Oversized Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lazy days are something I rarely grant myself the freedom to enjoy. But after weeks of busyness and a schedule that has me running from place to place, sometimes a lazy morning is exactly what’s needed. And what better way to indulge in a day off than to enjoy freshly baked cinnamon rolls.

cinnamon rolls

When it comes to these morning pastries, the phrase Go Big or Go Home comes to mind, well kind of. I mean, I’m already home, and I’m going big too. So. There.

…. have I mentioned these cinnamon rolls are oversized?

Not only are these cinnamon rolls oversized, they are swirled with intricate layers of cinnamon and topped with a well balanced creamy, sweet frosting. One of my favorite things about these rolls is that they can be prepared the night before. You can even slip out of bed half awake in the morning to let them finish rising. As the smell of cinnamon wafts through your house, you’ll have enough time to brew a pot of coffee and prepare the decadent frosting. When it comes time to layer on the frosting, don’t be shy; it’s part of what makes these treats so special.

Once the rolls finish baking and you’ve adorned them with frosting, grab a cup of coffee and head back to bed to enjoy the warmth of your covers and a good book.

To treat yourself to these cinnamon rolls, head on over to Lovely Little Kitchen for the recipe. If you want to make these rolls oversized, like I did, simply cut the dough into 8 sections instead of 12. For an extra punch of cinnamon, I also added 4 tablespoons to the filling instead of the recommended 2-3.

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Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

While walking through the halls at work the other day, I noticed a woman who had her arms full with boxes and stacks of papers. She was trying to pull the one arm-balancing maneuver; you know, the one where you think you’re the hulk and that you’re strong enough to hold everything with one arm and that you’ll still manage to open the door with the other arm (note: this move is most often used when trying to carry groceries in from the car). Anyway, she seemed to be struggling with said maneuver, and I quickly went to hold the door for her. She gave me a relieved smile and said, “Thank you.” What I didn’t expect was what she said next….

“Would you like a doughnut?”

What? A doughnut? She wasn’t carrying pink boxes around. . . I was not expecting an offer for doughnuts. I was completely caught off guard.

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This lady must have been a doughnut ninja; she knew the importance of hiding the good stuff, especially when roaming through the halls of an office. But back to the fact that she had offered me a doughnut. I don’t know why, but I paused. I took a moment to actually consider whether to accept the doughnut.

Me, taking a minute to decide about eating a doughnut? I must have woken up with a fever that morning. Oh no, it was just a case of the “I’m trying to eat less sweets.” (Don’t worry, I’ve since recovered). I politely smiled and said, “No thank you.” She gave me an all-knowing look that radiated a sense of wow, she’s going to regret that response. Well you-doughnut-ninja-mind-reader-you, you were right. I did regret turning down the doughnut. And so, here I am, trying to make up for that. I give to you, baked pumpkin spice doughnuts rolled in cinnamon sugar (recipe from Cooking Classy).

If you haven’t noticed from my past posts, I love, love, love baking doughnuts. Baking verse frying results in easier clean-up, less mess, and more consistent results. I also love the fact that I have both mini and regular size doughnut pans; so, naturally I made both.

Okay, real talk: this batter is packed with all the flavors you crave during fall, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and, of course, pumpkin. The fact that the dough isn’t overly sweet balances perfectly with the fact that you are going to roll these bad boys in cinnamon sugar as soon as they come out of the oven. Beware of tasting the batter before you bake these. . . you might not be able to put down your spoon.

Nutella Cinnamon Sticks

What do you get when you mix Nutella, cinnamon, and sugar? A recipe that has lovingly been dubbed Sugar Sticks.

photo (8)Last weekend, I set out to make an updated version of the cinnamon roll; one that would be oozing with gooey chocolate hazelnut goodness and drizzled with a layer of sweet, cream cheese frosting. Sounds pretty good, right?

Well . . . things didn’t quite go as planned, and sometimes you just need to roll with the Nutella slathered dough that’s lying in front of you.

I blame the pounds of hazelnut spread layered on this moist dough that resulted in a cinnamon roll refusing to roll. Okay, blame might be too strong of a word; I can’t say I was mad about the amount of chocolate and sugar I was about to consume. But seeing as round cinnamon rolls were no longer in my future, I quickly switched gears and decided to bake this in a log shape instead of the typical cinnamon roll form. Once it came out of the oven, I still drizzled it with the rich cream cheese frosting and cut it into perfectly dunkable sticks. Since this treat is so sweet, it pairs perfectly with coffee or a glass of milk. Enjoy!

Nutella Cinnamon Filling:

  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs butter, softened
  • 1 cup Nutella (I melted mine slightly so it was easier to spread)

Dough:

  • 2 ¾ cups flour
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 4 Tbs butter, melted, divided
  • 2 Tbs butter, softened

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 3 Tbs butter, softened
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Begin by preheating the oven to 425ºF. Next, prepare the cinnamon sugar filling by combining sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a fork until well combined, set aside.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Separately mix the buttermilk, regular milk and 2 tbs melted butter. Once combined, add the wet mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined, then knead with your hands for about 30 seconds. Be sure to flour your hands first as the dough will be very sticky.

Once you’ve finished kneading, you’re ready to roll out the dough. On a lightly floured surface, use hands to press dough into a 12×10 inch rectangle. Coat the dough with Nutella leaving about ½ inch of space around the edges. Next sprinkle the dough with cinnamon sugar mixture. Starting with the long end of the rectangle, roll the dough to the opposite end. Roll the dough back and forth to shape it evenly into a log shape. Pinch the ends together and cut off any excess dough. Transfer dough to a non-stick cookie sheet and brush the top with 2 tbs melted butter. Place in the oven and allow to bake for 10-15 minutes. Once the top begins to turn golden, cover the roll with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

While the roll is baking, prepare the frosting. Using a hand mixer, beat softened butter and cream cheese until light and creamy. Add in powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Mix until well combined. When the roll is finished baking, allow to cool 5-10 minutes before drizzling on the frosting. Next, cut the log into 1 inch thick slices (similar to a biscotti). Store in airtight container for 2 days or serve immediately. Enjoy!

Double Crumb Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

Dear Mr. Coffee Cake.

Oh, coffee cake. I’m not sure how we got off on the wrong foot. But somehow, we just don’t seem to see eye to eye. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with you. In fact, you’re sweet, comforting, and pack a welcome punch of cinnamon flavor. You even have multiple textures, which I adore. But somehow, you never quite make it to the top of my “I want to bake you” list. You always seem to be overlooked and quickly pushed aside when other flashier desserts come along.

coffeecake_editMy roommate, though, she never underestimates you. I often ask her what she thinks I should bake, and she always brings you up. I told her for weeks that I would bake you, but every time I had the baking itch (which we know is often), you never made the cut. Finally, enough was enough. I couldn’t put it off any longer. You and I needed to try and reconcile our differences.

And so, I searched and searched, and finally settled on this Double Crumb Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake recipe (because who only wants to settle for a single crumb coffee cake? Not me). And, I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised. You had so much dimension: ribbons of cinnamon, layers of brown sugar, moist cake, hints of nuttiness, and a sweet gooey vanilla glaze.

Coffee cake, I have to apologize for before. From now on, you’re alright in my book.

Triple Berry Bread Pudding with Baked Doughnuts and Vanilla Glaze

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And, when life gives you over baked mini doughnuts that look more like muffins than doughnuts, make bread pudding! Okay, so maybe the second saying isn’t going to catch on, but it is the inspiration behind this recipe.

good_IMG_1564editWhile attempting to make baked buttermilk doughnuts, something went wrong, like really wrong. I should have known better than to bake during the middle of the day when it’s over 90ºF outside and there’s no A/C, but one thing led to another and I suddenly found myself with flour on my hands and doughnuts in the oven.

Everything seemed to be going well, other than the fact that due to the heat the dough had barely risen and was far too sticky. Oh what’s that you say? That should have been a warning sign. I know, I know. But my craving for doughnuts outweighed my common sense, and I decided to try and bake these bad boys anyway. The at first adorable mini doughnuts quickly morphed into overgrown muffin wannabes that had no right to even look at another doughnut. Hmph. As I scanned the nearly 3 dozen “doughnuts” that now lined my counter, I knew I had to do something with them.

Think. Think. Think

Aha! Bread Pudding to the rescue. But not just anyway bread pudding, triple berry baked doughnut bread pudding with vanilla glaze. Now we’re talkin’. 

I decided to substitute berries for the traditional raisins because 1. berries are just better 2. I was out of raisins 3. berries. If you want to be a weirdo and use raisins, go for it. But I’m warning you, it won’t be the same. And, if you don’t have a surplus of baked doughnuts lying around, you can make this with day old bread; I recommend sourdough.

Alright friends, get ready to test your self-control, here’s the recipe:

Bread Pudding
Doughnuts or sourdough bread, cubed/broken (enough to fill the bottom of a 9×12 baking dish)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup milk
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar (light brown sugar will also work)
¼ teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼  teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1 and ½ cups mixed berries, frozen or fresh (I used, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)

Glaze
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar (light also works)
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
¾ cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla

Directions

Begin by preheating the oven to 350ºF and spraying a 9×12 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray; fill the prepared pan with cubed doughnuts or bread. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugars, salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Next add in the heavy whipping cream, milk, and eggs. Whisk until well combined. Pour the mixture over the bread in prepared pan; use your hands or a spoon to make make sure all the doughnuts/bread are covered with the milk mixture. Finally, sprinkle the doughnuts with mixed berries and again stir to make sure berries are evenly incorporated. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the filling is springy and the sides begin to pull away from the pan. Check the bread after 20 minutes; if the top is becoming too golden brown, cover with foil for the remaining time.

While the bread pudding is baking, you can prepare the vanilla glaze. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together all ingredients excluding the vanilla. Continually whisk ingredients until the sauce thickens and could coat the back of a spoon. This should take between 5-7 minutes. Once this consistency is reached, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Sauce can be drizzled over warm bread pudding or served on the side.

Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

With blueberries still on my brain, I knew what had to come next. Muffins.

Blue.Berry.Muffins.

I’m talking muffins that are real, thick, and juicy…. no wait, sorry, that’s not referring to muffins. But, seriously, whenever I pick out muffins, I go for the one that has the biggest top. I’d be a loyal customer at Top of the Muffin to You! So my challenge in this baking endeavor was to make a muffin with the ideal golden brown top bursting forth from a base that would be moist and overflowing with berries. Also, I knew I wanted to add a streusel topping. Because, yum.

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I knew certain baking pans were made specifically for muffin tops, but I didn’t have one and that also felt a little like cheating. So, I did some research. Turns out there are some tricks you can do to help your muffin top reach its fullest potential.

  1. Fill er’ up: fill your muffin tins at least ¾ of the way full or to the top, if you dare!
  2. Turn up the heat: turn your oven to 400 instead of the recommended 350 or 375, this will quickly activate the leavening ingredients and allow the sides to rise while the center bakes more slowly.
  3. Run the clock: since you’ve increased the oven temperature, be mindful of the baking time. 18-20 minutes should do the trick but you can also start with less time and regularly check the trays.
  4. Chill out: let your cold ingredients come to room temperature before adding them to your batter; this encourages proper mixing and even baking.
  5. Mix like a pro: after combining the dry and wet ingredients, fill the trays and place in the oven as soon as possible. This allows the leavening agents to work properly.

I applied these tips and added a streusel topping to a basic blueberry muffin recipe found on William Sonoma’s website. Thanks WS!

Streusel Topping
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼  cup light brown sugar
⅓ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup cold butter

To prepare the streusel, mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and then cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle streusel topping over muffins before baking. Voila!

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Holes

I had to give myself a serious self-discipline talk after making these doughnuts. Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten 10 of these in one sitting. But hey, live and learn, right? And aren’t  there plenty of sayings about seeing what you can achieve. Oh, they aren’t referring to how many doughnuts you can eat? Pish. Posh. Doughnuts are an accomplishment too.

DonutsThese doughnuts are incredibly easy to make and will have your friends’ mouths watering. Yes, you should probably share. You and your stomach will thank me later. Since the dough needs to sit and then chill before frying, make sure you work this into your baking plan. I made my dough the evening before (which took about 5 minutes) and then popped it in the fridge while I caught up on my Z’s. Bettie does a great job of providing the recipe and step by step instructions on her blog, Baker Bettie. Here are a few additional doughnut dos and don’ts:

Do: Cut out the doughnuts one by one.
If you prep all the doughnut holes before removing them from the counter (like I did the first time) they are more likely to stick and are less likely to hold their shape.

Don’t: Assume you’re a frying master.
Well, you know what happens when you assume…

Do: Test the oil temperature
If you have a food thermometer, use it! If not, you can use a wooden spoon to help test the oil. To check if the oil has reached 350°F, dip the end of a wooden spoon in the oil; when the oil is ready for frying it will begin to bubble around the spoon.

Don’t: Forget about timing.
The doughnuts really should take about 30-45 seconds to cook. If it’s taking longer or less than this, you need to adjust the cooking temperature. If the oil is too hot, the outsides will cook too quickly while the inside remains doughy.