Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Well, starting summer classes has definitely taken away most of my free time, therefore, not quite as many cooking adventures will be taking place, much to my chagrin. However, last night I decided to set aside my mountain of reading and bake these cinnamon roll cookies for my boyfriend. I made them over the weekend and loved them so I had to make them again and of course take pictures this time.

I came up with this idea a few weeks ago and finally got around to making them. I cut corners though because I'm cheap...haha. I used a package of pre-made sugar cookie dough. Next time I make these I definitely want to use my own sugar cookie recipe, but if you're in a pinch, this is a very easy and quite impressive recipe. One thing to note though is that one package of the pre-made dough only gets you about 24 cookies. My guess is that when making them from your own sugar cookie recipe, you may have to double the cinnamon sugar filling.

The dough was a bit soft and hard to work with, but with some patience, they really do turn out quite well. And the smell!!! I'm telling you, there is nothing better than the smell of cinnamon, I LOOOOVE it. These cookies are great for those times when you're really craving something decadent like a cinnamon roll but the last thing you want to do is eat a ginormous, icing smothered cinnamon roll. This is also a great recipe because you can just make yourself a few logs and keep them in the freezer until you need them, and then just slice and bake!

The icing was just a simple glaze that satisfies the must have for cinnamon rolls. I chose to only ice half of the cookies because when I made them this weekend, there was much discussion and pondering over which one tasted better. My boyfriend ended up making quite the experiment out of the whole situation, therefore eating just about all of them in one day. He still has yet to come to a conclusion. I'll keep you informed of that decision. 

Cinnamon Roll Cookies
1 package pre-made sugar cookie dough
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Pre-heat oven according to the cookie dough directions.
Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 18 by 10 inches (just make sure it's a pretty good rectangle).
Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar together and sprinkle over the dough and run the rolling pin over the dough to lightly press the filling into the cookies.
Starting from the long edge of the rectangle, gently roll up the dough and wrap in plastic wrap.
Chill in the freezer until firm, about 1 hour.
Slice into 3/4 to 1 inch slices and bake for 6-8 minutes.

1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients until they reach a "drizzlable" consistency. Adding more sugar or milk when needed. 
Drizzle over the cookies once they have cooled.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wedding Shower Treats Pt. 1

One of my close friends from high school is getting married this June and I am the maid of honor. Therefore, it is my job to host the wedding shower...which is this weekend. One of my many tasks within this job is to make the food for the 22 people invited (even though no one RSVP back to me...thanks guys). One of the sweets I chose to have are toasted almond shortbread cookies. I got the recipe from Barefoot Contessa but I substituted toasted almonds for the pecans. 

I recently discovered my absolute love for shortbread, it is the perfect cookie, not too sweet  with that hint of saltiness...delicious. This recipe is so easy to put together and I found the dough very nice with which to work. None of that evil, unmanageable dough that fights you the whole way.

Toasted Almond Shortbread Cookies
Courtesy of The Barefoot Contessa

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chopped toasted almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahraheit
With an electric mixer, blend the butter and sugar until just combined. Add the extracts. In a seperate bowl, sift together to flour and salt and add to the butter/sugar mixture. Add the almonds and blend until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. 
Roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick and cut into any shape you like. Bake for 15-20 minutes (I found that 15 minutes was almost too long, so keep an eye on them).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

First post!!!

After much encouragement from Erin, a fellow OWU student and food blogger, I have finally started my very own food blog. Having just finished my junior year at OWU, I am home for a week before summer classes begin. And while I have my own kitchen at my apartment at school, I'm usually too cheap to buy ingredients to cook anything exciting. So most of my adventures in the kitchen take place when I am at my parent's house where I humbly take advantage of the abundance of food. 

Anyways, having taken on my summer habit of staying up all night, I decided to make muffins the other night at around 1 a.m. Using my trusty Joy Of Cooking, I found a basic muffin recipe to use as my blank canvas. Remembering the muffins my mom used to make from the box with that awesome streusel topping, I then found a recipe for streusel with which to top my muffins. With all my ducks in a row, I set out to make better-than-the-box streusel muffins. The recipe called for an optional 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg which I substituted with cinnamon. The added cinnamon gave the muffins a nice spicy touch. Next time I might also add the nutmeg.

Basic Muffins
Courtesy of Joy Of Cooking

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used cinnamon)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk or cream
2/3 cup sugar or packed brown sugar
4 to 8 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. 
-Have a standard 12-muffin pan greased or lined with paper cups.
-Whisk the first 4 ingredients together in a large bowl.
-Mix the remaining ingredients together in another bowl and add to the flour mixture. Stir just until batter is moist, do not overmix. 
-Divide batter into muffin pan, liberally top with streusel (recipe below)

Streusel I
Courtesy of Joy Of Cooking

2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans (I left this out and just added a little extra flour for binding)
2/3 cup sugar or packed brown sugar, or a combination of the two
5 tablespoons unsalted melted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

-Blend all ingredients together with a fork or in a food processor until it resembles coarse crumbs.
-Top muffins and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Overall I felt that this was a successful adventure, however, I felt the muffins were slightly bland. Next time I think I would double the streusel recipe and mix half of in into the muffin batter itself, and top with the remaining streusel.