Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon RollI decided to skip this weeks recipe for Malted Madeleines. I rarely eat madeleines, though the few times I have had them I really enjoyed them.  But I don’t have the right pan for them, (though apparently you can use a mini muffin pan, who knew!).  I also have company visiting this weekend, so I wanted to make something that we could have for breakfast. Which lead me this Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Recipe. Bonus, I knew that I could make them ahead of time and freeze them until I needed them. I’ve also had some frozen pumpkin puree sitting in my freezer, the remains of some thanksgiving decorations from months ago.

And wow these were amazing. And easy! I think that making cinnamon rolls are a lot easier than making a cake, and they’re a lot less fussy. It’s a basic yeast dough, with the addition of pumpkin and lots of cinnamon. Rolling out the dough is easy, though cutting the rolls can be a bit tricky without squishing them. I found that rubbing my knife with a bit of oil between each cut made it much easier. I think you can also use unflavored dental floss. It doesn’t really matter if your rolls are cut into perfect, clean circles, they will still be delicious. There’s not a lot of distinct pumpkin flavor to these, though they did come out very moist. I looooove cinnamon. (I even tried a cinnamon refried bean recipe once-which was terrible, as I expected, but I thought I would give it a chance.) I learned from my mom that most spiced recipes can be vastly improved by doubling or tripling the amount of cinnamon called for. I’ve been doing that for years with pumpkin pie and other cinnamon-y desserts,  and it really makes a difference with these cinnamon rolls as well. I can’t even describe how good my house smelled while these were baking.

Cinnamon RollThe only problem that I had with this recipe is that the dough didn’t rise at all. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for something to happen. My yeast is fine, I just made a great pizza dough a couple of weeks ago. And it foamed when I mixed it in with warm milk. A google search revealed another baker who had an identical problem with this recipe, and luckily hers baked up just fine, rising in the oven to look just like delicious cinnamon rolls. I know that cinnamon can inhibit yeast growth. Another theory is just that the pumpkin itself slowed down the rising process. Oh well, yeast can act in mysterious ways, and once baked they turned out beautifully.

Cinnamon RollI made a simple powdered sugar glaze to go on top, and I added some pecans to the cinnamon mix. They were a huge hit, I would highly recommend that everyone try them.

Cinnamon RollYum.

Baked Sunday Mornings

It’s a paste….

I was trying to figure out what to title this post, because I don’t feel like “Chocolate Hazelnut Spread” accurately describes what I ended up with. Have you ever looked at a recipe and thought “Wow, this is going to be so easy! And it will only take like twenty minutes! And will be amazingly delicious!” I may have jinxed myself with my over optimistic attitude. I have never made nutella before. I was expecting a creamy, chocolate frosting like spread.  Instead, what resulted was kind of a disaster. I found hazelnuts at Trader Joe’s, sadly with the skins on. I tried the baking soda boiling water bath method to loosen the skins, as recommended by a fellow baker, but unfortunately for me I still had a lot of trouble.  I wound up sitting over a bowl of nuts rubbing each one to individually get the skin off…after about half an hour the futility of my efforts seemed ridiculous, so I gave up and moved on to toasting the nuts as is.
IMG_2359 1
I placed the result in a food processor, expecting everything to turn into a delicious looking nut butter. Unfortunately, after a few minutes it did not look like it was going well.  I decided to move on to adding the rest of the ingredients, at which point my food processor started to protest. We have a house guest staying with us this week, and we had an amusing conversation standing over my food processor full sandy looking nut dust. “Maybe you should add more oil?” “Or some milk, maybe?”  I ended up doing both, resulting in sandy looking nut paste. All of the would be ok if it actually tasted like Nutella, unfortunately it just tasted kind of bland. Not very chocolatey and oddly quite a bit more like almonds than hazelnut. Maybe I should have toasted the nuts longer?Spread
I actually looked at a different hazelnut spread recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, which sounded like it would work a lot better. It had the line “Grind the nuts in a food processor until pasty (the nuts will be stuck to the sides of work bowl)” , which sounded exactly like what happened to me. And then you add chocolate chips, condensed milk and honey, which also sounded like it would have produced a creamier and more delicious result.
At the end of all this my husband wondered into the room and asked what we had made.
“It’s a paste.” My friend said.
“Does it taste like Nutella?” he asked.
“No.” I said, bemused.
Then my husband scooped out a spoonful. “It’s… interesting.” he said, taking a bite. That pretty much sums it up. I may try to whip them up into some brownies and see what happens, at this point I don’t think I can make it worse.
Til next time!
Next week : Alfajores