bit of sugar, an egg, and salt. And with a dough hook attachment, mix until, well it looks like this…
A lump of kinda sticky, smooth dough.
Pat dough into a round like shape ( mine was no where near round, more like USA shaped). Sprinkle with raisins and cinnamon and knead dough until the goodies are just evenly distributed.
Raisins and cinnamon done mixed in. You will lose a few raisins and bit of cinnamon. There are always casualties.
Next, place your happy dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap/tea towel and place in a warm draft-free space. Go jog or watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Let it proof for about 1 to 1+1/2 hours or until it nearly doubles in size.
Once proofed, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat out into a medium/large round.
Fold it in threes. Like a letter. Remember writing letters. I miss getting letters in the mail. If you know my address, send me a letter. I’ll send one back. It’ll be fun.
Once folded in threes, fold in the sides, flip over so it looks like above. Place this bad boy back into its oiled bowl with plastic wrap/tea towel cover and place it right back in its warm and cozy home. Go catch another episode of Grey’s Anatomy ( I am re-hooked by this show). Check in on your dough in about 40 minutes to an hour. Looking for a near doubling in size again.
Once it has risen again, turn it out one last time onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into a long rectangle – no wider than the loaf pan that it will bake in. Butter it up.
Evenly spread the filling mixture over the buttered dough. It looks like a lot of filling and well it kinda is, but I hate wimpy cinnamon raisin swirl bread. Ever since I discovered CRSB, I always want more swirl. So when I make my own, I make it my way. More swirl does a girl good.
Fold in your edges and prepare to roll.
Start at the far end and roll towards you. Keep it tight. It should look like a log when done.
Place it, seam down, in a liberally buttered pan. Butter is calorie free, right? Phew…I was worried! Guess what? Yeah we are going to let it rise again. Just a short while. About 30 to 45 minutes. Long enough for maybe another Grey’s Anatomy, if you ffwd through commercials.
Once the final proof has taken place. Well, its finally time to bake the darn thing! Woohoo!
And after about 40 to 45 minutes…it should come out looking like this. Pretty amazing.
Here is a closer look at the cinnamony, raisiny, sugary goodness.
Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
Adapted From Honey and Jam and Pioneer Woman
Makes one loaf
1 + 1/8 tsp Active Dry Yeast ( 1/2 envelope)
1 Cup Warm Whole Milk ( 110°F)
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 + 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature. Plus extra for greasing pan and filling.
1/4 Cup White Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2/3 Cup Raisins
2 tsp Cinnamon
egg and milk for wash
2 Tbsp Unsalted butter, room temperature (very soft)
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 + 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Walnuts, finely ground/processed (optional)
Turn oven light on. Or find another warm draft free area.
Bring milk to 110°F ( I microwaved in 20 second bouts until it read 110 on thermometer). Place milk in mixing bowl and sprinkle with yeast. Whisk to combine. Add both flours, 1/2 stick of butter, 1/4 Cup white sugar, 1 egg, and salt. Using a stand mixer with dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until all ingredients are incorporated ( few minutes). Increase speed of mixer to medium, and continue to mix until doughs texture is smooth and it pulls away from the sides of the bowl (2 to 3 minutes). It will be sticky to the touch. ( resist the urge to add extra flour, wetter is better). Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
Pat out into a rounded disk and sprinkle with 2 tsp cinnamon and raisins. Knead cinnamon and raisins into dough until evenly incorporated. Place dough into a lightly oiled ( I used a cooking spray) bowl and cover with plastic wrap or tea towel and place in your warm space ( i.e. oven with ONLY the oven light on). Let rise until it doubles in size, about 1 to 1 + 1/2 hours.
Once doubled, turn out onto a floured surface and pat into a round-like shape. Tri-fold the dough (like a letter) – top third down, bottom third up. Fold the left and the right sides to the middle and press down to seal. Place, seal side down, into the lightly oiled bowl and place back in warm space. Let rise again, until dough nearly doubles in size, about 40 minutes to an hour.
Mix together filling. Combine 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 brown sugar, 1 + 1/2 tbsp cinnamon, and ground walnuts. Set aside. Liberally grease loaf pan.
Once risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a long rectangle (about 18 to 24 inches). Use the loaf pan to determine length of loaf. Smear 2 tbsp of butter over dough. Sprinkle dough evenly with filling. Fold over the edges of the long side of the dough ( about 1/4 inch fold). With short end facing you, start at the far end and roll the dough into a tight log. Pinch the dough together at the seam. Place seam down in greased loaf pan. Set in warm place and let rise for another 30 minutes or so, or until loaf rises slightly above pans edges. Whisk together milk and egg for wash.
Brush top of loaf with milk and egg wash (you won’t use it all). Place in oven, preheated to 375°. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. If top of bread starts to brown, tent with tinfoil ( I had to do this about 25 minutes in). Remove from oven and place on wire rack and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and let cool completely before slicing.
To store, wrap in plastic and is good for nearly 4 days….if it lasts that long.