Category Archives: cinnamon

Snickerdoodles

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Snickerdoodles are simple cookies with a funny sounding name.  There is really nothing fancy or exotic about this dessert but whether I make them for bake sales, cookie swaps, or dessert tables, they are snapped up in just a few minutes.  Snickerdoodles are a New England staple and I can always spot the New Englader in the crowd since they are the first ones to pounce on the cookie tray.  This recipe is courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen (another New England tradition) and comes together almost as fast as the cookies get eaten.

SNICKERDOODLES

1 3/4 cups white sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons cream of tarter

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

2 eggs

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375.
  • Place 1/4 cup of the sugar and all of the cinnamon in a small shallow dish.  (A pie plate works well).  Combine with a whisk and set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk together and set aside.
  • Place the remaining sugar in a separate large bowl.  Add the butter and vegetable shortening.
  • Using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the ingredients together until they are combined and the entire mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the flour.  Beat until just combined and no flour streaks remain.
  • Place two tablespoons (use 1 for smaller, bite sized cookies) dough in your hands and roll into a small ball.
  • Roll each ball in the sugar and cinnamon mixture then place on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes (8-10 for smaller cookies).  The cookies will be soft and puffy when done.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and allow the cookie sheet to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing the cookies and allowing to cool completely.
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Mexican Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies

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You can celebrate your valentines any day of the year and my favorite way to do that is with my heart shaped cookie cutter and these intensely chocolate sugar cookies adapted from sweetapolita.com.

On the surface these cookies appear to be simple sugar cookies but all it takes is one bite to realize that you are in for something special. The addition of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of fiery cayenne pepper adds a surprising burst of flavor in every bite. These spices pair so nicely with the dark chocolate. And while these cookies do contain a very generous amount of sugar they are anything but sweet. Rather they are complex and flavorful making them the perfect sugar cookie.

So go ahead and grab your rolling pin and your favorite cookie cutters and bake this treat today. You won’t be disappointed.

MEXICAN DARK CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1-1/4 cups dark cocoa powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups  unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • In large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and salt. Set aside.
  • Fit your stand mixer with a paddle attachment. To the mixer’s bowl, add the butter and sugars and beat until fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined.
  • Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.
  • Add vanilla and blend.
  • Remove 1/2 of dough from bowl, make a ball, and place on a large piece of plastic wrap on counter.Wrap the sides of wrap over the ball, then press down with the palm of your hand and make a disc about 2″ thick. Finish wrapping the disc with the plastic wrap. Repeat with 2nd half of dough. Chill both discs of dough for about 45 minutes.
  • Remove one disc and remove plastic wrap. Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper or a silicone rolling mat and roll the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick.
  • Repeat with the remaining ball of dough.
  • Slide your parchment paper and dough onto a board, then place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 325° F.
  • Remove the dough from fridge, and cut your shapes using the cutters of your choice, placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  •  Place the sheet with the cookies into freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
  • Bake until cookie edges are just crisp, about 16 minutes.
  • Cool sheets on wire racks for 10 minutes, then gently remove cookies and place on wire racks to finish cooling.

Yields: 3 dozen cookies

Cinnamon Bun Muffins

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I love cinnamon buns but sometimes there simply isn’t enough time in the morning for the mixing, rising, rolling, sitting and baking that is required of the dough. But not to fear; when the craving strikes but time is of the essence I make these cinnamon bun inspired muffins that are adapted from King Arthur Flour. They are truly the best of both worlds. You get the tender crumb of a buttermilk muffin filled with all of the cinnamon and brown sugar goodness you find in your favorite cinnamon bun. Cinnamon comes in three forms in these muffins. A generous amount of cinnamon chips fill the dough while there is a layer of cinnamon infused brown sugar in the center of each muffin. If that isn’t enough, more cinnamon is sprinkled over the tops before they are baked.

If you love cinnamon these are definitely the muffins for you. They are so delicious that my son has declared them to be “the best muffins ever”.

CINNAMON BUN MUFFINS

For the filling:

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

  • Melt the butter in a small microwave proof dish.
  • Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon until combined.
  • Set aside.
For the topping:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  • Set aside.

For the batter:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup lukewarm buttermilk

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups cinnamon chips

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake papers and set aside.
  •  In a small bowl whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, and eggs. 
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, including the chips. 
  • Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. 
  • Divide half the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
  • Dollop 2 teaspoons cinnamon filling onto each muffin. 
  • Top with the remaining batter. 
  • Sprinkle generously with the cinnamon-sugar topping.
  • Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
  • Remove the muffins from the oven, and wait 5 minutes before transferring them from the pan to a rack to cool. 

Yields: 12 muffins

Pork Belly Carnitas

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Slow food is some of the best food and along those lines, good things come to those who wait. This is exactly the situation with these flavorful, melt in your mouth pork belly carnitas from Food 52. These carnitas require some pre-planning but I’m sure you’ll agree that the time and effort is so worth it.

These carnitas are one of my favorite lazy weekend cooking projects. The day before I plan on serving them I marinate them in a tangy combination of pineapple juice and spices. The next day the slow cooking begins. The meat cooks in its own juices then its own rendered fat ensuring that the results are fork tender and oh so delicious.

You can serve them as is to enjoy their flavor of top them with your favorite toppings. In my house we like a zippy salsa and guacamole. It is simply oh so good.

PORK BELLY CARNITAS

cups pineapple juicetablespoons garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tablespoons cumin

bay leaves

tablespoons dried oregano leaves

2 1/2pounds pork belly, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

tablespoon salt 

cups unsalted chicken stock

  • In a container or large freezer bag, combine the apple or pineapple juice, garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, bay leaves, and oregano.
  • Add the pork belly and refrigerate while it marinates for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  • Remove the pork belly from the fridge an hour before cooking.
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Tip the marinade into a large Dutch oven and spread the pork belly pieces in a single layer in the pan. Pour over your stock. Add salt if you’re using unsalted stock. Cook for 2 hours with a lid on.
  • After 2 hours, remove the lid and cook the pork belly for another hour. This will cook off the remaining liquid and finish rendering the pork fat.
  • Remove the pork belly from the oven. Transfer the pork pieces to a large, flat-bottomed skillet. Spoon off as much of the fat as you can from the Dutch oven and add it to the skillet with the pork belly pieces. Avoid any solids from the bottom of the pan, as these will burn!
  • Over medium heat, continue to cook the pork belly in its own rendered fat. The pan should be bubbling but not spitting. Flip the pork belly pieces so that they brown evenly on all sides. This should take about 30 minutes.
  • When all sides are brown and a little crispy, remove the pork belly from the pan and drain on some paper towels.
  • Shred the meat with two forks and serve on top of soft tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Serves 4

Cinnamon Buns w/ Cream Cheese Icing

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There’s nothing like waking up to a house filled with the aroma of warm cinnamon. Well, it isn’t a scent this cook wakes up to herself but her family does. And then I get to enjoy it alongside my lucky family. If you love cinnamon, and specifically cinnamon buns, then this recipe from King Arthur Flour is for you. It is rich, spicy and with a smear of cream cheese icing on top, decadent but the perfect weekend morning treat.

If you have night owl tendencies the way I do, even with the two separate dough risings, you can have these warm buns on the table by the time the rest of the family wakes up. Some mornings I do this but on others I prepare the rolls to the point of the second rising the night before. I then cover the buns and let them rise overnight before popping them in the oven in the morning. I also let the icing ingredients set out too; this ensures that they are soft and ready to go when the buns are. So however or whenever you prepare them, enjoy. They are just so yummy.

 

For the dough:
1 cup lukewarm milk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

For the filling:
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the icing:
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer combine combine the milk, eggs, butter, flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Use a wooden spoon and stir until the mixture becomes cohesive. 
  • Using a dough hook, mix for 4 to 7 minutes at medium speed until the dough is well combined and smooth. 
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to grease all sides, cover the bowl with a proof cover or plastic wrap, and let it rise for 60 minutes, till it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and roll it into a 16 x 21-inch rectangle.
  • Spread the dough with the 1/3 cup butter.
  • Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl then sprinkle it evenly over the dough.
  • Starting with a short end, roll the dough into a log, and cut it into 12 slices.
  • Place the buns in a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan or two 9 inch round pans.
  • Cover the pan with a proof cover or plastic wrap, and let the buns rise until they’re nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Bake the buns in a preheated 400°F oven until they’re golden brown, about 15 minutes. While the buns are baking, make the icing.
  • To make the icing: In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Spread the icing on the buns while they’re warm. 

Yields: 12 large buns

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Bolognese Hot Chocolate

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Does the cold, gray post holiday weather have you down? Are you dreaming of warmer and sunnier days? I know I am but in the meantime I’m keeping myself warm with this rich and spicy hot chocolate adapted from my all time favorite food podcast, The Splendid Table.

The combination of cinnamon, vanilla and orange zest bring a warming comfort to this drink and the chocolate makes it simply rich and divine. I like to use a combination of Belgian chocolates in my drink. And to make this drink that much more decadent, I’d added a splash of heavy cream to this otherwise dairy free drink. You don’t have to but go ahead and do it. It is sure to cheer you up during this post holiday slump!

BOLOGNESE HOT CHOCOLATE

 4 4-inch cinnamon sticks, crushed

2 to 4 8-inch long vanilla beans, split 

zest of one small orange

pinch of salt

1 cup sugar

2 quarts (8 cups) water

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1-1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 teaspoons vanilla extract 

1/4 cup heavy cream

  • Combine all ingredients except chocolate, vanilla extract and heavy cream in a 4-quart pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, leave the spot covered, and let steep 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture into an 8-quart pot.
  • Return the pot to the stove setting it over medium heat.
  • Add the chocolate to the mixture and stir until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • Whisk until just below the boil then stir in the vanilla and the cream.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 8

Cinnamon-Apple Dutch Baby

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Breakfast is undoubtedly my favorite meal of the day yet it is one that I am more apt to skip than not simply because I’m not a fan of cooking before I’ve had my morning dose of coffee. On weekends I love lounging around and sipping my coffee while I catch up on the news and plan my day ahead. By the time I am ready to get moving the breakfast hour has passed or what I want to make simply takes too long to get from bowl to table. But when I am really craving breakfast a Dutch baby is my go-to dish.

A Dutch baby is essentially a giant popover and it comes together and cooks up so quickly that it is silly not to make one. The key to a puffy Dutch baby is a very hot oven and eating it the minute it comes out of the oven. To achieve the hot oven I turn mine on before I start any of my other preparations. I cook the apples in the same cast iron skillet that I will bake in then pop the pan in the oven the minute my apples are done. It truly is fast; you can have go from bowl to table in twenty minutes. Why that’s just enough time to enjoy a second cup of coffee.

APPLE-CINNAMON DUTCH BABY

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 semi-tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I like Pink Lady)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk

2 large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Melt the butter in a 9 inch cast iron skillet set over medium high heat.
  • Add the sliced apples and sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Stirring occasionally, sautee the apples until they are soft and the sugar begins to caramelize, about 5 minutes.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, flour, sugar and salt.
  • Add the batter to the apples and immediately place the skillet in the oven.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until puffed and browned.
  • Serve immediately.
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