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.

Raspberry White Chocolate Frangipane Tart

Raspberry White Chocolate Frangipane Tart

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

    Crust
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups butter, cold
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Frangipane
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • Filling
  • 30g/1oz white chocolate, cut in chunks
  • 115g/4oz fresh raspberries

Directions

Crust Using a pastry cutter or food processor, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and butter, until the butter is cut into very small pieces. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, and mix by hand until the pastry starts to form up. Place the dough into a 10″ tart tin with a loose base, pressing into the tin until a crust has been formed, and poke holes with a toothpick or skewer. Place in the fridge for an hour. Place pie weights onto the crust, and bake at 375ºF/190ºC for 20 minutes, then remove the weights and bake again for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool. Frangipane Cream butter and sugar together. Alternate adding parts of the almond flour with each egg. Mix in vanilla, almond extract and all-purpose flour. Pour into cooled crust. Arrange raspberries and white chocolate into the frangipane. Bake at 350ºF/175ºC for 45-50 minutes. Cool, then serve.

And now for the details…

Hello folks, sorry it has been awhile. What better way to make a comeback than with a delicious dessert whose scent of butter, sugar, and vanilla fills your house when baking. And then wafts its way to your nostrils while sitting on the counter, waiting to be eaten?

Although I have called this a Frangipane tart, what we are making here is probably more aptly called a Bakewell tart. There are plenty of other styles of Frangipane tarts that make use of a much different style of crust. The Bakewell uses a shortbread dough as the base. Typically, slivered almonds are used on top, and icing sugar is sprinkled over the entire tart. In our case, we are filling the tart with raspberries and white chocolate instead. The final product is like having a nice, thick piece of shortbread cookie with a creamy, slightly chewy filling on top, dotted with tart but sweet raspberries and little pieces of white chocolate.

Let’s get to making, shall we?

Although there are several steps to this tart, the good news is that each individual step is not so terribly long, and it’s really the waiting while baking that is the hardest part.

Let’s start with the crust. Unlike other baking endeavours, the joy of this crust is that I don’t need to wait for the butter to soften! Since I am apparently inept in thinking ahead, this is great for me, since I use the cold butter to make the crust, AND it’s a reminder to put out the half cup of butter to soften for making the frangipane later (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, take out that other butter now…)

You have a couple of options here. You can make the crust in a food processor, but because my food processor lives in our basement when not in use because of lack of kitchen space, I get super lazy and find alternatives to hauling it upstairs… in this case, I used a pastry cutter. If you have neither of these things, you can go old school and use knives, or even your fingers. Whatever you’re using, add the flour, sugar, salt and butter together first, and either give it a few zips with the food processor, or dig in with the pastry cutter, until the butter is cut into small-ish pieces, about pea-sized. For this particular recipe, I used kosher salt, and a decent amount of it. I did this on purpose, since I knew that between the raspberries, white chocolate, and frangipane, the overall tart was going to be very much on the sweet side, and the salty bites you are going to get with the kosher salt in the crust will provide a nice contrasting flavour, rather than just a whole lot of sweet.

Once the first four ingredients have been cut together, add the vanilla and egg yolk. For this, I got right in there with my hands. Mix them together until the pastry just starts to form up. It will still be pretty shaggy, but take the entire thing and pour it into your tart tin. In this case, we are going to use a 10″ tart tin, with a loose base. That loose base will allow us to easily remove the tart once it’s baked and leave that beautiful, fluted look to the crust. Not to mention that thanks to that fluted look, we get more surface area of the crust that bakes, resulting in those crunchy, buttery bites when eating the crust… Oh no… I’m drooling and we haven’t even gotten past the crust yet. This wait is going to be excruciating.

Anyhoo… now that the dough is in the tart tin, press it into a crust in the tin, including up against the sides. Try using both thumbs at the top corner of the tin, to get the edges pushed together. Was mine perfectly even at the end? Not even close. But… my end goal is taste, not looks, so I wasn’t too fussed. Poke holes into the bottom of the crust with either a toothpick or a skewer. This will help the base bake a bit more consistently, as well as help reduce the likelihood of it puffing up when we blind bake it.

Before we bake, place the crust in the refrigerator for about an hour. Then, preheat your oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Line the crust with aluminum foil, and place either some pie weights, or dried beans, to weigh it down so the crust does not puff up while baking. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then remove it from the oven, take out the aluminum foil with the weights/beans, and put the crust back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until the whole thing is golden brown.

Once it is baked, take out the crust and let it cool completely. You can even do this the day before, and let it sit until you are ready to make the rest of the tart.

Next is our frangipane. A friend of mine likened it to marzipan, and it does have some similarities. The base for both are ground almonds, and combine that with the sweetness and almond extract flavouring, and they are quite close. But frangipane is more of a pastry cream, made with almond flour, butter, eggs, and sugar, while marzipan is more of a candy, using almond flour, confectioner’s (icing) sugar and egg whites or corn syrup.

Before we make the frangipane, preheat the oven to 350ºF/175ºC. To get the frangipane started, cream together the butter (remember that butter that we remembered take out and soften at the beginning??) and sugar until light yellow and fluffy. I would recommend doing this in a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer. Next, mix in your eggs one at a time, alternating with adding in the almond flour approximately a third at a time. Finally, mix in the regular flour, vanilla and almond extract. Pour the frangipane into your tart shell, and then add the raspberries and white chocolate directly into the frangipane. I tried to make it at artful-ish as I could, hopefully you can appreciate the effort! The frangipane is fairly thick, so you may have to push the fruit into it to get it to set. If your white chocolate is poking out a little bit, that’s okay too. The frangipane will puff up and mostly cover it as it cooks.

Depending on how well browned you got your crust when you blind baked it, you might need to place foil around the edge to protect them to keep them from getting burned. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the frangipane has puffed and turned a golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then pop it out of the tin from the bottom, cut and serve!

Happy eating.

Cake Fit for the King (AKA Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Candied Bacon)

Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Candied Bacon

  • Servings: 2-layer cake
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

    Cake
  • 5 bananas, peeled and mashed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Frosting
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5 cups icing sugar
  • 3-5 Tbsps milk
  • Candied Bacon
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar

Directions

Cake Prepare two 9″ round cake tins and preheat oven to 325ºF/165ºC. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, nutmeg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine until just mixed (don’t over-mix). Split between two two cake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cake is set. Let cool and remove from tins. Frosting Whip butter and peanut butter together until fluffy. Add vanilla. Mix in icing sugar 1 cup at a time. Add milk and whip until fluffy and smooth. Candied Bacon Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Place a wire rack on top of a cookie sheet. Lay bacon out onto wire rack. Sprinkle bacon generously with half the sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Take out, flip the bacon slices, sprinkle with the remaining sugar, bake for 10-15 minutes or until bacon starts to brown and the sugar has melted and caramelized. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Assemble cake by icing the cake with the frosting. Top with the candied bacon. Serve.

And now for the details…

With a bunch of ripe bananas that needed something done with them, and having reached my fill of banana muffins and loaves, I figured I needed to do something different. But I’d made a banana layer cake a few months ago with cream cheese icing and figured that was a little too… predictable. So when thinking of what goes well with banana, my mind immediately went to peanut butter! Which then got me thinking of the story I’d heard about Elvis Presley’s favourite sandwich: peanut butter, banana and bacon. Why not add candied bacon to this mix? And thus: the Cake Fit for The King was born.

I was originally going to call it the Elvis, and then after doing some quick eu-Googling, I found out there already is a cake named after Elvis, since it was a favourite of his. It involves yellow cake mix, crushed pineapple, cream cheese and a whole lotta sugar. It sounds horrible for you and pretty damned delicious, so it probably needs to be made at some point… but for now, here we are with the banana cake with PB frosting and candied bacon!

Lets start by making our cake. First step that I almost always forget about and delays my process almost always is letting the butter come to room temperature. I enjoy baking, but I don’t bake that often, and somehow I manage to miss this step every time… Ah well, I get it eventually. Make sure that butter has stayed out of the fridge at least overnight so it’s nice an pliable for making our batter.

Before we move on, preheat your oven to 325ºF/165ºC. Next, we start our cake batter by creaming the butter with our sugar until the mixture is fully mixed, and light and fluffy. Next, add your eggs, one at a time, mixing the previous in completely before adding the next. Finally, mix in the mashed bananas and vanilla. This is our “wet” mixture.

Next, we mix together our dry ingredients in a separate bowl: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. I sifted everything together into the bowl, and then gave it a quick mix with a whisk.

Now it’s time to bring them together. Make a little well in the middle of the dry ingredients, then pour the wet ingredients into that well. Stir to combine until just mixed; try to avoid over-mixing. Then split the batter evenly between two prepared 9″ round cake tins. Like I said in my Lemon Bumbleberry Cake recipe, I learned to prepare the tins by buttering the tin, then laying a cut piece of waxed or parchment paper at the bottom of the tin, but you do you, and prepare the tins however you feel comfortable.

Next, of course, is to bake those cakes! Place the cakes into your preheated oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops have turned golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool and remove them from their tins (don’t forget to peel off the waxed or parchment paper if you used it!)

While the cakes are cooling, lets make that candied bacon! Increase the temperature of the oven to 375ºC/190ºC. Lay the bacon out on a wire rack placed over a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the bacon with half of the brown sugar, and then place in the oven for 10 minutes.

Once ten minutes is up, remove the bacon from the oven, turn the pieces over, and sprinkle the other sides with the remaining brown sugar, and place back in the oven. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the bacon has caramelized and become crispy on the edges. Let them cool, then chop into little pieces.

Once the cakes have cooled, it’s time to ice the cake! We’re making that peanut butter frosting next. Start by whipping the butter until its light and fluffy. Then, add your peanut butter and whip the two together until fully mixed and so fluffy you’re gonna die. Next, add the icing sugar in gradually, about 1 cup at a time, mixing the sugar in almost completely until you add the next cup. At this point, the icing will probably be a bit on the dry side. Add the milk to the mix, starting with 3 tablespoons. If you’re using unsalted butter, add a couple pinches of salt to the mix, and the vanilla. Whip these ingredients into the icing, and if you find the icing is still a bit too stiff, add more milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you have your desired consistency. As far as what peanut butter to use, I will leave that up to you. I used a natural, crunchy peanut butter, because I wanted the little bites of peanuts.

Finally, let’s assemble that cake! Place your cake on your serving dish, flat side down. If you want to get fancy, you could slice the puffed part off your cake to make it nice and flat, but to be honest, I’m a little lazy (not mention, what do you do with the cut piece of cake??) and leave the cutting part out and just assemble the cakes as-is. Put the frosting on top of the first layer, sprinkle with about half of the bacon pieces, then place the second layer down, flat-side-up. Because I didn’t cut off the puffed piece, you’ll need to use a little extra icing to fill the edges between the two layers, but are we really going to complain about a little extra icing? I sure won’t. Finish frosting the entire cake, and sprinkle with the candied bacon piece on top. Then it’s time to cut and serve!

Happy eating.