Cinnamon Buns (of Oblivion)

Cinnamon buns really piss me off. You see, I am extremely intolerant of sugar. I can never remember if its hypo or hyperglycemia. I just know that two Cosmopolitans had enough sugar in them to knock me out cold sitting in rock hard seats in the nose bleed section outside at a White Zombie/Ozzie Osborne concert on a blustery November night. Oh yeah, that happened.

So you can imagine how much I have to avoid sugar. An interesting problem since I love to bake. I can enjoy the wonderful smells at least, and the smiles my cookies and cakes give to others. Not so with the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns. I always break down and eat a half of one. Then I sink into black oblivion, the gooey evidence of my trespass clutched in my sticky hand. If you want to join me there, friends, just follow the cinnamon and cream cheese frosted road…

Cinnamon Rolls.JPG

Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients (Serves 6, assuming you have self-control.)

  • 2 oz Cream Cheese
  • 3 oz Butter
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 8oz Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

Prep

  • Place butter in a small bowl and microwave for 30-60 seconds, or place in a small pot and melt over low flame. Once its mostly melted, set aside. It will be fully melted by the time you need it.
  • Add self-rising flour to a medium mixing bowl along with 2 Tbsp of melted butter. Add in the yogurt, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, and 1 Tbsp of water.
  • Mix with clean hands until you have a shaggy dough.
  • On a flat work surface, like a large wooden cutting board or marble counter top, sprinkle liberally with bench flour. Coat your hands liberally, too. Add some more flour to a bowl and keep it handy. You’ll need it.
  • Turn out the dough onto your work surface and knead into a smooth and slightly sticky ball. You may need to sprinkle the dough with flour or coat your hands a few times during this process. Let the dough rest (being kneaded is hard work, after all) for 5 minutes while you make the cinnamon mixture.
  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, remaining butter, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Using a rolling pin coated in flour, roll out your dough into an 8 X 11 oval. Cover almost the entire surface with the mixture. I leave a very thin edge all the way around.
  • Starting on the short side, roll your dough into a cylinder. Cut into 6 equal slices.

CinnamonRollsPrep.JPG

  • In a round baking pan or cast iron skillet, coat with a little oil or non-stick spray, and then assemble your slices into a tight ring with one slice in the center and the rest surrounding. They need to be snuggly pressed together to ensure the rolls don’t fall open during baking and the dough puffs upwards.
  • Bake the rolls at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. The tops should be lightly brown when done.
  • While the buns are baking, stir together the cream cheese, remaining powdered sugar, and 1 Tbsp of water. Stir the mixture until smooth.
  • Once the buns are done, I like to spread the frosting while they are still pretty warm so you get the drippy and gooey effect. If you like your frosting firm, let the buns cool first before you spread.

~Nom On to the land of oblivion

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Seasonal Berry Compote

Do those gorgeous pallets of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries that are in just about every stall at the farmers market during the summer entice you as much as they do me? They are so pretty! I just get all dizzy with fantasies of mixed berry tarts and sundaes and pies, oh my! But tarts and pies take forever, and lets face it, we’ll probably be too drunk from our sippy-sippy while we cook to finish anything that delicate and time consuming. Am I right? Well, that’s why the good lord invented compotes. Great on sundaes, waffles, pancakes, sponge and pound cakes, or as a side to dip your butter cookies in, the reasons to make a compote are endless. And it’s ok if you are drunk by the time you pour it over pancakes at 10 am. No judgement!

Mixed Berry Sundae

Seasonal Berry Compote

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 cups mixed spring or summer berries
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (which is approx. 1/2 medium lemon)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp butter

Prep

  • In a small sauce pan, bring water and sugar to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and add in the remaining ingredients, except the butter.
  • Return to a boil and stir a few times. 45 seconds boiling, tops.
  • Turn off the heat and add in butter. Stir until fully melted and combined.
  • Using a potato masher, crush berries until you have a nice lumpy sauce. Don’t over crush, just make sure all berries are broken down.

Now that you have your delicious compote, what you pour it on is up to you! It’s lovely served warm on ice cream, pancakes, waffles, etc, but you can also store in a jar in your fridge for a week or so and add to milk shakes and smoothies. It can also work well as a jam on toast and scones, or you can get a little freaky and make a squishy ice cream and compote cookie sandwich with Nilla wafers. Heck if you need to get fancy, make cream puffs, also known as profiterole, and fill them up. We’ll all be impressed.

~Nom your sweet tooth on

Carrot Cupcakes: Ohhhh yeah…..

Ah, carrot cake… Is there anything better? All you people with your red velvet and cheesecake obsessions need to take this dollar I’m holding down to the corner and buy yourself a clue. But then, if you make a cake you have this behemoth darkening your fridge. The solution? Well, it’s me so I think the solution is always found in a cupcake pan.

Carrot Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes….

  • 2/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten

For the not-too-sweet frosting ….

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Nutmeg

Prep:

  • Wash and skin the carrots. Grab a cheese grater and put on a good audio book while you grate the carrots. If you have one of them fancy food processors, you can use that and save time. I like to save to save space, thus the audio book.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Once the carrots are grated, combine them in a small bowl with the oil.
  • In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Make sure you don’t add the eggs.
  • Now, with the dry ingredients mixed, fold in the carrot-oil mixture and take care not to mix it much. You want the batter folded, not mixed.
  • Beat the eggs separately and then fold those in, too. Stir the eggs into the batter just a little, 10-15 swipes of  your spatula.
  • Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners and then, using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
  • Bake for 13 minutes or so. They should be spongy on top and a golden-brown color.
  • Once baked, allow the muffins to cool.
  • Mix your frosting ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and beat at medium speed with a hand-mixer, until light and smooth.
    Note: If you cream cheese is a sticky mess in your mixing blades, turn the speed up and rove around the edges of the bowl. The speed will free the mixture from your blades and get it nice and smooth.
  • Using a rubber spatula, transfer the frosting into a plastic sandwich bag and snip off one edge. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes and lightly dust with nutmeg.
  • Hand off the mixing blades to your clean up crew, as available.

Clean up crew

Serve at room temperature, or you can refrigerate them for a few minutes if you want the frosting to be a little firm.

Be prepared to make these often, as they are seriously delicious. I don’t have a big sweet tooth, and thus I modified the original recipe I found at Pinch of Yum to be a more balanced and mildly sweet cupcake. I finally had a proper dessert that kept me coming back for more. If you do like really sweet stuff, just up the powdered sugar in the frosting to 2 cups and call your dentist.

~Nom on

Cream cheese sopapillas: cinnamon-sugar perfection

So I got all ambitious and bought LOADS of cream cheese a couple weeks ago thinking I’d attempt a cheesecake. And it sits there. And it sits there. And it sits there. I’m getting desperate. I need to use this stuff but I just don’t have time to make a cheesecake. Gak! After endless searching I stumble on this adorable little confection. It’s got sugar and spice and its handheld (a theme with me) and …. cream cheese! Yes. The process was still a bit time consuming, but man are these little suckers GOOD. I have had a hard time staying away from them they are so freaking good, and I don’t have a sweet tooth. No doubt they will tickle yours!

Cream Cheese Sopapillas

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1/2 pkg (4 oz) light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Crust

  • 1 pkg refrigerated pie crusts
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 inch round biscuit cutter, or small juice glass

Prep

  • Set the cream cheese out to begin softening.
  • Sprinkle flour on your board or cutting surface. Roll out crusts and cut out as many 2 inch rounds as you can. I had to combine and re-roll a few times. You should get about 24 rounds. Pop them in the fridge to keep cool.
  • Once the rounds are done and the cheese has softened, combine the filling ingredients and blend with a hand blender until smooth and soft. Use a rubber spatula to transfer to a sandwich baggie. Set aside.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350.
  • Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and lay out 12 crust rounds.
  • Snip the end off your filling baggie and pipe a small amount of filling onto each round.
  • Top the filling with the remaining 12 crust rounds. Using a fork, press along the edges of each pie to seal the crust layers together.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes.
  • In the meantime,
    • combine sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
    • melt your butter in a bowl. Set aside.

When ready, let the pies cool just slightly.

  • Coat the tops of your pies.
  • Either dunk and cover your pies in the sugar mixture, or sprinkle over the tops. It just depends on how sweet you want them to be.

Depending on when you serve them, they go great with fresh berries and a vanilla latte. Or you can just guilty pluck one out of the fridge every time you go in the kitchen. I hear tell the calories don’t count if no one sees you eat it.

~Nom On

Shout out: Although my version tastes more like a mildly sweet tart, I did want to give credit to the clever baker who created this variation of the traditional sopapilla: http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2013/04/sopapilla-cheesecake-hand-pies/