The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star. -- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin --

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Apple Cider Syrup

Just popping in to share a quick and easy syrup recipe.  WARNING:  Once you try it, you may never go back to regular pancake syrup again!

This syrup is sooooooooo easy and soooooooo delicious it’s well worth the extra few minutes it takes to make it!  Besides, if you’re short on time you can make it the night before and store it in the fridge.  Just pull it out and warm it up in the microwave when you’re ready to serve.  It’s also good on regular or whole grain pancakes.  Give it a try!!

1/4 cup Smart Sugar (the original recipe used regular sugar)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (the original recipe also called for 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, but I left it out)
2 cups apple cider (or apple juice)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Smart Balance Butter Blend sticks (or real butter, like the original recipe called for)

Stir together the sugar, cornstarch and spices in a saucepan.  Whisk in the apple cider and lemon juice.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil; boil until the syrup thickens. (This will take a few minutes, but you need to stay with it, and continue whisking constantly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.)  Remove from heat and stir in the butter.  Serve warm.

Special thanks to my friend Diana for sharing this yummy recipe!!

Pumpkin Pancakes...a fall twist on an old standby...

On a recent mission trip with my church, I had some pumpkin pancakes with homemade apple cider syrup.  They were so good, I had to experiment and come up with a good recipe when I got home.  I found a recipe for pumpkin waffles on online, and adjusted it a bit, as always.  I decided to share the results.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  My friend Diana was sweet enough to share her syrup recipe with me too.  You can find my version of it here.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (the original recipe called for a full teaspoon, but I think ginger can be a bit overpowering, so I cut the amount in half – you can use as much or as little as suits your taste!)
1/4 teaspoon salt (the original recipe called for 1/2 tsp., but I always half the salt)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin (or homemade pumpkin puree)
2 cups milk (since the original recipe was for waffles, which require a thicker batter, this will be a bit thick – just add additional milk or apple juice – like I did – to thin it to the consistency you like)
1 cup HEB Real Egg (or 4 eggs, lightly beaten) 
NOTE:  If you decide to make waffles, just separate your eggs, and whip your egg whites (to soft peak stage) before folding them into the batter.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Smart Balance Butter Blend sticks (or real butter), melted

Combine dry (first eight) ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix well with a wire whisk.  In a separate bowl (and with a clean whisk), whisk together the pumpkin, milk, eggs and butter (wet ingredients).

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just to combine.

Heat nonstick griddle or skillet over medium-high heat.  Lightly grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Pour approximately 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle (I use a large cookie scoop - but a 1/4 cup dry measure or an ice cream scoop would work too.)

Turn pancake when bubbles start to form and pop, and edges look cooked.  Cook second side; remove from griddle and serve immediately.  (I’m sure these would be good with any kind of syrup, or with a simple dusting of powdered sugar…however, I served them with the homemade apple cider syrup and they were delicious!!)

You REALLY should try'll love 'em!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A taste of fall...Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls!

Howdy friends…just thought I’d pop in to share a delicious recipe I tried this past weekend.  I came across the base recipe several weeks ago on a great blogsite called Knead to Cook, and I decided I had to try it!!  Each year I make some kind of baked goods to share with my family as we watch our local parade, and since the parade was last weekend, I thought it would be a good time to experiment.

My husband mixed up the dough while I was at work on Friday, and I rolled it out and added the filling, etc. when I got home.  We put it in the fridge overnight and on Saturday morning it was ready to bake and take to the parade.  They were a hit with everyone except my sister, who I consider a “picky eater”.  (Silly girl…she would have preferred regular cinnamon rolls without the pumpkin & spiced glaze.)

I adapted the recipe a bit (as always) to fit my preferences, so here it is.  Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Glazed Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls:
2-1/4 teaspoons active-dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (not hot or boiling - I recommend about 110°F - use a candy thermometer to test it)
2 cups bread flour, divided (all-purpose flour would work fine as well)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon Smart Sugar (you can also use Whey Low, or regular sugar if you prefer)
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin puree
1/2 cup warm skim milk (feel free to substitute whole, 1% or 2% according to preference - warmed to 110°F like the water)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) Smart Balance Butter Blend sticks (or real butter), melted

3 Tablespoons of Smart Sugar (again, feel free to use Whey Low, or regular sugar if you prefer)
3 Tablespoon brown sugar (or Whey Low Gold for a lower calorie option)
2 Tablespoons flour (any kind except “self-rising” will work)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 Tablespoons chilled Smart Balance Butter Blend sticks  (or real butter), cut into small pieces
1/4 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1-1/12 Tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Dissolve yeast in warm water, in a small bowl covered with waxed paper, then let it sit for about 5 minutes to “proof”.  (The yeast should get foamy, so if it doesn’t, you’ll need to dump it and start over.)

Whisk together bread flour, whole wheat flour, sugar and salt.  Measure wet ingredients (pumpkin puree, milk and melted butter) into a separate bowl and whisk that together as well.

Layer ingredients into the bowl/pan of your bread machine in the following order:
        1.    yeast mixture
        2.    flour mixture (dry ingredients)
        3.    pumpkin mixture (wet ingredients)

Set bread machine on dough setting and let it mix everything for you.  (You can do this by hand if you want a workout!)  Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic (by machine or by hand).  This dough may be a bit sticky.  If it is too difficult to work with, just add a little flour until it “feels right”.

Place the dough into a large greased bowl (you can use cooking spray if you want), and turn it to coat the top.  Cover and let rise in a warm draft-free area for approximately 45 minutes.  (You can let it finish the first rise in the bread machine if you want…I just like doing it in a bowl so it seems more like I’m doing it the old-fashioned way…LOL!)  Test the dough by gently pressing your finger into it.  If it bounces back, it’s ready.

Combine all filling ingredients, except pecans, in your food processor and pulse a few times until it is the texture of coarse sand.  (If you don’t have a food processor, just mix all the ingredients in a small bowl, and cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives.)  Remove from food processor and stir in chopped pecans, then set aside until your dough is ready.

This is the fun part!!

On a floured surface, punch down the dough and roll it into a large rectangle (approx. 12” x 10”).  Sprinkle with the filling mixture to cover.  (The recipe didn’t seem to have quite enough filling for my preference, so I just added additional brown sugar until the dough was evenly covered.)  Be sure to sprinkle the filling all the way to the edges so that no surface is left uncovered.

Ready to cover and refrigerate or leave out to rise...

Starting with a long edge, roll the dough up tightly, pressing firmly as you roll to eliminate air pockets.  Pinch seam and ends to seal, then using a serrated bread knife, cut the roll into 1-inch slices.  Place slices on a greased jelly-roll pan.  (Be sure to use a baking pan with sides - not a cookie sheet - because some of the filling may leak out during baking.)  At this point you can refrigerate overnight or set aside to rise again until approximately doubled in size.

Can you see how much they've grown?

(If you refrigerate them, be sure to set them out early the next morning so they will have time to rise before you want to bake them.  If you want to speed up the process, you can set your baking pan on top of a large pot of boiling water while they rise.  Just be sure to keep an eye on them so they just rise and don’t start cooking.  They will rise pretty fast this way.  Once they have doubled in size, they are ready to bake!)

While the cinnamon rolls are rising, you can mix up your glaze.  Just whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl or measuring cup.  (I mixed mine up the night before and set it in the fridge with the cinnamon rolls until morning.)

Preheat oven to 375°.  Bake the rolls at 375° for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow the rolls to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, then drizzle with glaze and serve warm.  YUM!!!

Boy do these smell GOOD!!!

Please DO try this recipe…it’s got a great fall flavor, and the dough is REALLY easy to work with.  If you’ve never made homemade cinnamon rolls before, give it a try.  It’s really not that hard, and the results are soooooo worth it!

Be sure to stop by and thank Robin at Knead to Cook for the great recipe, and don’t forget to spend some time with those you love.  Until next time…