Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls

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Apples are in abundance in the souk nowadays. Specifically those apples that are a bit beaten up and bruised. Not the ones you would want to bite into for a snack.

The sit in little piles to the side of the other fruits, with their banana friends who are a little more brown than you’d prefer. Most people pass them by without a second thought. Who wants to buy beaten up bruised slightly old fruit anyways?

Me. That’s who.

Slighly beaten up apples- hellloooo apple butter/apple sauce.

It depends on how you define it.

My stove is a little finicky, so depending on the day i’ll have apple sauce or apple butter.

Some days it likes low heat, some days it’s doesnt.

Low heat= apple butter. Hight heat=apple sauce

Its an adventure.

Luckily, I am happy with both stirred in my morning oatmeal. Or in this case, smeared into my cinnamon rolls.

Here’s a recipe i LOOSELY used. I like to add more spice to mine.

More cinnamon and I throw a couple teaspoons of Pumpkin spice mix in.

Apple Butter

This weekend I had some overnight guests that were passing through our city. It’s been a while since I have made cinnamon rolls, and after making a carmel apple version last fall, I wanted to play with adding apple butter to mine.

Pinterest told me it was a good idea. And Pinterest is generally right.

I use this basic dough recipe: Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Follow it exactly. Don’t cheat on the rising time. You’ll be sad.

After I have the basic dough made, that’s where I began tweaking things.

I spread a thin coat of melted butter on my dough, after it’s rolled out

(let’s not pretend this is healthy, but hey- there are apples!)

Followed by a smear of apple butter/sauce.

I added a little more cinnamon and sugar to top it off before rolling.

This original recipe says this makes 12 rolls. I normally get 16 medium sized ones that are similar in sized to store bought rolls.

Rolled, cut and placed in the fridge overnight.

All you need the next morning is 30 mins of rising time and 20-30 mins in the oven, and a drizzle of maple glaze.

Yum.

Happy Breakfast!

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Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 12-16 rolls 

Dough:

Slightly adapted from  AllRecipes, Overnight Cinnamon Rolls 

1 cup milk

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour + more for rolling

3 eggs

1 (.25 oz) package of yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)

 Filling:

3/4 cup apple butter or apple sauce

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup brown or granulated sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 tsp maple extract (or vanilla)

4-6 tbsp milk or heavy cream

For the dough:

Heat milk over medium heat, just until bubbles begin for form on the surface. Remove from heat and stir butter in until melted.

Allow to cool until only slightly warm.

Stir in yeast, sugar and a pinch of salt.

When yeast is dissolved, allow to sit for approximately 5 mins.

Add eggs then flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Mixing between additions.

When the dough begins to come together, and form a ball, place onto a flour surface and knead 8-10 times.

Liberally oil a metal or glass bowl and place the dough inside.

Cover and let rise for 1-1.5 hours.

**Here’s my no fail trick to getting your dough to rise. While you heating your milk, turn your oven on to 350 degrees. Allow it to preheat for 5 mins, and then turn it off. When your dough is ready, place the covered bowl into the oven (which is now turned off) and allow it to rise for 1 hour. The heat allows it to rise, and the closed spaced keeps cool drafts of air away.

After the dough has risen, place is on a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle. It should be about 13-15 inches long and 8-10 inches wide. Depending on how thick you want your layers.

Brush with your melted butter. Making sure you get the edges. Leave a little extra butter, we will use it to grease the pan.

Spread the apple butter on the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon and the brown sugar.

Roll the dough, starting at the top and working your way towards yourself. (You would call this “hotdog” style if you happen to have been a preschool teacher…)

Slice the roll with a sharp knife into 12-16 rolls. They should be between 1.5-2 inches wide. It just depends on how many people you want to feed and how huge your want your rolls.

Place in a greased baking dish. Dont overcrowd it. Let the have a little room to expand.

Cover and refrigerate overnight. (or let rise for an additional 30 mins, and then bake)

The next morning remove the rolls from the refrigerator, and allow to rest and warm up for about 20-30 mins.

Place rolls in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 20-25 mins. Until the tops are golden brown.

Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool while you are making the frosting.

For the frosting:

Combine the powdered sugar, maple extract and milk. Starting with 3 tablespoons and stir. Add milk by the tablespoon as needed, until the consistency it just pourable.

When the cinnamon rolls have cooled slightly, drizzle the frosting over the rolls.

Serve and eat.

Happy Fall!

Where have I been?

That’s a great question. This summer, or the latter part of summer, has been crazy busy. I can hardly believe it’s the end of September.

I have been BAD at the whole baking and actually taking pictures things. Never fear, I have plans for this weekend.

In all fairness, September is my birthday month, so people tend to bake for me. And the pumpkin muffins I made last week turned out not so great. Scratch that recipe.

I have high hopes for this weekend.

In the meantime, check out some of these blogs I have been drooling over lately:

Avocado Banana Chocolate Pudding– Yes please!

Apple Pie Biscuits! -I NEED these

Almond Joy Granola– We all just want an excuse to eat candy for breakfast, and call it healthy

Pear French Toast– you know you are intrigued. And now I must buy pears.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)

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With a sister who is gluten-intolerant I have tried a decent amount of gluten free cookies.

And let’s face it- they either have weird ingredients or they just don’t taste that great.

Except for peanut butter ones. But what if you want a normal, chewy chocolate chip one?

It’s a sad day for you….until now.

I stumbled upon this recipe while browsing Pinterest. (gotta love the pinterest)

A Thought For Food, Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies 

The writing convinced me…I should try this one.

And it was AMAZING.

I served them at a party and no one knew they were make with Chickpea Flour. Except for my sister and her very happy tummy. I literally was blown away. I wish I had of taken a picture of her face when she ate her first real cookie in YEARS.

But then my brain got to going, what if I took the base of the recipe and made it my own.

Genius.

So yesterday my sister and I decided we needed cookies for a trip we are taking this week to Spain.

Traveling without being able to eat gluten is.a.pain. Do you know that a ton of chips have gluten in them?!?! And granola bars, and candy, also most soy sauces….it’s been a rough week in the “this has gluten in it too!” department.

Cookies were needed.

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(It should be noted that my sister got Henna done a week or so ago, and it’s starting to wear off..hence the weird markings on her hands…she’s isn’t diseased…I promise…)

We started with the base recipe from “A Thought for Food” and added coconut, coconut extract and left the chocolate chips.

Chewy, happy, amazing smelling cookies emerged from the oven. It helped us get over the “whyyyy does everythinggggg have gluten in it!” blues.

Cuz you can’t be sad while eating one of these little guys.

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Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from A Thought For Food

makes about 3 dozen medium-large cookies

 

 

If you skip steps in this recipe, the cookies will turn out differently, I learned this the hard way. 

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cup brown sugar (or half white, half brown sugar)

2 eggs, room temp

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tsp coconut flavoring

2 cups chickpea flour, sifted**

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate bar

1 cup coconut flakes, sweetened or unsweetened

**Don’t skip sifting the chickpea flour. This step makes the difference between cakey, hard cookies to chewy amazing ones.

Directions:

Sift chickpea flour, salt, baking soda, and powder into small bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine softened butter, sugar, vanilla and coconut extract and eggs. Mix until combined, and the butter and sugar have fluffed up a bit.

Stir in the flour mixture and then add in chocolate chips and coconut.

Let the dough rest in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

Place by spoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. (The original says 12-15 but I found that too long for my oven, see what works for yours.)

Cookies will be dark brown, and need to cook completely or you will be left with the raw chickpea flour taste. You don’t want that.

The way I generally test my cookies is by watching them, when the middle stops bubbling and lays flat, they are done.

Remove from oven and let cool before removing them from baking sheet.

Eat, smile and fall in love with chickpea flour.

Cookies and Cream Frosting

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It’s been a while since I have posted.
This summer has been so busy, and is flying by. I have barely had time to cook for myself, much less bake and blog about it.

But last week I FINALLY had time. And it was glorious.

Several of my friends were planning a beach day, and I sent them out the door with cinnamon rolls and baked my little heart away, all.day.long.

What began with cinnamon rolls, turned into vanilla cupcakes with cookies and cream frosting followed by gluten free nutella cookies. Phew. My kitchen was busy.

I made these cupcakes for a dinner we were having that was on the same week as three of my friends birthdays. Having to please 3 very different people with one birthday cupcake, and not making it boring- it took some brainstorming.

I knew I wanted to do a vanilla cupcake, after seeing this recipe, I NEEDED to try it.

Sally’s Baking Addiction “Very Vanilla Cupcakes”

Then it hit me.

Cookies and Cream.

I mean, who doesn’t like smashed up cookies blended with butter and sugar.

No one, that’s who.

The recipe isn’t anything groundbreaking or super inventive. But it’s amazing.

Thanks to my corner store (we call them Hanuts) being out of heavy cream, I replaced it with cream cheese.

I love my hanut for forcing me to do this. It turned out so much better.

Everyone loved this cupcake. Even those “I don’t really like cupcakes or sweets” friends. They haven’t stopped talking about it.

Its just that good.

And maybe I am renown for making too much frosting and having to freeze some for later.

And maybe a few spoonfuls are gone.

Don’t judge me. You would do it too.

Treat yourself this weekend with these super easy cupcakes with cookies and cream frosting.

 

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Cookies and Cream Frosting

Makes enough to frost approximately 12-16 cupcakes 

8oz package of cream cheese, at room temperature*

1 and 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup), at room temperature*

4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted

16 chocolate sandwich cookies (name brand, off brand, whichever)

*To get the perfect room temp butter and cream cheese, leave them out overnight the night before you plan on making the frosting. You can try microwaving them, for 10 seconds at a time, but you risk melting them, and that makes runny frosting. Overnight is best.

Begin by creaming your room temperature butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy. 3-5 minutes. It should be well combined and fluffy. (See note about getting the perfect room temp butter and cream cheese)

Slowly add in powdered sugar, just until a thick, spreadable consistency. You may or may not need all 4 cups. Start with 1 cup and add just until you get to the consistency you like.

Place the chocolate sandwich cookies in a food processor and process until the resemble large grains of sand. Do let it go too far, it will begin to become a paste. (if you don’t have a food processor, place in a plastic zip-top bag and crush with a heavy can or rolling pin) If you plan on piping the frosting, make sure the pieces are small enough to smoothly go through the piping tip. 

Fold in the cookie pieces until combined. 

Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes, or cake. 

Eat.

This would also make a gorgeous layer cake topped with extra cookie crumbled. 

Banana and Nectarine Muffins

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Muffins…. it’s what you bake when you have the urge but aren’t committed to 2 hours in the kitchen.

One bowl, minimal effort, and happy little individual portioned bites in less than an hour.

It’s my go to treat.

Muffins are the acceptable way to eat cake for breakfast.

We like to pretend it’s a totally different baked good, but let’s face it- muffins are cake without icing.

It’s true and we all know it.

(Yes, I am aware there are some technical difference in the mixing, baking process…let’s ignore those)

Today was one of those days where I wanted something freshly baked, but didn’t feel like 2 hours in the kitchen.

I’ve had my eye on some homemade donuts recently.

Not the baked, “this is actually cake baked in a circle form” donuts

But real, yeasted, fried donuts.

With custard filling.

I have high hopes that next weekend will see those.

But for now….muffins.

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The markets sells not so pretty bananas for a dollar or less a kilo and after spotting some especially ugly ones for less than a dollar I decided banana bread it was.

But banana bread can be pretty boring.

I didn’t want boring.

Hello Nectarines!

Peaches and nectarines are exploding everywhere in the markets. They are so amazing right now.

And ridiculously cheap.

I also used yogurt and butter in place of oil. It just seemed the thing to do.

I used coconut yogurt, but since apparently coconut yogurt is ridiculously hard to find in the US, use whichever kind your heart desires.

The flavor doesn’t come through especially strong, but feel free to get creative.

Banana flavored? Strawberry flavored? Vanilla? Blueberry? The options are endless.

Just make sure the flavor goes well with banana, and whatever fruit you decide to mix in.

Pull out a bowl and a spoon and make yourself muffins this weekend

Monday morning breakfast will be extra snazzy this week.

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Banana and Nectarine Muffins

recipe slightly adapted from Hungry Girl por Vida 

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup coconut yogurt (or flavor of choice)

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs

1/3 cup melted butter

2 small/medium Nectarines, finely diced

Preheat your over to 190 Celsius, 350 Fahrenheit.

Line your muffin tin with muffin liners.

In a medium bowl whisk together the yogurt, banana, eggs, and butter.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar, and salt into the bowl with the yogurt/banana mixture.

Stir the mixture until just combined.

Fold in nectarine pieces until just incorporated.

Pour 1/4-1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup and bake for 13-16 minutes until done.

When a toothpick comes out clean, they are done.

Eat and enjoy!!

 

Summer Cobbler

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Cobbler.

It’s the thing your Grandma makes from scratch for those lazy sunday afternoons.

And because she’s Grandma she will top it with ice cream.

Or in may case, my aunt. There always seemed to be peach cobbler in her house during the summer. She made it from canned peaches and most likely with cake mix, but I can literally taste it just thinking about it.

I never tasted fresh cobbler until I was an adult. In the south people tend to use what is easy and make it special. And it works. Somehow they take mediocre ingredients and make them sing. They make them into things you miss when you grow up, tastes you crave when you are away from home.

Then as an adult I discovered food blogs and baking without using prepackaged ingredients. I discovered the joy of chopping my own apple for cobbler, and making my own cake mix from scratch.

When I moved to Africa, a whole new world opened up. I now walk up to the man that sells solely fruit and buy cherries and peaches from him. Personally. He picks out the best for me. I don’t just grab them from a nameless faceless bin at the supermarket.

I’m not sure I will ever lose the thrill of buying produce at the Souk, from real people who remember me and know that I really do just want 4 peaches, and not a whole kilo.

It’s the thrill of only being able to cook with what is in season.

And learning that you really do want to eat peaches every other day in the summer because you will sorely miss them come December.

This summer my goal is to eat a ridiculous amount of peaches and cherries. Fresh, in cobblers, in muffins and any other way I can think of serving them. I intend to revel in the glory of summer fruit until they are no longer to be found at the market. Then I will slowly remember how much I love tangerines and pomegranates.

But that’s still at least 3 months away, so for now PEACHES and cherries!

Thus we have the Summer Cobbler. Some of the best fruits of the season, combined with a yummy cake topping.

It’s the taste of pure summer. In one bite. Pure happiness and memories of being a little kid running around in the hot sun then being treated to Grandma’s cobbler.

Feel free to switch cherries and peaches out with your favorite summer fruit. Blueberries, blackberries, pears, take your pick.

On a side note, go out and buy yourself a cherry pitter. Your life will be easier and a lot less cherry juiced stained. Your counter tops, kitchen towel and fingers will thank you. I promise. It’s now on my mental list of things to buy- because pitting cherries by hand just takes a ridiculous amount of time, and you end up with red fingers. It’s a no-win situation.

 

CobblerBlog

Summer Cobbler

makes one 8×12 pan

4 medium sized peaches (1.5 lbs)

1 lb fresh cherries, pitted and sliced

1 Tbsp Corn starch

3 Tbsp Heavy Cream

1 cup Milk

1 egg

3 Tbsp Butter, melted and cooled

2/3 cup flour (I used Chickpea Flour, but all purpose flour will also work)

2/3 quick cooking oats

2/3 cup sugar (if you peaches are really ripe, as little as 1/3 cup would work)

1 tsp Maple Flavoring (Vanilla also works)

Fill baking dish with sliced peaches and cherries. Sprinkle with corn starch and heavy cream. Mix to combine and roast in the oven at 190 C/ 375 F for approximately 15 mins.

In the meantime, mix milk, egg, butter and maple flavoring  and sugar together until combined. Add in flour and oats. Stir until there are not clumps left and the consistency is a little thicker than cake bater. If the mixture if too think, add a little more milk.

After the fruit has roasted, remove from oven and pour cobbler batter over the top. I chose to only leave a little fruit showing, but you could leave more uncovered. Either way it will taste fantastic.

Bake at 190 C/375 F for 20-25 minutes. Test your cobbler at 20 and see if it’s at the consistence you like. Some people prefer a more gooey cobbler, some more cake like. Take it out closer to the 20 minute mark for gooey, and the 25 for cake like.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream….or both. I won’t judge.

 

Peanut Butter Frosting…and a chocolate cupcake

 

 

Let’s be real….sometimes we eat a cupcake just for the frosting. Cake in and of itself can be boring. Yes, I know, there are some AMAZING cakes out there. But often…they are just something to put the frosting on.

This is one of those times. One of those time when you wish it wasn’t shameful to stand at the kitchen counter and simply eat the frosting straight out of the bowl. Two…or three spoonfuls is necessary. To taste test. Purely taste testing purposes….

These cupcakes were at the request of a friend who requested something with chocolate and peanut butter.

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It’s hard to go wrong with that classic combination.

The cupcakes were based off a recipe by Cupcake Project whose chickpea flour chocolate cupcake recipe I ended up halving.

Leaving me with slightly dry cupcakes.

Which was my mistake. Some days you forget the lessons learned from previous attempts to half a recipe.

It always throws off the moisture. One day I will learn.

But the recipe has great reviews, and will definitely be one that I try again in the future.

Only I will actually follow the recipe next time.

The frosting combines cream cheese, butter and peanut butter. I used peanut butter sweetened with honey.

I would highly advise going that route.

It was AMAZING.

I love frostings that use as little sugar as possible, but still taste amazing. I’m not one for those bakery frostings that leave you in a sugar coma after one slice of cake. Nope.

This frosting is delicious, but not overly sweet. And addicting. I had to freeze the leftovers I had so that I wouldn’t eat them.

But I have been known to sneak spoonfuls of frozen frosting, so we will see how long that lasts…..

Also- if at all possible, you should serve this with an overly large candle (which may also be a firework) while having a BBQ on your roof overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It makes them 1,000 times better.

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Cupcake Recipe via Cupcake Project 

Peanut Butter Frosting

1 pkg (80z) of cream cheese (room temperature)*

1 stick of butter (room temperature)*

1 cup Peanut Butter (not all natural, even better if it is sweetened with honey)

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp Vanilla

2 tsp Honey**

*For best results, leave your butter and cream cheese sitting out on the counter over night the night before you make the frosting. You won’t die from warm butter, and your frosting won’t be clumpy. It’s a happy thing.

**If your peanut butter already has honey in it, you may omit this ingredient

In a medium bowl mix butter and cream cheese together until well blended. Add in the peanut butter and honey and continue mixing until combined. Add in your vanilla and half of the powdered sugar. Once the first half of the powdered sugar is mixed in, add in 1/4 cup at a time until is reaches the desired constancy. After this step, I like to turn the mixer up and whip the frosting until it is light and fluffy.

Spread, pipe or plop onto cupcakes and enjoy!