Monday, February 10, 2014

Caramel Rolls

I did it! I finally made my Mom's caramel roll recipe! I wanted to make it last year when I was trying to "challenge myself" in the kitchen, but I just never had the time/the right occasion to make it.
The recipe takes about 4.5 hours altogether and involves yeast! (I'm still slightly scared about working with yeast even though I've made these amazing donuts, this heavenly overnight coffee loaf, these delicious croissants, and this yummy from scratch monkey bread. You'd think I'd feel like a pro by now, but I don't. I still think yeast is finicky!)
I had to call my Mom twice to clarify some parts of the recipe and she admitted that she didn't have a real recipe for it. She had to kind of make it up when my brother asked for it a couple of years ago. Well, her slightly made up recipe has been delighting me for years and now I've "conquered" it!
Isn't it beautiful? So shiny and caramel-y?
I also tried something special with the recipe for Valentine's Day. I made the other dish of rolls with red colored caramel and tried to shape the rolls into hearts. Can you see the heart?
I think the red color scared my taste-testers seeing the natural colored one was eaten first. I don't blame them. As it turns out, the red dye slightly messed with the texture of the caramel.
But both versions tasted great! I must admit that I think my mom makes them better, but hey, she has more years of experience on me!
Oh, and in case you have 4.5 hours to make rolls, here's what they taste like: cinnamon rolls with caramel and pecans on top instead of frosting. Yum! 
Caramel Rolls (adapted from my Mom's Best Recipes Cookbook)
3/4 C scalded milk
1/4 C shortening
1 scant T yeast (1 packet should do)
3/4 C lukewarm water
1/2 C sugar
1 t salt
1 egg
4-4 1/2 C flour (see directions)
1/2 C light syrup
1 C brown sugar
4 T butter
1/2 C chopped pecans.
1 C cinnamon and sugar

Pour hot milk over shortening in a mixing bowl; let cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in water (100-110 degrees F). Yeast should be good to use after about 5 minutes (there will be some foam on top of the water.) Mix these together along with the sugar, salt, egg, and 2 C flour (not the entire amount.) Beat with electric mixer until there are air bubbles appearing in the batter. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let rise for 1/2 hour. (It might not rise much. This is ok.)

Add the other 2-2 1/2 C flour: knead on counter top for 8 minutes or so. Let rise in a greased bowl, covered for at least an hour.

While it's rising, heat the light syrup, brown sugar, and butter together until melted. Mix well and pour into 2 8x8 or 9x9 baking dishes. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the caramel.

After the hour of dough rising, roll dough with a rolling pin onto a counter top. Roll out into about an 18 inch by 12-16 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (1 1/2 t cinnamon mixed with 1 C sugar.) Roll up dough and cut into 18 equal sections. Place on sides on top of caramel mixture (cinnamon & sugar side down), 3x3 in each pan. Let rise, covered, for 1 hour.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until the dough is slightly brown. Remove from oven and flip onto a cooling rack. (Place wax paper under rack.) Make sure to spoon out the left over caramel mixture that is stuck to the pan back on top of rolls.

Eat warm. Add butter if desired.
Bake well and prosper!

Monday, February 3, 2014

White Chocolate Butterscotch Buddies

I was interested in trying this twist on muddy buddies (aka puppy chow.) I figured it was the perfect fodder to bring to a Super Bowl party. It was always a beloved football party staple where I grew up in Texas.
I was shocked to find that no one at the party I went to yesterday was familiar with muddy buddies/puppy chow. However, I wasn't shocked to hear that they loved this dessert and kept going back for more. 
My friend above was nice enough to be a hand model for my photo shoot yesterday. He's also a professional model, so this came naturally for him. ;) I posted a photo of him posing with the dessert on my Facebook page. Have you liked my page yet? I post different photos and sometimes just some plain silly things on my FB page. You should definitely check it out:
Oh, and you should check out this dessert if you're a big fan of butterscotch and sugar!
White Chocolate Butterscotch Buddies (found at Creme de la Crumb)
6 cups rice chex cereal
12 ounces white chocolate chips, melted
1 small box butterscotch pudding mix (dry)
⅓ cup powdered sugar
Place the rice chex in a large bowl. In a double boiler, melt white chocolate. (Erika's extras: It doesn't become very syrupy. It becomes gummy and malleable.) Pour/stir in melted chocolate over cereal. Stir to coat all cereal in chocolate. (Erika's Extras: I had to do this in a couple of stages due to dealing with putty like chocolate.) Transfer to a large zip-lock bag. In a small bowl combine pudding mix and powdered sugar and whisk together. Pour into the plastic bag with the cereal mix and zip to close. Shake the bag to coat the cereal well with the sugar mix. Allow chocolate to harden, then break cereal into smaller chunks. Store in airtight container.
Bake well and prosper!