Monday, December 28, 2009

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

One of our little Christmas traditions is to have cinnamon rolls for breakfast, along with some eggs and OJ.  Nothing too fancy really.   Typically I just pop open a can on Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls and call it a day.  They are perfectly delicious and easy, but this year, I decided to give homemade cinnamon rolls a go (plus Meijer was out of the Grands).  I found a delicious looking recipe over at My Kitchen Cafe, the third recipe I've made from that site.  The recipe calls for vanilla pudding in the dough, which makes it very sticky.  I was worried that I was adding too much flour while trying to knead the dough, but the recipe said the dough should be soft, not sticky, so I kept adding flour until I was able to move the dough around without it accumulating all over my hands.  It was quite messy, but they turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself!  I had to cut the recipe in half, since 24 rolls would have been way to much for my family of 5.  The leftovers reheated beautifully the next morning too! 

Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
From My Kitchen Cafe

Yield 24 large rolls 


½ cup warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ½ ounce package instant vanilla pudding
½ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
6+ cups flour


1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon

Frosting:   (I used a can of cream cheese frosting)

8 ounces cream cheese
½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk


In a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside.
In large bowl, take pudding mix and prepare according to package directions.
Add butter, eggs and salt. Mix well. Then add yeast mixture. Blend. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Do not overflour the dough! It should be very soft but not sticky. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Then roll out on floured board to 34 X 21 inches in size. Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface. In bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar and 4 teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top. Roll up very tightly. With knife put a notch every 1 1/2 inches. Cut with thread or serrated knife. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Cover and let rise until double again.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden (don’t overbake). Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting (combine butter and cream cheese and mix well, then add vanilla and sugar and mix again, then add milk for desired consistency).

  out of the fridge and ready to bake.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Daring Bakers Challege December 2009- Gingerbread Houses

My son's "gingerbread" house

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

Before I go any further, I must admit I did not bake a gingerbread house from scratch this month.   I was very excited about this challenge when I first read about it.  Last year I made graham cracker houses with my kids and it was a very fun project and I was planning on doing it again this year.  I knew it would be even better with real homemade gingerbread.  HOWEVER, I volunteered to help out in my son's classroom with their holiday party this year.  The teacher decided to do a gingerbread house as the craft.  Oh Joy!  After spending two days, constructing and decorating "gingerbread" houses with 25 second graders, I was totally over the idea of decorating houses at home.   Hopefully next year I can give it a try.   Please forgive me. :)

Merry Christmas!! 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

White Christmas Snack Mix

My sister-in law gave me this family recipe of hers a few years ago and it's now become a tradition to make this in my house every Christmas.  You'll need a big bowl to mix this in, as it makes a lot!  I sent some into work with my husband and everyone loved it.  Sweet and salty, the best combination!  Enjoy!

White Christmas


5 cups Cheerios (original)
5 cups corn or rice Chex cereal
1 (10oz) bag of mini pretzel twists
2 cups  salted peanuts
1 bag  plain M&M's (holiday color)  
2 bags  white chocolate chips
3 Tbls.  vegetable or canola oil


Combine first five ingredients into a very large bowl and set aside.

In smaller, microwavable bowl, combine the white chocolate chips and oil, mix well.  Microwave for 1 minute, stir.  Microwave for another minute, stir.  May need one more minute (depending on appliance). 

Pour over dry ingredients and mix well.  (It may seem like there's not enough chocolate to cover it all, but keep stirring, it will coat everything!)

Spread out on parchment or wax paper lined baking sheets to cool.  Store in air tight container. 

Pumpkin Apple Spice Muffins

My first post in over a month.. bout' time, huh?    Colds, flu, Thanksgiving, my birthday and other events with friends and family have taken up most of my time these past 6 weeks.  Now that the kids are out of school, I finally have some time to get back to my blog. 

the cake my husband got me for my birthday, love the fall colors!

Slowly but surely I've been trying to use up the three huge cans of pumpkin puree I picked up at Sam's Club before Thanksgiving.  I found the recipe for the pumpkin muffins over at My Kitchen Cafe.  It's the second recipe I've made from that site and I've been very happy with both of them.  These muffins are very moist and flavorful.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Apple Spice Muffins


1 2/3 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 apple, peeled and finely chopped  (I used a Honeycrisp)

For Topping:
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons sugar


Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  Make a well in center of mixture.

Combine pumpkin, butter, and eggs in another bowl.  Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Fold in chopped apple.

Spoon into paper cup lined muffin tins,  filling two-thirds full.

Combine the 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; sprinkle evenly over muffins.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on wire racks.