April 24, 2011

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze

Easter breakfast


Neater than expected


Up close and personal



Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze
I put a range for amounts of sweetener in the because it depends how decadent and dessert-like you want these rolls to be.  Also, the above picture of the filling shows the addition of unsweetened coconut flakes but I've omitted them from the recipe below because I couldn't taste them. 
Adapted from Healthy Food for Living

1 cup almond milk, warmed
2 tablespoons full fat coconut milk
2 1/4 teaspoons (or one .25 oz packet) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 heaping cup grated carrots (2 large carrots will give you about 1 1/2 cups-- use about 1 cup for the dough and save the remaining 1/2 cup for the filling)
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup unbleached bread flour (plus up to 1/4 cup for kneading and rolling)
1 tablespoon baking powder
2- 6 tablespoons sugar, depending on desired sweetness
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/3- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins

1/3 cup neufchatel (1/3-less-fat) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1- 2 tablespoons almond milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.

Scatter yeast over warmed milk and allow to activate for about 10-15 minutes, or until frothy. Meanwhile, whisk together both kinds of flour, baking powder, sugar, spices, and salt in a large bowl. When yeast and milk mixture is bubbly, stir in the melted butter and grated carrots. Add wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until incorporated.

Transfer dough onto a clean lightly floured surface and knead until soft and smooth, adding enough extra flour (up to 1/4 cup) to keep dough from sticking, about 2 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Lightly flour work surface again and roll dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness, about a 12-inch x 9-inch rectangle.  Mix the maple syrup and half the melted butter together in a small dish and then brush the mixture onto the surface of your dough.  Next, evenly sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup of grated carrots and the brown sugar, followed by the walnuts and raisins.

Starting at one end, tightly roll the dough jelly roll-style, making sure the filling doesn’t come out at the sides. Gently pinch seam closed. Cut the roll into 8 even pieces and place in prepared pan.  If you are making the rolls ahead of time, cover the pan and place in the refrigerator overnight.  If you are planning on baking the rolls today, preheat the oven to 350 F.  Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Remove the towel and brush the remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter over the tops of the rolls.  Bake rolls at 350°degrees for about 20- 25 minutes, or until lightly golden on top.

While cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the cream cheese glaze. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk all glaze ingredients together until smooth.

Remove rolls from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. The easiest way to do this is to run a knife around the outside of the rolls, place a large plate over top, and invert the cake pan so that the rolls fall out into the plate. Place the rack on top of the rolls and invert the plate so that the rolls are right side up on the rack. Drizzle with glaze and serve warm.

    April 20, 2011

    Vegan Almond Butter Cookies

    We're all familiar with peanut butter cookies, but have you ever tried using a different nut butter in these classic cookies?  It seems like peanut butter gets all the love when it comes to baking.  While I can't argue about its deliciousness, some people (i.e. me) have difficulty digesting peanuts because they are a mucus forming food. (Yes, I did just use my food blog to direct you to an article entitled, "More About Mucus than You Ever Wanted to Know."  I'm really sorry about that.)  Mucus aside (ok, I'll stop now), there are also a high number of people with severe peanut allergies so, oxymoronic as it may be, I decided to make a peanut-free peanut butter cookie.

    The recipe for these Almond Butter Cookies is so quick and simple.  While I was quite pleased with the results, I do have a confession to make: I think I enjoyed the dough more than the actual baked cookie.  That's the wonderful, and wonderfully dangerous, thing about vegan cookies-- raw dough is definitely not off-limits.

    Indecisive as usual I made two versions of these cookies.  Half plain, topped with sprinkles for some added pizzaz, and half chocolate chip.  As I'm sure you've guessed, the chocolate chip were better.

    Vegan Almond Butter Cookies
    Heidi notes to look for a nut butter that is well combined, and not super-oily (extra slick) looking - to avoid problems with the cookie batter.  If you aren't in the mood for chocolate chips, I think some chopped almonds, cinnamon, or raisins could be nice additions.  Also, I reduced the amount of sweetener in this recipe from 1 cup down to 2/3 cup.  If you're looking for a sweeter cookie, use the original amount.
    Adapted from 101Cookbooks

    2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, spelt flour, or unbleached all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
    1 cup almond butter, smooth or chunky [I used Trader Joe's Creamy Roasted Almond Butter]
    2/3 cup grade B maple syrup
    1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (subtract about a tablespoon if you feel your nut butter is very oily)
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    chopped dark chocolate (optional)
    Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place racks in the top third of the oven.

    In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. in a separate larger bowl combine the almond butter, maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla. Stir until combined. Pour the flour mixture over the almond butter mixture and stir until barely combined - still a bit dusty looking. Let sit for five minutes, give one more quick stir, just a stroke or two.

    Now drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheets and press down lightly. Bake for 10, maybe 11 minutes - but don't over bake or they will be dry. Let cool five minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

    Make 2 - 3 dozen cookies.

    April 16, 2011

    Baked's Malt Ball Cake

    My dear blog,
    I'm so sorry I've been neglecting you.  Here's something sweet to make up for it.  I hope you like it.

    I cook and bake a lot of things that don't make it onto the blog.  They're usually things that don't turn out quite the way I'd planned (dry muffins), or things I don't see as "blog-worthy" (throw-it-in-a-pan dinners), but then there are those things that I mean to post, but they just end up getting lost under all the stuff of life.  Such was the case with this gorgeous cake I made for my sister's birthday back in October.

    Malt balls are one of her favorite candies and Baked's recipes are always stand-out, so I knew this cake would be a winner.  I didn't make any changes to the original recipe (for once!) and it turned out perfectly.  With fluffy, malty layers and silky smooth milk chocolate frosting, this cake definitely ranks high on the sweetness scale, but I'll let the pictures do the talking:

    Why yes, that is malted milk ball gelato in the background-- unfortunately, it wasn't as good as the cake.
    The recipe is printed in full in Food & Wine magazine so I'm going to be a little lazy here and just give you the link.  This could actually be a really great cake for Easter decorated with those egg shaped malted milk balls instead of the regular ones; maybe that's why I waited six months to post it...