Friday, December 30, 2011

Perfect Orange Rolls

So what makes this a Perfect Orange Roll you ask??
 How about the kind that melts in your mouth...
 and has the perfect blend of orange sunny sweetness with an orange zesty pop!
Topped with an orange kissed icing that will leave your taste buds singing!
 Yep, they are that GOOD!!
Happy baking!   

1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
 1/4 cup warm water
 1 1/4 cups milk; scalded
 1/2 tsp salt
 1/2 cup sugar
 1/2 cup butter softened
 3 eggs beaten
 5-5 1/2 cups flour
 *Orange sugar mix*
1 cup sugar
 1/2 cup butter softened
 Grated orange zest from 2 oranges (about 2 tbsp)
*Orange icing*
2 cups powdered sugar
juice from 1 orange (enough to get a thin icing consistency)

 Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. Scald milk over med-high heat, add sugar, butter, & salt. Stir to dissolve sugar. Cool milk mixture to lukewarm & add yeast. Add beaten eggs and 2 cups flour. Stir to combine. Add the rest of flour and then knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes. Cover and allow to rise till doubled in bulk. About 1 hour. Divide dough in half. (I store other half covered in fridge and make another batch the next day) * Combine 1 cup sugar with 2 tbsp orange zest & set aside. On a floured surface roll out dough into a 12x18 inch rectangle and spread softened butter evenly over dough and to the edges. Sprinkle all of the orange sugar over butter. Roll up dough jelly roll style. (like you would a cinnamon roll) and cut into 1-2 inch slices depending on how big you want your rolls and how many you want. I get 1 dozen per half of dough. So 2 dozen total. Place rolls in a greased 13x9 inch baking dish and cover. Allow to rise till doubled in bulk. About 50 minutes. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or till rolls are a light golden brown. Whisk together powdered sugar and orange juice for icing. Drizzle over warm rolls. Heaven sent!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ham Bean Soup...

 What a perfect way to use your leftover holiday ham! So comforting and DELISH!!

1 ham hock ( I use all the meat left on the bone)
2-3 cups chopped ham
 8-10 cups of water
 4-5 carrots, sliced
 1 large onion chopped
 4 celery stalks sliced
 3-4 cloves garlic minced
 3 red potatoes, cubed
 2 cups chopped kale
 3 bay leaves
 1 pound dry great northern beans (or 3-4 cans great northern beans; with juices)
 Salt & pepper to taste

 In a large soup pot add just enough water to cover your ham hock. Add bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for up to 4 hours or until the remaining meat falls off the bone. Remove the bones and shred the meat into good size chunks. Add your beans, carrots, celery, onions, & garlic. Gently boil about 10 minutes, then add your potatoes and kale; & gently boil another 10 minutes or until all your vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Baked French Toast with a kiss of Cinnamon & Maple Syrup!

I made this on Christmas Eve so it would be ready to bake Christmas morning while we opened gifts. The heavenly smell of cinnamon and brown sugar was a perfect start to a blessed Christmas day! Merry Christmas!!

1 loaf of french bread ( I used a whole grain wheat french loaf. My attempt at adding something healthful)
 8 eggs
 2 cups milk
 1/2 cup heavy cream
 3/4 cup sugar
 2 tbsp. vanilla

 Crumb topping
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
 1 heaping tsp. ground cinnamon
 1/4 tsp. salt
 1 stick cold butter; cut into pieces

Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with butter or non stick spray. Tear bread into bite size pieces and place evenly in pan. Beat together, eggs, milk, heavy cream, sugar, & vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. (With the backside of a spoon squish the bread down into the egg mixture) Cover with plastic wrap. Store in fridge overnight. (12 hrs) In a medium bowl mix together all the crumb topping ingredients except butter. With a pastry blender or fork cut cold butter into the mix until you've got pea size crumbles. Store in a zip lock bag in fridge. When ready to bake evenly sprinkle crumb mixture over top of bread. Bake @ 350 degrees 45-55 minutes. Serve with warm maple syrup. This is very much the same as a bread pudding and would be fabulous served with a hot caramel sauce and ice cream!! Yield: 12 large servings

Friday, December 16, 2011

Orange Cranberry Brownies

2 sticks butter softened
2 cups sugar
 4 eggs 
2 tsp. pure orange extract
 2 tsp. orange zest
 1 tsp salt
 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
 3/4 cup dried cranberries ( you can omit this for just orange brownies) 
 Orange Glaze-
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp orange juice (use fresh squeezed from the oranges you just zested!)
 1 tsp orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9 in baking pan. Combine first 5 ingredients and beat till smooth and creamy. Add flour and salt; beat well till combined. Fold in dried cranberries. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes; with a fork poke holes all over top of brownies. Beat glaze ingredients together. (should be a thin consistency) Evenly spread the glaze over brownies. It will be a very thin layer over top, but it gives it a pretty shine once it dries. Ready for eating!! Delicious!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fantastic Fresh Granola


Fantastic Fresh Granola

Wet ingredients~
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter (any kind will work)
1/4 cup corn syrup (I know it's more sugar, but this really helps to hold it together in clumps)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup butter melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp maple extract
1/8 tsp salt
Dry ingredients~
3 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup wheat germ
1 cup craisins (any dry fruit would work) chopped apricots would be yummy!
1/4 cup flax seeds (regular or golden)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2-3 tbsp sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 13x9 in pan. In a large mixing bowl combine all the wet ingredients and stir well to combine. Add all the dry ingredients and stir well coating evenly. Pour into prepared pan and lightly press down. Bake at 300 for 40 minutes. Stir, and set oven to 350 degrees and bake 20 -30 minutes longer, stirring halfway through. It should be dark brown in color. Stir once more and then let rest till completely cooled. Break into pieces and store in gallon size ziploc bag. This gets eaten pretty quick at my house so I'm not quite sure how long it will keep. Delicious with yogurt or milk or just by itself! Enjoy!

Carrot Cheesecake

Carrot Cheesecake

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter melted
3 pkg cream cheese softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 eggs lightly beaten
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp sour cream
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I put a very generous 1/2 tsp cinnamon!)
1-1/3 cup chopped carrots, cooked and pureed
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a small bowl combine crumbs and sugar; stir in melted butter. Press onto the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a 10 in springform pan. Place on baking sheet and bake @ 350 degrees for about 6-8 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. In the meantime, in a large bowl beat cream cheese, and sugars till smooth. Add eggs; beat until combined. On low speed beat in cream, cornstarch, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Fold in carrots.
Pour into crust and place on baking sheet. In a separate glass baking dish (I use my 8x8 pan) pour about 1-2 inches of HOT water and place on lowest rack in oven. (below cheesecake!) Bake @ 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until center is just set. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over filling and bake 7-10 minutes longer. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool i hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Yield: 10-12 servings

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls w/ Evil Honey Caramel Sauce


Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls w/Honey Caramel Sauce

Cinnamon Rolls~
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
Cinnamon filling~
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp butter

In small saucepan over med-high heat brown 2 tbsp butter. (do not burn so watch closely) Once browned add 1/2 cup milk & heat through. Allow to cool slightly, around 110 degrees. Once cooled combine warmed butter/milk with yeast and sugar and set aside to proof. (about 10 min) When ready add pumpkin, salt, & 1 cup flour; stir till combined. Add the rest of your flour 1/2 cup at a time. Knead on a well floured surface for about 5 minutes or till dough is smooth but slightly sticky. Set dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise 60-90 minutes. (or doubled in size)
In the meantime for the filling- brown 2 tbsp butter; combine 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, & nutmeg in a bowl. Add browned butter mixing till all the sugar & butter are combined well. Set aside. Once dough is risen roll out onto a floured surface into a 20x12 rectangle. Sprinkle all of your cinnamon sugar filling over top and to the edges. Roll up rectangle from the long side. Cut into about 12 pieces. (you may get a few more or less depending on how big or little you cut them) *Dental floss is a great tool for cutting your dough into rolls* Place cut rolls into a greased 13x9 inch pan; cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 30 min. Once risen remove plastic wrap and bake for 25-30 minutes @ 350 degrees or till golden brown. Drizzle with Honey Caramel Sauce! Best served warm.
Honey Caramel Sauce~
1/2 cup honey
1 stick butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)

Over med-high heat melt butter with brown sugar and honey. Bring to a rolling boil stirring constantly. Boil for 2 minutes continuing to stir. Pour in sweetened condensed milk; stir till well combined and heat through. About 1 minute.
This is the best caramel sauce and can be poured over ice cream or a dip for apples!  ENJOY!!

Garlic Cheese Bread...

I originally found this recipe on Pinterest. (oh how I LOVE the recipes I have found on there!) But this is my version of the recipe.
1 batch of pizza dough (about a pound) You can either make this or buy the dough at the store or at a pizzeria, I've heard that some will sell you the dough?
1 stick softened butter + about 1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves pureed. You can mince it but pureeing it will combine more evenly through your butter. I use my microplane for this. A fine cheese grater would work great too! You can also use more or less garlic depending on your taste. I want to taste the garlic!!
1 tsp Italian herbs, dried works fine. (but in the summer months I always mince up my fresh ones from my herb garden)
Salt & pepper to taste; Start with about 1/2 tsp salt (you can always add more but you can't take out!)
1/3 cup grated parmesan.
About 3 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese; enough to really cover the pizza dough. I like it cheesy! :)
Pizza stone- this is the trick to getting the perfect crispy crust, along with a very HOT oven. If you don't have a pizza stone you can use a cookie sheet flipped uspide down.

Preheat pizza stone (or cookie sheet) in  oven to 475-500 degrees,
Combine in a small bowl your softened butter, olive oil, garlic, herbs, and salt and pepper. (give your butter mixture a taste to see if it needs more salt or garlic, or anything else)
While your oven is preheating either roll out or pizza dough or use your hands pressing it out and shape it into about the size of your stone or top of your cookie sheet. (it must not be bigger than your stone, you can imagine why...mess!!)
I also do this on a pizza wheel cover with cornmeal first so I can slide my dough onto preheated crust. If you don't have a pizza wheel a large clean piece of cardboard will work.
Okay so now that your dough is shaped, spread your butter mixture over dough evenly to edges. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and mozzarella over top. Very carefully slide the dough onto your heated stone. Bake about 12-15 minutes or till golden and bubbly. Your crust will be crispy and delicious! Just like it is at your favorite pizzeria!!
I like to serve mine with a drizzle of Lucero's Balsamic Vinegar. Honeyville Farms sells the BEST Balsamic vinegar I've ever had! Its thick and syrupy and it a perfect match with this bread!! ENJOY!!

Crepe Cake aka- Kreype Cake

 I could eat my weight in this cake! Yes, it may take some time and patience to make, but it is more than worth it! The velvet texture of the crepes and pastry cream sing harmony with the sweetened berry medley and warm caramel sauce... Oh it is Crepe-licious!!!

 First you will need roughly 30 crepes about 8' in diameter. A few more or less is not going to make a difference. You can use whatever crepe recipe you love. I have one that I really like that I will include.*Note-I double the crepe recipe below for Crepe Cake-the recipe below will give you about 15 crepes.*
¾ cup flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
¾ cup milk
1 ½ tbsp butter, melted
3 eggs
1- Melt butter & cool slightly
2- Crack eggs into medium size bowl& whisk till thick.
3- Add milk slowly, then whisk cooled melted butter into milk/egg mixture.
4- Sift flour, sugar, & salt together, then slowly whisk into the wet ingredients till smooth.
5- Spray a 8-10 in frying pan with non-stick spray.
6- Pour in about ¼ cup of batter into pan, & quickly turn pan side to side, allowing batter to cover the bottom of the pan.
7- Cook until the top is no longer wet. (this happens fast) & when the bottom is slightly golden.
8- Peel from the edge of crepe to turn over, & cook on other side for about 15 seconds.

 Pastry Cream-
2 c milk (I used 1% but I think you can use whatever milk you have for this)
1 tbsp vanilla extract (I suggest a good quality vanilla here) I also think lemon extract would be amazing with the berry sauce! Anyway, back to the recipe.
6 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch (I know, it's alot!)
3 1/2 tbsp butter; room temp
1 cup whipping cream (sweetened w/1 tbsp sugar & 1 tsp  vanilla)

Bring milk almost to a boil (watch closely!) remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Set aside; about 5 minutes.
Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. In a medium saucepan whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch. Mixture will be thick. Slowly temper the egg yolk mixture by adding the hot milk, a little at a time and whisking vigorously. Keep adding hot milk while whisking till it's all combined. Over med-high heat whisk about 2 minutes or until thickened. (it will get very thick) Add in butter and stir till melted. It will have a nice sheen to it. Place hot pan into ice water stirring occasionally till cooled. Cover pastry cream with plastic wrap directly on top of it (so it doesn't form a skin) and chill in fridge till completely cooled. Once cooled fold in whipped cream.
After your crepes are made it's time to start layering! Layer each crepe, topping with pastry cream ( about 2 tbsp of cream each layer) Continue layering until crepes are gone. Cover cake with plastic wrap and chill for a couple of hours in fridge to firm up.
Berry Medley Sauce-
3 cups of fresh or frozen mixed berries
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan over med-high heat stirring till thickened
This can be use over any cake, ice cream, pancakes, crepes!
Caramel Sauce-
1/2 c butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c half & half
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan over med-high heat. Bring to boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. I use the caramel sauce for everything!
 Top each slice of cake with berry medley, caramel sauce, and some fresh whipped cream and you're in heaven! I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!!

Peppermint Marbled Fudge

1 ½ tsp plus ¾ cup butter, divided
3 cups sugar
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
1 package (10-12 ounces) vanilla or white chips
1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow crème
3 tsp peppermint extract
red paste coloring (I use about 1/2 tsp or until I get the rich red color I want) red food coloring will also work, but you have to use alot more to get that pretty red color you want!
 crushed peppermint candies for garnish

1-     Grease a 13x9 in. pan with 1 ½ tsp butter; set aside.
2-    In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, heavy cream, & remaining butter, cook & stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
3-     Bring to a boil; cook & stir for 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in chips & marshmallow crème till smooth.
4-     Remove one cup & set aside. Add peppermint extract & coloring to remaining mixture; stir until blended.
5-     Pour into prepared pan. Drop reserved marshmallow mixture by tablespoonfuls over the top; cut through with a knife to swirl.
6- Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies
7-  Cover & refrigerate until set. Cut into squares

Yield: 2 ½ pounds

Lemon Crinkles

½ cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoons baking soda
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

*So I thought the cookies could use a little more lemon kick. So I made a very simple lemon icing with powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice. Mixed together till I got a thin icing consistency then lightly drizzled over cookies. Just what they needed!

Soft Pretzels

2 ¼ tsp yeast
1 ¼ cups warm water
Pinch of sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup water
1 tbsp baking soda
Course salt (optional)
2 tbsp butter, melted (optional)

1.     In small bowl combine yeast & warm water w/a pinch of sugar
2.     Let stand for about 5 min while you prepare next step
3.     In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, 2 cups flour, and yeast mixture. (when its ready)
4.     Then stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough
5.     Turn dough onto a well floured surface and knead for about 3 min
6.     Cover and let rest for 20 min
7.     Cut dough into 12 pieces
8.     Roll each piece into a 12-15 inch rope and shape into a pretzel or cut into bites.
9.     In shallow bowl mix 1 tbsp baking soda w/1 cup water
10.                       Dip each finished pretzel in water quily, shaking off excess
11. Place on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle w/ salt if desired
12.Bake at 425 degrees for 6 min or till golden brown
13. Brush melted butter on top or serve w/ your favorite dip