Cinnamon Buns: Conquered

So... this is the third time I've tried this recipe. The first time I didn't set up my bread machine properly, my bad. The second time the yeast didn't rise, I still don't know why. Today, I was inspired to make my final cinnamon bun attempt before letting the recipe lie. I mean... it has 4,238 five star reviews! How could it not work?! Turns out third time's the charm!

Bread Machine Cinnamon Buns

1 C warm milk
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 C melted butter
4 1/2 C bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 C white sugar
2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

1 C brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/3 C butter, softened

3 oz cream cheese
1/4 C butter, softened
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Fill the bread machine with the ingredients in the proper order. For my machine, that is first wet ingredients, then flour, then the rest of the dry ingredients with yeast on the very top (so it doesn't touch any wet ingredients). Turn the machine on to the dough setting. When it's finished, roll out the dough to a large rectangle, about 12"x20". Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Spread the softened butter over the dough, then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Roll up into a log and cut into 12 slices. Preheat oven to 400. Place in a 9x13 pan (I used two 8x8s, worked fine), cover, and let rise for an additional 30 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes. While the buns are in the oven (hehe) make the frosting by beating all ingredients together with a hand mixer. Serve warm topped with frosting.

Creamy Pasta with Asparagus and Sausage

I don't know where I've been recently... but I just realized tonight that I haven't made a nice complete dinner in a long time. This pasta dish completely hit the spot. I was inspired by this recipe, made a few alterations, and added the sausage when I walked by it in the store and thought, that'll do. The pasta was nice and creamy but not heavy like mac and cheese, the lemon and asparagus taste like spring, and the sausage rounded this dish out to be a complete meal. Yum!

Creamy Pasta with Asparagus and Sausage

1 lb spiral pasta
1 lb asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb sausage (whatever you like, I found an artichoke and garlic blend which was very tasty)
3 spoonfuls mascarpone cheese
3 spoonfuls ricotta cheese
a few generous glugs of olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut your asparagus and sausage while your salted pasta water is coming to a boil. Cook the pasta to package directions. Meanwhile sauté the sausage in a skillet. About three minutes before the pasta is to be done, add the asparagus to the boiling pasta and finish cooking. Reserve a few ladlefuls of the  pasta water, and drain the pasta. Dry out the pot and combine the oil, cheeses, and lemon juice in the pot. The residual heat will help loosen the cheeses. Add the pasta/asparagus back into the pot and toss until well coated. Spoon in some of the reserved pasta water as needed to get a nice creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with the cooked sausage.

Floral Baking - Part 2

Ok, I know this is much delayed, but my first floral baking endeavor was to accompany another for my sister-in-law's birthday party (Happy Birthday Katie! ... two weeks ago!). I'm finally getting around to posting the second recipe. 

This chocolate cake recipe is slightly adapted from the one on the back of the Hershey's cocoa powder can, a tip from Danielle and her mom. With a few alterations, the recipe is really easy (one bowl!) and always comes out perfect. I make it all the time. The frosting is from a Joy the Baker recipe, perfect buttercream texture and just a hint of rose.

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 3/4 C sugar
1 3/4 C flour
3/4 C cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 C milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 C very hot coffee

Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with paper liners. In a large bowl, use a wisk to incorporate the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla, and oil, and beat until well combined. Add the coffee and stir until combined, batter will be very thin. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full with batter (a levered ice cream scoop helps for even distribution). Bake for 22-25 minutes.

Rose Water Buttercream

2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 C milk
1/3 C flour
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp rosewater

In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat on high for 7 minutes, until fluffy. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine 1/4 C of the milk with the flour and vanilla. Whisk until there are no lumps. Over medium heat, slowly add the rest of the milk. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Allow the milk mixture to cool to room temperature (the fridge or freezer helps). With the mixer on low speed, slowing add the milk mixture to the butter and sugar. Add the rose water, increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy.

Floral Baking - Part 1

My sister-in-law's birthday is coming up, and I have a few ideas for cupcakes to bring to her party. Last year I came to visit for her birthday, and that is when I officially decided I would move to Seattle, so I consider this an extra special occasion! 

I've been wanting to experiment with lavender for a while, and thought the light floral flavor would make a nice spring time cupcake. I read a ton of different recipes, some making a lavender custard to fill the cupcake, some using expensive lavender sugar, and some with actual flowers in the batter. I ended up finding lavender extract at Sur La Table, and combining elements from several different recipes.

Lavender Cupcakes with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes (makes 2 dozen)

1 stick butter, room temperature
1 1/2 C sugar
2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C milk
1 tsp lavender extract
4 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350. Line your cupcake tins with liners. In a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Mix the milk and lavender extract. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture, in 3 parts each. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter until well incorporated. Divide evenly amongst the cupcakes tins, and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.


1 stick butter, softened
16 oz. cream cheese
1 - 2 tsp citrus zest (I mixed blood orange and lemon)
2 -4 tsp citrus juice (again, blood orange and lemon for me)
4 cups confectioners sugar

With an electric mixer, combine the butter and cream cheese until well incorporated. Add the zests, juice, and half of the sugar. Beat until well combined. Continue adding the rest of the sugar until desired consistency/sweetness is reached. 

Scrambled Eggs? Ok!

I can't say scrambled eggs are something I think much about, and I certainly don't think about experimenting with recipes. However, recently I came across this video of Gordon Ramsey explaining how to make scrambled eggs, and it was so wildly different than the way I've always made them, that I had to try. I'll admit my typical scrambled eggs are of the dry, chopped up omelet variety, but these were smooth and creamy and really good! It takes some attention, but, it's scrambled eggs, so we're talking like 5 minute meal. Let me know if you try!

Gordon Ramsey's Scrambled Eggs

3 eggs
"nob" of butter (1-2 tbsp)
salt and pepper
dollop of creme fraiche*
2 tbsp chopped chives (I didn't have any)

Crack the eggs into a saucepan and add the butter. Put over medium heat and start stirring with a plastic spatula. Stir constantly until the eggs start to come together, taking off of the heat and putting back on every few minutes (the heat of the pan will continue to cook  the eggs, leaving constantly on the heat is too hot). Once the eggs start to look done (like the picture), season with salt and pepper, and stir in the creme fraiche. Now would be the time to add the chopped chives if you have them. Serve over a piece of toast!

I made these eggs for dinner (like I have time to cook eggs before work...), so I rounded out the meal with a bowl of cereal and some fresh fruit. I haven't had breakfast for dinner in ages!

* BTW - creme fraiche is French, and similar to sour cream but a little thinner and less sour. You should be able to find it in your grocery store, in mine it's near the mozzarella cheese. I've eyed this product for years and read lots of recipes that use it, but this is the first time I've actually picked some up, so I'm excited to look for some more uses.