bread machine cinnamon rolls

If you have overnight guests coming this holiday, consider making these to enjoy over some morning coffee and conversation.

bread-machine-cinnamon-rolls

We bought a bread machine a couple of years ago, and at that time I went on a sort-of bread machine bender.  One of my favorite things to come out of the bread machine was these cinnamon rolls.  They are just so good, I decided to make them for Thanksgiving morning.  They were the perfect match for some coffee and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

cinnamon-bun

I found the recipe online a while back and have changed it to suit my needs.  You can make this breakfast treat the morning of; however, I prefer to have them ready to heat up in the oven in the morning.

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

Dough:
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon bread machine yeast
Filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Icing:
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons hot water
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Add ingredients for dough to the bread pan of your bread machine in the order listed, and set on the “dough” cycle. Once completed, turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 10×18 inch rectangle. Brush the entire surface with melted butter. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle across surface of dough. Repeat with pecans. Start at one long end and gently roll the dough, pinching the seams together at the long end. Use a very sharp knife to cut the roll into one-inch pieces. Place pieces, cut side up in a greased 9×13 pan. Cover the pan with a slightly damped towel and place in a warm spot to rise for about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300º. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until set but not brown. Remove from the oven, cool, and cover.

When ready to serve, preheat oven to 375º. Bake the rolls, uncovered, for about 10 minutes until lightly browned. To prepare icing, melt butter in a small sauce pan. Stir in vanilla and hot water and remove from heat. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar. Drizzle the icing over the warm rolls. Allow to cool slightly, then serve. These are best enjoyed the day they are made.

cinnamon-roll cinnamon-rolls

Beware how good these are.  You will find yourself eating half the pan if you are like me!  Enjoy!Signature

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leek & butternut squash galette

Galettes are one of my favorite ways to serve up something warm and toasty and savory with little effort.  Each time I make one, I am reminded of how darn easy they really are to make.  For me, the non-pie-maker, it really works out because it is just a little fold here, a little fold there, and pop it in the oven.  This one smelled particularly amazing while it baked…

leek-&-butternut-squash-galette

It came together one day because I was trying to make something using whatever I had on hand.  Now, I know my mother would not approve, but I like to keep a package of store-bought pie crusts in the freezer (when I remember to buy them) particularly for moments just like that.  There are lots of things you can make in a pinch.

leek-&-squash-galette-ingredientsgalette-pie-crustleek-layersquash-layerwalnut-layergalette-prepbutternut-squash-and-leek-galette

Leek and Butternut Squash Galette

1 pie crust
1 large leek, green parts removed, cut in half lengthwise, cleaned, and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
salt
pepper
1/2 roasted butternut squash, sliced
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400º. Roll out pie crust on a lightly floured surface and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. In a medium skillet, melt butter on medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and garlic and sauté on medium heat, string constantly, until the leeks and garlic are softened and start to turn translucent.  Salt and pepper to taste and stir in fresh thyme.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Spread the leek and garlic mixture in the center of the pie crust, leaving about 2 inches around the edges.  Top with the roasted butternut squash.  Top with the toasted walnuts.  Gently fold the edges of the crust in toward the center, working around until the entire crust is folded it.  Brush the crust with the egg.  Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown.  Remove to a baking rack and allow to cool slightly.  Serve warm.

leek-&-squash-galette

My mouth is officially watering.  Enjoy!

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chewy brown butter and salted caramel chip cookies

Ever go to the grocery store and see some item that you just had to try out?  Well, I was walking through Wegmans with my mother and saw some salted caramel chips.  They just sounded too good not to try.

I decided I wanted a chewy cookie.  I also decided that brown butter sounded super yummy.  Put it all together…

chewy-brown-butter-&-salted-caramel-chip-cookiesbrown-butter-salted-caramel-chip-cookie

I used Alton Brown’s “The Chewy” recipe (available on Food Network) as my base, substituting browned butter for the regular butter and my salted caramel chips for the chocolate chips.  I have never wanted to eat raw cookie dough as much as I did when I mixed these up.  The smell was amazing!

salted-caramel-chipsbrown-butter-salted-caramel-chip-doughchewy-brown-butter-salted-caramel-chip-cookies

Chewy Brown Butter and Salted Caramel Chip Cookies
adapted from Alton Brown’s “The Chewy”
makes 24 cookies

8 ounces unsalted butter
12 ounces bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces granulated sugar
8 ounces light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 ounce whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces salted caramel chips

Brown the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat. (There is a super easy tutorial at Simple Recipes).  Pour the browned butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and allow to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda using a whisk and set aside.  Add the sugars to the browned butter and beat with the paddle attachment on medium for 2 minutes.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolk, milk and vanilla.  Reduce the speed and slowly add the egg mixture.  Mix until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Once completely combined, stir in the chips.  Chill the dough for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375º.  Using a #20 disher, scoop the dough into rounded portions onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, six cookies at a time.  Bake for 14-16 minutes until very lightly browned, checking after about 10 minutes  Don’t over bake!  Allow to set on baking sheet for a couple minutes before moving to a baking rack to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

brown-butter-&-salted-caramel-chip-cookiesbrown-butter-and-salty-caramel-chip-cookies

These cookies are monstrous.  And that “chewy” part is no joke either.  This recipe is a keeper!

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mom’s macaroni & cheese

Several years ago, my mother gave me a cookbook that contained some of my favorite family recipes. They were simple recipes, staple recipes, that I could make for my family again and again–her chicken soup, tomato sauce, my grandmother’s golden raisin cookies.

This macaroni and cheese was one of them.

moms-mac-and-cheese

I have to confess and I don’t know why, but for a while I didn’t use this recipe when I was making mac and cheese.  Now that I have, I am getting rave reviews (in the form of, “This is the best macaroni and cheese you have ever made!”).

baked-mac-and-cheese

With only four ingredients, it comes together pretty quick.  I changed up the recipe only minimally by adding a little more cheese to both the sauce and the layers.

shredded-cheesemacaroni

I also threw some broccoli into the mix.  You could really add any veggie (or not) as you wish.

broccoli-layercheese-layer

This is a great for a crowd…or to make in advance and freeze (which is what I did)…or to bring to a friend who might need a quick hot meal.

Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese

1 large can evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 mounding cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (I like extra sharp)
1-1 pound box elbow macaroni

Cook macaroni according to package directions.  While the pasta cooks, combine evaporated milk and salt in a medium saucepan.  Heat that on low for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to boil.  Add 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese and cook on low, stirring continuously, until melted.  Once the macaroni is done, drain, return to its pot, and add the cheese sauce.  Pour half into a casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Sprinkle 1 cup shredded cheese over macaroni.  Pour the remaining macaroni into the pan and top with the remaining cheese.  Cover and  bake at 350º for about 1 hour.  Uncover for the last 15 minutes to brown the cheese.

homemade-mac-and-cheese

Can’t get any easier, right?  Enjoy!Signature

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hot chocolate with a spicy cocoa rim

Have you had your first hot chocolate of the season yet?  I just had mine!  My husband and I went to Vegas back in March and while we were there we visited Vosges Haut Chocolat (the best, by far, ever in my book).  We bought some Aztec Elixir (their spicy hot chocolate) which I have been hoarding until just the right weather/temperature to drink.  I feel like it is strictly a cold weather drink.

hot-chocolate-with-a-spicy-cocoa-rim

I love the idea of adding a little something something to dress up the drinks (obviously), so inspired by the Aztec yummy-goodness, I made a little spicy cocoa rim to go with my hot chocolate.

We were turned on to Aztec hot chocolate a couple of years back while visiting Toronto.  Every since I have been hooked.  If you have never had it, it is sweet, super rich, chocolatey, and spicy.  Try to get your hands on some!  And if you don’t have any Aztec hot chocolate, no worries!  You can use this rim with any hot chocolate drink.  It gives it a little kick.  In a very good way.

spicy-cocoa-rim-ingredients

I used 2 teaspoons of my stash of vanilla sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cocoa, and 1/4 teaspoon quality cinnamon.  To top it off I added a couple of small sprinkles of chili powder and mixed.  Only add a little bit of chili at a time and taste your mix in between additions.  It will slightly resemble cinnamon candy with some chocolate notes.  I wanted to use chipotle or ancho chili powder, but was all out.  The results are still pleasant though.

spicy-cocoa-rim

When rimming your glass, just wet the edges and then dip in your mix–just like you do for a cocktail.  Once your hot chocolate is made, just pour it in!

aztec-elixirhot-chocolate-with-spicy-cocoa-rim

Oh.  My.  Amazing.

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