Biscuit-Style Cinnamon Rolls

Biscuit-Style Cinnamon Rolls

  • Servings: 12 buns
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsps granulated sugar
  • 4 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter + 1/3 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecan pieces (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400ºF/205ºC Blend the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the 1/4 cup cold butter. Add the milk and stir until just combined. Let sit in fridge while making the filling. Mix together the 1/3 cup softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until formed into a paste. Take the dough out of the fridge, roll out on a floured surface to a rectangle approximately 12″/30cm by 18″/46cm. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin well. Place approximately 1/2-1 tsp of the filling into the base of each cup of the muffin tin. Spread the remaining filling over the rectangle of dough. If using, sprinkle raisins and pecans over the topping. Roll the dough from the long edge up, so you end up with a 18″/46cm roll. Cut the roll into 12. Place the rolls, with a cut side down, into the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes, then remove from tin. Serve.

And now for the details…

Howdy folks! Admittedly, this one is not my recipe. It’s a recipe I had gotten from my mom, and she has been making it since I was a kid. My parents were in to visit this past weekend and I asked her the origin of the recipe, since all I have is a recipe card I diligently copied years ago from hers when I moved away. Turns out, this is a recipe from Canadian Living magazine that my mom found years ago (it was when I was a kid, so I’m not going to talk about just how long ago… just… it’s been awhile.)

Do you have cinnamon bun fanatics in your home? These rolls are not quite the same as a cinnamon bun, since the leavening agent here is baking powder instead of yeast, and you won’t get that same fluffy texture. But to be honest, I prefer these rolls over yeast cinnamon buns any day. Yeast cinnamon buns remind a little bit of the texture of pancakes or French toast. Particularly the middle of the bun, where it’s kinda doughy and if it’s had time to sit in the moist filling, it almost gets a little soggy… no thank you, no thank you! Biscuit cinnamon rolls are still a little soft in the middle, but they’ve got this crispiness going on around the edges, and the filling caramelizes a bit since the rolls are cooked apart in separate baking tin cups. MmmmmmmmMMMMmmmmm…

So let’s get to cooking, shall we? First off? Preheat that oven to 400ºF/205ºC!

We start with the dough. Mix/sift together the dry ingredients for the dough (flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, kosher salt). You can use regular salt here, in fact, I think that’s what the original recipe calls for, but I liked the idea of using kosher salt so you would get occasional bites of the salty bits, giving the buns an almost salted caramel type flavour. Once the dry ingredients are mixed together, cut the cold butter (1/4 cup worth) in, using a pastry blender or knives. You can do all of this in a food processor too, which will make it even easier! Cut the butter in until its down to about pea-sized pieces. Next, we add the milk. Mix it in just until the dough has formed up. We don’t want to mix too long or the dough will get tough. Set the dough aside, maybe even sticking it into the fridge, while you get the filling ready.

To get the filling ready, we are going to smush together the softened butter (1/3 cup), brown sugar, and cinnamon. Get it mixed all nicely together so it’s a smooth paste. Before it makes its way into the cinnamon rolls, we’re going to prep the muffin tins by greasing them well (or not at all if you’re using silicone tins; man, I love this muffin tin!) and then dropping about 1/2-1 teaspoon of the filling into the bottom of each cup. This is going to give us that gooey, but crispy bottom for each roll.

Next step is to get those rolls ready! Flour the surface of your kitchen counter quite well so the dough does not stick. Roll out the dough so it becomes a rectangle about 12″/30cm by 18″/46cm. It does not need to be perfect, just an approximation of a rectangle of that size. The dough should be about 1/2″/1cm thick. I just used my fingers to pat and flatten out the dough, but you could also use a rolling pin if you’d like. As you flatten it out, lift each corner occasionally to make sure there is enough flour underneath that the dough will not end up sticking to the counter.

Once the dough is the right size/shape, smear the topping over the dough, trying to get close to the edges and corners. If you are using them, add the raisins and pecans by sprinkling them over the topping. I polled on the Instagram to see what the consensus was on raisins vs. none, and wow, I was not expecting so many folks to be anti-raisin! I was assuming 50/50, but it ended up being closer to 70% of folks who would prefer no raisins! Since I was making these primarily for my dad while he was visiting, the raisins stayed 😉

Next, we roll these up and get them ready for baking! Roll the dough from the long edge up, so that the roll ends up being about 18″/46cm long. If parts of it are sticking, pull them up lightly, and if there is a LOT of flour as you roll, dust it off onto the counter as you roll. Once rolled, let the seam come to the bottom, and then cut the roll into 12 pieces. I find the easiest way to get a somewhat consistent set of pieces is to cut the roll in half first, cut each of the halves in three, then cut each of those pieces in two.

Finally, place each of the pieces into cups of the muffin tins, with the cut sides facing down and up, and bake for 15-25 minutes, or until the rolls are a nice golden brown.

Once they are done, let them cool for about 5 minutes, then remove them from the tins while they are still warm. If you leave them too long, and they cool completely, the bottom, caramel-like middles will harden, and they will be very hard to remove from the tin.

Finally, serve!

Happy eating.

Rice Bowl with Fried Eggs, Bacon, and Kimchi Mayo

Rice Bowl with Eggs, Bacon, and Kimchi Mayo

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3/4 c. white rice
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 pieces bacon
  • 1/2 c. kimchi
  • 1/4 c. mayo
  • 2 c. spinach, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Directions


Cook rice. Blend together kimchi and mayo until mostly smooth. In a large pan, cook bacon. Set aside, and drain any excess fat. Cook eggs in remaining bacon fat until preferred level of doneness. Add some of the kimchi mayo to the bottom of two bowls. Split rice between bowls, add eggs, bacon and spinach. Top with green onion and remainder of kimchi mayo. Serve.

And now for the details…

We just got back into Canada yesterday from Spain and are self-isolating for at least the next two weeks. It was pretty stressful getting home, as we tried to push our travel forward by a week and a half, with many of the flights getting booked up before we had a chance to secure our way back. We finally managed to book the flights, and we are super lucky to have an amazing support network here. A friend of ours dropped off groceries for us at the house before we got home so we are well stocked while we stay at home to eliminate any exposure to others. What to do while in quarantine for two weeks? Why not a 14 day challenge of one post every day using what we have in the freezer/pantry, plus the fresh veggies and fruits provided by our amazing friend!

This is the meal we had yesterday evening when we got home. Jet lagged and trying to come down from the stress of essentially fleeing for home, we wanted something fairly simple and quick, but also comforting. we happened to have bacon in the freezer, kimchi in the fridge, and rice in the pantry. Along with the fresh veg and eggs our friend brought us, this seemed like a pretty quick and easy meal to throw together while chilling with some TV and a glass of red wine to take off the edge.

Rice bowls seem to be trending right now, but my husband remembers eggs and rice being served to him for a quick meal frequently as a kid. So with what we had available to us, this recipe was born. After I made this dish, it was requested that this dish become our go-to for a quick meal going forward! In its creation, I may have been inspired by Empire Provision and would highly recommend you try out their “My Bowl’s Got Seoul” if you make it there for brunch.

Okay, let’s start cooking.

We start everything out, of course, with cooking the rice. I didn’t specify what kind of white rice here, but my personal preference is for jasmine rice. Completely up to you to take this extra step, but it has been ingrained into me by my husband: wash the rice!!! This means rinsing the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. This will avoid clumpy, gummy rice, and if you are a textural eater, it will enhance your eating experience 😉

While the rice is cooking, put the kimchi and mayo into a blender or small food processor and blend until mostly smooth. If you are willing to put in the extra time and get it super smooth, all the power you. I was tired and hangry and just wanted to eat, so mine was still a little lumpy, more the texture of a pesto than a mayo.

Next, take a large pan, and cook your bacon over medium-high heat. The flexibility of this dish is huge; the amounts and measurements in the recipe are completely guidelines and easy to modify. If you want more bacon, cook more bacon! If you want more eggs, cook more eggs! Feeding four people instead of two? Double the recipe!

Once the bacon is done, set it aside in a dish lined with paper towels. Drain most of the bacon grease out of the pan (why not drain it into a container and use it as a cooking fat alternative for future meals?), and add your eggs. We did ours sunny-side up with soft yolks (a runny, bright orange yolk over the rice? YASSSSSSS), but this is totally up to your preferences. Do I need to learn how to cook my eggs so they look prettier and not floating all over the pan? Maybe. But again: hangry.

While the bacon and eggs are cooking, loosely chop the spinach, and chop the green onions.

We plate this meal by placing some of the kimchi mayo on the bottom of our bowls. Next, add your rice (still hot!), and spread it out to become the base of your bowl. Spreading the rice out is so that everything goes on top and the rice becomes the delicious vehicle that everything else soaks into. Top the rice with the spinach, then add the eggs and bacon on top. Finish it off with a large dollop of the kimchi mayo, and a sprinkling of green onions, and dig in immediately!

Happy eating.

Cocoa Butter Banana Bread

Banana Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup cocoa butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup flax, ground
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 oz. dark chocolate, broken into small chunks
  • 1 cup pecans, crushed

Directions

Mash the bananas with a fork until mostly smooth. Mix the melted cocoa butter, bananas, eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder, then stir in the flax and salt. Stir together the dry and wet ingredients until the dry ingredients have just been moistened. Stir in the chocolate and pecans, then pour into a prepared 5″x9″ loaf pan. Bake for 75 minutes at 325ºF until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

And now for the details…

Before getting into the full story, I should probably mention that this banana loaf was much more in the crumby cake side of texture as opposed to the more typical ultra moist banana bread. This is a texture I prefer, but if you like the super smooshy type of banana bread, this is not the loaf for you.

As far as where my inspiration came from, it was from, as usual, meandering around my grocery store. I randomly found some raw cocoa butter on sale. I stood in front of the shelf for quite awhile with the bag in my hand. What was I going to use it for? No idea. It’s supposed to be really good for you. But what are these purported health benefits of this fat compared to most others? And how would I use it? I think I melt it down as a fat replacement in meals? Surely I can figure something out. Hadn’t I heard of people putting it into smoothies at the very least? If I used it for cooking, would it make everything taste like chocolate? But most importantly it’s on sale… how could I say no?

Well, I took it home… and it sat sad and lonely in my pantry closet for months. So yeah, it was on sale, and I bought it, and then I almost forgot about the gorram thing.

So months went by and one day I had some uber ripe bananas that clearly needed a home in a baked good. Which I suppose is not saying a lot for me… once a banana has one brown spot on it, it’s too ripe for fresh eating, and is officially a baking banana. I do thoroughly enjoy me some banana baked goods, however, and a good banana bread is a pretty delicious snacking option. And then, I remembered *ba-ba-da-baaaaaa* cocoa butter! Now could be its big break!

Looking into the cocoa butter since I bought it, the health benefits that I’d thought I’d heard or read about seemed… weak. Does it provide a good fat source for folks functioning off a keto diet? It sure does… like pretty much any fat source out there. Is it quite high in phytosterols, which have claim to lowering LDL cholesterol? Yes it is… like many vegetable oils. But… I don’t follow a keto diet, and while I try to maintain an overall healthy and balanced diet, phytosterol intake is not something I am monitoring. Sure hope this stuff is delicious, cause that’s the main thing I am now focused on. Worse case, I suppose, I could slather it on my body instead and have an expensive, but delicious smelling moisturizer!

Let’s get to cooking.

My mistake when making this was to start with mashing the bananas. What I really should have started with was getting the melting process of the cocoa butter going. Cocoa butter is clearly a winner from a shelf stability perspective. It’s melting point is higher than coconut oil or butter, and it takes quite bit longer to melt down to a useable liquid than most other fat options I have used. One of my favourite parts, though: when a little bit of the melted butter smashed onto my hands while stirring, and I rubbed it into my skin instead of wiping it off. Seriously, great moisturizer if nothing else.

Before we get to the next step, preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Once you have the butter melted and the bananas mashed, mix the two together, than add in the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. I used vanilla sugar in the recipe, which I have in my pantry by throwing a used vanilla pod into some sugar in a hermetic glass jar in the pantry. Regular sugar would do just just fine, just increase your vanilla addition to about 1.5 teaspoons.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, flax, and salt. You can buy flax pre-ground, but I buy the flax whole and grind it just before you use it. I have a separate coffee grinder that I keep specifically for grinding seeds and spices, which I used to grind the flax.

Next, mix the dry and wet ingredients until they are just combined. Next is to add the chocolate and pecans, and stir into the batter until fairly evenly mixed in.

Grease the loaf pan, and line it with parchment paper. Turn the batter out into the prepared pan, and place into the preheated oven. Bake for around 75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the loaf comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven, let it cool, then cut and enjoy!

Happy eating.