Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hello again, blog world!

Hey guys I'm back!
I know I've been gone for quite a while, but college has kept me a very, very busy bee. During last semester, I couldn't even find the time to watch any of my favorite Food Network shows let alone write a blog post. On top of that, lack of an actual kitchen has made any type of food prep difficult.

BUT, now that I'm on winter break, I have just a bit more time on my hands.  I decided an obligatory blog post as to why I haven't written anything in the past five months should be written.

I want to share a very special recipe with y'all today. Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.
I've been making these cinnamon rolls for a very long time and each time I adjust the recipe; making it just a little bit better from batch to batch. This final batch that I made for Christmas Eve breakfast was a winner. Even better than they have ever been, and they were already so good to begin with! This final adaption of the recipe, that I originally got from Good Life Eats, results in an incredibly moist, light, festive and healthy breakfast roll that is bound to impress.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Dough portion adapted from Good Life Eats
Roll Dough:
1/4 cup warm water (not hot, about 110 degrees)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) yeast
1/4 cup warm milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup + 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 1/2 cups (approximately) white whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour (or all-purpose)
1 heaping tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup golden raisins (or any other dried fruit)
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Cream Cheese Icing:
4 ounces low fat cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of salt

1) Mix together the yeast and water, let sit for 5 minutes. Put all of the dough ingredients except for the one cup of bread flour into the bread machine, adding liquid ingredients before the dry. (If you want directions for manual mixing instead of with a bread machine use the methods posted on the original recipe).

2) Press dough cycle. Gradually add the bread flour until the dough has reached the right consistency (it may need even more flour than that, depending on the day, so add more white whole wheat flour until it looks right.) Once cycle is complete, transfer to a lightly greased work surface, and pat or roll it into a 16" x 12" rectangle. Mix together the first 6 ingredients of the filling and spread over dough. Sprinkle with raisins and walnuts.

3) Roll the dough into a log the long way; it'll stretch to about 20" long as you roll. Using a very sharp knife, slice the log into 15 slices. In order to cut down on drag, it helps to rinse the blade in hot water, and wipe it off, between slices. Place slices in a greased 9x13 inch baking pan (or in two 8 or 9 inch round cake or pie pans). Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

4) Bake in a preheated 375°F oven. Bake the rolls till they're brown around the edges and beginning to turn golden brown across the center, about 15-20 minutes.

5) While rolls bake, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a small bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat well. Add milk, vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth and creamy.

Frost warm rolls with the cream cheese frosting and serve immediately.

These rolls are absolutely heavenly. The best part is they're packed with good-for-you pumpkin, whole grains, antioxidant rich spices and they're not so sugary sweet that they will put you in a sugar coma like the jumbo cinnabon rolls. My brother says they're profession grade cinnamon rolls and couldn't believe that the whole batch only has three tablespoons of butter and is actually almost good for you!

And don't feel confined by the filling. Feel free to change up the fruit to whatever you have on hand. This time I had dried cherries and crystallized ginger so I figured why not? The ginger worked perfectly with the flavors in the roll and the cherries added a delicious tart yet sweet bite. Not a fan of walnuts? Try pecans or feel free to leave nuts out of it all together!

This is one of my proudest recipes so I really hope one of y'all decides to try it out! And plus, how could you go wrong with pumpkin this time of year?

Happy baking and happy New Years!

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