A mom's journal of the sweet things in her life...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls with Almond Cinnamon Sugar

These little pillows of deliciousness are adapted from a Paula Deen recipe. I just wanted to get that out of the way first. What does that mean? It means that they are not healthy and they have no nutritional value whatsoever. I'm certain that there is not a gram of fiber either, but what they lack in fiber, they make up for in fat. What's more is that my 'adaptation' actually served to add calories to a Paula Deen recipe. Is that even possible? The original recipe did not have a sugary almond topping to sprinkle on top. Clearly an oversight. But holy cow, are they good. Good and easy. The perfect Sunday morning treat to make post cereal consumption, when the rest of the house is busy doing Sunday things and you know you want to bake but don't feel like totally committing to the process. Meaning, you want the reward - but aren't willing to put in the work. Not that there's anything wrong with that...
Recipe for Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls with Almond Cinnamon Sugar
(adapted from Paula Deen)
*yields 16 small rolls
1 tube of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
3 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
egg wash (1 egg white + 1 tsp. water)
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tsp. milk 
Mix together the confectioner's sugar, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth and no lumps remain. Set aside. Open the can of crescent rolls. Press two of the triangles together to create a rectangle, roll the seams together and stretch to approximately 7x4 inches. Smear with about 2 Tablespoons of cream cheese filling.
Roll up from the short end, place on plate, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes until firm. 
While chilling, pulse the sliced almonds in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add cinnamon and sugar and mix well. Set aside. In separate bowl, make your egg wash by whisking together one egg white with 1 tsp. water. Set aside.
Remove chilled crescent rolls from fridge, brush with egg wash and sprinkle liberally with almond sugar mixture. Gently press mixture onto the rolls to adhere.  Cut each roll into four pieces.
Place on parchment lined baking sheet at least 2 inches apart (they puff up when baked). 
Bake at 350 for 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes. While cooling, make your glaze by adding 2 tsp. of milk to 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar. Mix until smooth. You may have to add a bit more milk to get desired consistency but do so sparingly. 
 Once rolls have cooled to room temperatures, drizzle with the glaze.

A word to the wise:  you really do want to let these cool a bit before eating. When they're still hot, the insides are bit doughy - you'll wonder whether they're under-baked. They're not...they just need to cool slightly. Patience...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Soft White Buns

I've been looking a long time for a good bun recipe. Not a kaiser roll with its crispy exterior. And not a dinner roll, or a butter pan roll, or a parker house roll. A plain, white, round bun. The kind of bun that could be used for a sandwich or, perhaps even a hamburger. 
With so many recipes to choose from, it took me while to finally settle on one. Most of the recipes out there are for the kind of buns I was not looking for. Then I finally found a recipe that looked like what I wanted, it was the picture that was the deciding factor for me. The buns looked exactly like what I wanted but the only way to know for sure was to try it.
As with most new recipes, I tend to stay true to the original recipe for the first round. Even though the recipe calls for half butter and half shortening (which I rarely use unless making a pie crust), I wanted to taste the buns as they were intended before I decide whether or not they need adjustments. These ones were perfect. They are soft white buns - which makes them ideal for sandwiches as a soft bun is more akin to bread.
The instructions, unfortunately, did not say how many the recipe yielded. So I cut my dough off into 3.5 ounce pieces before rolling into balls, and got 19. My buns came out large enough to be used for a hamburger, which is good to know for next time I need homemade burger buns. I think I'll try them with 3 ounces of dough next time, which would give me closer to 2 dozen buns, and they'd be the perfect size for a smaller sandwich or alongside a bowl of soup. Not that anyone was complaining about the size of these buns, however, they were so good. They were still really good the next day - having just sat out on the counter over night. They were still fresh and soft which means they are perfect if you want to make them a day ahead.

Recipe for Soft White Buns
(adapted from Mennonite Girls Can Cook)

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F.)
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. yeast

2 cups milk (I used 1%)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar

6 cups bread flour (or you can use all purpose)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the warm water, 1 tsp. sugar and the yeast. Allow to rest for 10 minutes until "poofed".  (If your mixture doesn't poof, either your yeast is old, or the water was too hot and it killed the yeast.)

In a medium sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter and shortening. Add the milk and just warm through. If your mixture exceeds 110 degrees, allow to sit for a few minutes to cool off.

Add the beaten eggs to the stand mixer bowl where the yeast mixture is. Add the warmed milk mixture. Add the salt and 1/3 cup sugar and mix until incorporated. Add the flour, one cup at a time, allowing each cup of flour to become incorporated before adding the next. Allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before proceeding. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, either by hand or with your dough hook (I used the latter) until smooth and elastic adding a tablespoon of flour at a time (if needed) to keep from sticking. (I didn't need any additional flour, my dough was tacky but not sticky).

Let rest for 1 1/2 hours covered. (I actually put the dough in the fridge at this point to run errands. 2 hours later, the dough had doubled in the fridge. I allowed it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.)

Punch the dough down and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare your sheets by either lining with parchment or spraying with nonstick spray. (Parchment is best.)

Make the dough into buns by cutting off small portions and squeezing between your thumb and your forefinger approximately the size of a small mandarine orange. (If you have a kitchen scale, then weigh each ball to ensure consistent buns. 3 ounces for medium sized buns, 3.5 ounces for hamburger buns.)

Place on prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 to 3 inches between each bun. Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and bake until golden brown, about 15 to 25 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of your buns. (Mine were large buns 3.5 ounces and were done at 22 minutes.)
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