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Cinnamon Buns

This is my first attempt at making Cinnamon Rolls. I came across Jo Cooks blog and can’t resist to not try her Cinnabons  recipe. This recipe was adapted from Todd Wilbur’s cookbook: More Top Secret Recipes: More Fabulous Kitchen Clones of America’s Favorite Brand-Name Foods.  I think I may have to find this book from the library and try out the other recipes.



 Ingredients (make 8 large cinnamon rolls)

Dough
2¼ tsp active dry yeast tsp (7 g)
1 cup warm milk (250 mL)
½ cup granulated sugar (100 g)
⅓ cup  margarine (75 g)
1 tsp salt (5 mL)
2 eggs
4 cups all purpose flour (500 g)

Filling
1 cup packed brown sugar (200 g)
3 tbsp cinnamon (45 mL)
⅓ cup margarine, softened (75 g)

To make filling, combine all three ingredients in a bowl and mix into a paste.

Icing
6 tbsp margarine (113 g)
1½ cups powdered sugar (187 g)
¼ cup cream cheese (55 g)
½ tsp vanilla extract (3 ml)
⅛ tsp salt (a pinch)

To make the icing, combine all ingredients in a bowl of mixer and mix until smooth.

 

The reason I’ve never made cinnamon rolls before, it’s because they look so intimidating to make! However, my first try turned out so good and since then, I’ve been making it three more times! Last time, I made it for brunch during our family cottage getaway. I made the dough in advance, rolled, and prepped them in a baking pan. The dough can rest in the refrigerator for up to two nights. Here’s how I made them in step-by-step so they can be freshly baked on a Saturday morning for brunch!

Thursday or Friday evening

I made the dough on Thursday evening so it can be packed to go on Friday to the cottage. You can make it a day before, but two nights resting in the refrigerator will result in a well-rested and fluffier buns :)

  1. Make the dough
    dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, let it dehydrated for 10 minutes.
    mix sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour in the bowl of a mixer with dough attachment
    add the milk/yeast mixture into the bowl, mix well until the dough is pulling away from the side bowl (30 minutes)
  2. Rise the dough
    place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Roll the dough
    On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until it is about 16 inches long by 12 inches wide.
    For a nice big rolls, make sure the thickness is about ¾ to ½  inch thick.
    Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving one side uncovered (long edge)
    Roll the dough down from  the long edge towards the uncovered side. Pinch the dough to close the side.
  4.  Cut and rest the dough
    Slice the roll into 8 pieces, 1½ inch slices.
    Place the cut rolls on a greased or parchment-lined pan or cookie sheet.
    Cover the rolls with a damp cloth and let them rise until they nearly double in size, about 45 minutes to an hour before baking. Note: I covered the pan with plastic wrap and placed it in the refrigerator for two nights (Thursday and Friday).

    My pan was a bit small and only fit 6 rolls, so I freeze the two remaining rolls wrapped in a plastic wrap. It then can be thawed, proofed and baked for fresh breakfast

Saturday Morning

  1. Bake the rolls
    Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Take the pan out of the refrigerator and, let the rolls rise at room temperature for 15 minutes.
    Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown.
  2. Top with icing
    When the rolls are done, glaze the top generously with icing while still warm. The icing will coat evenly and set when the buns are cool.
  3. Bon Appétit!

Isabelle’s First Birthday

It’s time to decorate Isabelle’s birthday cake! I made a two-tiered cake, the bottom cake was made from cake mix and colored in layers (see my Pink Surprise Ombre Cake post), the top portion was Funfetti cake (see my Milkbar Birthday Cake post). For the icing, I also used the recipe from Milkbar cake frosting. After icing the cake, I used fondant to cover and decorate the cake. I bough one tub of white fondant from BulkBarn.

Birthday Cake Frosting makes about 430 g (2 cups)

115 g butter, at room temperature (8 tablespoons or 1 stick)
50 g vegetable shortening (1/4 cup)
55 g cream cheese (2 ounces)
25 g glucose (1 tablespoon)
18 g corn syrup (1 tablespoon)
12 g clear vanilla extract (1 tablespoon)
200 g confectioners’ sugar (1 1/4 cups)
2 g kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon)
.25 g baking powder (pinch)
.25 g citric acid (pinch)

I rolled the fondant to thin and it cracked when stretched to cover the cake. I decided to cover the impurities with some polka dots!!!
This is my first time using an edible gold food coloring. I used the liquid paint and it turned out better than mixing the powder form with water.

Milkbar Birthday Cake

This is my second time making a Birthday Cake from Milkbar recipe. I came across this recipe from watching Christina Tosi on the Bon Apetit youtube video. I’m making this Birthday Cake for the top tier of Isabelle’s birthday cake. We are all excited to celebrate her first birthday this coming Sunday!

The following ingredients and cooking methods are straightly from the Milkbar store recipes. I only use the birthday cake recipe and not including the cake soak, cake frosting and cake crumb. For a full recipe sets, please visit the Milkbar store recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 55 g butter, at room temperature (4 tablespoons, 1/2 stick)
  • 60 g vegetable shortening (1/3 cup)
  • 250 g granulated sugar (1 1/4 cups)
  • 50 g light brown sugar (3 tablespoons, tightly packed)
  • 3 eggs
  • 110 g buttermilk (1/2 cup)
  • 65 g grapeseed oil (1/3 cup)
  • 8 g clear vanilla extract (2 teaspoons)
  • 245 g cake flour (2 cups)
  • 6 g baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3 g kosher salt (3/4 teaspoon)
  • 50 g rainbow sprinkles (1/4 cup)

Cooking Methods:

  1. Combine the butter, shortening, and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
  2. On low speed, stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. don’t rush the process. you’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for that liquid. there should be no streaks of fat or liquid. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. On very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and the 50 g (¼ cup) rainbow sprinkles. mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together. scrape down the sides of the bowl.

  4. Grease your baking pan and line it with parchment. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. sprinkle the remaining 25 g (2 tablespoons) rainbow sprinkles evenly on top of the batter.
  5. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. the cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. at 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.

 

I was able to use the left over batters to make a dozen of cupcakes

 

Pink Surprise Ombre Cake

I’m making a two-tiered cake for Isabelle’s first birthday celebration this coming Sunday. The bottom cake will be a five-layered cake with pink ombre on the inside. Making ombre layered cake is actually super easy! Two main ingredients required are White cake mix and  your choice of food coloring. If you want to add a vanilla extract, make sure to use the clear version so it won’t add any coloring to the cake.

I’m using Betty Crocker white cake mix and Wilton “Aster Mauve” pink food coloring.

 

Ingredients:
(make a 9-inch round cake (5 to 6 inches tall, 5 layers)

  • 2 boxes of White cake mix
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil (I use grape seed oil because it is colorless and tasteless)
  • 2 cup milk
  • Clear vanilla extract (optional)
For a smooth baking process, I always make sure to gather my ingredients, baking tools, and piling them on my kitchen table for easy access.

 

I also used cake strips to avoid high-rise centers, cracked tops and over-cooked edges. This way, my cake layer will come out prefect, level and no trimming needed. You can purchase cake strips at Bulk Barn, Michaels, local baking store or online at Amazon. For about $12 a set (2 strips), I’d say it is a good investment!

Make sure to pre-soak your cake strips in cold water for at least 10 minutes. Wrap the strip around the pan before baking.

 

Cooking Methods:
(Follow the cooking instructions on the cake mix box)

  1. Combine all the ingredients until the batter is nice and smooth, and free of lumps.
  2. Divide your cake batters into 5 containers. Make sure to divide the batter evenly. It’s a good idea to weigh each container to make sure they are all in equal weight.

  3. Add food coloring to make 5 different shades of the same color. I started with the darkest color and slowly reducing the amount of food coloring added.
  4. Pour batter into greased and lined pans. Since I only have two pans, I bake them in three batch. Each batch only took about 15 minutes.
  5. Usually, I let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour or so. Since I need to use the pans for my second batch, I cooled for about 5 minutes before flipping the cake upside down to cool some more. Make sure to line the cake with saran wrap or wax paper. This type of cake tends to stick and you need to be careful and gentle when removing the wraps later on.
  6. Once your cakes cool to room temperature, place your cakes in the freezer for 15 minutes. It’s a lot easier to assemble your cake when it is very cold. I wrapped mine in plastic wrap individually and freeze them. I’m planning to frost my cakes and assemble them next week (the day before Isabelle’s first birthday celebration).

 

This is how my cake looks like before frosting them. Can’t wait to frost and decorate them next week!

 

Easy Flan Recipe

Flan is a type of sweet custard dessert. This dessert is highly versatile and popular all across the world. While many consider flan the quintessential Latin-American dessert, the first flan recipes actually hail from Ancient Rome, nearly two thousand years ago.

It was during Roman times that domesticated chickens were first kept for laying eggs. The Romans, with eggs in surplus, and consulting the Greek’s knowledge of the art of cooking, developed new recipes, one of which turned out to be a custardly concoction known as flan.

History of Flan

Nowadays, there are multiple versions and recipes all around the world:

  • Brazil (Pudim de Leite Condensado)
  • Mexico (Flan Mexicano)
  • Spain (Flan de huevo)
  • Puerto Rico (Flan de Coco)
  • French (Crème Caramel or Brulee)
  • Philippine (Leche Flan)
  • Japan (Purin Pudding プリン)
  • Hong Kong (Egg tart)

  

    I made a quick simple flan recipe below which is adapted from the Brazilian Flan video by Tastemade. I used my rice cooker steamer and small silicon ramekins instead of oven and a large pan. I also cut down the recipe in half, since I only have 1 can of condensed milk.

    Ingredients:
    (make about 4 small ramekins)

    • 1/2 cup sugar (for the caramel topping)
    • 1 can (300 ml) sweetened condensed milk
    • 1/2 cup (5 oz) homogenized milk
    • 1 egg + 1 yolk
    • Half vanilla beans (optional)

      

     Custard Pudding

    1. Mix condensed milk, milk, vanilla, eggs and yolk in a blender. Blend for about 1 minute.
    2. Pass the blender mixture through a sieve into a container.
    3. Put aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so the bubbles subside. While waiting, make your caramel topping.

      

      Caramel Topping

      1. Put the sugar in a shallow pan and melt it over medium heat. Make sure to keep an eye on it to avoid burning the sugar.
      2. You can shake the pan a bit when the sugar starts to bubble. Continue cooking until it has a caramel color.
      3. Carefully pour hot syrup into your ramekins (about 1/4 inch high), turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.

        
       

        Assembly

        1. Get your steamer ready of you can bake in a water bath at the oven at 350 Fº for 1 hour.
        2. Pass the blender mixture once more time through a sieve. This time into a container with a spout for easy pouring.
        3. Pour the mixture into your ramekins (your ramekin should be ready with caramel syrup in it).
        4. Steam or bake for about 40 minutes to 1 hour.
        5. Let rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours before unmolding.

          

        Straining it twice will help remove air bubbles and result in smoother texture

         

        The silicon molds definetely help with unmolding process. If you use a ceramic ramekin, run a knife around the edge .
         
         
        Take a bite and enjoy!
         
         
        My food critic seems to like it.. except she requested it must be served with steak next time!
         

        It’s Caramel Popcorn kinda day

        I love making caramel popcorn! It’s easy and your house will smell so nice with caramel and vanilla in the air. I always use this caramel recipe I found on All Recipes. Making caramel popcorn is simple, you can see the main ingredients below:

        • First step is to pop your popcorn and have them ready on a sheet pan. I like use the pop up bowl Orville buttery popcorn. It only takes a quick 2 minutes and 15 seconds in the microwave.
        • Second step is to make your caramel sauce. Please follow the cooking methods from all recipes website. It only takes about 10 minutes when you have all the ingredients ready.
        • Lastly, drizzle your caramel sauce all over your popcorn. Coat them well, bake in the oven at low 250•F oven, stir and flip them every 15 minutes for one hour.
        • Baking the popcorn will slowly set the caramel coating and make your popcorn nice and crunchy. If you under-bake them, your end products will be soggy and stickier.

         

        May I have some buttery popcorn pleaaase?

        Real Ice Cream! The Kawartha Dairy Company

        Before we move here, every time we are in Barrie area we always stop by at the Kawartha Dairy Company. Now that we actually live in Barrie, it has been very hard for me resisting not to go there everyday. The shop is located on 10 Anne Street South which is only 15 minutes away from our house, and they open late until 9 pm and 11 pm in the Summer. The shop also offers a drive-thru (more excuses for me in the cold winter day to still get ice cream). Kawartha Dairy doesn’t just sell ice cream, you can get their other take-away items: milk (skim, 2%, homogenized), heavy cream, buttermilk, butter, and of large tubs ice cream with a variety to choose from. You can also find other local products like the muskoka coffee, pecan tart, jams and jellies, cheeses, and even breakfast sausages. It’s truly not just your regular ice cream shop!

        Drive-thru menu

             
        My favorite ice cream are peanut butter and chocolate, and sometimse I can’t decided between the gold medal ribbon or just a good old vanilla ice cream. The ice cream comes in three different sizes:

        • Baby – 1 Scoop
        • Small – 2 Scoops
        • Huge – 3 Scoops

        You can order the ice cream in regular cone, waffle cone, cup or make it into milkshakes. I always get mine in the waffle cone as I feel I get bigger portion and fit more ice cream that way! But their scope are pretty big, see photos below:

         

        Puppy cone VS Baby cone
        Chocolate and Peanut Butter
        Moose Tracks – vanilla ice cream with chocolate peanut butter cups swirled in fudge

         Your pups are welcome.. just like any most places in Barrie. It won’t let you bring the dog inside the store, but make sure you ask for a complimentary puppy cone for your furry friends.

        Complimentary puppy cone, plain vanilla ice cream
           
        Our dog enjoying her ice cream!
         

        Lunchdate at Chaopaya

        We had a great lunch meal at Chaopaya today. The restaurant is loacated near downtown Barrie on Dunlop street. It has a patio and we can’t wait to be back in the summer to enjoy the lake view. We both ordered the lunch special which come with soup and springroll. Here are some photos from today’s lunch:

          

        Springroll and soup, lunch special complimentary
           
         
        Basil beef with rice
           
        Chicken pad thai
         

        Thai tea
           

         

        St. Patrick’s Day at Redline Brewhouse

        We decided to go out for drinks on St. Patrick’s day and went to Redline Brewhouse. We were lucky to get a table and beat the crowds. They have an amazing live music by Memphis Mudd and offer $5 pints all day. We enjoyed sitting upstairs and sipping our beers, enjoying the live music. I ordered the flight and my favorite was their seasonal beer, 396 IPA Big Block series. It was a perfect beer in getting ready for the summer!

         

        396 IPA, Check Engine, Clutch, 5:01 Golden Ale
        live music by Memphis Mudd, $5 pints all day – what a great combo to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

        We also visited the gear shop and bought a few cans home. I love their growler-can-size beer “crowler”.

        Crowler size 960ml

        I hope you had a great day celebrating St. Patrick’s Day! 🍀 Happy March 17th!

        #tbt Our puppy (circa 2013)

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