Archives for posts with tag: cinnamon

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I could not get through the fall without posting about something or other involving pumpkin now could I?

I remember when, for about a month one fall during college, it was de rigueur in the shared house I lived in to make various versions of milkshakes with pumpkin pie. That’s right. Just toss a slice of pumpkin pie into the blender with your milk, ice cream, and whatever else you wanted whirling around in there. I was not a participant in this particular culinary extracurricular (I may have missed out), but I do like a) eating lots of pumpkin in things this time of year and b) a sense of adventure when it comes to new food combinations.

The following is a simple and not overly sweet recipe for loaf bread (or muffins if you’d prefer) that my mom shared with me earlier this month when I was visiting her in North Carolina. It does not involve pie or ice cream or a blender, but is super easy to make, can employ many substitutions to suit what you have on hand, and makes for a great breakfast spread with a thin layer of peanut butter (but that’s just me).

Instead of olive oil, which my mom’s recipe called for, I made it with coconut oil this time and it turned out great. For the 1/2 cup sugar (the original recipe called for 1 cup, I’ve reduced by half and it’s just right in my opinion), you could use honey, maple syrup, white sugar, brown sugar. This version I made with brown sugar. And as for the spices, up to you. This time I used pumpkin pie spice because it contains ginger and lemon peel in addition to nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. If you’re gluten free I imagine you could use a gf flour here. And next time I’d like to try chopped walnuts or dark chocolate chips. I can’t decide. (Maybe I should just throw it all in a blender.)

I brought the cake into work this morning and it got gobbled up pretty quickly. I managed to snap this pic of it before it was all gone.

[An aside: I’d love to try this recipe from Minimalist Baker for vegan pumpkin bread, with a pumpkin cashew frosting.]

Pumpkin Spice Bread

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar (could be brown sugar, maple syrup, etc.)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp each allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon)
1/2 tsp salt
1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 olive oil (or coconut oil)
1/4 c water
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 c chopped walnuts, optional (or chocolate chips, pecans, cranberries, etc.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour a loaf pan or muffin tins. Set aside.

Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate, large bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and gently combine. (Add the nuts, chocolate chips, etc. at this point if you’re using.) Be careful not to over mix. Transfer to the loaf pan or muffin tins and bake for 45–50 minutes if using a loaf pan; less if muffins (my guess would be 20–25 minutes, just keep your eye on them). They’re done when a thin skewer or toothpick comes out clean. Rest in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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Rhubarb is one of my favorite fleeting vegetables of spring—in season in New York from roughly the end of May to mid- (or sometimes late-) June, it briefly crosses over with strawberry season, inspiring countless james, pies, and cobblers (my post last year for a strawberry-rhubarb pie). Well, it’s not quite strawberry season yet but the rhubarb was out yesterday in all its pink-red-and-green glory. What’s a girl to make?

It seemed each person I passed as I approached the farmer’s market was toting a bagful of just-picked rhubarb. (I should’ve asked what they were planning to make!) I was cruising Smitten Kitchen blog for ideas and came across a recipe for a rhubarb “snacking” cake: a layer of cake batter under a layer of rhubarb under a layer of crumb. Moist and not too sweet. And no strawberries required.

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Rhubarb Crumb Cake

I tweaked Deb’s recipe by reducing the sugar; substituting greek yogurt for sour cream; and reducing the flour in the crumb. And I had leftovers of the rhubarb mixture so I sautéed for five to ten minutes and plan to use it on top of plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
Note: I found the cake needed the full sixty minutes for the crumb on top to brown.

Cake
1 1/4 lb rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 c sugar, divided in 2
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/3 c plain greek yogurt

Crumb
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking pan with butter. (Optional: you can line the pan with parchment paper.) Stir together the rhubarb, lemon juice, and 1/2 c sugar and set aside. Beat the butter, remaining sugar, and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger together. Add half of this mixture to the batter, just until combined. Continue, adding half the yogurt, the second half of the flour mixture, and the remaining yogurt, mixing between each addition until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly over the prepared pan. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the batter in a single layer.

To make the crumb: Whisk the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon together, then stir in the melted butter until crumb-size pieces form. Spread evenly over the rhubarb layer. Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes and the crumb is golden on top. Cool completely.

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I really feel like I’m just going out on a limb with this here post. I mean, pumpkin cinnamon rolls? They just seem so…absurd. Immoderate. Decadent. We are still creeping out of a national recession. It is high election season. I have better things to do and think about. Like how I can get in one of those #bindersofwomen.

But, it’s the fall. It was a Saturday. I was cruising Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite blogs, and came across a recipe for these. The recipe is actually from Baked Elements, one of the cookbooks from the the Red Hook bakery I’ve come to know and love on trips to Fairway, Ikea, Sunny’s, and The Good Fork. Photos of these called to me through the screen of my laptop and, against my better judgement, was compelled to get baking.

I happened to have my monthly co-op work shift last weekend so I was able to buy all the spices I needed (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon), good butter, replenish my flour stash, and get organic canned pumpkin. That’s right, I said canned pumpkin. You can definitely make these by roasting your own pumpkin but I will tell you right now I most certainly did not. Although it would be lovely and tasty if you did. The original recipe only calls for 2/3 c of pumpkin purée anyway, so, yeah.

My fellow blogger over at Smitten Kitchen tweaked the Baked recipe, and now I’ve gone and tweaked her recipe. I reduced the sugar in both the filling and icing; I did everything by hand instead of a stand mixer; lengthened the rising times; and increased the pumpkin. These are certainly tasty and decadent (everything you want in a cinnamon roll), but were the tiniest bit dry. And they are pumpkin cinnamon rolls—I wanted to taste more of the pumpkin than I did. So I think the perfect solution would be to increase the pumpkin quotient.

And while I have your attention…did you see the Food and Drink issue last weekend in the NYTimes? Read the article about Christopher Kimball by Alex Halberstadt. He’s so unabashedly old school. He would probably hate my blog. I love him.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Baked Elements (and Smitten Kitchen)
Yields 16 buns

Dough
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 c whole milk, warm, but not hot
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 c (or nearly 1 c) pumpkin purée
1 large egg
Oil for coating rising bowl

Filling
3/4 c light or dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp milk or buttermilk
1 c powdered sugar, sifted
A few drops of vanilla extract

Make the dough:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and once melted, continue cooking over medium heat for a few additional minutes so that it browns. It will hiss and sizzle, and golden brown spots will form on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Combine the warmed milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After five minutes or so, it should be a bit foamy. If it’s not, you might have some bad (old) yeast and should start again with a newer packet.

If you have a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and spices in the mixer bowl. You can do this by hand just fine too, and can use a large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 c (or 2/3 of the remaining) brown butter and stir to combine. Add the yeast-milk mixture, pumpkin, and egg and combine. If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook and run on low for five minutes. If by hand, get ready for a workout. Mix by hand for five minutes until the dough starts to come together.

Transfer the dough into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for at least one hour, or as much as two hours, in a draft-free place. It should nearly double in side. While it’s rising, line the bottom of two 9- or 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and butter the sides.

Assemble the buns:
Scoop the dough onto a well-floured surface, and flour the top of the dough well. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 16 x 11 inch rectangle. Brush the reserved melted butter over the dough. Stir together remaining filing ingredients and sprinkle mixture evenly over the dough. Starting with one of the longer edges, roll the dough into a tight spiral. It’s ok if some of the filling spills out of the ends a little.

Cut the cinnamon rolls with a serrated knife using practically no pressure whatsoever. Place the blade of the knife on the dough and gently saw your log with a back-and-forth motion into approx. 1-inch sections. Divide buns between the two prepared pans, sprinkling with any sugar that fell out. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise for at least 45 minutes and up until 2 hours. You could, after this point, put them covered in the refrigerator and when you’re ready to bake them just take them out an hour before hand to warm up.

Fifteen minutes before you’re ready to bake them, heat the oven to 350 degrees F and make the glaze. Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and drizzle in milk until you get the desired consistency: thick like icing (which is what I did) or thin enough to drizzle.

Remove the plastic and bake (un-glazed) for 25 minutes until puffed and golden and the smell of cinnamon and sugar and butter makes you dizzy and brings your neighbors knocking. Let cool before glazing, then dig in. By all means, you’ve earned it.

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