Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mmm...Cinnamon Gluteus maximus (aka Cinnamon buns/rolls)

I am one of those bakers that enjoy creating tasty treats, but do not gorge on what I create. For me, the process of creating and presenting the final product is my favorite part out of the cycle. I have very little desire to eat what I make. As a result, I often need to find victims...err lovely friends to give my goodies to.

Cinnamon Rolls with cream cheese icing.

Cinnamon rolls was on my "to-make-and-give-away" list. I wanted to make small 3 to 5 bites sized rolls instead of the ginormous regular-sized buns so it would be less of a sugar overload. Because my family dislikes fat-filled diabetic causing goodies, I was forced to wait...and wait...and wait some more...until...

Some sucker requested me to make cinnamon buns. It all started, because I was teasing one of JSB's friends. She was telling me how her friend has been making banana muffins for weeks, because he always had ripe bananas at home. I told her to tell her friend to make some with cream cheese filling, because I've been craving for some banana muffins stuffed with cream cheese. Like everything else in life, nothing is free. He was reluctant to bake me muffins until I offered to make him anything in return. He excitedly choose cinnamon buns in <3 shaped. yeah....Cute, but I can't be caught flirting with high schoolers by making heart-shaped buns and sending wrong messages to teenagers. Yeesh, I'm gonna get my ass sent to jail.

After much thought, I settled on a recipe by Paula Deen. I planned on making smaller buns (approx 3 inches in diameter), which yielded about 30 rolls. I decided to make 2 toppings: sugar glaze and cream cheese icing.

 Icing the buns.

Because cinnamon buns taste the best fresh out of the oven, I made the important decision to bake it in the morning for JSB to bring it to school. I made her three trays (1 cream-cheese icing and 2 sugar glazed).
Before cutting the rolls.

In order for me to have enough time in the morning to bake it, I made the dough the night before and shoved the dough in the fridge overnight.


After rising.

I woke up at 5:30 AM in the dark the next day to preheat the oven and to bring the dough to room temperature.

Fresh out of the oven.

While the buns were baking, I made the icing. As soon as JSB was ready to leave the house, I gave her three trays in a bag for her to bring to school and share with her friends.

Sugar glazed.

The verdict: her friends thought the buns were good, but not enough sugar (aka icing). Because pastry drenched in sugar puts me off, I intentionally lightly drizzled the icing on the buns. However, I forgot that highschoolers adore sugar and fat overkill. The high schoolers loved the sugar glazed rolls, but JSB and I preferred the cream cheese frosting.

Cinnamon bun side-view.

Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe from Paula Deen


1/4 oz package yast
1/2 cup warm water at 110 degrees Fahreinheit
1/2 cup milk at 110 degrees Fahreinheit
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup better, melted
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour

(I felt her filling was a bit excessive so I lowered the amount of butter and sugar)
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon (I used Saigon cinnamon)

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  3. When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices.
  4. Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.
  5. Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

Sugar Glaze
Adapted from Paula Deen

1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp hot water

  1. Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Add water until glaze reaches desired consistency.
Sugar glazed bun.

Cream Cheese Icing
Adapted from Alton Brown

1 1/4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tbsp milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar

  1. Whisk cream cheese until creamy.
  2. Add milk until combined.
  3. Sift in powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
Cream cheese icing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Cheater's version of Cheesecake

Have ever had the original cheesecake from the Cheesecake factory after dinner? Sweet, luscious, thick, and creamy with a crispy graham cracker crust to finish off the experience. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Don't deny it. After you have polished off the last bite of cheesecake, reality dawns on you. That thick slice of cheesecake was approximately 700 calories. The calories only increase with other flavors.

Talk about guilt. To satisfy my craving while staying within my calorie limit, I turned a cheesecake bar (stick) into a cheese"cake."

 Confession #1: I over-baked the cheesecake....

So...I fibbed a bit. It's not a cheesecake, really, it's still a bar...the shape simply changed. Either way, it's light and delicious. It has about a 1:1 ratio of creamcheese filling to crust. It's awesome for a crust lover. I love the crust to death. It's not your traditional graham cracker crust, but a flour, sugar, and butter crust. Oh, you also have to adore vanilla. The vanilla aroma is intense! Mmmm...../swoons.

 Confession #2: I went overboard with the plating.
Doesn't it look like someone died on my
plate? =(

Cheesecake Bar in Cheesecake Form
Adapted from Baking Bites


  • 1/6 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup half&half or light cream
  • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 to 1/2 of a vanilla bean (depending on how stingy you want to be)
  • 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line pan with parchment paper or grease it. I used a pie pan for my cheesecake bar.
  3. Cream sugar and butter until fluffy and smooth.
  4. Beat in flour and salt until crumbly. Press mixture into the pan evenly.
  5. Bake in oven for 15 to 17 minutes.
  6. Combine sugar, half&half, and cheese until smooth.
  7. Add eggs one at a time.
  8. Add vanilla and flour.
  9. Pour filling into crust and bake for 23 to 26 minutes until set.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Black + White = Fail (Cheesecake Brownie)

When I attempt a recipe and it goes south, I die a little on the inside because I hate wasting precious ingredients. Perhaps, I should define "precious." All ingredients are precious in my eyes, including cheap items like flour and sugar.

I can complain all I want about wasting ingredients, but I can't do anything about it since the baking life cycle includes making errors and learning from it. No matter how many mistakes I make, I refuse to give up. Giving up means failure and my ego will never let that happen.You need proof? Check out my past brownie attempts. *angry face*

 It looks fine here, but it's
all about the

What happened this time around with brownies? The usual happened. It hates me regardless of what I do. If it's brownie based, it refuses to bake in my favor. I ended up over-baking my cheesecake brownies. The brownie portion became a firm cake and the cheesecake layer was chewy with a thin crispy layer on top.

The "brownie" looks rather
lifeless, doesn't it?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Tale of the Mochi Factory Nightmare

The Tale of the Mochi Factory Nightmare

Location: My own home
Time: Lost forever.

My recollection of that night is rather blurry. I remember coming home after a day of volunteering and Kay coming back from college that same night. Other than that, the details are lost. Let me tell you. It was a rough night. I slaved for hours (literally). I started around 5:30 P.M. and worked until 7 P.M. Had a relaxing dinner with the family. Returned home where JSB ordered me to continue working. Kay came home around 10 PM and said she wanted to go out and grab a bite, because she didn't have dinner yet. JSB made a deal with Kay: we would accompany her to dinner if she worked at JSB's mochi mill. At one point, my eyes began to tear up, my fingers started aching, and I was starting to doze off in the kitchen. From what I recall, I didn't get to crawl into bed until 4 AM??

The worst part:

The next day when we were suppose to have fun, I had to help her deliver the goods. *sends DEATH GLARES to JSB*

This was JSB's project. It was a creative twist on the traditional mochi. Combining the smooth, sweet, and velvety ganache with the chewy texture of mochi was brilliant. There were 3 flavors: dark chocolate, white chocolate, and green tea (MY IDEA!). Her idea is similar to Betelnut's mochi, which is filled with Kahlua dark chocolate, milk chocolate Grand Marnier and white chocolate Amaretto. I find JSB's colored mochi much more interesting than the white cornstarch that Betelnut uses.

Since JSB is secretive about her recipes, I cannot share the love. However, I'll gladly show you the steps.

Dust the working surface with powder. We used cocoa powder, matcha, and cornstarch.

 *Click picture to enlarge*

  *Click picture to enlarge*
This is a two step process. The first process is covering the mochi in the powder and flattening it. When it's at the desired thickness, cut into squares. Covering your hands and both sides of the mochi with powder prevents the mochi from sticking to you.

 *Click picture to enlarge*
The next process is dropping chocolate ganache onto each square. Followed by lots of pinching.

Finished packages for delivery.  Yes, the packaging looks horrible, but it works. We made over 300 mochi that night.

Green tea mochi -- Close up. Why the chocolate cap? I used so much matcha powder that it was too bitter. The dark chocolate helped cut the bitterness. Besides, it looks much more attractive this way. Tiny moss balls. hahaha.

 *Click picture to enlarge*
Kids, this is what happens when you try to revive a harden white chocolate mochi. JSB *thought* she was being oh-so-smart by steaming the mochi to soften it. Instead, it's guts leaked out like a cracked egg.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Kids + Ice Cream

I groggily dragged myself out of bed. I stumbled down the hallway into the kitchen to eat a quick breakfast even though I'm already running 5 minutes behind schedule. I need the energy. I have kids I need to mentor when I get to work. I quickly get dressed, grab my bag, and run out the door to the bus stop. It's empty. The only thing I can do is wait. I see a bus in the distance coming towards me. I get on, arrive at the stop near the school, and hustle down the hill. When I get there, I don't see any of my lovely kids running around or hear any laughter or screams. Hrm, how odd. Oh well. I opened the door to the school. oh...the office lights are off. What's going on? Surprise, surprise. The classroom is locked. This sucks. I woke up early to a closed school for some unknown reason.

Pretty =)

What does that have to do with ice cream? Nothing at all. I needed to write out what happened to me this morning.

The ice cream concoction was an experiment. A mixture of leftover heavy cream from making truffles, egg, and milk. For the flavoring, I used Ribena Blackcurrent syrup. This experiment seemed like a great idea, but the result was not what I anticipated. The texture did not resemble ice cream. It was gummy and syrupy.

All I can say, enjoy the pictures.


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