Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

Nothing is more comforting in cold weather than a fresh, warm and gooey cinnamon roll, am I right or am I right? Yeah. I’m right. Cinnamon rolls have always been there for me, through the good and the bad. If you’re having a tough day there’s nothing that 2 (or 3 or 4 or 6) warm cinnamon rolls won’t fix.

What happens in my home lately goes like this: I write and test recipes, photograph them, and then I’m left with copious amounts of pastries and snacks. It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? I’ll admit that it’s very dreamlike until there’s a

Bûche de Noël taking up an entire shelf of your tiny French refrigerator. Your conscience says no, but your body and your heart say yes and before you know it, you’ve blacked out and eaten enough for six people. Just kidding, what? Of course I would never do that. That’s just ridiculous…

This recipe will make 6 cinnamon rolls. You can make it by hand, or with the help of a mixer. I recommend using the mixer for this because it can be tough to incorporate the second half of the flour, but it can be done!

I like to bake mine in a muffin pan. This constricts the area they grow in, and pushes them up to be taller, which I like. The sugary filling also caramelizes around the bottom of the muffin pan, giving you a truly sticky and gooey roll. This is my favorite part. But! Never fear, they don’t have to go into a muffin pan! For larger, fluffier rolls, just pop them on a baking pan. They will spread more, and they will still taste amazing.They will also get a little more crispy, so if that’s something you prefer you should just nix the muffin pan idea.

Ingredients:

¼ cup (50g) of white sugar

½ stick (56g) of butter, cut into cubes

1 pkg (7g) instant yeast

2.75 cups (350g) of all-purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup (120g) whole milk, warm

1 teaspoon salt

For Filling:

Room temperature butter, or melted

¼ cup (55g) brown sugar

½ cup (50g) white sugar

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1. Combine warm milk with yeast and set aside.

2. In bowl of mixer, combine sugar, flour, salt, and butter (not warm but not cold). Run on low speed with paddle attachment until you see no more butter chunks, about 5 minutes.

3. Add beaten egg to milk and yeast mixture.

4. With machine running on low to medium speed, pour in the liquid. Let combine fully, then turn up the speed for 1 minute. Turn off mixer. Cover with a kitchen towel and proof for about an hour or until doubled.

*At this point you can refrigerate overnight and shape the next day, then proof for 1 hour if you prefer.*

5. Empty the dough out onto a floured work surface and roll it into a rectangle (my measurements are about 7″ x 9″). Don’t roll it too thin or your rolls won’t hold up well. Butter the entire surface and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture and a bit of salt. Roll up the rectangle and cut it into six rolls. Proof for one hour.

6. Egg wash and bake in an oven on 375 degrees for about 14 minutes or until a lovely brown color is reached. Drizzle with a mixture of 1 cup powdered sugar and about 2 tablespoons of milk… Or enjoy it without the glaze!

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Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

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I’ll admit that I’ve been making a strange amount of banana bread lately. It’s because I’ve been testing and tweaking a recipe that I can depend on time and time again. I also had to finally admit to myself that I do, in fact, have a chocolate problem. My past two weeks have been full of chocolate, just like this banana bread. Nothing’s wrong with that!

A few banana bread tips:
1. You can just use all white sugar if you don’t have any brown sugar on hand.
2. Riper bananas are better for banana bread, because the starch in the banana breaks down into sugar over time.  This makes for a stronger aroma as well as a more moist and sweet final product. Yay!
3. Don’t over mix! Once you add the flour, work it as little as possible. You don’t want a tough or dense bread.

*Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

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Ingredients:
114g (1 stick) melted butter, cooled
100g (½ cup) sugar
100g (½ cup) brown sugar
250g (2 cups)  of flour  
2 eggs
150g (1 cup) chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
2 ripe bananas
1 tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda

Mash bananas and combine with sugars. Whisk in the butter, followed by the eggs, salt, and vanilla.

Add the chocolate, and stir to combine.

Fold in the flour along with the baking powder and baking soda. Do not over mix.

Pour into a butter/greased loaf pan and bake for approximately 1 hour, or until a knife comes out clean and the banana bread bounces back if you poke it with your finger. Note: melted chocolate on the knife doesn’t mean it’s raw! 

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Wrap in plastic once cool to store. This bread will stay moist for nearly a week!

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A Birthday Cake

Today, October 15th, is my husband’s birthday. Léo loves chocolate, so obviously chocolate was going to be part of the equation. I had some aging figs on hand that I turned into a jam-like filling, and some almonds that I roasted to use as garnish. 

I found a recipe on The Kitchn, which you can find at the bottom of this blog post. For the frosting, I followed a simple recipe of melting 2 sticks of butter with one cup of chopped dark chocolate, cooling it until it hardens, and whipping it until it’s fluffy. Essentially a whipped ganache. This method is super fast, but you must work with it quickly in a warm room or the butter will begin to melt out! Chill after frosting, or else. 

Oh, chocolate. So easy to photograph. 

Cake recipe: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-weeknight-layer-cake-bu-80097

Peach Cobbler

Hello everyone! This is the first time in a few weeks I’ve really felt like writing anything. I’ve been in a bit of a rut here in Paris, but I am pushing myself out of it. It’s been a tough ride and I’m still figuring a lot of things out (like the entire French language), but I’ve decided to take a different approach and things are already looking better. I haven’t given myself enough time to absorb the greatness of the new city I live in. That changes now.

About two weeks ago I snagged the last of what I thought might be nice white peaches. I got lucky; they were. Produce can be tricky around here. They sat on the counter for a few days before I finally decided to do something with them. I wanted to make dessert for two, so I decided on a quick cobbler! Oh, how I miss the Southern United States and it’s delicacies. This took me back. 

You’re really free to use any fruit for this. Just take into account the amount of liquid it’s going to produce when it’s baked. A juicy peach will produce enough liquid to make a crust soggy, so to avoid that I tossed about ½ a teaspoon of flour into the diced fruit. 


What You Need (for 2 mini cobblers):

75g butter (about ¾ stick)
100g flour
1/2t baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tbsp cream
3 peaches, medium diced or 2 cups of any fruit

1) Butter 2 small ramekins. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Mix peaches in a separate bowl with 1 tablespoon of flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and a pinch of salt.

2) Blend butter into flour using your fingers or a fork. Don’t melt it! 

3) When butter is broken down almost completely, stir in the yolk and the cream. Just bring together, do not overmix. Chill for at least 10 minutes. 

4) Since I used mini ramekins, I quickly shaped my dough into a disk shape and put it over the top of my peaches inside of the ramekin. You could also take a spoon and just drop spoonfuls over the peaches in a baking pan. 

Bake on 350 degrees until golden brown. 

*If you wish to make a regular sized cobbler in a square baking dish, multiply this recipe by 3. 

Boozy Brown Butter Apple Pie

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There are many wonderful pie recipes out there but, for me, nothing pairs up better with apples than brown butter. The dark, earthy, aromatic flavors perfectly compliment the sweet vibrancy of good apples at their ripest, and I’ve added a little bourbon to tie them together. If you have your own crust recipe that you prefer, please use it! The butter vs. shortening battle is one that will never be won. In making this pie be sure to use good, fragrant apples (I prefer Granny Smith and Pink Lady).  Like anything, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

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Crust:

3 C. Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1 t. Salt
1 T. Sugar
1 Cup Vegetable Shortening
½ Cup Ice Water (more or less as needed)
1 t. Vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, and sugar.
2. Using a pastry blender cut shortening into flour mixture. Work with hands until dough is shaggy.
3. Sprinkle in the water and the vanilla and toss with a fork until just combined. Work with hands until dough is homogeneous.
4. Separate the dough into two equal parts. One will be used to line the pie plate, and the other for the top.
5. This dough can be used immediately, or can be wrapped in wax paper and refrigerated until you are ready to make your pie. If storing for later be sure to let it come back up to room temperature before rolling.

Filling:

½ Cup Unsalted Butter
3 T. Flour
¼ Cup Water
½ C. Sugar
¾ C. Brown Sugar, Packed
2 oz. Good Bourbon
½ Split Vanilla Bean, or 1 Tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
6-8 Apples of your choice peeled, cored, and sliced thin.
1 ½ T. Tapioca Pearls

1. In a heavy pot begin to melt butter on low heat until it is completely liquefied, then increase heat to med-high. Here you must watch carefully as the water begins to cook off and your butter begins to darken. This will happen fast!
2. Continue to stir making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. You’ll begin to notice that the solid fats in the butter turn dark brown. When butter begins to give off a nutty, fragrant smell and you’ve achieved a deep yellow/golden color remove pot from heat temporarily to suspend browning.
3. Once removed from heat mix in 4 T. of flour. Return pot to burner and continue to stir until a paste is formed.
4. At this point you can add your sugar, your brown sugar, and vanilla, bourbon, then water. Stir to combine and boil until it begins to thicken.
5. Add the apples and stir.
6. Here’s where the magic begins!  One of the best reasons to precook the apples like this is it really pulls out the flavor.  You’ll begin to notice the apples breaking down, and the caramel will thin out. The flavors begin to combine and it smells wonderful.
7. The cook time here will vary. If you are using Granny Smith apples you will need to cook them a bit longer. The flavor is the best, but they sure are starchy! When the apples are tender (smaller pieces will begin to fall apart) remove the pot from heat and stir in 1.5 T. of tapioca pearls (these will hold your pie together).
8. Allow to cool as you prepare your crust.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Construction:

1. Pour apples into your prepared pie shell and smooth/compress with a wooden spoon to achieve a nice dome shape.
2. Dress pie with a lattice top like I did,  or roll out remaining crust into a circle large enough to cover your pie.  Invert crust on top of pie and, after cutting off any excess dough with a sharp knife crimp edges with a fork. To form a vent cut two slits in center of pie to form an X.
3. Brush the top of your pie with milk and sprinkle with sugar. This achieves a really nice color and texture when baked.

Baking:

1. To catch any potential juices, place pie on a cookie sheet  and position on the center rack of your preheated oven.
2. Bake for 35-45 minutes. As the apples are mostly precooked your main goal is to a achieve a nice golden brown crust.

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Enjoy!

Recipe by Faron Vassen, Instagram: milkandstone 

The Easiest Ice Cream You’ll Make All Summer

Yep, you’re just two ingredients from the perfect, easiest ice cream you will make all summer long. All it takes is one small container of heavy cream and a can of condensed milk. You don’t need an ice cream machine – just a stand mixer, or a hand mixer, or a strong arm with a whisk. It takes about 10 minutes of mixing and a few hours to freeze into lovely, velvety ice cream.

While you can branch off and make any flavors your heart desires from this basic ratio, the flavor in this recipe is Blackberry & Crème Fraîche. It tastes a lot like cheesecake.

Ingredients:

One pint heavy cream
One 14 ounce can of condensed milk
1 pint of blackberries, fresh, or another berry
4 heaping tablespoons crème fraîche
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or 2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract)
Zest of ½ a lemon

Method:

Smash berries with back of spoon in a bowl; set aside.

Whip the cream to stiff peaks. Not so far that it separates!

Pour the can of condensed milk into the bowl with the cream. Also add the smashed berries, salt, crème fraîche, vanilla bean powder (or extract), and lemon zest. Fold all ingredients together with a spatula.

Pour the ice cream mixture into a metal loaf pan, pie plate, or similar dish. Anything will do as long as it can go into the freezer. Freeze for 5 hours, or overnight. Share with everyone that you love. 

Rosemary & Plum Galette

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I never really made galettes until I started working at Bakeri in Brooklyn, where we make individual sized galettes. This one is a large one. 

Galettes are the easiest, fastest way to showcase any type of fruit (or vegetable!). Apples, strawberries, pears… Or in this case, plums. 

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All you need is a single pie crust & some nice looking fruit. 

Quarter at least 10 plums, depending how large you want your galette to be. Wrap them up in the pie dough as pictured. Or however you please, really. 

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I added blueberries & chopped rosemary, and then put it back in the freezer so it would be really cold (frozen!) going into a really hot oven (400 degrees). By personal preference I egg wash the dough & heavy-handedly apply a good coating of raw sugar. 

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40 minutes later*, a beautiful pastry emerges. Cut it, dollop some fresh whipped cream on it, and share it with friends – or not. 

*Depending on your oven. Check on it every 10m while baking to catch it at the perfect golden brown color.