Category Archives: Sweet Rolls

How to Par-Bake Cinnamon Rolls {Make Ahead Method!}

How to Par-Bake Cinnamon Rolls {Make Ahead Method!}​

Coming from a Christmas morning breakfast casserole family, I’ve never really understood why so many people make cinnamon rolls on that day of all days.

I mean, have you made cinnamon rolls from scratch? They are not a quick recipe, clocking in at a minimum of three hours start-to-finish (slightly less if you do the rise overnight). My family is all adults so we start our Christmas morning at a leisurely 9am, eat around 10, then get to the gifts around noon. If we wanted cinnamon rolls for breakfast, that would require the baker (me!) to be up and functioning at 7am. Big no thank you. And if you have kids or people who get up for gifts at 6am or earlier…3am? Earlier? Forget it!

But what if I told you that you could have warm, fluffy, homemade cinnamon rolls on your table on Christmas morning in under an hour? Yes, it’s possible, thanks to a little technique called par-baking.

You’ve definitely heard the term “par-baking” on here before in association with pie crust. It means to partially bake, which is exactly what we’re going to do to these rolls: partially bake them ahead of time, then finish the baking on Christmas. This method will work with any yeast-raised cinnamon roll recipe you love. I wouldn’t recommend this method for any rolls with fruit in the filling (i.e. not these) as it might degrade during thawing, but I think nuts would be okay.

How to Par-Bake Cinnamon Rolls {Make Ahead Method!}​

Now, this isn’t a magic trick. You do have to plan ahead to do about 2.5 hours of mixing/kneading/rolling/rising at some point to make this work. But (but!) the bulk of the work can be done anytime between now and Christmas (or whenever you want cinnamon rolls).

The process is simple. Make your cinnamon roll recipe up to the baking step, then bake for about half the baking time (15 minutes). At this point, your rolls should be risen, puffed and pale. Where you would normally continue baking them until brown, resist that urge and remove them from the oven.

Let your rolls cool to room temperature and then triple wrap in plastic, cover in foil and freeze until the night before you need them. If you don’t want to have your 9×13” pan out of commission for any length of time, you can bake in a disposable aluminum baking pan, then tuck it into your freezer for up to six weeks.

The night before you want cinnamon rolls, move the par-baked rolls from your freezer to your fridge to thaw out. In the morning, simply uncover and bake your rolls for the remaining 15 minutes, until golden. Finish with cream cheese frosting and voila! Fresh homemade cinnamon rolls on your table in under an hour, and you didn’t have to sacrifice sleep to make it happen.

How to Par-Bake Cinnamon Rolls {Make Ahead Method!}​

Call it Christmas magic. Call it whatever you want. Just call me for breakfast.

Par-baked Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from Dana Velden

cinnamon roll recipe of choice
9x13-inch baking pan (disposable aluminum, if desired)

Follow your yeast-raised cinnamon roll recipe up to the baking step.

Preheat your oven to 375F. Bake cinnamon rolls for 10-15 minutes, until risen, puffed and pale.

Remove cinnamon rolls from the oven and allow to cool completely in their pan on a rack. Triple wrap the pan in plastic wrap, then wrap in foil. Freeze for up to 6 weeks.

The night before you want cinnamon rolls, move the pan of frozen rolls to the refrigerator. Let thaw 8-12 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. Unwrap rolls; discard foil and plastic wrap.

Bake rolls for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Top with cream cheese frosting (or whatever your recipe says) and serve warm.

Friday Favorites: Apples

Friday Favorites: Apples​

It’s apple season and I am here for it! They were littered everywhere when we were leaving Maine a couple of weeks ago, and it took everything in me not to scoop them up and bring them home to bake! While I wouldn’t trust apples growing in NYC parks (much less on the ground), I definitely trust the ones at the markets! Whether they’re tucked into a pie, folded into a buttery cake batter, or rolled up in yeast dough, baking with apples is one surefire way to get in the seasonal spirit! Here are a few of my favorite apple recipes from the archives.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Cranberry Apple Pie

This recipe is from the first few weeks of this blog’s existence, but I remade it last year (she needed some Glamourshots), and I’m here to tell you: it’s SO delicious. Sweet and tart and perfectly spiced, this is one to make when cranberries start showing up in a few weeks!

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple & Pear Galette

I love pie, but the ease of galettes wins me over every time! Here apples and ripe pears are nestled into a rustic free form pie crust. It’s a perfect autumnal dessert if I’ve ever had one!

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

Want the flavors of apple pie for breakfast? Make yourself some Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls! These were my second post ever, and having remade them for a photoshoot recently, I can confirm that they still make all my apple pie breakfast dreams come true.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple Turnovers

I love turnovers! They’re like pop tarts for grown ups. This apple version is made with my go-to rough puff pastry and folded on the bias for the flakiest little triangles of apple goodness you’ve ever had.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

French Apple Cake

This is easily the most popular recipe on this blog, and for good reason. Its pure, buttery cake base and chunks of soft apple have no pie spices to detract from their balance of flavors. I clearly love apple pie things, but this simple favorite is something really special.

What’s your favorite way to bake with apples? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Wherever you are this week, I hope you’re safe, warm, and have enough to eat!Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsWhen I was a kid, I had a friend whose mom hated to cook except for Saturday breakfast. A lot of the meals I ate with this family were takeout, but come the weekend, there were eggs and bacon, orange juice, blueberry muffins, and cinnamon rolls from one of those cans you have to thwack against the edge of your countertop. Little me thought it was the best ever (Puff Pancakes obviously excepted).Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsI had one complaint though, because of course I did. Every once in a while the cinnamon rolls would be the orange kind, and while everyone in that family loved them, I deeply did not. I kept my mouth shut—#manners—but I hated them. In fact, I still do, but only because I hate fake orange flavoring.Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsTurns out, I love Orange Cinnamon Rolls made with real fresh oranges. Like really, really love them. I mean, what’s not to love about fluffy, buttery, orangey cinnamon rolls?!Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsI’m over the moon for these, y’all. There’s orange zest in the dough and cinnamon filling, and orange juice in the glaze and the icing! Yes, you read that correctly, these babies have a glaze *and* an icing! I did this on last year’s Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls for maximum citrus flavor, and it works just as well here. Fresh orange flavor alllll over the place.Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon RollsJust after you pull your rolls from the oven, paint them with the orange glaze so they get glossy and soak up all that sticky orange flavor. Let that absorb for a few minutes and then hit them with a simple orange icing. This goes without saying, but yes, you can double it.Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsAnd then, well, you know what to do.Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12 rolls

I recommend having 3 large (or 4-5 medium) oranges on hand before beginning this recipe. Better to have too many than too few.

Dough:
2 3/4-3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature

Filling:
2 tablespoons orange zest (about 1 large navel orange)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Glaze:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 large navel orange)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Icing:
1 cup confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (most of 1 large navel orange)

Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish or rimmed baking pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until hot to the touch, about 110F. Stir in orange zest.

Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold milk mixture into dry ingredients, followed by beaten eggs. Add more all-purpose flour in 2 tablespoon increments until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Flour a surface and your hands. Knead dough 5-6 minutes until smooth, then form into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes (you may do this in a bowl, but I just do this on my surface).

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together orange zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt and butter, until completely combined. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12×18-inch rectangle. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Use an offset knife or the back of a spoon to spread filling mixture over the dough, keeping a 1/2-inch perimeter on all sides. Starting with the long edge closest to your body, tightly roll filled dough away from you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes (mine took 27), tenting the rolls with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

While rolls are baking, make the glaze. In a small bowl, use a fork to stir together orange juice and sugar. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until the sugar has dissolved (45-60 seconds total).

Remove rolls from the oven. Let cool 1-2 minutes, then use a pastry brush to paint glaze all over all exposed pastry. Use all glaze. Let sit 5 minutes while you make the icing.

Make the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Add more juice by the teaspoon (up to 3 teaspoons) until icing is thick, but pourable.

Spoon/pour icing over the rolls and use an offset icing knife or the back of a spoon to spread icing over the rolls as desired. Serve.

Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls re best served the day they are made, but will keep covered at room temperature for a day or so.

Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Friday Favorites: 2020

Friday Favorites: 2020Happy New Year! This post is coming at you from the recent past—December 29th—so I hope no new terrible things have happened between then and this posting. 2020 was such a weird year. It started off okay, but quickly devolved to…well, whatever this is. I, for one, am hoping for hope in 2021.

As a preface to this list, I wrote three paragraphs about the events of last year (staying at home, flour shortage, bread, people learning to bake, blah blah blah) and then deleted them because, you know, you were there. It was a year where nearly everything changed, but at least one thing remained the same: I was here, baking in Brooklyn. Here are some of my personal favorite recipes from 2020.Friday Favorites: 2020
Mini Layer Cakes

There weren’t many layer cakes on here in 2020, but the ones that made the cut were teensy—just enough for 4-6 servings. Perfect for a pandemic, right?!Friday Favorites: 2020
Pecan Sandies

Buttery shortbread is difficult to beat for ease and pure deliciousness, but adding in a hefty dose of toasted pecans (and nostalgia) never hurt anything.Friday Favorites: 2020
Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}

I got a little homesick around my birthday this year, so I made a Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta}, which happens to be a Fort Worth favorite. You won’t find chocolate sponge or cherries in this recipe, but if you are into light-as-air almond dacquoise, whipped cream, dark chocolate and the best kind of chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag), you are in for a treat. Did I mention it’s naturally gluten-free?Friday Favorites: 2020
“I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Black Forest Cake {Schwarzvaldtårta} requires a whole lot of egg whites, which means you’ll have a whole lot of leftover yolks…which means you should make some “I Got Yolks” Chocolate Chip Cookies. To put it plainly, they’re simply the best chewy chocolate chip cookies to ever come out of my kitchen.Friday Favorites: 2020
Crispy, Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yes, this was a year with two chocolate chip cookie recipes. These crispy, crunchy ones were a long time coming, and were they ever worth the wait!Friday Favorites: 2020
Funfetti Cookie Cupcakes

Rainbow sprinkles and cookie cake are two of my favorite things. Put them together and make them mini? How can I resist?!Friday Favorites: 2020
Buttermilk Pancakes

Perfect fluffy pancakes eluded me for years, but not anymore! These are really good and really easy. Oh, and those golden tops? They’re easier to achieve than I ever thought possible.Friday Favorites: 2020
Chocolate Quinoa Cake {Gluten-Free}

One of my biggest accomplishments this year was staying sober through…everything. While I normally don’t celebrate my sobriety date on here, it seemed important to publicly acknowledge it during a time of so much struggle. When I hit seven years in April, I celebrated at home with this Chocolate Quinoa Cake. It’s made with an easy blender batter, is naturally gluten-free, and absolutely delicious with a blanket of chocolate buttercream.Friday Favorites: 2020
Homemade Chocolate Shell

Making my own ice cream toppings is one of my favorite warm weather pastimes. This two ingredient Homemade Chocolate Shell has appeared on this blog many times over the years, but 2020 was when it finally got its moment to shine.Friday Favorites: 2020
Almond Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

I brought in 2020 eating Almond Boterkoek on my friend, David’s couch. Eight weeks later (to the day!), I figured out the recipe for myself. It’s a simple cake, perfect for any occasion, including saying goodbye to our weirdest year on record.Friday Favorites: 2020
Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins

Brown Butter. Nutella Swirl. Muffins.

Need I say more?Friday Favorites: 2020
Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls

Imagine biting into pure sunshine, but with butter and icing. That’s what these are like.Friday Favorites: 2020
Grapefruit Sandwich Cookies

These sweet, tart, teeny-tiny cookies are filled with a homemade ruby red grapefruit curd. So, so good. I cannot say this more explicitly: you must make these. Must.Friday Favorites: 2020
Oatmeal Puff Pancake {Gluten-Free Dutch Baby}

Puff Pancakes are my favorite weekend breakfast of all time, and making them whole grain and gluten-free? Well, that makes them even better.Friday Favorites: 2020
Oatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside waffles made without flour or animal products? You better believe it!Friday Favorites: 2020
Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Speaking of making things vegan and gluten-free, finally making a Gingerbread Cake for my friend, VJ, was a great way to end the year. It’s dark, perfectly-spiced, and slightly sticky. It might just be the only Gingerbread Cake recipe you’ll ever need.Friday Favorites: 2020
Pumpkin Spice Spread & Pumpkin Pie S’mores

If you’ve been here a while, you know I love to sing the praises of sweetened condensed milk—that stuff can do anything, including make a spreadable pumpkin pie filling for everything from toast to s’mores.Friday Favorites: 2020
Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns

Back when the pandemic began and shelves were empty, I threw my plans out the window and baked and blogged exclusively from what I already had on hand. These Cream Biscuit Sticky Buns were one of the results—a mash-up of two of my favorite things.Friday Favorites: 2020
Maple Sugar Cookies

These little sugar cookies have huge maple flavor. Made with brown butter, brown sugar and a double dose of pure maple syrup, they’re impossible to resist.Friday Favorites: 2020
Cocoa Brownies

I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention that this blog turned five years old in 2020! It was a highlight of my year, as was celebrating with the Cocoa Brownies from my first post. They’re easy, fudgy and so, so good.

Have you made any of these recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Friday Favorites: 2020

Friday Favorites: Weekend Breakfast

I have always been a sucker for weekend breakfasts, and that goes double now that brunch in public is a high-risk activity. I wake up on Saturday mornings excited to ransack my pantry and fridge to see what I can slap together and enjoy in my pajamas in front of the TV. Whether I’m making eggs on toast with a big side salad, or something extra-carby like waffles or biscuits, this ritual is an act of self-care that sets the tone for my weekend. In COVID times, this is about as luxurious as things get around here.

Below are a dozen fourteen of my favorite weekend breakfast items from the archives. Please believe me when I tell you that this *is* the narrowed down version of the list. I just really like breakfast, y’all.

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastPuff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

My mom made Puff Pancakes for my sister and me when we were growing up, and they are still my favorite weekend breakfast of all time. You wouldn’t know it by their golden bowl shape or custardy centers, but these oven pancakes are absurdly easy to make and require just five ingredients. The best part? You can easily customize them for one serving or up to four.

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastButtermilk Pancakes

Oh man, I am so proud of these fluffy, buttery pancakes. I made many, many test batches as the beginning of quarantine to get them juuuust right. I am here to tell you that I succeeded.

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastWhole Wheat Pancakes for One

Are you a single human like me? Or maybe someone who hates sharing? Well then, this recipe for exactly three pancakes is for you! I have a regular all-purpose flour version too, so take your pick.

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastSour Cream Waffles

These are the best waffles I’ve ever had, period. They’re fluffy, crispy and oh-so easy (no whipped egg whites!). Make a double batch and keep some in your freezer. You won’t regret it.

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastOatmeal Waffles {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

All that said, I posted these Oatmeal Waffles a few weeks ago and am crazy about them! From the blender batter to their crispy exteriors to the fact that they’re vegan and gluten-free, these are a win all around.

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastOvernight Yeast-Raised Doughnuts

I won’t lie to you, yeast-raised doughnuts are a “project” breakfast, but they’re well worth the effort and forethought. Also, do you see that glossy chocolate dip? Because that should be all the convincing you need.

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastPineapple Kolaches

Kolaches are a variety of Czech pastry that is very popular in my home state of Texas. I’ve got many varieties in my archives, but this jammy pineapple version is calling my name right now.

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastCream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns

These are sticky buns made simpler. Where sweet rolls are traditionally made with yeast doughs, these buns rely on my trusty Cream Biscuit dough. Oh, and a lake of sticky pecan stuff.

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastBrown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins

I posted these muffins right before lockdown began, so they understandably got a little lost in the mix, but they are *really* good and you need to know about them. I mean, they’re made with brown butter and swirled with Nutella, so how could they be anything but wonderful?

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastBaguette French Toast

I know this recipe has baguette in the title, but please know that you can make it with any good crusty bread you like. This is just a really solid basic French toast recipe–we all need one in our culinary arsenal.

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastButtermilk Biscuits & Chocolate Gravy

My grandmother used to make biscuits & chocolate gravy for us on Sunday mornings. Her recipes died with her, but mine is pretty dang close to the real deal. Sweet, savory and deeply southern, this is one of my favorite things.

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastBacon, Cheddar & Scallion Scones

These savory scones are great any time of day, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t suggest you use them to make an egg and tomato sandwich for breakfast tomorrow.

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastFriday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastHow to Make Eggs 5 Ways

And speaking of eggs, my first post of 2020 detailed how to make eggs five ways: scrambled, poached, fried, hard-boiled and soft-boiled. If you can master these, you can put an egg on toast or dang near anything else.

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastMason Jar Cold Brew Coffee

For me, no breakfast (weekend, weekday, whatever) is complete without a small bucket of coffee. This small batch cold brew is a summer staple for me, and far more manageable than most of the methods out there. Just shake it together at night and swap the mason jar lid for cheesecloth in the morning. Perfect cold brew every time.

Have you made any of these or any of my other weekend breakfasts? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Friday Favorites: Weekend BreakfastFriday Favorites: Weekend Breakfast