Tuesday, 21 December 2010

December's Sweet Roll Round Up

I see that there are other bloggers out there who appreciate the Sweet Roll just as much as me...

SWtR will give you some blogger love and feature you here this month. Here is my sweet roll round up:

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls - drizzled with a sweet potato glaze - and it's vegan! From Lauren at Healthy Food for Living.

Photo credit: Healthy Food for Living

This next one is not a roll - but a cookie! But hey, I love cookies, too. It's from Darla at Bakingdom. She says they are just as good as the real thing. I'm going to have to bake them to find out. They look really yummy. She calls them Cinnarookies!

Photo credit: Bakingdom

This next one is very out there. I'm liking the sound of it a lot. I mean, oreos - come on! I love them. They are my absolute favorite... in ice cream... and maybe in sweet rolls, too. Now I have to try these: Black Forest Buns by Irene of Sunshine's Kitchen. Irene, I'm new to your blog - and I'm loving it already :)

Photo credit: Sunshine's photography

That's the round up. Check out the other links in the Cran-apple Cider and Pumpkin Pie Post. You won't be disappointed.

Root Beer, Ginger Ale and Eggnog Sweet Rolls

Root Beer & Cinnamon Sweet Rolls - Trial 1 (all purpose flour and whole wheat/rye blend)

So, soda! I've been experimenting with soda pop in my sweet rolls. I love it. Add a little bit of yeast to soda and it really bubbles up... fast!

First I tried Root Beer. I made them twice in a week. The first time I made them dark - with a whole wheat/rye blended flour and with molasses. The second time I kept them simple with all-purpose flour. I liked them better the second time. My husband like them better the first. But both times we said - we taste the cinnamon more than the Root Beer. So, I'm still in experimental stage with that one. I think I will order some Root Beer extract because I want that sasssafrass flavor to really stand out.

Today I popped open a can of ginger beer. This was not your standard Canada Dry Ginger Ale... this was ginger beer from Jamaica. And you can really taste the ginger in this soda brand. So I didn't add too much ginger in the filling - and in the end, it was a sweet roll with not a lot of flavor. So, I still want to experiment with that as well. I'm thinking I'll combine it with pineapple. It needs something fruity I think... because just ginger is kind of boring... maybe. I could try it a few more times with some changes... we'll see.

Root Beer & Cinnamon Sweet Rolls - Trial 2 (all-purpose flour)

I'm excited about baking with soda. The texture and elasticity of the dough is just spot on! I'm going to try some other flavors out, too - not this month - probably in January. I'm thinking Wild Cherry Pepsi - and leaning towards my favorite European soda: Cassis! Yum.

I've also been working on a Holiday Eggnog Sweet Roll with a Struesel Topping... that one also turned out a bit bland. Needs more rum flavoring and perhaps some raisins and nuts to give it something more. We loved the struesel topping though - definitely keeping that!

Holiday Eggnog Sweet Rolls with Struesel Topping - Trial 1
Lots of baking going on over here... and trying to decide what kind of roll to bake for Christmas (or rather 2e Kerstdag).

Mark's vote is something orange-y. So, I'll probably try those orange-sticky cinnabuns recommended by 17&Baking.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Cran-Apple Cider and Pumpkin Pie Sweet Rolls

At our annual Church Christmas Dinner this year I brought home-made Cran-Apple Cider. I tripled the recipe and discovered that hot cider is not that popular among the Dutch - and maybe it was also because we had a small turn out this year. The food was good, though. Well, I wasn't just gonna let all that cider go to waste so I brought it back home. We've been drinking it cold - the kids like it a lot better this way, and admittedly, I do, too. Then I got to thinking, like I always do - how about cider in sweet rolls. Heck, why not? I used Root Beer last week - so this week I used cider.

(I'll post the Root Beer Sweet Roll recipes next week probably. I've also got a Eggnog Sweet Roll recipe in the works.)

Usually, less is more. True for a lot of things. But this time, not only did I use the cran-apple cider, but I paired it with pumpkin pie filling (like Oh She Glows) and added in fresh cranberries and holiday apple pie muesli.

The thing I liked best about these rolls - they were sweet and tart! And even though I don't yet have a top 10 favorite rolls list on here... if I did - this one would be on the top 10 - that's how good they are.

This was also my first time baking with cranberries. I totally like cranberries now. I'm going to go out into blogdom and look for more cranberry recipes to try. I found one already - tomorrow will be a good day to try them: Fresh Cranberry Orange Cookies.

It seems I'm not the only one baking sweet rolls with cranberries. Yesterday I saw these: Cranberry Sweet Rolls at Bravetart by Stella Parks. Hers look super tasty. Cranberry with cream cheese topping - can't go wrong with that!

Do you have a favorite recipe to bake with cranberries? Do share!

Recipe: Cran-Apple Cider + Pumpkin Pie Sweet Rolls
Makes 12 large rolls

1 cup warm cran-apple cider
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 egg
1/4 cup oil or melted margarine or shortening
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour

  • 1/2 cup Libby's pumpkin pie filling or make your own. I did. Here's what I did. Combine 1/2 cup canned plain pumpkin puree plus 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg plus 1/8 teaspoon ginger plus smidgen ground clove plus 1/4 cup light brown sugar.
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, washed and rinsed
  • 1 cup Cruesli brand Appel Taart cereal or similar
175 - 250 grams powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cran-apple cider
1 tablespoon butter

Optional: sugar crystals

1. Dissolve yeast in warm cran-apple cider. Let bubble.
2. Add egg and melted margarine. Blend well.
3. Stir in salt and flour and blend till elastic, not too sticky doughy ball.
4. Knead 6-8 minutes on lightly floured surface. Very important step here - don't skip it.
5. Butter bowl. Put dough in bowl and turn to coat top. Cover and let rise in warm place. I use the oven - I put at a very low temperature - the lowest temperature and that's a nice warm place for dough to rise.
6. Punch down dough. Let rest 5 - 10 minutes. You gotta have a lot of patience with sweet rolls - just wait a bit now.
7. You can prepare the filling while you wait. Over low heat in a small pan warm the pumpkin pie mix and butter till gently warm and butter melted.
8. Roll out dough into large rectangular shape about 1 centimeter thick. Yeah, if it's too thin, it might rip when you are rolling it up and we are really gonna stuff a lot in there this time so do what I suggest, eh ;)
9. Spread with pumpkin pie filling. Sprinkle cereal and cranberries evenly over top (as shown in photo).
10. Roll up jelly roll style. Careful this time because there is a lot in there and we want it to stay in the dough. Cut into 12 equal slices. Place on prepared baking sheet or buttered casserole dish if you like them snuggled up together. Let rise a second time. Again I do this in the oven - about 50-degrees C works for me - only 30 minutes and then we're ready to bake!
11. Bake rolls in hot air oven at 175-degrees C for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden. Adjust time for other ovens - sorry you'll have to figure that out yourself - as all ovens are a bit different.
12. Prepare glaze. Again in a small pan over very low heat melt butter and stir in cran-apple cider and enough powdered sugar for desired spreading consistency. Remove rolls from oven and while still hot pour glaze over top. Or if you want to really see the glaze a bit more, let them cool a bit first, then add topping. If you really want it thicker add more powdered sugar - then it will have more of a cake frosting consistency. It's really up to you how you like it. I also sprinkled some red sugar crystals on because my husband likes the crunchy sugar. Just go wild!

Oh how they glisten - drizzled with glaze - and sprinkled with sugar!

Up close and personal with my sweet roll

Hmmmm-mmmm. Delish.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Maple, Pumpkin-Pomegranate, Sticky Orange

This week on Sweet Rolls that Rock - I would like to share some awesome links and recipes from bloggers online. Please try these or rock out to your own awesome combination.

-cKp (cUteKittypUnk)


This last weekend I finally tried the famous cinnamon rolls from The Pioneer Woman. Ree Drummond says that this is the recipe her Mom made growing up for good friends at Christmastime. And this is the tradition she carries on - it's this recipe that has won her friends and influenced people. And I'm sure that Dale Carnegie couldn't agree more! Or he could agree more... what is the proper English term for he totally would agree? Probably - at least, I totally agree!

These are Ree Drummond's cinnamon rolls - her's sure look purdy!
photo credit: The Pioneer Woman
  Ree's recipe makes a good 48 large rolls from my experience. But beware, I used an onlineconversion calculator to figure out some of the amounts - and that is where I went wrong. How is this possible? Well, apparently, the weight to volume or volume to weight in dry areas is different from humid areas. I live in a humid area. So, when 9 cups flour read less than 1 kilo in the online conversion calculator - it is really more accurate to just measure out 9 cups. Because it was more like 1.5 kilos or so. Anyway, that is probably also where I went wrong with the powdered sugar as well. Difficult thing to figure because 1 bag of powdered sugar is not possible in the Netherlands. I've only ever seen powdered sugar sold in cylander containers that measure by weight 250 grams. I used two of them - but I think I could have easily used three and come up with a more dense frosting, like pictured above. Mine turned out more like a glaze, when poured onto the hot rolls - it disappeared - but the flavor was divine - or sinful? Whatever, it was good!

The thing that makes this better than your average cinnamon roll - is that she is very, very generous in her use of sugar, butter and cinnamon. The maple-coffee glaze/frosting is an extra bonus of pure yumminess. I highly recommend this recipe. Ree - you rock - and your rolls rock, too!


I follow Oh She Glows in my google reader. I like this blogger Angela Liddon because she makes the most delicious looking foods - and they are all vegetarian, too. Last night while browsing through my google reader I found that she has posted the most delicious variation on pumpkin cinnamon rolls. She has a nice tutorial and great photos, too. And she's gotten very creative with her rolls, too. She has suggested having a "'Build your own' Cinnamon Roll Party!" What a fantastic idea! She set out pre-baked pumpkin pie filled rolls that you could top with a variety of frostings: Pumpkin glaze, Cream Cheese, Chocolate Ganache or Bourbon Espresso; and for the toppings: Pomegranate, Granola, Chocolate or Icing Sugar.  Let's take a look at what she put together:

Photo credit: Oh She Glows

I'm loving the look of "The Hippie" but "The Romantic" is very pretty, too. Angela, your Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls are definitely above average. A+ for you and your creativity. You Rock!


Earlier this year, I stumbled upon a very talented young baker. You may have heard of her: Elissa of 17 and Baking. She writes so poetically. She is young but she seems so grown up in her observations of people and places. It's really nice to read her stories. Sometimes, I can identify with her. She's now 18 and off to University from one side of the country to another. I can identify with that. I was once 18 and left home to venture out and find myself and build some dreams. She also has very nice photography - always very nice photos of yummy things she baked. Here is a nice roll she baked and blogged about earlier this summer.

Photo credit: 17 and baking

Orange-Cinnamon Honey Sticky Buns. Elissa describes it like this "The glaze is so sinful but so good. All those bad-for-you ingredients come together in a thick, sticky sauce – nutty and buttery and deep. It’s poured into the pan and the buns are snuggled right on top. Then you pop the pan into the oven the next morning and wake up to a honey and citrus spiced kitchen. You couldn’t ask for more."

I will nod my head and agree with you. Thanks for sharing these rolls with us Elissa. You Rock! And sticky orange buns definitely Rock!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Coco-nana-nut + Dulce de Leche Sweet Rolls

My one public follower, Lisa, suggested sweet rolls with banana and dulce de leche. Well, I aim to please. I made them.

Did I like them? Not really. I could like them eventually with a few changes I'm sure. You see, I didn't like the banana. I might like it better if the banana in the filling is made into some kind of pudding or custard. Because I like bananas in banana bread and I like bananas in general - I like bananas in ice cream - that is especially good... but hot bananas in these rolls was kind of weird to me. Also, the next day when the roll was tested at room temperature - the banana slices were a bit like - how do you say it - like when a banana is left out and browns a bit - they tasted like that - like baby food or something...

 Hey Lisa - when you had that spanish pastry... how was the banana cooked into it? Maybe I've presented it here in the wrong way. Some people like baked bananas - not me - not really. I loved the nuts - gave it the perfect crunchiness... I really liked the toasted coconut... Any suggestions on how to combine the banana in a good way - please feel free to comment. I did like the banana - butter glaze - that went with it quite well.

The Recipe for 12 rolls:

1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm light coconut milk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup melted margarine or oil
additional flour, if needed

1 to 2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoon fine white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 medium banana, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts (or macadamia's)

Prepared Dulce de Leche caramel jam

Combine 1 to 2 tablespoons melted butter with 1/4 medium banana, smashed with fork and 3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar and blend together. Then add enough coconut milk to make smooth glaze.

chopped roasted hazelnuts
toasted shredded coconut

Step 1: Dissolve yeast in warm coconut milk.
Step 2: Blend in egg and melted margarine.
Step 3: Add BASIC ROLL MIX 1/2 cup at a time, blend well to make soft - not too sticky dough.
Step 4: Knead 6 to 8 minutes - adding additional flour if necessary.
Step 5: Butter bowl. Add dough ball, turn to butter top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise till doubled.
Step 6: Punch down. Roll out into rectangle. Spread with butter. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture and divide bananas over top. Add chopped roasted hazelnuts if you like it nutty. Roll up, seal seems and cut into 12 equal slices - about 1-inch each. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Step 7: Let rise again in warm place. Then make indentation with spoon and fill up with Dulce de Leche - about 1 heaping tablespoon in each roll.
Step 8: Bake 15 - 22 minutes in preheated oven (175C - hot air oven), till golden brown.
Step 9: Remove from oven and serve as is or if desired drizzle with Banana-butter glaze, toasted shredded coconut and chopped roasted hazelnuts.

~~Thanks for the suggestion Lisa. Visitors - be sure and check out Lisa's blog - she bakes cookies - sweet sugar cookies!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Honey-nut Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Last time I made pumpkin sweet rolls I combined it with orange and spice (cinnamon and ginger) and I’m not sure the orange complimented the pumpkin as nicely as I had hoped. We still ate them up - and I was thinking that the ginger overpowered the other flavors as well. The orange glaze was so totally yum and I’d definitely do something with that again - I was thinking just a vanilla-orange-creamsicle type roll.... oh well, another day for that one.
So, I’ve been thinking about this totally amazing frosting that I like using Paturain cream cheese - walnut variety. The French really do know their cheeses - especially soft creamy cheeses. I love the walnut Paturain blend. It goes great into frosting - and I’ve used it before many times. I was thinking it would go great on top pumpkin sweet rolls. So, might as well throw some honey and walnuts into the center of the rolls as well.

This combination turned out really REALLY rich and sweet. And I thought it was just right on. I really do love that Paturain walnut cream cheese - would go great with many other varities of cinnamon rolls.

And I've been thinking - a sweet roll isn't really done until it is glazed, frosted or iced. I need that extra helping of sweetness on top. I love it.

1 T Active dry Yeast
1- ½ C Luke warm water
¾ C Pureed pumpkin
¼ C Oil or melted margarine
1 t Ground cinnamon
1 t coffee granules

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix in pumpkin puree, melted margarine or oil and BASIC ROLL MIX as well as cinnamon and coffee granules. Knead about 6-8 minutes until dough is smooth. Lighty butter bowl. Put dough in bowl and turn to butter top. Cover dough with damp towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise in warm place until doubled in size - about 1 hour. Meanwhile prepare Honey Filling and baking sheets (use baking paper for easy clean-up).

Honey Filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts)

In a small bowl, combine sugar, honey, egg, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Mix thoroughly. Set aside. Punch down dough. Let stand 10 minutes. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out dough to large rectangle 12”x24” or divide in half and roll out two smaller rectangles about 8”x12”. Spread with Honey filling. Sprinkle chopped nuts evenly over top. Roll up jelly-roll style and cute into 1-inch slices. Place on prepared baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375-F or 190-C (Hot air oven - just about 175-C). Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Prepare frosting and drizzle on warm buns. Garnish with extra chopped nuts if desired. Makes about 24 rolls.

*Paturain Cream Cheese Frosting: (Option 1)
1/4 cup (55 grams) butter, softened
1/4 pound (115 grams) Paturain walnut cream cheese, room temperature
1 3/4 to 2 cups (about 250 grams) powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons pureed pumpkin

Beat together butter and cream cheese until creamy. Add in powdered sugar and pumpkin puree until desired spreading consistency.

*If Paturain cream cheese is not available where you live, try Option 2:
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon honey

Melt butter and allow to cool. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, brown sugar and almond extract. Beat with an electric mixer. When mixture starts to stiffen, stop mixer and add honey. Continue to beat until light and fluffy. Do not over mix, or it will collapse.

Or if you really don’t like cream cheese, like some picky people I know, try Option 3:

White Chocolate Pumpkin-Cinnamon Frosting:
¼ cup pureed pumpkin (canned or fresh)
2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened
2 tablespoons white chocolate pieces, melted
1 teaspoon liquid cinnamon extract
1 3/4 to 2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk to thin, if desired

Beat pumpkin, margarine or butter, and melted white chocolate together till creamy. Mix in cinnamon extract and powdered sugar. Add milk to thin if required for spreading consistency.

Use any option of frosting/glaze and you won’t be sorry... but my personal favorite is option 1.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Polynesian-inspired Pineapple and Bacon Sweet Rolls

Paul Arden writes: Do not covet your ideas. Give away everything you know, and more will come back to you.... They're not your ideas anyway, they're someone else's. They are out there floating by on the ether. You just have to put yourself in a frame of mind to pick them up.

This is what I was thinking about recently when I decided to put bacon - the sweet meat in my sweet rolls. Am I the first to use bacon in a sweet treat? Absolutely not. It seems this idea was out there floating through the air and many foodies picked it up about the same time. I think I had the idea to use bacon in my sweet rolls back in August. I didn't do anything with it until September - I'm just now reporting on it. Since then, I've seen bacon in cupcakes, cookies, ice cream and even fudge (via tastespotting.com among other sites). One of the more interesting cupcake ideas I saw bacon in - was to make pancake cupcakes - top it with maple buttercream icing and sprinkle it with bacon bits. A very dessertish type breakfast. I like that idea. I don't remember who's blog I saw it on because I follow so many - but I think it was the Brown Eyed Baker. I should give credit where it is due, right? But was she the first? I don't know - and since we all influence each other and alter each others recipes - I thought I would let my bacon treat leave it's mark here in blogdom.

I've paired the bacon with pineapple and with a maple glaze. These are some what adult tasting... that's how my husband often describes my food fusion - new and bizarre twists on sweet rolls... but they are so yummy - especially the pineapple topping... it's so good in fact, that I must make a pina colada sweet roll next time.

This is my first trial making the Polynesian-inspired Sweet Roll. Certainly, the next few times I shall try ham instead - and putting the bacon in the filling instead of in the dough. I took these yummy rolls to church with me one Sunday morning and all my tasters said: Bacon! What bacon - I don't taste it. Once I told them, yes there is bacon in them... a few replied - oh I taste it.

So, for trial 2 we will put the bacon in the filling - I think this will bring out the flavor more without it being too dominating or not noticable at all. I may even try honey, ham and apple next time - that sounds good.
Oh yeah, and we will bake them at a lower temperature for more time - so about 175-C for 20 to 22 minutes - that's the time and temp I bake most my other rolls at - and I should have followed my instinct with these as well - some of them burned a bit on the bottom - and I know everyone's oven is different - so bakers - beware!

Polynesian–inspired Sweet Roll (Trial 1)

Adapted from: Allrecipes.com (Bernice Morris – Pineapple Sweet Rolls)

Servings: 24

1 - 2 bacon slice(s) (about 60 grams), fried, drained, and crumbled into pieces
1 1/8 teaspoon (.25 ounce or 7 grams) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 cup warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
½ cup brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 (8 ounce or 226 grams) can crushed pineapple, undrained
¼ teaspoon pineapple extract (optional – for extra flavor)

1 3/4 cups (about 250 grams) confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon each maple and vanilla extract
3 tablespoon milk

1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1 tablespoon sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add milk and 1-1/2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Add the crumbled bacon pieces, eggs, 1/4 cup butter, salt, remaining sugar and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; divide in half. Roll each into a 12-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Spread melted butter over top and then sprinkle brown sugar evenly over. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a long side. Pinch seam to seal. Cut each into 12 slices. Place, cut side down, 2 in. apart on prepared baking sheets.
Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine cornstarch and pineapple until blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Make indentation with back of spoon or with your thumb in the center of each roll and then place a teaspoonful of topping in the center of each roll. Bake at (220-C) 425 degrees F for 12-16 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks.

3. For glaze, combine sugar, extracts and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Drizzle over warm rolls.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Orange, Pumpkin and Spice Sweet Rolls - Another Sugar High Friday

Today is the first day of Fall - and an appropriate time to bake with pumpkin. I wanted to do another Sugar High Friday challenge and this time Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen a food blog has challenged all interested to make bite size desserts. It's been a whole month since I last baked and after a month of not baking - I was finally in the mood to bake again. Not that I haven't been in the mood for sweet rolls - I have been! It's just that since my bun in the oven - my own little sweet roll was born - I've been rather busy... and sleepy.
Yes, my third little child - another little girl was born just at the end of August. She's just about one month old and this Momma was ready to do something for me today - bake sweet rolls. But today was not just about me - I wanted to bake sweet rolls also for the nurses at the Catharina Ziekenhuis (hospital) here in Eindhoven. You see - me and my baby girl had to spend a whole week in the hospital because the morning after she was born, she got a fever and was breathing heavily. She was covered in wires and tubes and I was one nervous Momma. I didn't know what had come over her. And neither did the doctors. She had several tests done and then we were stuck away in isolation - kind of a quarantine type room. The nurses took real good care of us but it was a lonesome week - although I did get lots of rest! I promised one of the nurses that I would bring back sweet rolls as a thank you - and I kept my promise - I did!
 I'm also happy to report that my little girl has been given the OK - she had a follow up with the Pediatrician and everything is good. That chapter in her life is closed. Nothing wrong :) I'm really grateful to all the nurses and doctors that helped her... and to all my family and friends - your prayers are so much appreciated (of course, if you would like sweet rolls for a thank you - you will need to come and visit us - and give me 72 hours advance notice - ha ha ha).
I'm also grateful for this S.H.F. challenge - to make bite size desserts. I like to usually bake the biggest sweet rolls - but this was fun because the kids don't really need to eat such big desserts... and I feel like I'm really getting a lot out of the recipe. You would think that because the rolls are smaller that I eat less of them - I probably should - but they are so sugary sweet - I just couldn't help myself -- hey -- breastfeeding burns like 600 calories a day -- so that's my excuse -- I need to eat more ;)


Orange, Pumpkin and Spice Sweet Rolls (the recipe... trial 1)
Makes 40-48 bite size desserts

1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh grated orange zest
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 tablespoons each butter, melted and canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons each ground ginger and ground cinnamon
2/3 cup light brown sugar

250 grams powdered sugar
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice 1-2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest

12 step program for sweet rolls that rock!
Step 1. In small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Set aside.
Step 2. In small sauce pan, bring buttermilk to boil until curdled.
Step 3. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, baking soda, sugar, melted margarine, pumpkin, orange zest and egg. Mix well.
Step 4. When mixture is luke warm, stir in yeast mixture.
Step 5. Mix in salt and flour 1/2 cup at a time - eventually knead until soft and elastic ball of dough.
Step 6. Oil bowl. Put in dough and turn to oil top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place till doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Step 7. Prepare filling. Cream melted butter and pumpkin. Stir in spices.
Step 8. Punch down dough. Divide in half. Roll out each half into long rectangle about 18 inches by 9 inches - about 1 centimeter thick. Spread pumpkin butter over dough and sprinkle brown sugar over. Roll up - jelly roll style and slice into 20-24 slices each roll.
Step 9. Place on prepared baking sheets - cut side up. Let rise second time until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 175 degrees-C.
Step 10. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and rolls spring back when touched. Be careful not to burn.
Step 11. Prepare glaze. Stir together powdered sugar and juice till glaze is spreading consistency. Stir in zest.
Step 12. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls.

Use disposable tins - easier to give :)
Place at least one inch apart on prepared baking sheet (Step 9)
Can't wait to eat 'em!
Note to self: use more pumpkin in trial 2 - the orangeyness was perfect but the pumpkin was lacking in strength...I would like more pumpkin flavor.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Rooibos Vanilla Sweet Rolls

It's tea time!

Rooibos tea is very popular here in the Netherlands. I even heard once that tea in general was described as "angels peeing on your tongue." Ha ha. So, I decided to make a Rooibos tea sweet roll. I've tried several different Rooibos variations - one with vanilla, caramel and I also really like the mango peach variety. But for today's sweet roll I went with vanilla. Then while I was eating the finished roll together with a friend, she also mentioned the caramel variety and I said, don't finish your roll - wait a minute. I went to my refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of Dr Oeteker Caramel sauce and we drizzled the rolls with it. It was perfect. So - for the future... next Rooibos sweet rolls we make - are going to be the caramel variety.

My friend said the rolls were very vanilla - but that you could really taste this after taste of rooibos tea on your tongue - that tingly feeling you get from tea... so, maybe a bit less vanilla in the glaze would have been better as well.

The other thing about this particular roll is the dough recipe. I don't always use the same dough mix - I like to experiment and try different recipes. This particular recipe uses quite a lot of yeast and the dough rose a lot. I could have easily gotten 24 sweet rolls out of this recipe but I kept the rolls quite large - and that might have been a mistake because as the dough started to rise for the second time I thought that maybe the rolls wouldn't even fit on the baking sheet - so I baked maybe sooner than I should have - but I'm also a bit impatient and was eager to taste them, too.

The Dough:
2 envelopes active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups luke warm rooibos tea (vanilla variety)
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup shortening, melted margarine or oil (plus extra to butter bowl)
5 cups flour (plus extra, if needed)

(1) Seep two tea bags of rooibos vanilla tea into 2 cups piping hot water. Allow to cool to luke warm temperature.
(2) In a large mixing bowl combine yeast and sugar. When tea is luke warm, pour 1 3/4 cups tea into the mix. Save the other 1/4 cup tea for the glaze. Then add salt, eggs and oil and mix. Add one cup of flour at a time and mix. It will be sticky. Add additional flour as needed and knead to make a elastic - not too sticky dough ball.  Add about 1 tablespoon more butter or oil to bowl. Turn dough to oil top and cover with plastic wrap (not warm wet towl... because this dough will rise - a lot). Put in warm place till doubled in size.

Vanilla Creme filling: (Adapted from Great American Favorite Brand Names Cook Book)
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar

(3) In a small saucepan, blend flour and milk; cook over low heat, stirring constantly with wire whisk, until mixture thickens and just begins to boil. Remove from heat and refrigerate.
(4) In a mixing bowl, cream butter and margarine till smooth. Add in vanilla, salt and refrigerated flour/milk mix. Mix until smooth and then beat in the powdered sugar gradually until spreading consistency.

(5) After dough has risen, remove and punch down. On a lightly floured surface roll dough out into large rectangle about 1-2 centimeters thick. Spread with Vanilla Creme Filling. Roll into jelly roll and cut into 16-24 slices. Place on prepared baking sheets and allow to rise again in warm place. Meanwhile, prepare glaze.

Vanilla-Rooibos Glaze:
1/3 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup rooibos tea

(6) In saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Blend in powdered sugar, vanilla extract and rooibos tea. Stir until smooth and creamy. Remove from heat.
(7) After rolls have risen second time, bake in oven at 175-C degrees for 20-22 minutes, or until tops golden brown. Remove from oven and pour Vanilla-Rooibos Glaze over top. Allow to cool a few minutes before enjoying.
(8) Optional: drizzle with Dr. Oeteker Caramel Sauce or similar product if desired.

Oven fresh with Vanilla- Rooibos Glaze poured over!

Rooibos Vanilla Sweet Rolls

Friday, 20 August 2010

Ideas and Inspiration

Where do I turn to for ideas and inspiration? Like every other foodie I read a lot of food blogs. I get ideas from cupcake bloggers and also smoothie/ice cream bloggers. Any combination they come up with - I think - I could do that, too.

I recently came across this site: kblog in which it lists a whole bunch of herb combos for juicing. And I think to myself - those are some interesting combinations... could possibly work for a sweet roll, too. 

Just check out this list of herb combos:
-basil and lime
-thyme and lemon
-grapefruit and tarragon
-fig and black pepper
-pear and mint
-cucumber and rosemary
-spinach and chive
-strawberry and chili pepper
-peach and cayenne

Okay, some of those don't really sound so good for sweet rolls - like cucumber and rosemary... i don't think so. But it is a very big trend right now to use unusual ingredients in baked goods and in cooking in general. We foodies want to experiment with everything new we come across. Many of us visit farmers' markets and other places to find that unique ingredient and then we want to try something fun with it.

I recently found a can of jackfruit at my local Xenos (I'm trying to think of what store to compare that to in the U.S. hmm... it's like similar to a Pier 1 or something) Anyways, I was thinking - I'll buy that and turn it into some kind of sweet roll. I haven't used it yet, but I've learned all about jackfruit - in my google searches - and I find that kind of thing interesting. Has anyone else cooked with jackfruit before? I've read that it tastes best fresh... we'll see how it is from a can... another day.

Of course, I don't just look to other bloggers for inspiration and ideas... I use my head, too. I just sit down with a paper and pen and write out all my ideas for anything that sounds yummy. Here is a few items from my list:

-salty sweet
-pina colada
-marshmallow fun
-pink passion (grapefruit, raspberries, passion fruit)
-watermelon, strawberries and vanilla
-creamy orange-creamsicle
-mango lassi
-hazelnut choco-cinnamon
-wheat free + coconut, white chocolate and mango (for a friend that loves this combo)
-with Lebanese twist: fig, rosewater, pistachio
-rooibos vanilla
-20 kruiden thee

and my list goes on... but that is just a sample of what I've thought of.

Also from the kblog - here is a list of trendy ingredients: Acai, Aloe, Apricots, Basil, Blackberries, Blood Oranges, Cacao Nibs, Cherimoya, Chia Seeds, Exotic salts: pink, grey, smoked; Goji berries, Hemp products, Jalapeno, Papaya, Wheatgrass, Yacon Powder, Yuzu... to name a few.

You know, I never even knew that salt could come in pink. Does it taste the same? Does anyone know?

And then with fall right around the corner, I'm craving all those wonderful fall things - cooler weather, red, orange and golden leaves, Halloween, Thanksgiving... pumpkins!!!  And even though I see before me a list of trendy ingredients... I lean toward pumpkins, cinnamon, nutmeg, butternut squash, apple cider, maple syrup and so forth.

Today I am 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant... and I'm really hoping that this little baby comes quickly... because I'm experiencing all those things that come with being almost full term, like muscle cramps and just an enormously huge belly that is hard to walk around with... and a huge desire to hold this little baby and kiss it a thousand times....

And I think that by October, I will be recovered and ready for baking sweet rolls... and I betcha that I will be leaning toward those wonderful autumn smells in my kitchen... I'm certainly looking forward to it!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Peanut Butter & Smuckers Concord Grape Jelly... Rocks!

Using peanut butter and jelly in baked goods is not unheard of. This is the trend in cupcakes and other baked goods... so why not I try it out, too?

extreme close up - yummy

I love Smuckers Concord Grape Jelly. I loved it as a kid and I still love it now. The only difference being that it's very difficult to find in the Netherlands. Almost unheard of actually... unless you know someone that can shop at a Base Exchange (people in the military). Fortunately for me, I do!

I remember when I first moved here and that was one of the commodities that I looked for every where... but it was not to be found. Surprising to me, too - especially since Dutch folks seem to eat nothing but bread - it's a major staple to their diet. My husband grew up eating nothing but sandwiches everyday for years. To this day, he still takes 10-12 sandwiches to work everyday (I know that's a lot right?! - He's skinny and has to eat that much to survive his daily 35 minute bike ride commute... of course, he could probably get by on less if he ate cheese and meat on that bread... that's another story!)

So, after years of being here I had actually forgotten about Smuckers Grape Jelly and I have gotten quite use to my second favorite jam - raspberry!

Then, I met this military - Air Force family who offered to get me a treat now and again if I'd like - which made me request - Smuckers Grape Jelly - what a huge jar... and it's so cheap compared to raspberry preserves. Yummy yummy... now I can make these rolls :)

Also a side note... my in-laws - specifically my father-in-law is way traditional and does not vary from that much - well, he's tried the American grape jelly and he loves it. So... I think Smuckers should definitely consider foreign trade here in Europe... money to be made! If I had the means, actually, I'd open up a mini American market right here in Eindhoven... I know so many people that would love to buy and eat American junk food - like all those cereals... oh how I miss them... okay - this tangent is long enough....

Here are my Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Sweet Rolls...

Using Basic Dough Mix, combine in a bowl 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast, 3/4 cup warm water - let sit to become foamy. Then add 1 egg, beaten and 1/4 cup melted margarine or vegetable oil. Mix in 3 cups BASIC ROLL MIX and extra flour if needed to make a soft, not too sticky elastic ball of dough. Put into a bowl buttered with oil and turn to coat. Place someplace warm for at least an hour to rise, covered with plastic wrap or a wet towel.  Spread dough out into rectangular form about 1 centimeter thick and cover one side with 2 tablespoons melted peanut butter. Cover the other side with about 1/4 cup Smuckers Concord Grape Jelly. Like this:

Fold in half. Then melt another 1-2 tablespoons peanut butter and spread again over dough. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Like this:

Roll up the opposite direction and pinch seems to close. Like this:

Cut into 12-14 rolls about 3/4" to 1" thick. Put on prepared baking sheets and let rise again. Like this:

yummy that looks good... can't wait to eat them...

Now, you can do this a quick way by putting them in the oven at a low temperature - like say 50 degrees Celcius - this is if you are in a hurry to eat them. Then after 20 minutes or so, raise the temperature to 175 to 190 degrees Celcius (I have a hot air oven and 175 is sufficient for my needs). Then they are done baking in a little under 20 minutes - keep your eye on them because it really depends on the oven. While baking, prepare sweet glaze. Combine 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar with 1-2 tablespoons grape juice and about 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or an 8g package of vanilla sugar. Mix well. Drizzle over warm rolls and sprinkle with 1/8 cup chopped peanuts if desired. I liked the chopped peanuts - my 4 year old did not.

These tasted so yummy warm from the oven. Then I waited a while till Ella woke from her nap to give her one. I didn't rewarm it or anything - just ate it as is at room temperature and I liked it even better! This might be a problem for me because my hubby doesn't like peanut butter so I may have to eat these myself - which is not so good for my waistline...

And though I love Smuckers Concord Grape Jelly... I'm wondering about trying these with my favorite brand raspberry jam - from Hero and then drizzled with a sweet raspberry glaze - oh yummy... the variations to try just totally excite my taste buds!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Sugar High Fridays - Browned Butter, Saffron and Succade Sweet Rolls

THE NIGHT BEFORE I sit and contemplate how to make my sweet rolls. This is the night before:

17andbaking.com is sponsoring the monthly Sugar High Fridays for the month of August 2010 - this will be the first time I participate in this monthly Sugar High baking challenge. The challenge is to use browned butter in the recipe. I had many ideas for different types of browned butter sweet rolls but in the end I've decided on a combination of saffron and succade to pair with the browned butter.

I find this combination to be experimental on my part. I haven't cooked with browned butter much nor with saffron and succade. After a brief search online I have found that this combination will probably pair well together. I found on allrecipes.com a saffron bread recipe - which I will adapt for my sweet rolls... and then from there I will use the succade in my filling and end with a more simple glaze.

Browned butter is nothing more than butter melted in the sauce pan until it turns light brown and gives off a nutty aroma. See Simply Recipe instructions here. There is butter all over a sweet roll recipe - in the dough, the filling and the glaze... so I'm going to use it in all three places. Cooking with saffron is also interesting. according to eHow - I need to cook with the threads and seep it in broth or water. I'm thinking I can just add it to the browned butter right away because that will be warm and the flavor from saffron absorbs when heated. See here. I hope this works. Now I hope I can get away with using as little saffron as possible because it is the worlds most expensive cooking herb that I know of... and they only really sell it in tiny small glass tubes. The recipe for saffron bread above asks for 2 teaspoons and I'm not sure how packed those teaspoons are. I shall see how little I can cook with and still get some flavor from it.

What is succade? I found it in the baking section at my local grocery store. In Dutch it is sukade - or cedar apple rind... after a brief search on wikipedia I have found that it belongs to the citrus family. In English it's called citron - not to be confused with the lemon. It is used in Dutch desserts such as oliebollen and cakes. So putting it in a sweet roll is right on track.

THE DAY OF BAKING, here is what I've done - it's always a day of learning - lots of learning...

Browned Butter and Saffron Dough:
(Adpated from English Saffron Bread by GODGIFU at Allrecipes.com)
1/2 teaspoon (loosely packed) saffron threads*
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup butter, browned
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup white sugar (or raw sugar)
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon zest
5-6 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon oil

*1/2 teaspoon saffron threads for me is .10 grams of saffron - it is sold in tiny hard plastic tubes at .05 grams each. I used two of these for the dough - and just a pinch more for the filling/glaze combination below.

Browned Butter and Succade Filling:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons browned butter with saffron**
100 grams succade

Browned Butter Glaze:
1/3 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar (or more if needed)
3 tablespoons browned butter with saffron**
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

In a small bowl, soak the saffron in the hot water, about 20 minutes, let cool until lukewarm, drain and reserve the liquid. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat; add browned butter, sugar and stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk mixture with the reserved saffron water and egg. Add the yeast and stir to dissolve. Add the salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon zest, strained saffron threads and 3 cups of the flour; mix well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1-2 hours.

**Prepare browned butter with saffron for use in filling and glaze. To do this melt 1/3 cup (75 grams) butter in sauce pan until it reaches browned butter stage. Remove from heat and add pinch of saffron to liquid nutty butter. Leave for 20 minutes to allow saffron to absorb into warm butter. Then divide this mixture; half for use with filling and half for use with glaze.

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out about 1-2 centimeters thick into a large rectangular shape and evenly drizzle 3 tablespoons browned butter with saffron** over. Spread all over with fingers to cover the rolled out dough. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and succade. Roll up jelly roll style and cut into 12-14 equal rolls about 1 inch thick. Place on prepared baking sheets and let rise a second time, about 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F). Bake at 175 degrees-C for 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, prepare Browned Butter Glaze. Combine in small bowl, remaining browned butter with saffron** and powdered sugar. Stir until reaching glaze-like consistency. Add lemon zest. Remove baked rolls from oven and drizzle with Browned Butter Glaze.

Final Thoughts:
During this process - I noticed that I needed quite a bit more flour. That might be because I'm at sea level and it's a bit humid today. So I say use between 5 and 6 cups - which ever is right for you. The smell of the dough - lemon, nutmeg, cinnamon, and saffron - the smell it creates is very aromatic - very perfume like almost. It smells really good and really special. Add to it the browned butter and it is so yummy... and this is just the dough!

The finished product with the combination of browned butter and lemon zest in the glaze... promises to taste perfect... and it does! I love the color of the rolls - a bit darker than usual with the addition of the extra saffron threads, nutmeg and cinnamon. The dough in of itself is super yummy - then add to that the succade, extra sugar and browned butter - while it baked - the butter melted onto the pan like caramel - so the bottom sides of the sweet rolls are super sticky and quite yummy to the taste.

The most important thing I learned today... continue to explore new ingredients. It's creative and inspiring. It's delicious and probably creates new brain cells in my head when I try new things... I read about that somewhere. Browned butter: I will definitely continue to cook with it... I've already seen a nice recipe to use  with it next time... Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons and Browned Butter Parsley - that's on my menu for Sunday night :)

Now, I just need to visit my number one fan/reader - you know who you are - and bring her some rolls to proof!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Banana-Date-Mango Sweet Rolls - Trial 1

I've had this combination in mind for several weeks. I have thought about it a lot. How to make them - where to use the mango, banana and dates and how to bring it all together. Thinking a lot about something really helps - I was able to write down the recipe before I even started the project and then as I started baking today I only had to make adjustments as I went. One ingredient I used to bring it together was lemon. I put lemon peel in the dough and used honey with a lemon flavoring. There is also a bit of lemon in the icing. It's not overpowering but it blends all the ingredients together.

The thing I like about sweet rolls is the waiting. It takes a few hours but when you finally sink your teeth into that sweet roll - warm and fresh from the oven - it's just an awesome experience especially when you go "Ahhhh" these rolls have turned out the best so far. Seriously, these are my most favorite rolls so far. I loved them. I ate two and really had to stop myself from going further because I'm attending a church picnic tomorrow and I want to take something with me. Also, it's best for my waistline not to consume so much. Kailea was lucky enough to be with me when it was taste time. She likes them, too. She's kind of a picky eater - but she always likes my sweet rolls... she's got a sweet tooth just like Mommy :)


Makes about 12-14 rolls

Banana Dough:
1- ½ teaspoons Active dry Yeast
3/4 cup Luke warm water
1- 2 (about 150ml) Small ripe banana(s), pureed
3 tablespoons Oil or melted margarine, divided
2 heaping tablespoons Lemon zest
4 to 4 ½ cups BASIC ROLL MIX
2-3 tablespoons flour if needed


Date Filling:
3 tablespoons Honey (Lemon variety)
½ teaspoon Ground cardamom
15 Dates, pitted and finely chopped*

Mango-Butter Icing:
1/3 cup Pureed mango
1/2 teaspoon Lemon juice
1/3 cup Butter or Margarine, melted
2 cups (260g) Powdered sugar
1- 4 teaspoons Mango nectar or lemon juice to thin, if desired

In a mixing bowl, combine yeast, warm water and banana puree. Let sit a few minutes for yeast to bubble. Then blend in 2 tablespoons oil or margarine and lemon zest. Add in BASIC ROLL MIX ½ cup at a time until dough ball reaches elastic and smooth stage. Knead 5 to 10 minutes adding additional flour if necessary. Oil another bowl with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and put the dough into that bowl, turn to oil top and cover with plastic wrap or hot damp towel and let rise in warm place for 1 – 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare Date Filling:
*Tip: After pitting dates, finely chop dates in food processor fitted with metal blade. This makes it much easier because dates are sticky and hard to work with otherwise.

In a small bowl, combine honey, cardamom and finely chopped dates. Set aside.

Date Filling
When dough is ready, punch down and roll out into large rectangle – (approximately 1-2 centimeters thick). Spread Date Filling evenly over dough. Do this with your fingers – it's a sticky mess but well worth it. Roll up dough – jelly roll style and cut into about 12 - 14 equal slices. Place sweet rolls right-side up on prepared baking pans and let rise about 30-40 minutes in warm place. Bake in pre-heated oven, 190-C degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Roll out dough
Spread with Date Filling
Roll up - jelly roll style
Cut into 12-14 slices - about 1 inch thick

While rolls bake, cream together mango, lemon and butter, then slowly beat in powdered sugar. Taste and adjust texture or flavor according to desire. Use a bit of mango nectar or lemon juice to thin it if you like. May also add a few drops of lemon or banana extract if desired.

Do not let rolls cool before frosting, take out of oven and quickly spread generous amount of thick Mango-Butter Icing over top of each roll. We want the mango flavor to melt into the sweet roll and flavors to blend accordingly. Let cool before eating... about 5-10 minutes is sufficient – if you still want to enjoy it warm and fresh from the oven :) yum yum.