So, now that I’m finally settled in the apartment where I am for realsies living now that I am down in Chicago, I figure it’s time to break in the kitchen. And let me tell you, it’s an amazing kitchen. Big fridge, gas range and oven and microwave, undermounted sink, lots of cabinets, a pantry, it’s everything I’ve wanted in a kitchen, ever. 

It’s been a damn long week, and these were already on the docket for me to make in the near future. But last night, I decided to move it up because it’s been a REAL shitty week at work, and I wanted something nice for me and the boyfriend to wake up to. This recipe is going to need some tweaking for the future (imagine this with brown butter!), but for a first try, this was a real good thing to have for breakfast while cuddling and playing Borderlands 2. 

Lemon Sticky Buns with Lemon Glaze
Makes appx 10 – 12 buns, depending on how you cut them

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 package active dry yeast (appx 2.5 t)
  • .75 c milk, warmed
  • .5 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • .25 c white sugar
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4.5 c flour
  • .5 t salt
  • .25 t nutmeg

Sticky Lemon Filling

  • 1 c sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 T (half stick) unsalted butter, very softened, but not fully melted
  • .25 t ground ginger
  • 1/8 t nutmeg
  • .25 c fresh lemon juice

Glaze

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • .25 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1 c powdered sugar

Take your milk and microwave it for about 45 seconds, so that it’s warm, but not scalding hot. Mix it together with the packet of yeast, and let stand for a few minutes, until it’s nice and foamy. Then, in a large bowl, mix together your softened butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and 1 c of the flour, until you have a nice, sticky dough base. Then, add the salt and nutmeg, and slowly, the rest of the flour, until you have a good sized sticky dough ball.

Then, take your dough ball, lightly flour the surface you’ll be working on, and knead the dough for five minutes, until you have smooth, stretchy ball of dough. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a towel, and let sit for about an hour, until the dough doubles in size. 

While the dough rises, make your lemon filling! For this, be sure that your butter is very, very soft, but not to the point of melting; my butter was partway melting, which is probably why my filling didn’t quite turn out perfectly, I think. Anyways, start out by rubbing the lemon zest and sugar together, until well combined. Then, slowly mix the butter in, until the mixture is thick and creamy. Then, add your nutmeg and ginger in, followed, slowly, by the lemon juice. The lemon juice will thin out the mixture, but it should still be creamy. (As you can see in pic 4, this didn’t happen for me, but it still worked.) Toss the filling in the fridge, and be sure it chills for at least a half hour; ideally, you work on the filling immediately after you start the dough rising, and let it chill for that full time. 

After your dough has doubled, take it and use a rolling pin to roll it out to roughly a 10 x 15 rectangle on a lightly floured surface (see pic 5). Take your lemon filling, and spread it evenly over the dough. Start rolling from the top long edge of the dough, and work your way down, rolling it as tight as possible and pulling the dough taut to keep the filling in. If your filling is too thin, it’ll leak out the ends, like mine did (see pic 6). Then, take a pan (I used a round cake pan), and cut your roll into twelve even pieces (I only got ten out of mine), and put your rolls into them, nestling them together (see pic 7). If you end up having the mixture leak out the ends, just brush it over the tops of the buns. 

At this point, if you’re me, you cover the pan with a towel, and throw it in the fridge over night. The next morning (or right away, if you decide to make it all at once), let the buns rise for at least an hour, until they’re puffy and doubled in size (see pic 8). While the buns finish rising, preheat your oven to 350. Then, put the buns in the oven for 35 minutes, until they’re golden brown (see pic 9), and a toothpick inserted into the doughy parts comes out clean. 

While the buns bake and cool, combine the lemon juice and cream cheese until light and fluffy, and then slowly whisk in the powdered sugar, until you have a nice smooth glaze.

Once the buns have cooled a bit, but are still warm, spread the glaze over the buns, cut into them, and enjoy the glorious lemon goodness!

This cake is my crowning glory. mithingthepoint​ originally made this back in the days of yore as a FFXII dessert for Balthier, and it pretty much had me from the initial list of ingredients. I’ve made it three times in my life, and none of them has been perfect, but this is pretty damn close. Time one, I didn’t have a springform and I’m 99% sure I screwed up the second layer pretty badly. Time two, I had the springform, but opened it too early, and it got all over everything.

And now, time 3. I got pretty much everything right this time around, except for the second layer – that still ended up a bit on the liquid side, likely because I didn’t beat the merengue/whipped cream bit of it for long enough.  The result is still amazing.  

This will take you several days to make. This has been sitting in my fridge for about a week now due to needing to pick up extra whipping cream and Kahlua for the final stage.  It is worth every minute you put into it.

Kahlua Mousse Cake
Lasts 2 weeks worth of desserts

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1 c white sugar
  • .25 c special dark cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 c hot brewed coffee (I used a leftover Pumpkin Spice Via I had from last year’s batch, this year’s is shit)
  • 1/3 c hot melted butter
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • liberal amounts of Kahlua

Mousse Layer

  • 16 oz white baking chocolate
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • pinch salt
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 8 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 4 T white sugar
  • 1.5 c heavy whipping cream

Kahlua Whipped Cream

  • 2 c heavy whipping cream
  • .75 c powdered sugar
  • .5 t vanilla extract
  • 2 T Kahlua

Kahlua Glaze

  • 1.5 c powdered sugar
  • 6 T Kahlua

Preheat your oven to 350. If your springform pan is not nonstick, grease and flour it, or put parchment paper in.  In a large bowl, mix together all your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt), and form a small well in the middle. Add the hot brewed coffee directly in the center of the well, followed by the melted butter, vanilla extract, and egg, like so:

image

 Mix together, and pour into your springform.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Then, take your Kahlua, and pour it all over the cake. Trust me. Just do it.  The amount in picture two was about a quarter of a 750 ml bottle.  Chill for at minimum an hour in the fridge.  Longer is better here.

To make the mousse layer, melt together your stick of butter and your white chocolate over medium heat.  (I started with the butter, and added the chocolate in small chunks, and that was honestly the best way to get it to the lovely smoothness in picture 3.)  Then stir in the salt and vanilla, and whisk in the egg yolks (see picture 4 for what that looks like), and remove from heat. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy (see picture five), and slowly add the sugar in, beating until you get stiff peaks and the sugar is disolved, giving you a nice merengue.  I probably didn’t do the eggs long enough here to get that.  Fold into the white chocolate mixture.  Then beat your heavy whipping cream until thick and firm, and then fold that into the mixture as well.  

Pour the resulting confection over the soaked cake, and let it sit for one to two days. Mine sat for about five. 

On the day you’re ready to serve the cake, make the Kahlua whipped cream and the glaze.  For the whipped cream, work with all ingredients except the sugar cold, and start by using an electric mixer to beat the cream.  Slowly add the sugar, followed by the vanilla, and finally the Kahlua, and beat until thick (see pictures 7 and 8 for what that should look like).  If you properly did the confection layer, you will be able to safely open the springform and pour the whipped cream over the cake. If not, no worries, you can still pour the whipped cream on top of the cake in the springform and it’ll still work well.

For the glaze, work with the Kahlua cold, and mix it together with the powdered sugar (see picture 9).  Pipe it over the edges of the cake and/or in an abstract fashion. If you’re like me and using this as an exercise in spite baking, you might, say write this:

image

Before glazing it over to be a bit more socially acceptable (see final picture).

Either way? Enjoy your ridiculously boozy decadent ass cake.  You deserve it. Yes, you.

So this recipe will always be one forever etched in my mind, as it was the one where I found out how to handle an oven fire. (The pictured oven? It’s almost forty years old, near as I can tell.  It’s always run 25 degrees hot at minimum, and lately, it’s been smoking when I use it at higher temperatures.) When I preheated the oven, it seemed to be smoking more than usual – when I opened the oven, there was a small fire on the bottom.  After a quick moment of panic and googling, I learned how to put out the fire.  Gonna share it below, just in case you ever need to put out an oven fire.

1. DON’T OPEN THE OVEN – oxygen only feeds the fire. Let it burn itself out.

2. Turn off the oven and let it sit.

I only opened the oven one more time to see if it had burned out, and almost fed it further. But after that, I just let it sit and when I opened it next, it had burned out. 

The good that came out of this was that I learned how to clean my oven, and that in talking to the landlord about it, I got him to replace it with a gas oven that’s coming this Wednesday. I’ve only cooked with it twice since then, and frankly, I’ve only gotten worried at any temps that are above 400.  It hasn’t set on fire since, at least, so small miracles.

…Anyways.  They’re very good scones!

Strawberry White Chocolate Scones
Makes 8 scones

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 T milk
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 t baking powder
  • .5 t salt
  • 5 T frozen butter
  • 1 c sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 c white chocolate chips

Frosting

  • .5 c powdered sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 T milk

Mix together your dry ingredients in a large bowl, and mix together your wet ingredients except for the butter and strawberries and white chocolate in a separate smaller bowl. I accidentally switched the bowl sizes, but it still works.  Take your frozen butter, and grate it into the dry ingredients, and mix it together until the dry ingredients clump like wet sand.  Slice your strawberries into small slices, and then add them and the white chocolate to your wet ingredients. Then combine the wet and dry ingredients, until you have a single ball of dough; don’t be afraid to work extra flour into the dough if it’s too damp.  

Take your ball of dough, put it on a well floured surface, and flatten it into a circle that’s about an inch and a half thick. Divide it into eight wedges, and preheat the oven to 450 (425 on my oven). Bake for about fifteen minutes, until golden brown. 

While your scones bake, whisk together your powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk until you have a glaze. Once the scones are down, put them on a rack to cool, and as they’re cooling, drizzle them with the glaze.

And then, enjoy!

This is my second time attempting to make this, and honestly, with a bit of experience under my belt, I don’t feel like I fucked it up!  The outside is definitely a darker brown than in the pictures, for sure, but the bread inside appears to be perfectly done. Pairing this with sardines in pepper olive oil (as none of the stores I went to had sardines fresh or large enough to be done up for a proper Braavos Breakfast) probably later in the week, and if the sardines make it to the weekend, probably with some wine. 😉

Umma’s Olive Bread
Makes 3 large loaves

Ingredients

  • 6.5 c flour
  • 1.5 T active dry yeast (aka a package and a half)
  • 2.75 c lukewarm water
  • .25 c olive oil
  • 1.5 T salt
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 c pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 sprig rosemary, chopped

Take 1 c of water, .5 c of flour, and your yeast, and mix it together in a large bowl (trust me, you’re gonna need it). Let sit ten minutes, until it gets frothy, like in picture 1. Then, mix in your olive oil, honey, salt, the rest of your water, followed by your flour, a cup or two at a time. This will look like picture 2 as you do so. Mix with a wooden/plastic spoon, and if necessary, your hands, until you have a large, cohesive ball of dough.  Then, add your Kalamata olives and rosemary, and work into the dough with your hands, until you have a coherent ball of dough similar to picture 3. Cover with a towel and let sit for an hour and a half.  The difference between pic 3 and pic 4 is what your dough ball should look like after that time; you are going to have a very large ball of dough.

Once you have that dough ball, divide it into three equal pieces, and pull the edges of the piece under until you have a ball.  Take your three balls, put them on a large baking tray, and then cover again and let rise another half hour.  Pic 5 is what the balls should look like at the beginning of that half hour, and pic 6 is what they should look like at the end of it.

Once you have your risen dough balls, preheat your oven to 450 (mine was at 425) and score your bread with a serrated knife, in whatever patterns you choose.  I chose a seven pointed star to keep with the Game of Thrones theme, and then two other pretty looking patterns I found doing a quick Google. Place your bread in the oven, on two separate baking sheets if you need to, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is a nice brown and firm to the touch.

And then, if you have them on you, enjoy with a cup of wine and sardines in pepper oil for a Braavos breakfast.  I also have some olive oil left over from marinated feta that I’ll likely be using for a dipping sauce.

These are another thing I baked explicitly for the purpose of combatting yet another goddamn polar vortex, which is winging it’s way to us as I type. Plus, I got to use a hammer to break up the mints, which is always a good thing.  They’re not the prettiest things in the world, but I figure I’ll figure that out eventually.

If you just missed candy cane season, don’t worry – you can use those mints that restaurants always give out after dinner.  I also made the original recipe distinctively not gluten free, though if you need that, please use the original recipe!

Candy Cane Chocolate Chip Scones
Makes 8

Ingredients

  • 2 c flour
  • .33 c sugar
  • .25 t baking soda
  • .5 t salt
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 stick butter, frozen
  • .5 c mini chocolate chips
  • .5 c crushed candy canes (or starlight peppermints)
  • .5 c heavy whipping cream (I accidentally used 1 c, whoops)
  • 1 large egg

Preheat your oven to 400 (mine was at 375, you know why by now).  Mix together all your dry ingredients (everything except the chocolate chips and candy canes) in a bowl, whisking them together to make sure they’re well mixed.  Take your frozen butter, and grate it using the biggest holes on your grater into the dry ingredients, and mix it together until it’s fairly crumbly (see the first pic). If you haven’t taken a hammer to your candy cane/mints, do that, and then mix those (except for one T) into the batter with your mini chocolate chips.

Whisk together the whipping cream and egg in a separate bowl, and then mix it into the dry dough with a mixing spoon, and eventually finish by kneading the wet dough with your hands, until it just barely comes together.  Flour a surface, and then turn out your dough onto it, patting it until it’s about 3/4s of an inch thick (see pic 2).  Sprinkle your remaining mints/candy canes over the dough, and then cut it into 8 triangles.

Put your triangles on the baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes, until the tops are golden (mine went a bit longer, obviously).  Remove the sheet to cool, and once the scones are cool enough to handle (mine weren’t judging by pic 4), remove them to a cooling rack.

If you really want to be fancy, melt another half cup of chocolate chips to drizzle over the finished scones.  Either way, enjoy the mint chocolatey goodness!

So, these have been one of my favorite snacks/breakfast foods since back in elementary school.  I can remember my mom making these for me, and learning to make them on my own has been a weird thing for me. Because, on the one hand, awesome grown-up independentness. On the other hand, I still kind of want to have my mom be the one making these.  (Growing up, kids.  It’s a weird thing to think about, especially when you’re a touch drunk and coming up on your 25th.)

Nostalgia or not, though, these puffs are absolutely sweet, decadent, and all sorts of fantastic. The recipe I’m giving is for the doubled recipe, which gave me 15 full-sized puffs.

French Breakfast Puffs
Makes 15 full-sized puffs

Ingredients

  • 3 c flour
  • 3 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • .5 t nutmeg
  • 2/3 c butter, at room temperature (appx 11 T)
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 c buttermilk

Coating

  • 6 T butter
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 2/3 c white sugar

Whisk your flour, baking powder and soda, and nutmeg together in one  bowl.  Cream your butter and sugar together in a separate larger bowl, and then add your egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add a third of the flour mixture, followed by a half of the buttermilk, alternating as you blend them in and then finishing with the flour mixture, until combined.  Preheat your oven to 350 (mine was at 325 because it runs hot).

Scoop your dough into a muffin pan, filling the cups about 4/5ths of the way (see pic 2 for reference), which gives you the perfect dome on the puffs.  Bake for appx 25 minutes, until golden brown and puffed up like in picture 4.

While your puffs bake, melt your butter for the coating in a small pot, over medium heat, until the butter’s melted.  If you want to go for browned butter, cook a little longer, stirring frequently, until you get brown bits on the bottom, and it smells nutty.  Mine went a bit longer than it should’ve (see pic 3), but it still worked great. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl or shallow dish, and set aside.

As soon as your puffs are done and have had time to cool, dip in the browned butter, and then in the cinnamon sugar to coat.

These are best eaten warm, but they still hold up very well even if not warm.  Just try not to eat them all at once.

So, this is another post that should’ve been up WAY sooner, but life conspired otherwise. I ended up screwing up the recipe when I was making the dough – I added 2 1/3 c of pumpkin when it should’ve been 2/3 c, so that required adjusting the flour quite a bit and giving the dough longer to rise. Once I got the rolls rolled and cut, I ended up throwing them in the fridge, intending to get to them within a day or two. Well, then I realized that I didn’t have the cream cheese I needed to do so, and after getting sick for most of the week, these ended up staying in the fridge until late last night, when I finally was able to get the cream cheese to make the glaze.

Happy to say though that despite all the fuckery involved, and staying in a fridge for the better part of a week, these turned out pretty damn good.  I didn’t use the typical plain cream cheese for the glaze, either – one of the local grocery stores had a cinnamon and brown sugar cream cheese for fall, and I think it turned out pretty damn good.  This is a long recipe, so I recommend making these the night before you want to have them.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Makes enough to fill two 9" cake pans

Ingredients

Dough

  • 6 T butter
  • .5 c warm milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2.25 t total)
  • 3.5 c flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • .25 c dark brown sugar
  • .25 c white sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • .5 t cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • pinch cardamom
  • dash ginger (whoops, forgot this)
  • 2/3 c canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg

Filling

  • .75 c dark brown sugar
  • .25 c white sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 t cinnamon

Glaze

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened (I used the brown sugar/cinnamon from Philadelphia for this, you could probably use any other flavor too)
  • 2 T milk
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract

Melt your butter – Deb is a big fan of browned butter, so she recommends doing it wherever possible.  I ended up doing it here.  Melt your butter in a small pot, and cook it on medium just a little beyond the melting point, until it starts to smell nutty and you get brown bits at the bottom of the pot.  Remove from heat once that happens.

While you’re doing that, warm your milk (I nuked mine for about 45 seconds) and add your yeast, mixing in a small bowl, and letting it sit for five to seven minutes.  It’ll get a bit foamy during this time (see pic 1), and that’s how you know your yeast is good.

Combine all your dry ingredients while the yeast activates – flour, sugars, spices – in the bottom of a large bowl.  Pour two-thirds (.25 c) of your browned butter into the dry ingredients, and leave the rest for roll assembly.  Stir to combine, and add your yeasty milk, pumpkin, and egg, and stir more to combine.  Your dough should be slightly resistant at this point, but still a little sticky.  Knead for five minutes (or, if you’re one of the lucky bastards who has a stand mixer, put a dough hook on it for five minutes). Cover your dough, and let it rise for an hour, until doubled(ish) in size). 

After an hour, flour your counter well and roll out you dough, until it’s roughly the size of an 11 x 16 pan.  Brush the remaining browned butter over the dough, and combine your filling ingredients, sprinkling them over the buttered dough. 

Then, you start your rolling.  I started from the shorter end, as it was way more convenient for me; Deb recommends rolling from the long end.  Filling will spill out the ends; it happens.  

To cut your dough while keeping the spirals (mostly) intact, use a bread knife and saw back and forth gently (don’t put pressure on the dough) to get near perfect spirals. Cut them however thick you like. Of course, if you jam them in the cake pan like I did, it won’t matter much (see pic 5), but it’s the aesthetic thought that counts.  Each pan can fit about eight or so rolls.  Cover the pans and let rise another 45 minutes.

However, if you’re like me and you covered them in plastic wrap and threw them in the fridge overnight (or close to a week) at this point, when you take them out, let them rise closer to an hour to warm up and finish the rising process.  

Preheat your oven to 350 (mine was at 325), and throw in your rolls for about a half hour, until they’re puffed and golden.  While you bake these, make your glaze – beat your cream cheese until light and fluffy, and then add your powdered sugar and vanilla, followed by your milk to get the consistency you want (less = thicker, more = thinner). Once your rolls are done, let them rest a bit and then drizzle the glaze on.

And then, ENJOY YOUR MIGHTY LABORS.