Friday, 29 November 2013

Carrot Cake Style Cinnamon Rolls

Carrot Cake Style Cinnamon Rolls 
Topped with Cream Cheese Cake Batter Frosting
and garnished with Marzipan Baby Carrots!

This year for Thanksgiving dessert I made a variation on the standard Cinnamon Rolls. That's what I do. I took my favorite carrot cake recipe which includes pineapple and spun it into the yummiest, tastiest cinnamon roll. And because of the carrots it was healthy, too! Ha ha ha ha.

Anyway, the funny things is all the guys at the table passed up this delicious treat. They turned their noses up to the carrots... their loss - because these were darn right tasty.

Here is how I made them: 

Proof yeast, in a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons warm milk with 1 1/2 teaspoon yeast with 2 teaspoons brown or regular sugar. In a larger glass bowl, combine 1/2 cup warm milk, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. In another bowl, combine 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot with 2 cups flour. Once the carrots are evenly distributed throughout the flour, add it to the wet ingredients. Add in the proofed yeast and up to another 1/2 cup of flour if necessary. Turn out onto floured surface and knead 5-10 minutes. Shape into ball. Put back into oiled glass bowl and turn to oil top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place (oven, if available - probably not available on Thanksgiving day though - I put mine right next to the oven to receive heat from the baking turkey) and let rise till doubled - usually takes about 1-2 hours. 

Meanwhile, prepare filling. I used 1/2 a large carrot for the shredded carrot above in the dough. The other 1/2 carrot I cut into small pieces and put in a small pan with water to boil till soft. Then I added brown sugar - about 2 tablespoons, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and about 2 tablespoons butter, also 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and mixed it all together. Remove pan from heat and blended this mixture till smooth with my immersion blender. 

When the dough has doubled remove to prepared surface to roll out into rectangle. I like shortcuts and easy clean up so I roll out the dough on baking parchment paper. Spread with carrot puree mixture and roll up into long log shape. Pinch seams if possible. I always have a hard time because this liquid fillings make such a mess. Do your best. Then cut into 8-12 equal slices. I got about 10 good size slices out this time. Put the slices into a prepred glass baking dish or if like me - I shape the slices into a circle and then pick up the parchment paper by the corners and lift into my pie tin and then I arrange the slices again evenly in the pan. Why, because I don't want to clean any extra pans or dishes... "shortcuts" remember!

Now let this rise for another 1/2 hour or so - until doubled. Right before I bake it I push down an indentation in each roll and spoon 1 heaping teaspoon of pineapple jam into each roll. (Because my favorite carrot cake recipe includes pineapple... this made the rolls so yummy, too).

Now, bake them in pre-heated oven 175-C degrees for 10-15 minutes. It seemed like my oven was taking forever to cook them, I thought it quit working after being on all day baking the turkey, that I turned the heat up to 200 and switched it to hot air oven - and after 2 minutes they were done.

Remove from oven. Prepare frosting. Whip together 1/3 cup butter and in 1/4 cup cream cheese. Mix in 1 cup powdered sugar. If it's not thick to your liking, mix in 1/2 cup yellow cake dry mix. Taste and adjust to your liking. Scoop large spoonfuls of frosting onto each roll. 

At some point while the rolls where rising, second time, I made the marzipan carrots. I bought some reddish orange colored marzipan, opened the package and took off pieces of marzipan and roll them in my fingers till they were the shape of little carrots. Topped the rolls with them... and I don't really like marzipan but they did taste really good with this frosting. It was a nice touch to add them to the rolls. I would do that again!

At the end of Thanksgiving meal and a long day - it may seem like these rolls are a lot of work, but really, there is just a lot of waiting while they rise and stuff. It's not that bad to be the treat maker. I didn't have to make any of the other side dishes... so I got off easy :) It's good to be me!

What is your favorite sweet treat at Thanksgiving?

Friday, 9 August 2013

Orange Creamsicle Sweet Rolls

I don't make sweet rolls very often anymore... the problem being I eat too many of them, or the kids eat too many of them... 

Anyway, we were going to visit some friends and have dinner with them, but before the dinner we were going on a nature walk together so I thought it would be nice to bring a treat. 

I decided on creamy orange - and they were perfect for this cool summer afternoon.

The kids loved them. My little Ella asked: Mom, can you make these for dinner more often?

Hahaha... I said, this isn't dinner, this is a dessert or a treat only. She was bummed.

Here is how I made them:

1. Dough: using a bread maker put liquids in first, followed by dry ingredients. Put on dough cycle and press start. It's approximately 90 minutes, but let it rise longer if need be.

  - 1/2 cup vanilla or plain soy milk or plain cow's milk
  - 1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  - 1 egg white
  - 2 tablespoons white sugar
  - 1/2 teaspoon salt
  - 2 cups all purpose flour
  - 1 tablespoon orange zest
  - 4 tablespoons yellow cake mix
  - 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast

2. Filling: meanwhile, prepare filling as follows...

  - 1/2 cup white sugar                    - 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  - 1 tablespoon corn starch            - 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  - pinch salt                                    - juice of half large orange, or 
                                                          whole small orange
  - 1/2 cup cold water                     - 1/2 tablespoon butter + 1/2 
                                                          teaspoon vanilla extract

... combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in small saucepan. Gradually add water and whisk until blended. Whisk in egg yolk, orange zest and juice. Cook over medium heat whisking constantly until thick and bubbly. Boil one minute; remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Cool to room temperature without stirring. 

3. When dough has doubled, roll out on lightly flour dusted surface into 1-2 cm thick rectangle shape. Take half of the orange filling and spread on dough. Roll up dough and cut into 8, 9 or 10 slices. Place slices in pie dish lined with baking parchment paper. Take the rest of the orange filling and spread evenly over rolls. Let rise a second time in warm place, for example, the oven at it's lowest setting. When they are doubled again, bake at 175-C degrees for approximately 15 minutes - until just golden brown. Then removed immediately from the oven and let cool.

4. Topping: prepare topping to spread over cooled rolls. Cream together 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons cream cheese. Add in 1/2 teaspoon orange zest. Mix in powdered sugar (1/2 cup or more) depending on desired consistency. If it becomes too thick, then "water down" with 1/2 teaspoon orange juice at a time. Taste and adjust flavoring. I added in also 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Spread evenly over cooled rolls. 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Marshmallow Fun "Sugar High" Sweet Rolls

I did not intend on making these Sugar High - but they are. These are Trial 1 sort of sweet rolls... I thought that I had been baking sweet rolls long enough to get it right the first time, but I'm going to have to go for a Trial 2 on these ones - and cut half the sugar out of them.

One reason being that they are filled with globs of marshmallow fluff - and that adds an intense sweet flavor of it's own. 

The good news: looks! The kids took one look and said, I want some!!! 

But after a bite or two, they said, it's too sweet. I love my kids - so honest and mostly healthy. They like candy and marshmallows like most kids, but they recognize when something is too sweet.

That's great... I'll make them again - one thing is for sure, looks wise, these would make a great birthday treat in place of standard cake.

They are very colorful - psychadelic and tie-dye sort of hippy colors - kind of Dr. Suess colors - rainbow bright - loved making them. I used yellow, pink and light blue, but I think any combination would be fun.

I also served them with a small handful of colorful twisty marshmallows.

2/3 cup warm (soy) milk
50 ml oil or melted butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 T sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cake mix
1 heaping teaspoon active dry yeast

I put it in bread machine by order suggested by the manufacturer - which is liquids first, followed by dry stuff. I also do yeast last. - put it on dough cycle - hit start.

Of course you can mix it and knead it by hand, but lately, I'm looking for short cuts. (I'm 6 months pregnant after all)

Remove from bread machine and punch down. Let sit a few minutes while preparing filling ingredients. Roll out into rectangle - about 1-2 centimeters thick.

Top with Fillings (see below), roll up and cut into 8 or 12 equal slices. If 8 slices, it fits nicely into a large pie tin. If 12 slices, it fits nicely into a 9x13-inch casserole dish.

Line casserole or pie tin with baking paper - for easier clean up - or grease with butter generously.

Put into the oven on the lowest temperature or in another warm place to rise a second time - 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, prepare Topping ingredients (see below).

Bake at 175-C degrees for about 15 minutes (a bit longer for glass casserole - a bit less for pie tin - take a look at and bake according to how toasty the top of the rolls look, you can also tap them to see if they spring back lightly).

Remove from oven and drizzle with frostings and sprinkle with cake sprinkles or pearls (which we call parels in the Netherlands - like balls).

Filling: spread on rectangle 2 tablespoons melted butter, spread on top of that - 1/2 cup light brown sugar and up to 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder. Then put globs of marshmallow fluff on top - evenly spaced out over the rectangle (up to about 1/2 cup in total).

Topping: mix together 2 tablespoons each softened butter and cream cheese. Mix in 1/4 cup at a time, sifted powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon yellow cake mix and thin out with up to 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Then divide into two or three parts and color each - pink, blue, yellow. Add a little (soy) milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time to reach desired drizzling consistency.

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