Anyone want to guess what I got for my birthday?
Only the sleekest, prettiest, piece of kitchen equipment in candy apple red that this home cook could ever imagine having in her possession.
That's right...it's the 90th Anniversary Limited Edition Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer complete with a 5 quart glass bowl! WOOOHOOOO! This was a total surprise. I didn't even ask for one (although I really, REALLY did want it.) My mom, my grandma, and my mother-in-law (and by default, my dad, my grandpa, and my father-in-law) all went in together to make this dream come true for my birthday. They are really too kind. Last year, when I had just started this blog, they gave me a whole new set of cookware for my birthday. You can read about that HERE.
I received my mixer last weekend when I was home visiting. And then tonight, before he carried out the cake, my husband took it one step further and gave me the attachment pack with the slicer/shredder, food grinder, and pasta maker plates. I am way beyond getting upset when my man gives the gift of kitchen appliances for birthdays and holidays. For me this IS romantic...and I am so stinkin' excited that I could bust. The possibilities and capabilities for my new kitchen toy are just racing through my head!
Not to stereotype, but you know how some guys love their cars so much that they'll spend a whole Saturday afternoon buffing and polishing...rubbing ArmorAll into the upholstery? That's kind of how I feel about my new mixer. Like a friend might call for a lunch date and I'll have to think about it because I just wanna stay home and mix up cookies and then polish my mixer. Okay, maybe I wouldn't go that far...but I sure do love my present.
In the words of Stevie Wonder, "Isn't she lovely? Isn't she wonderful?"
Of course, once I tore away the packing, I had to start baking right away. First I made this Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Pecan Praline Filling from Deep South Dish.
My in-laws were coming into town to babysit so that I could go out for a birthday dinner with my husband and friends. I wanted to make something yummy to go with their morning coffee. This certainly fit the bill!
Then I made homemade cinnamon rolls for the first time. I chose this recipe for Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls from Recipezaar. These are hands down the best homemade cinnamon rolls that I have ever tasted! My parent's Amish neighbor lady makes some killer cinnamon rolls and these are even better than hers! Sorry, Mary. Actually I wouldn't have written that comparison if I weren't completely certain that my former Amish neighbor is not surfing the web. Ha ha.
Since I was "on a roll" I decided to whip up some orange cinnamon rolls too. I love the kind that come from a tube and I wanted to make some from scratch.
To make the Cinnabon rolls, you need to dissolve the yeast in warm milk in a large bowl.
Then, add in the sugar, butter, salt, and eggs.
Gradually add the flour and mix well. Wow, my dough hook looks particularly ominous in this shot, doesn't it?
Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour. Next, I put the dough into a greased bowl, turned once, and covered it before letting it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 21 inches long by 16 inches wide. It should be about 1/4" thick. Then, spread softened butter over the dough. Oops. I was going for soft on the butter, but I'd forgotten to set it out beforehand. I used my microwave. Mine ended up melted. I don't think that it made any difference.
Now, sprinkle a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon over the butter. The suggestion comments on this recipe recommends sprinkling flour over the filling to prevent it from running out as the rolls bake, so I did that too.
Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge.
Here's the roll of cinnamon-sugar laden dough. At this point I have no idea how good these are going to be. I'm about to be enlightened....and in cinnamon roll bliss very soon!
Cut the dough into 1 3/4 inch slices, and place in a lightly greased baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Or that's what the recipe instructs. Mine never got really golden brown. I left them in for about 15 minutes before removing them from the oven.
While the rolls baked, I combined the icing ingredients (butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt) and beat em' til they were fluffy.
Here are my rolls fresh from the oven. Healthy eating aside, I bet if you lightly brushed these with some melted, un-salted butter they'd get nice and golden brown.
Once the rolls come out of the oven, spread them generously with the icing. Cinnamon rolls aren't like a cake, you can ice them fresh from the oven. In fact, it's much easier to spread the icing while the rolls are hot.
These were perfection! I took them to my Monday morning parenting group for refreshments and they were a big hit!
I also took these Orange Rolls. They're probably a little better for you. Less butter. Less sugar. They are nicely flavored by the orange juice and freshly grated orange rind mixed into the dough. These need a little more time to rise. Once you form them into rolls, they need to rise a second time for 30 or more minutes. I won't do the play-by-play on the preparation of these. You get the idea from the steps above AND you can find the complete recipe below.
Bake em'in a 375 degree preheated oven until rolls are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. This recipe did turn a nice, golden-brown. I would like to point out here that I baked all of the rolls in a springform pan. That way, I could remove the sides for easier service. Once the sides of the pan are gone, you can scoot the rolls right onto a serving plate.
Each recipe made about 2 pans full of rolls. I ended up freezing half of them to heat up as a breakfast treat on another day.
While these rolls baked, I made the icing. It's just orange juice, powdered sugar, orange zest, and vanilla. Next time I'll leave out the vanilla. It really doesn't need to be there and distracted from the sharp citrus flavor that I love about these rolls. Also, I highly recommend doubling the icing recipe. There wasn't quite enough to cover each and every roll.
Once the rolls were iced, I grated a little more orange zest over top just to make em' prettier. These rolls were good, but not as good as the Cinnabon recipe. They were a little more dense than I prefer. I think that I may have added just a touch more flour than I needed. Next time I'll add a little less flour and leave the vanilla out of the icing and then they should be just about perfect. If not, I'll look for an airy-er version. But don't get me wrong, these were MORE than just edible. They were yummy, I just don't believe that they've reached their full potential yet. I mean, just look at em'! They've got potential...
A job well done by my new favorite appliance. I called out "Hi-yo, Silver, away!" and she rode off into the sunset.
What?! Hi-yo Silver? Well call me "crazy" but don't you see the resemblance? No? Okay then, humor me. It's my birthday.
Here are the recipes:
Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls from Recipezaar
1 (1/4 ounce) package dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup margarine (I used butter)
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine, softened
8 tablespoons margarine
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.
Add sugar, margarine salt, eggs, and flour, mix well. Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 21 inches long by 16 inches wide. It should be approx 1/4 thick.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
To make filling, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Spread the softened margarine over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the surface. Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge. Cut the dough into 1 3/4 inch slices, and place in a lightly greased baking pan.
Bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
While the rolls are baking combine the icing ingredients. Beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy. When the rolls are done, spread generously with icing.
Orange Cinnamon Rolls also from Recipezaar altered (slightly) by me
3 hours | 25 min prep
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
Icing (Double this!)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice + 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon orange zest
Dissolve yeast in warm water in lg mixer bowl.
Add orange peel, orange juice, sugar, salt, egg, butter and 1 1/2 c of the flour.
Beat 30 seconds on low, scraping bowl constantly; increase speed to medium, beat 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough easy to handle. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead 5 minutes and dough is smooth and elastic. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours (dough is ready if an indentation remains when dough is touched). Punch dough down and, on a lightly floured surface, roll into a rectangle 15x9". Spread w/ 1 T butter and sprinkle w/ combined 2 T sugar and 1 t cinnamon. Roll up, beginning at one of the long sides; pinch edge of dough into roll to seal well; stretch to make roll even. Cut roll into 15 slices about 1" wide. Place slices slightly apart in a greased oblong baking pan, 13x9x2", or in greased muffin cups.
Cover and let rise until double, about 30 minutes.
Bake in a 375 degree preheated oven until rolls are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
If desired, mix together confectioner's sugar, orange juice, orange peel; frost while warm.
Recipe is easily doubled.