Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top 10 posts in 2012

I wasn't originally going to do a Top 10 roundup on the blog, but I figured that it would be a fun way to see what recipes you, my awesome readers, deemed the most popular in 2012. Ready? Let's get started!

10.  Baked buttermilk donuts with lemon glaze - This was my first attempt at making a baked donut with my new donut pan, and I am pleased to say that it was a success!

9.  Chocolate chip cookie dough pudding - Cookie dough in pudding form? Heck yeah!

8.  Brown derby cake - A sweet way to celebrate our little girl's 2nd birthday - and a trip down memory lane.

7.  Pumpkin cheesecake cookies - This version of a popular grocery store shelf brand doesn't contain anything you can't pronounce.

6.  Chocolate chocolate chunk muffins  - As usual, Dorie Greenspan comes through. These chocolate chocolate chunk muffins will get your day off to a great start!

5.  Honey butter croissants from Hop's - All it took was an email to Hop's corporate headquarters, and this recipe was born!

4.  Brown butter sugar cookies - I can't believe how long it took me to finally make browned butter. These cookies were out of this world!

3.  Vanilla bean cupcakes with vanilla buttercream - If you're looking for a perfectly vanilla cupcake, look no further. This is it!

2.  Sweet potato cupcakes with brown butter cream cheese frosting - As a former sweet potato hater, I took a bite of this cupcake and turned into a believer.

1.  Vanilla buttermilk cupcakes - And finally - these beautiful buttermilk cupcakes! I discovered this recipe after I had some leftover ingredients laying around.
I can't wait to see what 2013 brings. Happy New Year to everyone!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mint chocolate fudge (mint meltaways)

This month, I received more direct mail catalogs who tried to lure me into buying their goods. One day, we got 5 different catalogs, some from companies that I'd never heard of.

One of the catalogs that I received and enjoyed flipping through was one from Crate & Barrel--one of my favorite stores. My husband was browsing through the pages and found something that he said looked really good.  The item he tagged were mint meltaways, and they cost $22 for an 18.5 ounce package. Yikes!

I agreed that they looked good, but I was determined to make these myself for a fraction of the cost. I did a search for mint meltaways and came across a few potential recipes. When I saw the one on Dying for Chocolate, I knew this was the one I wanted to make. It only contained 5 ingredients with the option to add food coloring.

Both Addison and my husband tried one and loved them. I thought that it could have used more mint flavoring, but that's just me. My husband said that it was perfectly balanced just the way it was.  And the best part was that the recipe made about 36 pieces, so we shared these with some friends!

Mint chocolate fudge (mint meltaways)
  • 2 cups (12 oz pkg) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 oz) can Eagle Brand Condensed Milk, divided
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 oz white confectioners coating or 1 cup (6 oz) premium white chocolate chips
  • 1 TBSP peppermint or mint extract
  • Green or red food coloring (optional)
Line a 8- or 9-inch square pan with wax paper or foil (I used a silicone pan and didn't line or spray it).

In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate chips with 1 cup of the sweetened condensed milk; then add vanilla. Spread half the mixture into prepared pan; chill 10 minutes or until firm. Set the remaining chocolate mixture aside but keep at room temperature.

Melt white confectioners' coating/white chocolate chips with the remaining sweetened condensed milk in heavy saucepan over low heat or in the microwave (note that the mixture will be thick). Add peppermint or mint extract and food coloring and mix until incorporated. Spread the white chocolate layer on top of the chilled chocolate layer. Chill an additional 10 minutes or until firm.

Finally, spread the remaining chocolate mixture on top of the mint layer. Chill 2 hours or until firm.

To remove the fudge from the pan, lifting the wax paper out and turn the fudge onto a cutting board. Peel off the paper and cut into squares.

Yield: About 36 pieces

Source: Dying for Chocolate; originally from Lesa Holsine

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays

Happy holidays from our family to yours!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Peppermint marshmallows

The holidays are a time of giving, and I have tried for the past several years to make homemade sweets to give to coworkers, teachers, coaches and friends. It had been a tradition of mine to make peppermint bark and homemade caramels year after year, but this season, I wanted to switch things up a bit. Carrie from Carrie's Sweet Life challenged us to bake with peppermint for this month's What's Baking theme, so I started brainstorming.

I had a wonderful time making homemade marshmallows for Valentine's Day and thought I'd make a peppermint version for this holiday season. They were just as easy as the first time I made them, and I made sure to fully grease my pan instead of using parchment paper like I did previously.

These marshmallows were packaged with homemade hot chocolate mix and placed into fun holiday mugs as gifts. Happy holidays to all!

Peppermint marshmallows
  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 1 cup light Karo syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup grandulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp peppermint extract
  • Gel food coloring (optional)
  • Baking or cooking spray
  • Powdered sugar for dusting/stick-proofing
Place the whisk attachment onto your stand mixer. Pour 1/2 cup of the cold water in the stand mixer's bowl and sprinkle the 3 packages of gelatin over the top of the water and set aside. 

In a small sauce pan, heat corn syrup, sugar, salt, and the other 1/2 cup cold water over medium heat. Keep stirring until the sugar is dissolved and then turn the heat on high. Using a candy thermometer, cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F (it should take about 6-8 minutes). Turn the heat off.

With the mixer on low, slowly pour the hot syrup over the gelatin and water mixture. Gradually increase the mixer speed to the highest setting and let it whip for about 10 minutes. Add the peppermint extract and whip the mixture for another 5 minutes until you it is glossy, smooth, and thick (it will not reach stiff peaks like whipped cream). 

Heavily grease an 8"x8" pan (I used a 9"x12" pan) with baking spray. Generously coat the pan with powdered sugar and tap out the excess. Using a greased spatula, evenly spread the marshmallow mixture into the pan. If desired, add 6-8 drops of red food coloring over the top and swirl with a knife.

Let the marshmallows rest for at least 4 hours or overnight until it is solidified and cooled. Flip the marshmallow pan onto surface that has been generously coated with powdered sugar. Using a long greased knife or pizza cutter, cut the marshmallows into 1-inch pieces. Dust all sides of the marshmallows with powdered sugar before storing.

Marshmallows will keep in an air-tight container for about 2 weeks.

Yield: About 120 marshmallows, depending on how big or little you want them to be

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride; originally adapted from The Food Network

Friday, December 21, 2012

Salted caramel stuffed crinkle cookies

This post is dedicated to the Sandy Hook community as part of the Bloggers for Sandy Hook event. Bloggers all across the country are uniting to show our support for all those affected by the horrific tragedy in Newtown.

The event's organizer, Crazy for Crust, is also collecting donations for Newtown Youth and Family Services. All money collected through this website will go towards those in the Newtown community who were impacted by the event.

For my (miniscule) contribution, I am posting a recipe for salted caramel stuffed crinkle cookies. Crinkle cookies on their own are fantastic, but the addition of a hidden salted caramel is what makes these treats a hundred times better.

I cannot even express the sorrow and heartbreak that I am feeling right now for the community of Newtown. May you find the strength to honor and remember those you've loved and lost, and may you find peace during this holiday season.

Salted caramel stuffed crinkle cookies
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 TBSP salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 dozen unwrapped soft caramels or Rolos candy
  • coarse sea salt
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together and set aside. 

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar and light-brown sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs in one at a time until they have been fully incorporated into the mixture. Add in vanilla. Put the mixer on low speed and slowly add in dry ingredients until just mixed. 
Using a cookie scoop or spoon, portion out the dough about 2 TBSP at a time and roll into a ball. Press a caramel or Rolo candy into the center and sprinkle the top of the caramel/Rolo with a very small pinch of the coarse sea salt. 

Shape the cookie dough around the candy to make sure that it is fully covered with dough around all sides. Re-roll into a ball and coat it in the powdered sugar. 

Place the balls on a greased or lined cookie sheet (I used my fake Silpat) and bake for 11-13 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. 

Yield: About two dozen cookies

Source: Cooking Classy

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Healthy hot chocolate

Time to be Captain Obvious - it is really, really cold at the skating rink. In the winter, my rink seems to crank up the air conditioning so our toes become as cold as the ice itself. When I get home from skating, I am usually freezing, and it takes me forever to thaw out. One thing I usually crave after returning from the rink is a nice, warm drink like hot chocolate. I'd been eyeing a healthy hot chocolate recipe on Chocolate-Covered Katie but just hadn't made the time to try it out.

I was recently selected by Sweet'N Low® to blog about a drink recipe using their products. Since Katie's recipe uses Sweet'N Low®, this was a perfect time to make her hot chocolate!

I had just gotten home from a lesson at the rink and as expected, my toes and hands were frozen. I was craving some homemade hot chocolate but gave away every last bit of my hot cocoa mix for holiday gifts. Enter this healthy hot chocolate.

I loved the fact that Katie's recipe made a single serving, but I doubled it so I could give my husband a steaming hot cup (hey - I was cold, and I didn't want to share!). This hot chocolate was so good that I forgot that it was healthy, and as an added bonus, it came together in about 5 minutes.  I had a few leftover peppermint marshmallows and added them into my cup, and it gave my beverage a nice minty flavor. If you want, you can add peppermint extract to your hot chocolate base instead.

Thank you, Sweet'N Low®, for giving me this wonderful opportunity!

Healthy hot chocolate
  • 2/3 cup milk of choice (I used soy)
  • 1/3 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 1/16 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 packages of Sweet'N Low®
  • Whipped cream or marshmallows (optional)
  • Peppermint extract (optional)
  • Chocolate shavings (optional) 
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir. Cook on medium heat until hot and completely mixed. Strain the ingredients through a fine mesh sieve and pour into your mug. If desired, you can add whipped cream, marshmallows and/or chocolate shavings on top.

Yield: 1 serving (two if you're being generous and want to share)

Source: Ever so slightly adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie

Disclaimer: As a part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker Program, I received a Sweet'N Low® Sweetener Gift Pack and a stipend.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bloggers for Sandy Hook

I'd like to take a moment today to make a quick announcement. Many bloggers across the country are organizing a Cookies & Crafts event for Sandy Hook. This is our way to show support for all those involved in this horrific tragedy. I cannot even begin to imagine the emotions that the Sandy Hook community must be going through. I am deeply saddened by this event, and my heart breaks for those families who lost loved ones.

If you would like to participate in this event, please jump over to Crazy for Crust for the details. The basic premise is that bloggers (and non-bloggers) will publish a post with a cookie or craft recipe this Friday, December 21. Use hashtag #BloggersforSandyHook to spread the word. There is also a donation site on Crazy for Crust where proceeds will be given to Newtown Youth and Family Services.

Please join me in showing support for Newtown. Thank you!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gooey s'mores cookies

I recently had the opportunity to participate in an online holiday cookie exchange.  Those of us who opted into this swap were to bake and send one dozen cookies to a secretly assigned person. We will reveal our identities later, so it will be fun trying to figure out who sent cookies to whom!

I made gooey s'mores cookies for my selected individual.  I saved a few for myself to taste test, and I have to say that these were pretty incredible. The marshmallows were melted and nice and gooey. The graham cracker cookie base was a little subtle for me, but otherwise, they tasted like a s'mores.

I know that my recipient enjoyed these because she mentioned it on our cooking message board. It will be fun to find out which individuals got paired up!

Gooey s'mores cookies
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (7 full graham cracker sheets)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray (I used my imitation Silpat). Using an electric handheld or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix for an additional 2 minutes.

Crush 7 graham cracker sheets into 3/4 cup fine crumbs (you can use a blender or food processor. Or, put the graham crackers into a zip-top bag and crush with your hands or a rolling pin).

In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and continue mix on low speed until the dough just comes together.

Stir in the chocolate chips/chunks and marshmallows by hand until just combined.

Use a medium sized cookie scoop (or measure out about 1.5 TBSP sized portions with a spoon) and place dough onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely.
Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

Source: Kevin & Amanda

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oatmeal raisin cookies from Thomas Keller

I know what you're thinking - another oatmeal raisin cookie? But wait - this is not your average oatmeal raisin cookie. I've already made a fantastic thick and chewy oatmeal cookie, but this is different. One key reason is that this is Thomas Keller's recipe. Those of you who aren't familiar with Thomas Keller only need to know that he is considered one of the world's best (if not THE best) chef. He owns and operates Bouchon Bakery and The French Laundry, which has consistently made the exclusive Top 50 "Best Restaurants of the World." He's a 3-Michelin star chef., which is pretty much equivalent to being the best of the best in the restaurant industry. Yeah, this man is that good.

Another reason these cookies are different is that the cookies are absolutely ginormous. I normally would have happily portioned out this dough into at least 24 cookies, but Chef Keller actually wrote the recipe for only 6 cookies. Six.  I decided to split the dough and make twelve cookies instead. My husband wears a size large in gloves, and one of these (12) cookies barely fit into his palm.

As expected, these oatmeal raisin cookies were phenomenal. They were slightly crisp on the outside and had a wonderful chewiness on the inside. My husband already declared these as one of the best cookies he's ever had (next to Jacques Torres' mudslide cookies). I happily agreed.

Now that I've made my first Thomas Keller recipe, I can't wait to try more!

Oatmeal raisin cookies
  • 1 cup + 1 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup + 3-1/2 TBSP lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 1-1/2 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 11 TBSP butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/4 tsp vanilla paste (I subbed with vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats (do not use instant)
  • 1 cup raisins
In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the sugars until no lumps remain.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed. Add the sugars and mix for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add the egg and vanilla paste and mix on low until just combined (do not overmix). Scrape down the bowl again.

Add the dry ingredients in two additions while mixing on low speed. Mix until just combined.

Add the oats and let the stand mixer go around for about 10 revolutions to combine. Then add in the raisins until they are just incorporated. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

If you want 6 huge cookies, use an ice cream scoop and divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll them into balls and place 3 on a cookie sheet (I recommend using a Silpat). If you are like me and want 12 smaller cookies (which are still massive compared to a standard cookie), portion the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll them out. I put 6 cookies on a pan.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 21-23 minutes if you made 6 cookies. If you made 12 cookies, bake at 325 degrees F for 18-20 minutes.

Set the pans on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes and then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.

Yield: 6 or 12 cookies, depending on your appetite!

Source: Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel, page 32

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pumpkin spiced pretzels

Pretzels have been on my baking bucket list for a while. I kept putting them off until I couldn't take it any longer. I had one last can of pumpkin puree in the pantry and one final tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice. It was time.

I freaked because my dough did not rise within an hour like the recipe mentioned. So, I did what any normal person would do - I went ice skating! I skated for about an hour, and after I returned, my dough had finally doubled. See what a bit of skating can do?

Although these pretzels were time-consuming, they were actually very easy to make. The resulting pretzel was nice and chewy, and the pumpkin pie spice mixture on top gave it good fall flavor. You could certainly make a plain cinnamon or plain sugar topping, or even leave it off altogether. The original recipe calls for a cream cheese drizzle, but I left that off to make them more booty-friendly.

I think these are my final pumpkin recipe for the year, but no promises.  =)

Pumpkin spiced pretzels
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp warm water
  • 1 tbsp active dried yeast
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour (plus 1/3 cup more for kneading)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil (e.g. vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, melted coconut oil)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
Dipping solution
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 tsp baking soda
Rolling mixture

  • 2 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice mix
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
In a small bowl, combine the warm water, yeast and 1 TBSP of the brown sugar. Stir, and set aside until mixture gets frothy (about 10 minutes).

In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, spice mix and the remaining brown sugar together. Pour in the yeast mixture, oil, pumpkin and egg to the bowl.  Mix until the ingredients come together. .

Place the dough mixture onto a slightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, and gradually add the 1/3 cup of flour until the dough becomes smooth yet slightly sticky. Put the dough into a large, lightly oiled large bowl and cover with a clean towel . Let it rise in a warm place for about an hour until doubled in size (my dough took over 2 hours).

Divide the dough into 10-12 equal pieces and roll into balls. Lightly dust the balls with flour to keep them from sticking to the work surface.

Roll each dough ball into a thin rope about 20″ long.

Shape the rope into a U, and cross the ends of the U over each other (it should look like an upside down breast cancer ribbon). Fold the ends of the "ribbon" towards you to make the pretzel shape. Press the ends into the dough so they stick.

In a shallow bowl, combine the hot water and baking soda. Dip each pretzel into the baking soda mixture and place onto a parchment-lined baking tray (I lined my tray with my imitation Silpat). Let the pretzels rest.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bake the pretzels for 7-10 minutes, and make sure to rotate the tray 180 degrees halfway through baking, until the pretzels are golden brown.

Melt the butter and set aside.

In a shallow bowl or plate, combine the granulated sugar and spice mix.

Once the pretzels are out of the oven, let them cool slightly (2-3 minutes). Then brush the pretzels with the melted butter and dip them into the spiced sugar mixture to coat.

Yield: 10-12 pretzels

Source: Slightly adapted from Top with Cinnamon

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Oatmeal raisin cinnamon chip cookies

Can you believe it's December already? Where has this year gone? One thing I look forward to every December is my coworker's annual cookie swap. She hosts a women-only soiree where attendees bake and bring cookies to swap with others. It's always fun to see which cookies are the most popular (or not) and how creative women can get with their goodies.

In previous years, I've brought dark chocolate peppermint patty cookies, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and a white chocolate cherry cookie (I haven't blogged about that one yet). This year I happened to find and snag a package of cinnamon chips at the grocery store so I wanted to make something that highlighted my loot. I had originally wanted to use the chips for cinnamon zucchini bread but couldn't find them until after the fact, so they've been sitting in my pantry until now.

I have to say that these cookies were quite tasty. I already love oatmeal raisin cookies, and the addition of the cinnamon chips was brilliant (yay, Hershey's!). I'm slowly eating my way through my new cookie stash from the exchange and will be sad when they're all gone. Even Addison has had a blast trying new cookies. Once she's older, I'll have to bring her with me to partake in the fun.

Oatmeal cranberry cinnamon chip cookies
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S Cinnamon Chips
  • 3/4 cup raisins
Heat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.

In a separate small bowl, mix the flour and baking soda. Add this to the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in the oats, cinnamon chips and raisins by hand. The batter will be stiff. Use a cookie scoop or drop the batter by heaping teaspoons unto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes on until lightly browned. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. About 4 dozen.

BAR VARIATION: Spread batter into lightly greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool until cutting into bars.

Yield: About 4 dozen cookies; If making into bars, you should get about 3 dozen bars.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Overnight cinnamon rolls

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that cinnamon rolls have been on my baking bucket list. I haven't found the courage (or the occasion) to bake them from scratch. Most recipes that I've seen yield huge portions that wouldn't be rational for my family of 3 to enjoy.

Well, the occasion finally presented itself when my family came to visit for Thanksgiving. My parents, my brother and his wife braved the chaos of I-95 and made it to our house for the holiday. I didn't have anything prepared for Friday morning breakfast and thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to make cinnamon rolls.

I had some help from my sister-in-law (who also graciously designed my new logo - thanks, Michelle!), and it made the process much easier and less daunting. The cinnamon rolls, though a bit too browned and crunchy for my liking, actually had a nice mild cinnamon sugar taste. They weren't overly sweet like the ones you find in your local mall. We also opted to leave the glaze off so we could give our tummies a break from all the calories we consumed the night before.

I'd recommend baking these for about 25 minutes in a 325 degree F oven. Like I said, the rolls were too crunchy when we baked them for 30 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.  Otherwise, the recipe was fantastic, and I am excited to bake different types of cinnamon rolls the next time an opportunity arises!

Overnight cinnamon rolls
  • 1 TBSP. (1 package) active dry yeast 
  • 1/2 cup warm water (105°F) 
  • 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed 
  • 4 eggs 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 tsp kosher salt 
  • 8 TBSP (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 TBSP (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 TBSP ground cinnamon
In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast over the water. Let it set for a few minutes until it gets frothy, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm spot for about 30 minutes.

To the yeast mixture, add the eggs, granulated sugar, salt and the remaining 4 cups of flour. Using the dough hook, knead on medium speed until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the room-temperature butter and continue to knead for about 10-12 minutes or until the dough is smooth. You may need to add some extra flour to the dough so it isn't so sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

Butter or grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 15-by-10-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with half of the melted butter and be sure to leave a 2-inch-wide strip uncovered on one of the long sides. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the butter.

Starting at the long side that is fully buttered and covered with sugar, tightly roll up the rectangle into a log shape. Place the roll with the seam facing down and cut it into 10 or 12 equal pieces. Put the pieces cut side up in the prepared dish. Brush the tops of the rolls with the remaining butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let it cool in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let them rise for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 350°F (I recommend baking at 325 degrees F).

Bake the rolls until the tops are golden brown, about 30 minutes (I recommend baking for 25 minutes in a 325 degree F oven). Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes.  Serve warm.

If desired, you can top the rolls with a powdered sugar or cream cheese icing glaze. Head over to the Williams-Sonoma website for the powdered sugar glaze recipe. 

Yield: 10-12 rolls

Source: Williams-Sonoma; originally adapted from Williams-Sonoma Family Meals, by Maria Helm Sinskey (Oxmoor House, 2008).


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