Friday, November 20, 2015

Sweet Cinnamon Crisps!

Thanksgiving Day is soon upon us! It's truly one of my favorite many memories! My childhood Thanksgivings were filled with trips "over the mountains and through the woods" to Kittanning, Pennsylvania - not to Grandmother's house, but to the home of my twin great-aunts. The pair of aging teachers would watch anxiously at the window and greet us with cries of "My, Oh! How you've grown!" The dinner we would share was always spectacular, particularly when I now recall how tiny their kitchen was! As our family grew, the celebration moved to Pittsburgh, where my aunt and uncle lived. By then, Dave and I had little ones who became the center of attention (other than the food, of course!). Since we were home schoolers, I used the opportunity for the kids to memorize and recite poetry to entertain the family. In preparing to write this note, I thought it would be appropriate...and share a couple of them with you! 

When my son was four, he chose to recite "The Onion", by C.C.Ward:
      "Tis very sad,," the onion said
        And heaved a little sigh
       "The only faculty I have
        Is making people cry." 
He got a nice round of applause, along with a few laughs for that recitation! His older sister recited "Thanksgiving" by Ralph Waldo Emerson :
      For each new morning with its light
        Father, we thank Thee
      For rest and shelter of the night, 
         Father,we thank Thee
      For health and food, for love and friends, 
         For everything Thy goodness sends, 
            Father in heaven, we thank Thee. 
The family applauded for Kate, too, but in a more sober way. Smiles and nods of agreement went around the room. As you celebrate this very special holiday of remembrance and thanksgiving, may you find joy and gratitude in  even the simplest things. Blessings to you all! 

For roll recipes for your Thanksgiving table, please search our past blog posts - there are some goodies!!! This recipe might make a wonderful pre- or post Thanksgiving treat!   

Cinnamon Crisps!
Think ahead with this recipe – the dough definitely needs to chill!
½ cup warm milk
¼ cup warm water
1 Tbsp/pkg. Red Star Platinum yeast
2 Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ cup (one stick) cold butter
1 egg yolk, beaten

2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 Cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
(waxed paper)

½ Cup sugar combined with 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
½ Cup chopped pecans

Place the warm liquids in the EZ DOH bucket, along with the yeast. Stir to dissolve. In a separate bowl, mix the dry dough ingredients, then cut in the butter (I have a food processor, so I just let it do this work) . Add this to the yeast mixture, along with the egg yolk. EZ DOH-it until everything is well-combined – the mixture will be sticky! Cover and place in the frig for at least 2 hours (I just chilled mine overnight)

Remove dough from the frig and knead slightly. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Roll into an 18x10” rectangle and brush with the 2 Tbsp. melted butter. Combine the cinnamon & sugar and sprinkle evenly over the rectangle. Starting at the long side, roll up the dough jelly-roll style and pinch edges to seal. Cut into 18- 1” slices. Combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon (topping) and sprinkle a small amount onto a piece of waxed paper. Place a slice on the cinnamon sugar, cover with waxed paper and roll into a 4-5” circle. Place sugared side down on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and cinnamon sugar. Continue with remaining slices. Bake at 375 for  10-14 minutes until golden. 


Friday, November 13, 2015

Delightful Citrus Apple Bundles!

And so it begins.....the "most wonderful time of the year"! The key is keeping things simple enough so that you can enjoy all the "goings-on" as well!! I have a tendency to get myself in over my head with complex recipes or projects or party plans. However I'm SLOWLY learning to KISS (keep it simple, silly! - I know- it's usually "keep it simple, stupid", but my grandson says I'm not allowed to use  that s-word, which is good!) . That's why I adore the EZ DOH basic recipe ("Stand-By Bread" on our blog). It's sooooo easy and it's sooooo versatile! It can go from plain to fancy.  For instance, I came home last night desperately tired from setting up "the Gingerbread House" for our town park's Christmas display. But I also desperately wanted some pita bread. Figuring I had 5 minutes of standing time left in me, I whipped up some dough, let it rise briefly, then rolled out a little disc of dough and slapped it in a greased skillet. Viola! I had a delicious, warm flat bread!

Today's recipe is also made from the basic dough , but it's on the fancier side. It's perfect for a beautiful, easy-to-fix dessert or treat. This can be a "make-ahead", too......Just make all the little apple bundles, place them in the greased pan, cover and place in the frig until you're ready to bake them. Proceed with the remainder of the recipe and you'll have a delicious, warm, homemade treat! 

Delightful Citrus Apple Bundles!

1 – Recipe EZ DOH “stand-by” bread (on the back of the EZ DOH bucket or see our blog “Stand By Bread”
2 Lg. Apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
1 medium orange
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
½ Cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Prepare bread dough per the recipe, through the first rise. Cut apple slices in half crosswise. Roll out dough to a large rectangle. Cut strips of dough, width-wise. Place  2-3 apple “half-slices”  at the end of one strip of dough and roll up the slices (apple slice ends may be showing). Arrange the bundles in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Continue until all the dough and apples are used up. Zest the orange, then juice the orange.  Pour 1/3 cup of the orange juice in the pan, AROUND- NOT OVER the bundles. Brush the bundles with melted butter. Stir together the sugar, 1 tsp. orange zest and the cinnamon together. Sprinkle the mixture over the bundles. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, until golden.
NOTES: You can make “mini bundles” by cutting the apple slices in thirds rather than in half and using thinner strips of dough. The pic I show is of “mini bundles” 


Friday, November 6, 2015

Cinnamon Apple Almond Ring!

Here it is - November already! Amazing how you can turn a calendar page and the pace picks up all of a sudden! I am not a fan of beginning Christmas celebrations prior to Thanksgiving....however, reality (and all the local committees I serve on.....) demand that I start focusing my thoughts in that direction. The Christmas Light Show committee has to have the "Gingerbread House" set up and on display by November 19; The Way Station Gala committee's Christmas gala is happening THIS weekend; the Candlelight Tour of Churches will be held on Dec. 4, so we've got to get things together NOW; Church cantatas begin their practices; etc, etc. It's crazy......but it's crazy wonderful. I've just got to keep those loud, demanding voices at bay as I head into this special, special time of year, remembering that it's all about friends and family and loving those around us as we celebrate the One who came as Love Incarnate! 

Last Sunday, I got to share love in "bread language" -  I brought this coffee ring for the new congregation my hubby is pastoring. I just sort-of "made up" the recipe with things I had on hand, but it really turned out to be a keeper. It's pretty, it's easy ...and it's super-tasty! Looooooved it!

Cinnamon Apple Almond Ring

¾ Cup warmed milk
1 Tbsp./packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 egg
¼ Cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3 Cups unbleached bread flour

1 Lg. apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
¼ Cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. instant Clear Jel
2 Tbsp. chopped almonds
Mix cinnamon, sugar and Clear Jel together. Stir in apples and almonds to coat

¾ Cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
½ tsp. almond extract
2-3 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream (or milk)
Stir together until of “drizzling” consistency

Sliced almonds, toasted (I toasted mine in a non-stick skillet –no butter or oil- for 3-5 minutes)

Place warmed milk and yeast in EZ DOH bucket and stir to dissolve yeast. Let rest 1 minute. Add one cup of flour, then additional dough ingredients. EZ DOH-it for 2-3 minutes, or until dough is smooth and soft and all ingredients are incorporated. Remove dough from bucket, spray bucket with cooking spray, “smooth” dough and replace in bucket. Cover and let rise until doubled. Mix filling ingredients while dough is rising.

Remove dough from bucket and roll into a large rectangle, approximately 15x10”. Spread filling on rectangle. Starting from a long side, roll the dough as for cinnamon rolls. Pinch the edge together. Spray a baking pan and move the roll to the pan, placing the seam-side down. Bring together the two ends to form a ring. Pinch to seal. Using a kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cut from the outside to the center, leaving about 1 inch uncut at the center. Continue at one-inch intervals around the ring. Carefully turn each slice slightly , showing the center of each slice, laying each one on the prior slice. Cover and let rise 20-35 minutes (you may also put it in the frig overnight and bake in the am – remove from frig 30 minutes prior to baking. )  Bake at 375 for 25-35 minutes until golden. Cool on wire rack. Drizzle the icing over the rolls. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds. 

Be sure to check out more yeast bread recipes at


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