Red Velvet Cookie Dough Bagels

The baker in me instantly associates cream cheese with red velvet cake..I love cream cheese buttercream, and think it is simply the best frosting. However, most people think of bagels. As I was daydreaming about breakfast one morning, my thoughts wandered a bit, and settled on the idea of a red velvet bagel….with a fluffy, lightly sweetened, cream cheese schmear 😛

Sponge:

  • 4 cups high-gluten bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 2-1/2 cups of water at room temperature

Dough:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 additional teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 3 squirts red gel food coloring

(Makes 12 large bagels or up to 24 mini bagels)

Toppings/flavoring:

  • Egg wash (beaten egg white)
  • sugar for sprinkling

Time:
Sponge: 5 minutes mixing, 2-hour rise
Dough: 1 hour (kneading, resting and shaping)
Delayed rise: Overnight
Baking: 15 minutes

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Begin by mixing the 4 cups of bread flour, 1 teaspoon of instant (rapid rise) yeast, and 2-1/2 cups of water in a 4 quart mixing bowl. It should have a thick consistency. Cover the bowl with plastic. Let the yeast do its job and allow the mixture to double in size (at least two hours).

Once the sponge has risen, mix 1 tablespoon of barley malt syrup, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1/4 cup cocoa, additional teaspoon yeast, and 3 teaspoons salt. Before mixing in the flour, mix in the food coloring. Add in the flour in three installments, and mix until fully incorporated.

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Once all of the ingredients have been mixed in, knead the dough either by hand or with a dough hook. Add additional flour or water as necessary, and knead until the dough is a little stiff (not tacky) and a little springy. It should be satiny and smooth, without any dry bits of flour. This takes about five minutes using a dough hook, or about 10 minutes if kneading by hand. Divide the dough it into 12, equally sized pieces.

Shape each piece into a round smooth ball by using your thumbs to pull one surface of the dough around so that it forms a nice smooth skin, and squeeze the folds on the bottom together to seal this ball. Take it and roll it between both cupped palms to further smooth out the folds and form a nearly perfectly round ball.

Places these on a greased cookie sheet, or silicone baking pad. You should let them rest for about 10 – 20 minutes to allow the gluten strands to reform.

To shape the bagels, grab a ball of dough and push your thumb into the center. Poke with fingers of both hands, begin enlarging the hole. Work your hands around the circle so that the dough remains the same thickness around the hole. As the hole closes up, keep stretching it until it shrinks to no less than about 2″ diameter when relaxed.

As each bagel is formed, place it back on the greased cookie sheet, or greased silicone baking mat. Make sure to leave enough room between bagels; 6 – 8 bagels will fit on a cookie sheet. Once the bagels have been formed, let them rest for a few minutes to allow them to proof. As they begin to rise a bit, they are ready for the fridge. Spray the bagels with a light cooking oil spray and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over them.Place them in the refrigerator overnight. Chilling the dough allows the yeast to work on the proteins in the dough, which yields some of the classic flavors that make bagels taste like bagels.

Place two baking racks in the center of the oven, and preheat to 450 degrees F. Fill a pot with water, and add one tablespoon of barley malt syrup, and one tablespoon baking soda. The makes the water a little bit more alkaline. Bring the water to a boil. Prepare a couple of baking sheets. Take the bagels out of the refrigerator. Carefully lift the bagels, and place them two at a time in the boiling water.

Boil them for 45 seconds to a minute on one side, then flip them over and boil for an additional 45 seconds to one minute on the other side. The longer you boil them, the chewier the crust will become.

Using a slotted spoon, place the boiled bagels on paper towels. Pat them dry, then place them on the baking sheet. Brush the bagel tops with egg wash, then place the cookie sheets in the center of the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Take then bagels out at this point, and sprinkle the top with each bagel 1 tsp of sugar. Let the bagels bake for another 5 to 8  minutes, until they’re just beginning to brown.

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I went a little crazy and ended up stuffing my bagels with my favorite cookie dough! I had some leftover from a batch of cookies, and I couldn’t resist. I also didn’t punch holes into some of them, and stuffed them with a slightly sweetened cream cheese spread 🙂

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The Maple Bacon Breakfast Birthday Cake

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Robert is not only my oldest friend, but also one of my most unique friends. Not surprisingly, he requested a very unusual birthday cake this year. He decided that his birthday breakfast would consist of cake this year, so we collaborated to create this bacon infused, maple cinnamon birthday cake. It’s kind of like eating french toast, pancakes, waffles, and bacon, but in cake form. In my opinion, it’s the breakfast of champions 🙂

Cinnamon Birthday Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups oil
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup whole milk, room temperature
  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon

Cinnamon Walnut Filling

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Candied Bacon Garnish

  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Maple Bacon Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup bacon fat
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. maple extract
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Slowly combine wet ingredients. Pour oil into a large bowl. Slowly add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another. Pour milks and vanilla into measuring cup and whisk together with a fork. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Alternate adding the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Gently stir all ingredients until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, making sure to have all ingredients mixed well. Evenly distribute cake batter between cake pans and place pans into oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool slightly in cake pans for about 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

While the cake bakes, prepare the candied bacon for the oven. Line a pan with foil, and lay the bacon out on the pan. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly the bacon.

Once the cake is done baking, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake the bacon for about 15 minutes, until it just begins to brown. Remove from the oven to cool. Place bacon on layers of paper towels to absorb excess grease. Pour the bacon fat from the pan into a separate (heat-proof) container to cool. This will be used later in the frosting.

While the bacon cooks, prepare the cinnamon walnut filling. Combine the softened butter, cinnamon, salt, powdered sugar, and walnuts in a medium sized bowl.

The last prep step is to make the frosting. Using a hand mixer or KitchenAid, combine the butter and cooled bacon grease. Slowly incorporate the the powdered sugar, over several installments. Add in the maple extract, and add heavy cream as needed. Mix on high for a couple minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy, and all ingredients are fully incorporated.

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To assemble the cake, frost the base layer of the cake, then top with half of the cinnamon walnut mixture. Swirl it around into the frosting, and repeat with the next cake layer. Top with remaining cake layer, and apply a thin crumb coat of frosting. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the frosting to set. Apply a thicker layer of frosting, and then garnish the sides of the cake with the cooled bacon pieces.  I also made swirls of frosting on the top of the cake using a closed star frosting tip.

Nutella Swirled Banana Nut Muffins

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A lot of my client contacts at work have been asking me me to bring in some sweets, so I needed an easy, crowd pleasing treat.I decided to make banana muffins, which are almost healthy, right? I threw in some hazelnuts to give them some texture, and of course I swirled a giant globs of Nutella into each muffin. Why? Because Nutella makes everything taste like heaven. The ingredients included:

Banana Nut Muffin Batter:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1 jar Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all ingredients in a large bowl, and combine with a hand mixer at a  low speed. Fill each lined cupcake tray 2/3 full, and drop 1 heaping tablespoon of Nutella onto the top of each muffin. Using a butter knife, swirl the Nutella around the top of each muffin.

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Bake the muffins for about 15 minutes, until the edges were golden brown. The size of your muffin tins and how full you fill them will also affect baking time, so baking time may vary.

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I chose to make both normal sized muffins, and mini muffins. The mini muffins only need to be baked for about 10 minutes.

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Chocolate Oreo Cinnamon Rolls

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In the world of brunch, cinnamon rolls are like a blank canvas. They beg to be flavored, filled, and transformed into something more. I’ve wanted to make chocolate sweet rolls for quite a while, and today was the day this idea finally materialized. These chocolate Oreo cinnamon rolls are the perfect brunch for all the chocolate lovers out there 😀

Sweet Dough

  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

Chocolate Oreo Filling

  • 12 oreos, crushed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cream
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons lukewarm water with a teaspoon of sugar and the yeast. Let this proof for about five minutes to make sure your yeast is still good. In a large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, yeast mixture, remaining sugar, and salt. Heat milk at a low power until it is lukewarm. Add the warm milk, 1/4 cup butter, and egg to the flour mixture and mix with hands until ingredients are combined. Continue to add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Rinse out mixing bowl and spray with cooking spray and place dough back into the bowl, turning once to bring greased side of dough up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about an hour).
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Roll dough into a large rectangle, until it is about 1/2 of a cm thick.  Melt the butter and spread over the entire dough rectangle. Stir together the cocoa, brown sugar, cinnamon, and crushed oreos. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the melted butter, leaving one inch of dough at the top of the rectangle uncovered. Roll up the dough horizontally from the far side. Roll dough into a tight roll. Cut dough log into 8 equal pieces (you can cut it into more pieces if you want smaller cinnamon rolls), and place in a greased pan, leaving about half an inch between each roll. Cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rise again (about 30 mins). Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until rolls are golden brown and the centers seem firm. While the rolls are cooking, prepare the frosting.

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To make the frosting, whip cream cheese and butter together. Alternate installments of cream and powdered sugar, and stir in the salt and vanilla. Mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Spoon over the warm cinnamon rolls, and sprinkle any left over oreo crumbs over the top of each roll. Serve warm

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls

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Fall. It’s a wonderful time. The leaves change color, the air gets that delightful crisp, and I get to bake all things pumpkin related. I decided to make some pumpkin pie cinnamon rolls for brunch this morning. To my delight, I had a full apartment of taste testers 😀

Sweet Dough

  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. cream
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons lukewarm water with a teaspoon of sugar and the yeast. Let this proof for about five minutes to make sure your yeast is still good. In a large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, yeast mixture, remaining sugar, and salt. Heat milk at a low power until it is lukewarm. Add the warm milk, 1/4 cup butter, and egg to the flour mixture and mix with hands until ingredients are combined. Continue to add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Rinse out mixing bowl and spray with cooking spray and place dough back into the bowl, turning once to bring greased side of dough up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about an hour).
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Roll dough into a large rectangle, until it is about 1/2 of a cm thick.  Melt the butter and spread over the entire dough rectangle. In a small bowl, stir together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Spread the pumpkin pie filling evenly across the dough (I also tried out an oreo flavor, as see in in the picture above…recipe to come!), leaving one inch of dough at the top of the rectangle uncovered. Roll up the dough horizontally from the far side. Roll dough into a tight roll. Cut dough log into 8 equal pieces (you can cut it into more pieces if you want smaller cinnamon rolls), and place in a greased pan, leaving about half an inch between each roll. Cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rise again (about 30 mins). Bake at 350 for 30-35minutes, or until rolls are golden brown and the centers seem firm. While the rolls are cooking, prepare the frosting.
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To make the frosting, whip cream cheese and butter together. Alternate installments of cream and powdered sugar, and stir in the salt and vanilla. Mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Spoon over the warm cinnamon rolls, and sprinkle cinnamon over the top of each roll. Serve warm 😀
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Chocolate Chip Bagels

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My friends and I planned a picnic in Central Park, and I volunteered to be on bagel duty. I experimented a lot with bagel recipes and flavors last Fall, and really fell in love with this traditional bagel recipe. Homemade bagels always take a little bit of effort, but they are SO worth it. The ingredients include:

Sponge:

  • 4 cups high-gluten bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 2-1/2 cups of water at room temperature

Dough:

  • 1.5 cups chocolate chips
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 additional teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 2 tablespoons of barley malt syrup (can also use honey or molasses)
  • Egg wash (beaten egg white)

Yield: 12 large bagels
Sponge: 5 minutes mixing, 2-hour rise
Dough: 1 hour (kneading, resting and shaping)
Delayed rise: Overnight
Boiling and Baking: 30 minutes

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Begin by mixing the 4 cups of bread flour, 1 teaspoon of instant (rapid rise) yeast, and 2-1/2 cups of water in a 4 quart mixing bowl. It should have a thick consistency. Cover the bowl with plastic. Let the yeast do its job and allow the mixture to double in size (at least two hours).

Once the sponge has risen, mix 1 tablespoon of barley malt syrup, 2 tablespoons of honey, additional teaspoon yeast, 3 teaspoons salt, and about 3 1/2 cups of the bread flour into the sponge. Once the ingredients are fully incorporated, add in the chocolate chips, and knead the dough either by hand or with a dough hook. Add the remaining flour as necessary, and knead until the dough is a little stiff (not tacky) and a little springy. It should be satiny and smooth, without any dry bits of flour. This takes about five minutes using a dough hook, or about 10 minutes if kneading by hand. Divide the dough it into 12, equally sized pieces.

Shape each piece into a round smooth ball by using your thumbs to pull one surface of the dough around so that it forms a nice smooth skin, and squeeze the folds on the bottom together to seal this ball. Take it and roll it between both cupped palms to further smooth out the folds and form a nearly perfectly round ball.

Places these on a greased cookie sheet, or silicone baking pad. You should let them rest for about 10 – 20 minutes to allow the gluten strands to reform.

To shape the bagels, grab a ball of dough and push your thumb into the center. Poke with fingers of both hands, begin enlarging the hole. Work your hands around the circle so that the dough remains the same thickness around the hole. As the hole closes up, keep stretching it until it shrinks to no less than about 2″ diameter when relaxed.

As each bagel is formed, place it back on the greased cookie sheet, or greased silicone baking mat. Make sure to leave enough room between bagels; 6 – 8 bagels will fit on a cookie sheet. Once the bagels have been formed, let them rest for a few minutes to allow them to proof. As they begin to rise a bit, they are ready for the fridge. Spray the bagels with a light cooking oil spray and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over them.Place them in the refrigerator overnight. Chilling the dough allows the yeast to work on the proteins in the dough, which yields some of the classic flavors that make bagels taste like bagels.

Place two baking racks in the center of the oven, and preheat to 450 degrees F. Fill a pot with water, and add one tablespoon of barley malt syrup, and one tablespoon baking soda. The makes the water a little bit more alkaline. Bring the water to a boil. Prepare a couple of baking sheets. Take the bagels out of the refrigerator. Carefully lift the bagels, and place them two at a time in the boiling water.

Boil them for 45 seconds to a minute on one side, then flip them over and boil for an additional 45 seconds to one minute on the other side. The longer you boil them, the chewier the crust will become.

Using a slotted spoon, place the boiled bagels on paper towels. Pat them dry with a paper towel (taking care to not wipe away all the melting chocolate chips, then place them on the baking sheet. If any chocolate chips fell out during the boil, feel free push a few more into the tops of the bagels. Brush the bagel tops with egg wash. Let the bagels bake for 11-14 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

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My review: I really liked the amount of chocolate chips in the dough, and found that a Nutella schmear is perfect with these bagels. They had a great chew, and the crust was perfectly crispy.

Baked Red Velvet Donuts

One of my favorite things to do with left over cake batter is make donuts. Yes, you can just fill a donut pan with cake batter, and BAM! It works. No need to make a special batter, or find a new recipe. Cake batter = donut batter 😀 After baking a big red velvet cake earlier this week, I decided to bake some red velvet donuts, topped with a cream cheese frosting.

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Red Velvet Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 3/4  cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
  • 1/2 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • dash salt

Preheat oven to 325. Grease donut pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, egg, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring. Stir in the coffee, and white vinegar. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients a little at time, mixing after each addition, until just combined. Fill each donut holder 3/4 full, then bake on the middle rack for 8-10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Keep a close eye on the donuts, you don’t want them to over bake! It will continue to cook as it cools. Let the donuts cool in the pan for about five minutes, then remove from the pans onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Slide a knife or offset spatula around the outside of the donuts to loosen them from the pan.

While the cakes cool, make the frosting. Combine the softened butter, cream cheese, vanilla, salt, and powdered  sugar in a large bowl. Gently mix by hand, then finish combining with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Whip until the frosting is fluffy.

Once the donuts cooled fully, I decided to pipe on the frosting with a closed star tip, and sprinkle some red velvet crumbs on top 😀

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Maple Pecan Pancake Cupcakes

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I love brunch, and I love cupcakes. So why not make a cupcake for brunch?! I think everyone is happier with a little sugar in the morning. I was originally inspired by this recipe, but made a few changes to the cupcake base by using buttermilk, and adding candied nuts to the cupcake batter.

Maple Pecan Cupcake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup toasted, candied pecans
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Maple Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp milk, room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Buttermilk Pancake Topper:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon and 2-1/4 teaspoons butter, melted

Yield: 12 cupcakes

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Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Stir in buttermilk, and maple syrup. Gradually blend in the flour mixture, stirring until the batter is just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Divide evenly into prepared muffin tin. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Turn cupcakes out on to a wire rack to cool before frosting. I ended up making a double batch, and decided to also make blueberry pancake cupcakes! After I had used half the batter to bake the maple pecan cupcakes, I added 1 cup of blueberries to the remaining batter.

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As the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting. Combine butter, maple syrup, milk and half of the confectioners sugar in a large bowl and beat at medium-high speed until smooth. Add remaining sugar in gradually until frosting is thick enough to spread easily. Frost the cupcakes using a large star tip.

For the pancake topper, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it’s just blended together – do not over stir! Pour the batter onto a lightly greased pan, using approximately 1 tablespoon for each mini pancake. I could cook about six pancakes in my pan at a time. Brown on both sides, then place on a wire rack to cool.

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Once all the pancakes have cooled, top each cupcake with three pancakes, and secure with a toothpick. Drizzle maple syrup over the pancakes, and place a tiny, cold, cube of butter on the top the pancake stack.

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Note: I topped the blueberry cupcakes with a blueberry reduction (1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 maple syrup). The winner at the end of the day? It was a toss up. People couldn’t decide which one was better. I think the group consensus was that the star of the show was the frosting 😀

Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

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My friends and I planned a brunch before Santacon this year, and I wanted to try out a new biscuit recipe. The bakery below my office makes AMAZING bacon cheddar biscuits, and this is my attempt to recreate them. I used my favorite buttermilk biscuit recipe, and then added  bacon and lots of sharp cheddar cheese. I also added a teensy bit of reserved bacon fat to the dough. I think mine tasted almost as good as Donna Bellas 😀 I tripled the recipe so that it could feed everyone.

  • 6 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 17 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat
  • 3 cups butter milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
  • 6 oz. cooked bacon

Yield: 27 biscuits

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 10-12 minutes

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Preheat your oven to 450°F. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor. Using a food processor is preferred, as it helps keep the butter cold, and does a better job of distributing the butter throughout the dough. You can mix by hand, but the heat from your hands can melt the butter, which will lead to less fluffy biscuits. Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal. If using a food processor, just pulse a few times.  Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined.
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The dough should be very wet. Turn the dough out onto a floured board or counter top. Gently, gently pat (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it’s about 1″ thick. Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick. Use a round cutter cut into rounds. You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be near as good as the first ones.
Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet.  If you like soft sides, put them touching each other. The biscuits will also rise higher if they are placed closer to each other. The science behind the wonderful, flaky texture of baked pastries comes from the butter. It’s all about the butter 😀 As pastries are baked at a high temperature (anything above 285 degrees F), the cold butter that has been layered into the dough (through the 5 fold overs) melts and forms water vapor. As this water vapor evaporates, it pushes the dough up and creates those lovely layers.
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Bake for about 10-12 minutes on a greased cookie sheet, until the biscuits are a beautiful light golden brown on top and bottom. The chemical reaction that causes this is called the Maillard reaction, which gives the biscuits their golden brown color. This is caused by the high baking temperature, and is a reaction that occurs as the the simple sugars and amino acids breakdown and interact with each other. This reaction also is what gives bread its crust.
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My friend Paolo made the most amazing chicken sausage gravy to go with the biscuits! We also had scrambled eggs, a delicious bacon spinach quiche, and mimosas. It was a fantastic brunch, an was a great start to Santacon this year.
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Sharp Cheddar Jalapeño Bagels

My friend Sarah and I decided to have a brunch at our apartment this weekend…and before we knew it, we had 20 people over! Luckily, we planned appropriately and made enough food to feed the masses 😀 One of the items on our menu were these Cheddar Jalapeño Bagels, and they were delicious. Bagels always take a little bit of effort, but they are SO worth it. The ingredients include:

Sponge:

  • 4 cups high-gluten bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 2-1/2 cups of water at room temperature

Dough:

  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1.5 cups jalapeños, membranes removed, finely diced (about 8-10 small peppers)
  • 3-3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 additional teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of honey

(Makes 14 large bagels or up to 24 mini bagels)

Toppings/flavoring:

  • 1 cup sharp cheddar
  • Egg wash (beaten egg white)

Time:
Sponge: 5 minutes mixing, 2-hour rise
Dough: 1 hour (kneading, resting and shaping)
Delayed rise: Overnight
Baking: 15 minutes

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Begin by mixing the 4 cups of bread flour, 1 teaspoon of instant (rapid rise) yeast, and 2-1/2 cups of water in a 4 quart mixing bowl. It should have a thick consistency. Cover the bowl with plastic. Let the yeast do its job and allow the mixture to double in size (at least two hours).

Once the sponge has risen, mix 1 tablespoon of barley malt syrup, 2 tablespoons of honey, additional teaspoon yeast, 3 teaspoons salt, and about 3 1/2 cups of the bread flour into the sponge. Once the ingredients are fully incorporated, added in the jalapenos and cheddar.

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Note: I used a food processor to chop up the jalapenos, because my hands always react to the oil in jalapenos. If you do dice them by hand, be careful!

Once all of the ingredients have been mixed in, knead the dough either by hand or with a dough hook. Add the remaining flour as necessary, and knead until the dough is a little stiff (not tacky) and a little springy. It should be satiny and smooth, without any dry bits of flour. This takes about five minutes using a dough hook, or about 10 minutes if kneading by hand. Divide the dough it into 14, equally sized pieces.

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Shape each piece into a round smooth ball by using your thumbs to pull one surface of the dough around so that it forms a nice smooth skin, and squeeze the folds on the bottom together to seal this ball. Take it and roll it between both cupped palms to further smooth out the folds and form a nearly perfectly round ball.

Places these on a greased cookie sheet, or silicone baking pad. You should let them rest for about 10 – 20 minutes to allow the gluten strands to reform.

To shape the bagels, grab a ball of dough and push your thumb into the center. Poke with fingers of both hands, begin enlarging the hole. Work your hands around the circle so that the dough remains the same thickness around the hole. As the hole closes up, keep stretching it until it shrinks to no less than about 2″ diameter when relaxed.

As each bagel is formed, place it back on the greased cookie sheet, or greased silicone baking mat. Make sure to leave enough room between bagels; 6 – 8 bagels will fit on a cookie sheet. Once the bagels have been formed, let them rest for a few minutes to allow them to proof. As they begin to rise a bit, they are ready for the fridge. Spray the bagels with a light cooking oil spray and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over them.Place them in the refrigerator overnight. Chilling the dough allows the yeast to work on the proteins in the dough, which yields some of the classic flavors that make bagels taste like bagels.

Place two baking racks in the center of the oven, and preheat to 450 degrees F. Fill a pot with water, and add one tablespoon of barley malt syrup, and one tablespoon baking soda. The makes the water a little bit more alkaline. Bring the water to a boil. Prepare a couple of baking sheets. Take the bagels out of the refrigerator. Carefully lift the bagels, and place them two at a time in the boiling water.

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Boil them for 45 seconds to a minute on one side, then flip them over and boil for an additional 45 seconds to one minute on the other side. The longer you boil them, the chewier the crust will become.

Using a slotted spoon, place the boiled bagels on paper towels. Pat them dry, then place them on the baking sheet. Brush the bagel tops with egg wash, then place the cookie sheets in the center of the oven and bake for five minutes. Take then bagels out at this point, and sprinkle the tops with the shredded cheddar. Let the bagels bake for another 7 to 10 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

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My review: I really liked the amount of jalapenos in the dough. The cheddar helps balance the slight kick from the jalapenos, as does the cream cheese. The bagels also had a great chew and crust, and I will definitely make these again.

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I still can’t believe we fit so many people in our apartment. In addition to the bagels, we made a feta spinach mushroom egg bake, broiled grapefruit halves, and egg sandwiches.  The egg sandwiches were assembled using buttermilk biscuits, honey butter, a fried egg, and bacon. Based on how quickly the food was eaten, I would say everyone liked the spread 😀

Authentic New York Bagel Recipe

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I know I say this every time I try a new bagel recipe… But I mean it this time. This is the best bagel recipe I’ve tried. I’ve experimented with with different yeasts, overnight rises, sponges, boiling times, and oven temperatures….but this recipe takes the cake, and definitely deserves a post. All the leavening in this recipe is done the night before, which makes life so much easier. While fresh bagels in the morning are amazing, it is always a struggle to get out of bed at five in the morning to get the dough ready for its first rise.

The factors that distinguish this recipe include the sponge, the high-gluten flour, the malt syrup, the baking temperature, and the use of alkaline boiling water. The ingredients include:

Sponge:
4 cups high-gluten bread flour
1 teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
2-1/2 cups of water at room temperature

Dough:
3-3/4 cups bread flour
1 additional teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
2 tablespoons of honey
3 teaspoons of salt
(Makes 1 dozen large bagels or up to 24 mini bagels)

Toppings/flavoring:
Poppy seeds
Egg white
3 Tbsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup blueberries
1/3 cup blueberry juice (I used POM)

Time:
Sponge: 5 minutes mixing, 2-hour rise
Dough: 1 hour (kneading, resting and shaping)
Delayed rise: Overnight
Baking: 15 – 25 minutes.

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Begin by mixing the 4 cups of bread flour, 1 teaspoon of instant (rapid rise) yeast, and 2-1/2 cups of water in a 4 quart mixing bowl. It should have a thick consistency. Cover the bowl with plastic. Let the yeast do its job and allow the mixture to double in size (at least two hours).

Once the sponge has risen, mix 1 tablespoon of barley malt syrup, 2 tablespoons of honey, additional teaspoon yeast, 3 teaspoons salt, and about 3 cups of the bread flour into the sponge. Save the remaining 3/4 cup of flour for kneading. This step is easily accomplished in a bread machine or stand mixer, but can also be done by hand. If you’ve used the high-gluten flour, this step might take a little extra effort. Make sure you keep an eye on your mixer…. It might overheat!

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Once all of the ingredients have been mixed in, knead the dough either by hand or with a dough hook. Add the remaining flour as necessary, and knead until the dough is a little stiff (not tacky) and a little springy. It should be satiny and smooth, without any dry bits of flour. This takes about five minutes using a dough hook, or about 10 minutes if kneading by hand.At this point in time, I flavored the dough. I doubled this recipe, and divided all the dough equally between three bowls.

For the blueberry bagels, I added 1/3 cup blueberry juice, and 1/2 cup frozen blueberries. I had to add an additional cup of flour to get the dough consistency right, and kneaded the dough again for about five minutes.

For the cinnamon raisin bagels, I added 3 tablespoons cinnamon, and 1 cup of raisins. I kneaded this dough for another five minutes as well.

For the poppyseed bagels, I left the dough plain, and simply topped them with egg wash and poppy seeds after they were boiled.

Once the dough has been kneaded, divide it into one dozen pieces, approximately 4-1/2 ounces per piece.

Shape these into round smooth balls by using your thumbs to pull one surface of the dough around to that it forms a nice smooth skin and squeeze the folds on the bottom together to seal this ball. Take it and roll it between both cupped palms to further smooth out the folds and form a nearly perfectly round ball.

Places these on a greased cookie sheet, or silicone baking pad. You should let them rest for about 10 – 20 minutes to allow the gluten strands to reform.

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To shape the bagels, grab a ball of dough and push your thumb into the center. Poke with fingers of both hands, begin enlarging the hole until it is at least 3″ in diameter. Work your hands around the circle so that the dough remains the same thickness around the hole. As the hole closes up, keep stretching it until it shrinks to no less than about 2″ diameter when relaxed.

As each bagel is formed, place back on the greased cookie sheet, or greased silicone baking mat. Make sure to leave enough room between bagels; 6 – 8 bagels will fit on a standard cookie sheet.

Once the bagels have been formed, let them rest for a few minutes to allow them to proof. Once they begin to rise a bit, they are ready for the fridge. Spray the bagels with a light cooking oil spray and lay a sheet of plastic wrap over them.

Place them in the refrigerator overnight. Chilling the dough allows the yeast to work on the proteins in the dough, which yields some of the classic flavors that make bagels taste like bagels.

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Place two baking racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Fill a pot with water, and add one tablespoon of barley malt syrup, and one tablespoon baking soda. The makes the water a little bit more alkaline. Bring the water to a boil. Prepare a couple of baking sheets. If desired, sprinkle the greased sheets with cornmeal or plain bread crumbs. Take the bagels out of the refrigerator. Carefully lift the bagels, and place them two at a time in the boiling water.

Boil them for 45 seconds to a minute on one side, then flip them over and boil for an additional 45 seconds to one minute on the other side. The longer you boil them, the chewier the crust will become.

Using a slotted spoon, place the boiled bagels on paper towels. Pat them dry, then place them on the baking sheet and sprinkle them with a topping (or leave them plain). If you are going to top the bagels, brush the bagel tops with egg wash to ensure that the toppings stick. You can sprinkle them with a small amount of kosher salt, sesame seeds, cheese, poppy seeds…the options are endless.

To bake, place the cookie sheets in the center of the oven and bake for five minutes. Rotate the sheets by turning them 180 degrees, and put the top sheet on the bottom and vice versa. Let the bagels bake for another 7 to 10 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

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Bacon Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

After a lot of planning and coordination, my friend Drew and I were finally able to have a UW brunch! Our friend Kelcey was in town, and a large group of us were able to get together this Sunday and catch up. My roommate Sarah and I decided to make cinnamon rolls and a spicy egg bake. I chose to try out a few cinnamon roll variations, and used my favorite cinnamon roll recipe as a base. I stuffed half of them with bacon, and filled the rest with a pumpkin pie filling. The ingredients included:

Dough:
3/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast {use the fast acting kind!}
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 egg
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 1/2-5 cups all purpose unbleached flour

Filling:
1/2 cup softened margarine
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Frosting:
2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup softened margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3 teaspoons smoked maple bourbon

Add ins:

1 lb bacon, partially cooked (7 minutes at 425 degrees F)

1/2 can pureed pumpkin, combined with 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

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In a large bowl, combine water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Stir, and let proof for about 5 minutes. Once mixture looks bubbly and frothy, stir in the remaining sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, I added the buttermilk, oil and egg. Whisk ingredients together until the egg is incorporated with the other ingredients. Pour the contents into the yeast mixture, and stir until combined. Pour in two cups of flour, and stir together with a spoon until the ingredients are combined. Add in the rest of the flour gradually, and mix until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes. Grease the large bowl used to proof the dough, and cover with a dish towel. Let the dough rise for about an hour (until dough had doubled in size).

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While the dough was proofing, make the filling. In a medium size bowl,  stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch until combined. Flour the surface where you intend to roll the dough out, and lightly floured dough as well. Roll the dough out into a 20×30 rectangle. If it’s a little short or uneven, you can cut off the edges to even it out. Spread the softened butter over the dough, leaving a 1-inch strip untouched on one of the longer sides of dough.

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Dump the brown sugar mixture in the middle of the dough and spread it out with your hands, creating an even layer over top of the butter, but leaving a 1-inch strip of dough untouched. Lightly press the sugar mixture into the butter using a rolling pin, and then added the pre-cooked bacon and pumpkin pie filling.

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A friend of mine eats kosher, so I made the pumpkin pie rolls separately, before adding the bacon.

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Roll the dough into a tight log, finishing with the plain dough on the bottom to seal the log together. Score the log every 1.5 inches and then sliced the rolls using those marks. Make sure to use a sharp knife. Put the rolls into a pan lined with greased parchment paper or foil, leaving about an inch between each roll. I let the cut rolls rise for another hour, until they had risen again.

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Make the frosting while the rolls are rising, by using a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese and butter together. Stir in the vanilla, corn syrup and lemon juice, and maple bourbon. combine, then add in the powdered sugar in two installments.

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Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees, until they start to brown. Frost them immediately once out of the oven. I tried the pumpkin pie variation, since it was a new recipe. What really made these cinnamon rolls was the smoked maple bourbon. It took the frosting to a whole new level, and was such a wonderful combination with both cinnamon roll variations. YUM! I’m still drooling just thinking about these.

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Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

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When my team at work realized that we’d be working the entire weekend, I think we all needed a little pick-me-up…so I decided to make breakfast for Saturday morning! I wanted to make something that would be a crowd-pleaser, and decided to make these caramel apple cinnamon rolls. The ingredients included:

Sweet Dough

  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

Apple Filling

  • 5 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large can apple pie filling, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1.2 cup softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon milk or cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Caramel Drizzle

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Disclaimer: I don’t have a kitchen aid or stand mixer, so I kneaded my dough by hand.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons luke warm water with a teaspoon of sugar and the yeast. Let this proof for about five minutes to make sure your yeast is still good. In a large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, yeast mixture, remaining sugar, and salt. Heat milk at a low power until it is lukewarm. Add the warm milk, 1/4 cup butter, and egg to the flour mixture and mix with hands until ingredients are combined. Continue to add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Rinse out mixing bowl and spray with cooking spray and place dough back into the bowl, turning once to bring greased side of dough up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about an hour).
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Roll dough into a large rectangle, until it is about 3/4 of a cm thick.  Melt the butter and spread over the entire dough rectangle. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the dough, then cover with the chopped apple pie filling. Roll up the dough horizontally from the far side. Roll dough into a tight roll. Cut dough log into 8 equal pieces (you can cut it into more peices if you want smaller cinnamon rolls), and place in a greased pan, leaving about half an inch between each roll. Cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rise again (about 30 mins). Bake at 350 for 30-35minutes, or until rolls are golden brown and the centers seem firm. With the moist apple filling you will want to make sure they are cooked through or they can get soggy. While the rolls are cooking, prepare the frosting and caramel sauce.
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To make the frosting, whip cream cheese and butter together. Stir in the vanilla, corn syrup and lemon juice, and then mix in the powdered sugar. For the caramel sauce, combine brown sugar and corn starch in a saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and heat on medium. Stir continuously, and cook until thickened (about 10 minutes). Drizzle the warm caramel sauce over the rolls and serve.
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My team loved them, and I was really pleased with the way they turned out!

Breakfast Pizza

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Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. When I get to eat breakfast for dinner, it’s even better. This train of thought is what inspired dinner tonight. I used freshly-made, store-bought dough to make the pizza crust because I was short on time, but you can always make your own. The ingredients included:

  •  1 ball of prepared pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup cooked bacon, diced
  • 1 ½ cups grated mozzarella
  • 4 large eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

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Start by preheating the oven to 500 degrees and flour the cookie sheet for baking. Spread the pizza dough out, onto the floured cookie sheet, until it evenly covers the entire sheet, remembering that the dough will contract slightly during the cooking process. Then sprinkle half of the cheese and bacon onto the dough, and let this cook. After about 5 minutes in the oven, take the pizza out and crack the eggs on top. Put the pizza back in the oven and let it cook for another 2 minutes. Once the two minutes pass, sprinkle the pizza with scallions, chives, and the remaining bacon and cheese. Finally, pop the pizza back in the oven for another two minutes. Once the edges are golden brown, pull the pizza out and let it cool slightly before serving. It’s important you serve the pizza promptly because the eggs will continue to cook from the heat of the pizza.

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I absolutely loved this dinner! I let the pizza cool a teensy bit too long, so my yolks weren’t as runny as I would have liked. But other than that, this meal was a home run!

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Homemade Bagels

The other night, at dinner, I listened to an animated discussion about bagels. People in NYC do not mess around when it comes to their bagels. They want them fresh, with just the right amount of chew, and a perfect crust. There is a belief that the water out here makes the bagels taste so good; but if you ask me, I’d say it’s the numerous old school, Jewish bagel shops that have perpetuated the tradition of making bagels the right way. Regardless, I realized that it was time to try to make my own bagels (following this recipe).

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The ingredients included:

  • ⅔ cups Warm Water
  • ½ Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1-½ teaspoon Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon malt syrup
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • ½ Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • ¾ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Tbs Baking soda

Poppy seed variation:

  • egg wash (egg white and a splash of water)
  • poppyseeds

Blueberry variation:

  • 1/2 cup Blueberry juice
  • 1 pint blueberries

I made the dough this morning after a long training run (a 16 miler…ahhh!). Start by combining the water, sugar, and yeast together, and let the yeast develop for about 5 minutes. Add the flour, vegetable oil, malt syrup, and salt, and knead until the dough is elastic but firm (15 minutes by hand, 7 minutes with a dough hook). You may need to add in a bit of extra water or flour if the consistency of the dough is off, but do it little by little. Let the dough sit and rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

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Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead again for a few minutes, before cutting it into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball, and punch a hole in the center of each ball with your thumb. Stretch the ring out gently, until the hole is about 1.5 inches in diameter. Let the bagels rise for another 30 minutes in a warm area.

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For the second batch of bagels I made, I added fresh blueberries and blueberry juice, and kneaded the dough for another five minutes, until the blueberries were well incorporated into the dough. Because of the juice and the blueberries, I had to add an additional cup of flour.

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After the second rising phase, bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot. When the water was gently boiling, add a tablespoon of baking soda. Place 2 bagels into the pot at a time, and let them cook for 45 seconds on each side. Once done boiling, remove the bagels and place them on paper towels (to take off excess moisture) before letting them cool on a baking sheet. Repeat these steps with the remaining bagels. Brush the tops with egg wash and top them with poppy seeds.

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Bake them in the oven at 425ºF for 18 minutes (turning them over after 10 minutes).

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We took a trip down to Russ and Daughters (an AMAZING “Appetizing Store,” more of a deli really, on Houston) to get cream cheese and lox. We decided on horseradish cream cheese, vegetable cream cheese, pastrami salmon, and Scottish lox. The fresh, warm bagels, with that delicious cream cheese and fresh lox was a winning combination. I can’t wait to try making new flavors…I’m thinking cinnamon sugar, multi-grain, and everything bagels.

Bacon and Cookie Dough Cinnamon Rolls

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There’s nothing I love more on a Saturday morning than brunch. I think it’s one of my favorite things about the weekend. I’m a big fan of cinnamon rolls, and have seen a lot of tasty looking variations lately. I decided to try out two twists on the classic cinnamon roll – cookie dough cinnamon rolls, and bacon cinnamon rolls. I used the same dough and filling for both types, which is a Cinnabon copy cat recipe. It included:

Dough:
3/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast {use the fast acting kind!}
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 egg
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 1/2-5 cups all purpose unbleached flour

Filling:
1/2 cup softened margarine
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Frosting:
2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup softened margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Add ins:

1 lb bacon

cookie dough (I used my favorite recipe, and made it the night before)

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I was really excited about these cinnamon rolls, so I got up early (yes, I’m a morning person) and made the dough. In a large bowl, I poured the in water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. I stirred this around and let it proof for about 5 minutes. Once mixture looked bubbly and frothy, I poured in the remaining sugar and salt. I mixed it at a low speed for about 15-20 seconds. In a separate bowl, I added the buttermilk, oil and egg. I whisked the ingredients together until the egg was incorporated with the other ingredients. I poured the contents into the water and yeast mixture, and stirred for another 20 seconds with my hand mixer. I then poured in 2 of the cups of flour and stirred on low until everything was incorporated. Then I sprinkled the rest of the flour in by 1/4 cup increments until the dough cleaned the sides and bottom of the bowl. The dough should be sticky but not sticky enough to stick to your hands when touched.

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Once it had reached this stage, I kneaded the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes. I then greased the large bowl I had previously used and set the dough inside to proof. I covered it with plastic wrap and a dish towel, and let it rise for about 2 hours (until dough had doubled in size).

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While the dough was proofing, I made the filling. In a medium size bowl,  I stirred together the brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch until combined.I floured my large cookie sheet liberally with flour, and lightly floured dough as well. I made a sample batch first, just big enough to make 4 cinnamon rolls. However, if you want to make all the cinnamon rolls at once, roll the dough out into a 20×30 rectangle while moving dough around to ensure it’s not sticking to the surface. If it’s a little short or uneven, you can always cut off the edges to even it out. I then spread softened butter over the dough, leaving a 1-inch strip untouched on one of the longer sides of dough.

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I dumped the brown sugar mixture onto the middle of the dough and spread it out with my hands, creating an even layer over top of the butter, still leaving a 1-inch strip of dough untouched. I lightly pressed the sugar mixture into the butter using a rolling pin, and then added the bacon and cookie dough. I cooked the bacon for 2-3 minutes, so that it was partially cooked but still pliable. I rolled out the cookie dough into a very thin rectangle (1/4 inch thick), and placed it on top of the cinnamon sugar.

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I rolled the dough up into a tight log, finishing with the plain dough on the bottom to seal the log together. I scored the log every 2 inches and then sliced the rolls using those marks. Make sure to use a sharp knife. I put the rolls into a pan lined with greased parchment paper, leaving about an inch between each roll. I let the cut rolls rise for another hour, until they  had risen almost double. I made the frosting while the rolls were rising, and whipped the cream cheese and butter together. Next I stirred in the vanilla, corn syrup and lemon juice, and then mixed in the powdered sugar.

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The cinnamon rolls took about 30 minutes at 350 degrees to start to brown, and I frosted them immediately once they came out of the oven.

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As good as the cookie dough cinnamon rolls were, the star of the show was the bacon cinnamon rolls. In my mind, nothing beats a salty sweet combination.

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Quinoa Pancakes

Quinoa…..in pancakes? What?? I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for a while, and today was the perfect day. After a weekend of raging at the Jersey Shore, I was ready for a healthy breakfast.

The recipe called for:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon course salt
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus more for skillet
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup, plus more for serving
  • Fresh fruit or fruit preserves (optional) for serving

I’m going to be real…I was reallllly hungry when I made these, so I just threw all the ingredients in a big bowl and mixed them together.

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If your batter is too thick or thin, just add a touch more flour or water until the consistency is right. I prefer my pancakes almost like crepes/on the thinner side, so I added an additional splash of water. I then heated my pan on medium, lightly buttered my pan, and started cooking! You know it’s time to flip your pancake when those glorious little bubbles form on the at the edge of the pancake.

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The batter ended up making about eight, six-inch pancakes. I LOVED this recipe! It’s so nice to be able to enjoy pancakes, and feel good about it! These pancakes have twice as much protein as regular pancakes, and they taste just as yummy 😀

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I will definitely make these again….Next time I might throw in some blueberries!