Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Version of Close-to-Cinnabon Cinnamon Buns

I have been on a mission to make a cinnamon bun that tastes just like those yummy ones you get at the mall/airport ( should ask my mom-in-law, who has been forced to partake in the trial runs).  I recently made this recipe when said mom-in-law was visiting, and I have to say that it's about as close as I've come so far.  After reading lots of other blogs on cinnamon rolls, it seemed that the only way to come really close to Cinnabon's recipe is to purchase a specific cinnamon (Korintje) from a specialty store.  I found a lovely gentleman who has a very cute store in Avondale (a quaint shopping area in Jacksonville) called the Green Man Gourmet, and he helped me out with the cinnamon I needed.  Although I hate to admit it (only because I was so convinced it was some other aspect of the recipe that was off), the cinnamon DEFINITELY made a difference.  I used Greek yogurt instead of buttermilk, since I didn't even have milk on hand, but milk mixed with a tiny bit of lemon juice (1 T. per 1 c. of milk is the ratio) if you don't want to purchase buttermilk for just this one recipe.

Dough Ingredients
~ 5 - 5 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 t. salt
1 t. yeast
1/4 t. baking soda
2 eggs
1 c. warm water
1 T. buttermilk or Greek yogurt
1/3 c. margarine, melted

Filling Ingredients
1 1/2 sticks of butter
3 T. Korintje cinnamon
1 c. brown sugar

Frosting Ingredients
4 oz. cream cheese
1 stick of butter
~ 3 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. lemon juice

1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (I'm sure you don't need one, but hopefully you're able to modify these instructions if you don't have one.  I don't have the patience to knead the dough by hand!), mix 1 c. of flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and baking soda.  Add the wet dough ingredients and mix well until it all comes together (about 2 minutes). 
2. Add flour until the dough forms a ball and starts coming away from the sides (probably at least another 2 1/2 to 3 cups).  Change to the dough hook attachment and knead the dough for at least 10-15 minutes, or until it looks nice and smooth.  Add flour as necessary in the first 5 minutes of kneading (possibly up to another 1/2 cup) until the dough ball stops forming a pool at the bottom of the mixer.  Stop adding flour if the dough is NOT pooling at the bottom of the mixer (not too scientific, but that's how I do it). 
3. After lots of kneading, take the dough out of the mixer bowl (peeling it off the hook as necessary), and form it into a ball.  Coat the mixer bowl with cooking spray, shortening, or butter (something greasy), and stick the dough ball back in there, turning it around to coat it with the greasiness.  Cover with plastic wrap and fasten with a rubber band (or just cover loosely if you don't have a rubber band handy). 
4. At this point, you can either wait for it to rise for 1 1/2 hours on the counter, or put it in the fridge to rise for 6-9 hours.
5. After the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and pat it down, forming it into a large rectangle.  Stretch it sufficiently to make it approximately 1/8 inch thick.
6. Spread the dough with the softened butter, sprinkle with cinnamon, and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Roll the dough up, stretching it slightly as you go to roll it to give you at least 3-4 turns.  Cut them up and place them in a greased pan.  Allow them to rise for at least another 30 minutes.
7. Bake the rolls for ~20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until they begin to lightly brown on top.
8. To make the frosting, mix all the ingredients together (adjusting the sugar to make a nice frosting...I never actually measure, so I guessed at the amount for the ingredient list).  Beat for at least 5 minutes; it will get lighter and fluffier as you mix it.  Spread some on the warm buns, and save some for adding on top if you plan to reheat them (since the initial coating of frosting will probably melt into the roll if you reheat them in the microwave).

Sticky Buns

This recipe is a Sincich Family favorite, and my lovely sister-in-law, Kara, was sweet enough to share it with me (thanks, Kara!). The sticky goo is to-die-for, and the make-ahead aspect of the recipe makes it great for guests and for me to take to work as a treat to my co-workers. Enjoy!

1 large box vanilla cook-and-serve pudding
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 Tbsp. milk
1 stick butter or margarine
1 pkg. frozen parkerhouse rolls
1/2 cup raisins (regular or golden), or crushed walnuts

The night before...
In a small pot, melt together the butter, brown sugar, pudding mix, and milk, stirring occasionally until smooth. Grease a 9x13 pan, sprinkle it with cinnamon, and place the frozen rolls into pan. Pour the butter mixture over the rolls, and sprinkle raisins or nuts on top. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning...
Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn upside down onto a cookie sheet and serve immediately.

Noah's First Birthday Party!

Hello, folks! I realize that I haven't posted in, well, ages. And, I'm not going to suggest that my long separations with my blogging love affair will cease. I am an erratic blogger at best. A recent event inspired me to post, however: my son's first birthday!! We had all gone to a birthday party of a friend in early January that prompted us to get started planning a birthday party for baby Noah. We knew that we could never plan a party quite as awesome as the one that we had attended, but we thought that we would give it a shot (and by "we," I loosely mean my DH and me, although he was a HUGE help setting up for it! Maybe not-so-much in the planning part, though).
I decided to do a football theme for the party, and I ordered some really cute invitations from Tiny Prints. They didn't have a football theme, but they were brown, torquoise, lime green, and orange. I am a big fan of those colors. I then proceeded to spend WAY too much time planning the cake for the party. I decided to do football-shaped cake pops, plus round cake pops in the party theme colors. I also wanted to have cupcakes (vanilla frosted in the party colors), and a huge, football-shaped cake. Plus, I wanted Noah to have his own, mini-football-shaped cake. I think it turned out pretty well.  More photos to come (maybe - you know me and my erratic posting!).