Friday, 14 October 2011

White Chocolate and "Pepernoten" Sweet Rolls

It's fall - it's that time of year again when suddenly I feel like baking a whole lot more - nice to warm the house up with yummy cinnamon-y smells. Can't think of anything better than sweet rolls to make - that's because there is nothing better!

My very good friend requested a special sweet roll for a special occasion. She gave birth to her second daughter and wanted something yummy to eat. She said, please make me some with that good buttercreamy frosting - you know I like it thick!

She also requested white chocolate and a little something extra - so we decided together that pepernoten deserves a chance in these rolls. Pepernoten are little spice cookies that come out this time of year in the Netherlands. They are kind of like gingersnaps - but not that gingery. Originally, they were spiced with black pepper - until more spices came along. We still call them pepernoten - translated literally as pepper nuts - however, they also sell under the name "kruidennoten" - meaning spice nuts. Although there are no nuts contained in - they are just small and snackable like nuts.

So I used a very sticky dough - that rises a lot. They turned out very large - extra large - kind of like a Cinnabon - large roll. Here's what I did:

In a large glass bowl, combined 1 cup warm water with 2 tablespoon sugar, 2 teaspoons yeast, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon oil. Mix around then blend in 2 cups white flour (I used a combination of 1.5 cups white all purpose flour and 1/2 cup fresh ground whole wheat flour). Cover with plastic wrap then let rise 1 hour in warm place. Mix again to get bubbles out and let rest 20 minutes. Then pull out of bowl and knead slightly with 1/2 cup flour - and roll out with rolling pin into good size rectangle.

Filling: melt 2 tablespoons white chocolate together with 1 tablespoon butter and spread over dough. Sprinkle with 2 handfuls crushed pepernoten and about 1/4 cup brown sugar. Sprinkle a generous amount of ground cinnamon over that. Roll up and slice into 8 equal slices - careful - it's sticky. Place cut side up into buttered pie plate or casserole dish. Let rise in warm place 20-30 minutes then bake 15-20 minutes at 190-C degrees.

Prepare frosting: warm a small bowl of about 1 tablespoon whipping cream together with half vanilla pod - slit down the center. Scrape out vanilla speckles into the cream. Melt 25 grams white chocolate, set aside. In a mixer, whip 4 ounces cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter till creamy. Blend in melted white chocolate and vanilla cream. Blend in around 2 cups sifted powdered sugar or a bit more or less to desired consistency. 

When rolls come out of oven, you may pour the frosting over top - and then you will have more of a glazed effect with the frosting. Or you can wait till they cool a little and then put the frosting over - which is how my friend prefers the frosting... she likes it thick! Then sprinkle another handful crushed pepernoten over top.

(Note: in the photo, I did not use a lot of frosting - definitely should have poured quite a bit more on top - it's just that it was so so sweet!)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Root beer Cinnamon Rolls - made with Root beer Jelly!

I've been working on a Root beer Cinnamon roll for about a year now. And on my third try - I'm pretty happy with the results... third time is the charm... and I've even created Root beer jelly for such an occasion!

To make these rolls you will need a can of Root beer and Root beer extract.

Okay, let's rock this thing :)

In a bowl, combine 150ml warm Root beer, 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1.5 teaspoons active dry yeast. Then mix in up to 2 cups BASIC ROLL MIX. Put dough out onto floured surface and knead until desired elastic consistency. Then place into buttered bowl, turn dough to butter top and cover with plastic wrap. Place bowl in warm place for dough to double in size about 60-90 minutes.

Make Root beer jelly filling: in a small saucepan, combine 100ml cold Root beer and 1 gelatin sheet. Blend in 2 tablespoons sifted cornstarch and turn on the heat over low flame. Stir until mixture thickens and almost begins to boil. Then remove from heat and stir in 1/4 teaspoon each vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and Root beer extract. Let cool completely.

When dough is risen, punch down and let rest another 10-20 minutes. Then turn out onto lightly floured surface and roll out with rolling pin into a good size rectangle. Spread with Root beer jelly. Roll up into jelly roll and slice into 8 equal slices. Place rolls into buttered pie pan or glass casserole dish and let rise a second time in warm place 30-45 minutes. 

Prepare frosting/glaze - combine in a mixer or small bowl and mix by hand 1/2 to 1 cup (5/8 cup) sifted powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon Root beer, 1/4 teaspoon Root beer extract, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and (optional: 1 tablespoon sifted chocolate milk powder - such as Nesquik - this makes it taste kind a like chocolate Tootsie pops in my opinion!)

Once risen second time, bake in heated oven at 190-C degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and bounces back when poked lightly with finger. Remove from oven and cool. Then drizzle with prepared glaze and give a light dusting of cinnamon or powdered sugar if wanted.

Creepy Green Halloween Sweet Rolls

These are definitely creepy for the kids - because not only are they green - but the ingredient list is also green - it's not food dye - it's vegetables! This is sort of a mix between trick or treat! Literally - it's a treat because it's sweet - but it's a trick because you are gonna try and trick people into eating things like spinach, avocado and wheat grass! Yes, that's right!

These are my - good for you - good for your body - excuse to eat one more - sweet rolls :)

Okay, here's what I've done... I've used fresh ground whole wheat, freshly juiced apples, fresh ingredients - and to my surprise - it's kind of good. 

without the green stuff...

But the kids can't be fooled... my picky eaters, took one look and said, no thanks Mom... and "if you don't tell me what's in it, I'm not going to eat it" - what a wimpy Dad. ;) ha ha

So - to make 8 creepy beastly-goblin-ogre-monster-whatever ya theme sweet rolls do this:

Mix together 1.5 teaspoons active dry yeast and 3/4 cup warm apple juice (cored and juiced). I say to core the apples (I used 3 small to get approximately 3/4 cup of juice), because we are gonna use the leftover pulp in the filling!

Steam a couple handfuls of fresh spinach greens till slightly wilted. Then puree with handheld blender. Measure out 3/8 cup (6 tablespoons) of spinach puree and add to the yeast mixture. Use any remaining spinach puree in the filling.

Add 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or butter to the yeast mixture. Blend in 2 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour to the mix. Now add in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix around with a good spoon. And then add up to 1 cup more of the whole wheat flour - turn out onto floured surface and knead till you have a good elastic textured dough.

Butter a large glass bowl. Turn dough into bowl and turn around in bowl to cover dough with butter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in warm place till doubled in size (about 90 minutes).

...with just a sprinkling of cinnamon...

To prepare filling, combine juiced apple pulp, any remaining spinach puree and another half to 1 small apple, cored and finely diced. Stir in 1/4 cup honey and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

When dough has doubled, turn out onto lightly floured surface and roll out into rectangle. Spread filling mixture evenly over dough. Roll up jelly roll style and slice into 8 equal pieces. Arrange pieces in buttered pie plate or casserole dish. Let rise second time in warm place - another 45 minutes. Bake in oven heated to 190-C degrees for 15-20 minutes - until when you poke lightly with your finger, the dough bounces back.

Prepare topping: with handheld mixer, or food processor fitted with whip attachment, whip together till smooth half avocado and 1 heaping tablespoonful of honey. If desired - totally optional here - blend in 1/2 teaspoon powdered wheat grass or spirulina (kids really might not like the flavor though - so watch out). To thicken it a bit - blend in 1 tablespoon sifted cornstarch. Then refrigerate until ready to use.

Optional honey chocolate glaze - I have some in the freezer and I just defrosted it for this recipe, and then it went back into the freezer for later use - but here it is: 3/4 cup Dutch-processed Cocoa powder, mixed with 2/3 cup honey and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream - blend together and heat in small sauce pan until all the cocoa lumps are well blended - lightly bring to boil then remove from heat. Set aside to cool and use as an awesome topping for all kinds of desserts.

After the rolls are out of the oven and have cooled off a bit, scoop a tablespoonful of the avocado-honey frosting onto each roll and spread around. Optional - add the honey chocolate glaze in a spiral-spider web effect if wanted. And sprinkle with some cinnamon powder... if you have any cool plastic black spiders, add those too - I'm much too wimpy to use anything like that on my food though. I really detest spiders.