Better than Cinnamon Buns

Want to try something new for your next brunching soirée? Have to impress the in-laws dropping in this memorial day weekend? Give these a try, they won’t disappoint.

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These pull-apart cinnamon buns came from an idea that I saw a pastry chef doing with croissants. These are similar to monkey bread, but have hundreds of flaky layers and bursts of sticky butter….can you hear the yums yet?

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Buns: Makes 18 medium size buns

Ingredients:

1 c Whole Milk

2 env Active Dry Yeast

1 t Sugar

12 oz Butter

1 t Salt

2 Eggs

4 1/4 c AP Flour

11/2 c Dark Brown Sugar

1T +1t Cinnamon

Icing:

1 c Confectioners Sugar, Sifted

2 T Milk

1 t Cinnamon

Heat milk in a pot, or microwave, til it is about body temperature. Sprinkle in the yeast and teaspoon of sugar, then gently stir. Allow yeast to develop for about five minutes so that it is foamy.

ImageBeat 4 ounces of butter, 1/2 a cup of the brown sugar, and salt with a paddle attachment until fluffy. Add in eggs and beat until combined. Slowly add in 2 cups of flour. Switch to a dough hook, add in the milk and yeast and slowly add in the remaining flour. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl every so often.

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ImageOnce the dough is finished, scrape it into a buttered bowl, covered, and put in a warm place to proof. I recommend heating your oven to 200℉, then shut it off and put your dough there to proof.

After your dough proofs, divide it into fourths and roll out each section to 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface. Stack each layer on a sheet pan with parchment paper or oiled plastic wrap in between. Freeze the layers for 10-15 minutes.

ImageMeanwhile, cream the remaining butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Take out the layers and coat each with a fourth of the butter mixture. Roll the layers up as if you were making cinnamon rolls and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

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ImageCut the rolled up layers into 1/4 inch pieces and roll away! Put 4-5 balls into each lined muffin tin. The dough will double in size so do not overfill them. I made the mistake of doing that the first time around. Cover the tin and allow to proof for another hour.

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ImageImageOnce the dough proofs, pre-heat the oven to 350℉. Make an egg wash with one egg, a 1/4 cup of milk, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Egg wash all of the buns, sprinkle a touch of salt on each then pop them in the oven. Once they are golden brown on top they are done! About 20-30 minutes depending on how large the muffin tins are.

Drizzle with icing and Devour!

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Gluten and Dairy Free Outrageous Brownies

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I love baking for my friends. As a teenager, I always brought a little sweet treat along with me wherever I was invited and it was always welcomed. In college, I found myself to be a prodigy housewife of sorts; always baking for my next door neighbors. The look of surprise and delight is enough for me to enjoy doing so. Anyhow, one thing that I made quite often in my younger years was Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies. They were always a crowd pleaser at all the dinners and sleepovers in my youth, as well a personal favourite. Since giving up gluten, I had yet to make the decadent dessert so I decided to dust off the recipe and give it a new twist. I made the recipe without gluten and dairy, which I found was much easier then I had anticipated. I also used only cocoa powder in the mix and semi-sweet chocolate chunks for the chips.

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Jocelynn’s Outrageous Brownies: Makes 12 brownies

11 oz cocoa powder

3 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate

16 oz vegan butter (earth balance)

2 T instant coffee

1 c + 6 T sugar (separated)

2 eggs

3 t vanilla

2/3 c flour (Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free AP)

1/2 T Baking powder

1/2 t Salt

Preheat the oven to 350℉. Melt the butter, 6 tablespoons of sugar, and cocoa powder together in a double boiler. In a bowl, mix together eggs, remaining sugar, instant coffee, and vanilla. Allow the butter mixture to cool to body temperature, then add it to the egg mixture in stages, to prevent the eggs from cooking. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt on top of the chocolate mix, then fold it into the batter. Chop the semi-sweet chocolate into chunks, then coat them in a tablespoon of flour. Fold them into the mix. Pour into a half-size baking pan (a square cake pan) and bake for 15-20 minutes. Check with a cake tester for doneness.

Note: Allow the brownies too cool considerably before enjoying, or they will crumble! I have found this issue to be the same in Ina Garten’s recipe. Enjoy with a tall glass of cold almond milk.

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Dairy Free Creme Anglaise

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Every once in awhile, I flip through my French Laundry cookbook and gaze longingly at the cinnamon ice cream and the gorgeous petite fours. The other day, I recalled a conversation that I once had with Chef Keller about allergies and intolerances. He inspired me to create this alternative creme anglaise; one without dairy.

Almond Milk Creme Anglaise:

5 egg yolks

3/8 c sugar

2 c almond milk

1 t vanilla

1 T cornstarch

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and yolks. In a pot, heat the milk and vanilla until it simmers. Temper the yolks by slowly adding in the heated milk in stages. Once thoroughly incorporated, pour through a strainer, into a pot. Add the cornstarch to the mixture and place the pot on a medium flame. Whisk until the mixture has thickened to a custard consistency, or can coat the back of a wooden spoon. Promptly remove from heat to avoid overcooking the yolks.

This anglaise is perfect for my Dairy Free Creamsicle recipe or can be used as a substitute in any dessert with anglaise.