Posted 2 years ago

Cinnamon Rolls

I’m Betty Crocker’s bitch.

No, seriously, y’all, I’ve become this weird Betty fanatic. I think it’s because my 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook (a reproduction, of course) is so damn handy. Nearly anything you want to make, you can find in here, with detailed instructions from the Betty Crocker kitchens. Plus, the little intros like, “We got this from Soandso Whatsherface who is now Mrs. BigBad VoodooDaddy of Minneapolis, MN, when she was our tour hostess…” make me giggle. I can’t even imagine someone referring to me as “Stephanie Peterson who is now Mrs. William Ferrel.” That idea makes me giggle in a most unladylike fashion. But I digress.

Another thing is that Betty does not fuck around in this cookbook. She gives you detailed recipes and instructions. Usually, there are even photographs to go with the instructions. Betty understands that you might just now be learning the difference between a stove and a fridge, and she’s there guiding you through the scary shit in your kitchen. She also has some handy tips for the homemaker. Some of these tips are, of course, completely ridiculous in this day and age, but some of them? Have withstood the test of time. Like this little gem: “Alternate sitting down tasks and standing up tasks. Don’t be on your feet too long at one time.” Fuckin’ A, Betty. Preach it, sister.

Another thing Betty does is to give you “key” recipes. Recipes that, once mastered, will become the foundation of numerous other delightful treats. (Look, I’m sure most of you know what a “key” recipe is, but since I didn’t when I first started baking, I’m clarifying it here.) Today’s recipe is a fine example of this process. Yes, we’re going to end up with cinnamon rolls, but first, we have to make “Richer Sweet Dough”. (Once you know how to make this, you can make ALLLLL the recipes that were part of the poll. If you’re interested in that, e-mail me at steph[at]quirkyblogger[dot]com, and I’ll hook you up.)

As a preface, let me just say this – I understand there are 29347923857 cinnamon roll recipes on the ‘tubes. I understand that my recipe is simple and no-frills. You know what else I understand? These cinnamon rolls are the bomb fucking diggity, bitches. Sometimes, less really IS more. With that out of the way, let’s get started.

Ingredients:
Dough:
1 c. lukewarm milk (about 105°-115°)
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 pkgs. active dry yeast (soak in 1/2 c. lukewarm water for 5 minutes just prior to addition to dough)
2 eggs
1/2 c. soft shortening
4 1/2 to 5 c. flour

Filling:
2 tbsp. melted butter
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Let’s meet the players.

But not the pimps. The only pimp involved here is Betty Crocker.

Mix together the milk, sugar and salt. Now add the yeast.

OMFG! What is that shit? Oh, it’s just the yeast. Before stirring. Point here? STIR THAT SHIT BEFORE YOU ADD IT.

See? Much bettah.

Stir in eggs and shortening.

Did you notice the bowl switch? Yeah, Bill bought some new hand mixer that’s all Tim Taylor’d or some shit, and it’s like it only knows whip, aerate, plasma-fy and spin-the-molecules-into-nothing. So I had to switch to my stand mixer.

Mix in the flour, first with spoon, then with hand.

Soon, my pretties…soon.


Now I know some of you are thinking, “Why not use the stand mixer and its handy-dandy kneading hooks?” Frankly, I don’t like how my mixer handles the dough. In order to keep the dough from climbing the kneading hooks and taking over my kitchen, I have to make the dough entirely too dry. So, I use my hands.

Knead the dough until it’s elastic and not sticking to your board (or in my case, countertop). Then place it in a greased bowl, turning once to bring the greased side up. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until double. No, I didn’t take pictures of this. I’m a douchebag, I know.

After it doubles, punch it down. Then pull the edges into the center and turn over in bowl. Let rise again until almost double. I test my rise by poking it – if the dents stay, it’s risen (raised? rised?). This also works to check the first rise.

Y’all don’t even know how close I came to Photoshopping a smiley face on this sucker.

Now you could stop right here and make plain ol’ dinner rolls out of this. Or you could gather up a few more ingredients and make a Swedish Tea Ring or a French Coffee Lace. You could make Cinnamon Raisin bread even. The world is your oyster once you master this recipe is what I’m saying here. But y’all voted for cinnamon rolls, so we’re gonna make cinnamon rolls.

After that second rise, roll the dough into a 9×18 rectangle.

It really helps if you have big, meaty, peasant-in-the-field arms like mine. Just sayin’.

Now brush with butter. And use all that damn butter, okay?

Also? I say EFF a pastry brush. My silicone basting brush from The Pampered Chef is fucking magical.

Now spread the cinnamon and sugar all over.

Now, I have to admit, one reason I’m so loyal to these cinnamon rolls is that I like a cinnamon roll that actually tastes cinnamon-y. Cinnabon is great, I guess, but the cinnamon is overwhelmed, in my opinion. Not so with these bad boys. But I digress.

Roll up tightly, beginning at the wide side.

Tightly, schmightly. I does what I wants, Betty. Wait, what’s that, Betty? Yes, ma’am, Ms. Crocker. I won’t sass you again.

Cover those suckers and let rise ’til double.

They already look delectable, don’t they? Yes, they do.

Now bake ‘em in a 375° oven for 25-30 minutes.

Mmmmm…cinnamon rolls…can you smell that? Oh, right. You probably can’t yet, but I wish I could upload the smell in my house right now, y’all. Srsly.

For me, cinnamon roll icing is a pretty personal thing. Some people like a light glaze; others like a full-on icing. I’ll share my recipe with y’all, but I will also tell you that there are a kazillion and four recipes on the ‘tubes for icings. Pick one YOU like.

Icing:
3 tbsp. melted butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4-6 tbsp. milk

Dump butter, powdered sugar and vanilla into a mixing bowl. Add milk by tbsp. until it reaches desired consistency.

Do all that, and this is what you end up with:

Mmmm….

You’re welcome. I love you, too.

Posted 2 years ago

Lemon Pound Cake

This is one of my favorite fricking things on the planet to eat. It’s moist. It’s sweet but the tartness of the lemon offsets that beautifully. It is fucking. yummy. okay? However, it is also a skosh time consuming. It’s not exactly a hard recipe, but don’t think you’re coming home at 6 p.m. and having cake at 7. You’ll have your cake more like 8:30. But I swear to you, it is so, so, so worth it. No, srsly.

Ingredients:
Cake:
1 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. vegetable oil
3 c. sugar
5 eggs
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. milk
1 t. lemon extract

Glaze:
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. lemon juice

Icing:
1 1/4 c. powdered sugar
2 t. lemon juice
2 T. milk (use more or less depending on desired consistency)

Preheat oven to 300(F).
Our starting lineup:

Ingredients

Clearly, I am pwn’d by Pyrex and Pampered Chef. Shutup.

Cream butter at medium speed.

Creaming butter. HEH!

Butter. Who doesn’t love butter? No one. It’s like Raymond, and we all know everyone loves Raymond.

Gradually, add the oil.

Adding oil

Now, for me, “gradually” means “slightly slower than just dumping the stuff in”. YMMV.

Add the sugar gradually, beating well.

Creaming ingredients

Seriously, do not fuck around. Make sure the sugar, butter and oil are nicely creamed. It’s just ugly otherwise.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Adding eggs

I’ve always wondered what happens if you dump the eggs in all at once, but I’m too scared of fucking up my cake to try it.

Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Mix just until blended after each addition.

Adding flour

If you overblend, you’re going to do some crazy shit to the gluten, and your cake? Will be more like bread. So mix JUST until blended.

Adding milk

I know this doesn’t look like good eats, but OMG, it will be.

Now stir in the lemon extract.

Adding lemon extract

Also, feel free to take a taste of your batter because that shit is good. And don’t be a pussy and talk about raw eggs and salmonella and blahblahblah. Just taste it.

Divide the batter equally between two loaf pans. Now, this is where I vary from some of the other recipes I’ve read. I use loaf pans instead of a tube pan. I’m not dissing the tube pan or anything, but I had loaf pans on hand the first time I made this, and they worked just fine, so I’m not screwing with a good thing.

Uncooked pans

Plus, you get TWO cakes!! And two is always better than one, right? When it comes to cake anyway.

Let those suckers bake for about an hour and a half or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. In my experience, that hour and a half is perfect, but ovens vary so do the toothpick check at about an hour and 20 minutes. You don’t want to overcook these suckers.
Set the cakes in the pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.

Cooked pans

Don’t dig in yet. There’s more. I mean, you could eat this right now, and they’d be good, but hold out for a little while, okay?

While the cakes are cooling away, g’head and make the glaze. Just dump the water, sugar and lemon juice into a bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Glaze

And in a moment, you will ooh and aah over how smart I am for mixing this in something from which I can pour.

Turn the cakes out onto the wire rack. Then pour the glaze alllllll over those suckers. I do mean ALL over them. Use your hands to flip them around. This adds a really nice little kick of lemon, plus it makes the cake suuuuper moist. NOM!

Glazing loaves

Also, be smart like me and put something under the wire rack. I know from experience that this mess is sticky. Because I wasn’t always so smart.

Now, you could go ahead and enjoy the cake. You could slice it up and serve it and live happily ever after…or at least happily until this cake is gone. But. You could also do what I do and make a little lemon icing to put on top. What’s that? You want to do that? Okay. Dump the powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk into a bowl and stir. Then pour it over the cakes.

Making icing

Seriously, mix it up, and just pour it over the cakes.

When you’re done, this is what you’ll have:

Iced loaf

How good does this look? Yeah, I know.

Slice

This is the “bottom” of the cake. Look how moist that is. That is some goodass cake, people.

Slice

You’re licking your monitor right now, aren’t you? It’s okay. I almost did the same thing.

Whew. That’s it. You now have a really fucking good lemon pound cake.

Posted 2 years ago

Look, this can all be made with mixes or pre-made stuff. Which is pretty much exactly how I did it. Heh.