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Caramel-Pecan Sticky Rolls

January 7, 2013


One of the recipes I’ve most wanted to master over the past couple years has been a gooey, caramel sticky roll. Everything from the way they look coming out of the oven to the amazing, gooey texture and caramel flavor pulls me in. It’s not exactly a post-holiday detox recipe, but my husband loves them and he’s not one for detoxes of any sort.

For years, I’ve heard wonderful things about The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for cinnamon rolls. I’ve watched her step-by-step instructions and felt excited to make the rolls, only to realize that the recipe makes a whole lot of cinnamon rolls. We are talking dozens upon dozens of rolls. Since I don’t live on a ranch with a bunch of hungry cowboys, I really have no need for dozens of cinnamon rolls. Which is what deterred me from ever giving the recipe a go. But a couple weeks ago, I decided not to let the large recipe drive me away anymore.

I scaled back the recipe to serve half as many rolls as the original recipe served, and instead of topping the rolls with maple frosting, I turned these beauties into caramel rolls with a gooey caramel-pecan topping that is as close to heaven on a plate as you can get.


Joe said that these rolls were the best he has ever had. And coming from Joe, that is saying quite a bit. On Sunday, he at 5 (!!) in a single day. And while the nutritional analysis of this recipe isn’t going to impress anyone, the flavor and ease of the recipe certainly will.

Caramel-Pecan Sticky Rolls
Recipe adapted slightly from The Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls
*1 cup milk
*1 cup heavy cream
*1/2 cup vegetable oil
*1/2 cup granulated sugar
*1 packet instant yeast (such as Red Star Platinum Yeast)
*5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
*1/2 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon salt

*1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
*1 cup granulated sugar
*2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Caramel-Pecan Topper
*1/3 cup butter, melted
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*1/2 cup pecans
*1 tablespoon corn syrup

*In a large nonstick stock pot over medium heat, combine the milk, cream and vegetable oil, stirring frequently. Bring to just below a simmer and remove from heat. Cool until the mixture is warm but not hot (120°F to 130°F). Sprinkle the yeast atop the mixture and allow the yeast to dissolve for 1 minute. Stir the yeast in with a wooden spoon. Stir in 4 cups of the flour with the wooden spoon until the mixture forms a sticky dough. Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour.
*Once dough has risen for 1 hour, remove towel and add in an additional 1 cup of the flour, the baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in with the wooden spoon and work remaining flour in with your hands. Transfer dough onto a work surface and knead with your hands for 3 to 4 minutes, adding additional flour (up to 1 cup) as needed to reach a smooth, elastic consistency. The dough should still be soft but just shy of sticky.
*Roll dough onto a lightly floured surface into a very large rectangle. The dough should be thin (about 1/3-inch thick).
*Spread rectangle with the melted butter, leaving a 1-inch border around all the edges. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly atop the butter. Roll the dough up from one long side until the dough forms one large log. Seal the long edge with your fingers.
*Cut dough into rolls, about 1-inch thick. Should make 18 to 22 rolls.
*Preheat oven to 350°F.
*In a small bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, pecans and corn syrup for the filling. Stir until well combined. Spoon mixture into a large 13×9-inch baking pan, spreading evenly to coat the surface. Place rolls (fairly close together) in the baking pan atop the pecan mixture. Cover rolls and allow them to rise for 30 minutes more.
*Bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes (you don’t want the rolls to brown very much but want the centers of the rolls to be cooked). Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.

Happy Baking!


Whole Wheat Cinnamon Applesauce Bread

November 8, 2012

I’m back with yet another recipe for quick bread. But this time I’ve mixed things up and used something other than pumpkin or banana. Since apples are as good as they get around this time, I figured it was overdue to make a cake with applesauce and chunks of fresh apple. It’s almost as good as enjoying a slice of apple pie, only a lot healthier and a whole lot easier.

I based this recipe off Jenna’s recipe for Whole Wheat Applesauce Loaf Cake. Her version looked amazing, and I’ve had it pinned on Pinterest for the longest time. But since I was hoping to enjoy this for breakfast, I decided to cut back on the sugar and leave off the cream cheese frosting. But if you’re looking to make things a little sweeter and more decadent, hop on over to Jenna’s site for the frosting recipe. I also added in a bunch of chopped apples, which gives this bread a rustic, hearty texture and appeal.

Like all quick breads in our house, this one didn’t last long. I ate it every morning for breakfast until it was gone, and I think I’ll be making another loaf this weekend, it’s just that good.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Applesauce Bread
Adapted slightly from Eat Live Run’s Whole Wheat Applesauce Loaf Cake
*1/2 cup sugar
*1 stick butter, softened
*1 large egg
*2 cups whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*3 teaspoons baking powder
*1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
*1/2 cup peeled, chopped apples
*1 tablespoon coarse sugar

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter and cream together until smooth and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the egg and beat until well combined.
*In a second bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir until well combined. Add the flour to the wet ingredients, along with the applesauce. Beat until just combined. Stir in the chopped apples by hand. Transfer batter into prepared loaf pan and top with the coarse sugar. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the loaf pan. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Happy Baking!


Caramelized Banana Bread

October 3, 2012

I had grand plans about waxing poetic about this rich, full-flavored Caramelized Banana Bread because it’s really as amazing as it sounds. The banana flavor is somehow more banana-y with warm caramel flavor and a crisp, sugar-coated exterior. And as all banana bread should, it tastes better two or three days after baking, once it has had time to sit wrapped in aluminum foil on the countertop. I even used a few slices dipped in egg to make Banana Bread French Toast last weekend. Amazing!

But that’s about all I can say about this banana bread without getting sick to my stomach. Because on Monday, after a work trip, I came down with a horrid case of food poisoning that has knocked me off my feet and has left me eating nothing more than Sprite, butter toast and popsicles for two days straight. This morning I finally felt good enough to have toast with a smear of peanut butter, so progress is being made. But thinking about my favorite foods, like bananas and Greek yogurt just doesn’t have the same appeal that it usually does. I’m hoping to resume to normal eating behavior soon, but in the meantime, you should make this banana bread and enjoy it for me.

Caramelized Banana Bread
Recipe only slightly adapted from Cooking Light, October 2012
*4 tablespoons butter
*3/4 cup brown sugar
*3 medium ripe bananas, sliced
*1/2 cup fat-free buttermilk
*2 tablespoons canola oil
*2 large eggs
*1 cup whole wheat flour
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*3/4 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 tablespoon coarse sugar (like Sugar In The Raw)

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with aluminum foil or spray with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour. Set aside.
*Melt the 4 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the sugar and bananas and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. Transfer banana mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture is well combined and fairly smooth.
*In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk, oil and eggs.  In a second bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add half the egg mixture to the banana mixture. Beat until just combined. Add half the flour mixture. Repeat with remaining egg and flour mixture, ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Top with the coarse sugar. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Makes 15 servings/slices

Happy Baking!


Higher Protein Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

May 30, 2012

Espresso and Cream has been pretty light on the recipes lately, and I think it’s time to remedy that! I’ve been doing a bit more baking and experimenting with quinoa flour over the past couple months. Initially, I thought it was a difficult flour to work with. It has a slightly stronger, nuttier taste than whole wheat flour, and it doesn’t contain gluten, so it typically needs to be cut with another type of flour. But once I started working with it a little more, I grew to love the flavor of quinoa flour when mixed with a little all-purpose or white whole wheat flour. I also love that it is higher in protein that tradition flours, which makes it a great addition to quick breads and other treats you want to make a little healthier, like banana bread.

Each week, we buy somewhere between 8 and 10 bananas, which means I’m always looking for new ways to dress up banana bread. There are already a number of recipes for banana bread on Espresso and Cream, but I don’t really believe there is one, ultimate banana bread. There are just too many ways to adapt the bread depending on what you’re in the mood for. Last week, I happened to be in the mood for something that was slightly healthier than traditional banana bread, but still packed with hits of sweet chocolate. This is the perfect breakfast bread or afternoon snack, and Joe even called it the “best banana bread you’ve ever made.”

One measure I use to judge the quality of a banana bread recipe is it’s “aging potential.” In my opinion, a really good banana bread tastes better as the days go by. Somewhere between the second and third day after baking it, the bread truly tastes the best. After taking this bread with us to Minneapolis last weekend and eating it throughout the days we were there, I can assure you that the aging potential is spot-on.

Higher Protein Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

*3 bananas, mashed
*1/4 cup butter, melted
*1 large egg, lightly beaten
*1/4 cup granulated sugar
*1/4 cup milk
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
*1/2 cup quinoa flour
*1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour a loaf pan. Set aside.
*In a large bowl, combine the bananas, butter, egg, and sugar. Beat until well combined. Add in the milk, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and beat until combined.
*In a small bowl, combine the white whole wheat flour and quinoa flour. Add the flour to the wet ingredients and beat until just combined. Do not over beat. Stir in the chocolate chips.
*Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until lightly browned and a stick inserted in the center comes out nearly clean. Cool on wire rack.

Happy Baking!

Vegan Strawberry Streusel Bread

June 10, 2011

If I’m completely honest with myself, the reason I’ve avoided vegan baking is because it seems scary and unknown.

Butter and eggs I understand. I know that when you add them to recipes they produce soft, rich, fluffy baked goods that make people oooh and ahhh.

Vegan baking, on the other hand, is another world full of words like flax eggs, vegan margarine and the likes.

So to help you all, and myself, out I stopped by Mama Pea’s site, which is full of amazingly approachable vegan recipes, and picked out the easiest baking recipe I could find. Of course, the Apple Spice Coffee Cake seemed a little too much like fall for this time of year, so I switched things up and subbed in chopped fresh strawberries for the apples. Has anyone else noticed how amazingly delicious strawberries are right now?

If you’ve never ventured into vegan baking, this is a great place to start. And even if you are a vegan baking expert, this streusel bread is worth making. Serve with coffee, at a brunch, or as a mildly-sweet dessert. The choice is up to you.

Have a happy weekend, all!

Vegan Strawberry Streusel Bread
Adapted from Mama Pea’s Apple Spice Coffee Cake 

*1/2 cup non dairy milk
*3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
*1/4 cup canola oil
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*1 cup whole wheat flour
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

For the topping:
*3 tablespoons brown sugar
*1 tablespoon sugar
*2 tablespoons flour
*2 1/2 tablespoons vegan margarine
*1/4 cup old fashioned oats
*2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan or line with parchment paper. (I prefer to grease and line just the bottom with parchment.)
*In a small mixing bowl, combine the non-dairy milk, apple sauce, oil, cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar. Stir until well combined.
*In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
*Gently stir in chopped strawberries. Transfer batter to loaf pan.
*In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the topping and combine with fingers until mixture is well combined and crumbly. Spread mixture atop batter in loaf pan.
*Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with vegan margarine or strawberry preserves.

Happy Baking!


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