Tag Archives: Cream Cheese

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

11 Sep

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Oh how I love thee, Fall.  If you remember my Top 5 post, you’ll know that cinnamon rolls are a real favorite of mine.  There’s just nothing better.  In fact, the only way to improve a traditional roll is to add a punch of pumpkin

This recipe is from one of my favorite blogs called Good Life Eats.   It’s a bit involved, and you have to work with yeast, but the results are just scrumptious!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (adapted from Good Life Eats)

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup warm water (not hot)
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm milk (I used skim)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbs melted butter
  • 3 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar

First, stir your yeast into warm water in a large bowl.  Let it sit for 5 mins before stirring to combine.  Add the milk, eggs, pumpkin, butter, 1 1/4 cups flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and ginger to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 mins.

Slowly add in the remaining flour, a little bit at a time, until the dough is stiff enough to knead. Begin with 1 1/2 cups of flour and increase if necessary. Knead the dough on a floured surface.  Add additional flour until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

Put the dough in a greased bowl. Coat the entire dough ball in the bowl with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, approximately 1 hr.

Combine the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a another bowl, and set aside. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat or roll it into rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough and then sprinkle with the sugar mixture.

Roll the dough into a log the long way; it’ll stretch to about 20″ long as you roll. Using a very sharp knife (I sprayed my with cooking spray), slice the log into 15 slices. You’ll need to wipe the knife off between slices. Place slices in a greased 9×13 inch baking pan (or in two 8 or 9 inch round cake or pie pans). Cover with a towel and let rise (again) until almost doubled, about 45 mins.  I’ll be honest here, my dough didn’t rise as much as I would have hoped.  I can promised that it didn’t affect the taste in the least.

Bake in a preheated 375° oven. The rolls should take about 20-30 mins, and will look brown around the edges and a light golden brown across the center.

While rolls bake, you can prepare the cream cheese frosting.  Add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and lemon juice to a small food processor. Blend until smooth and combined.  Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, blending in between, until well-mixed.  Here’s where you get to decide how thin or thick your like your frosting!  Frost warm rolls with the cream cheese frosting and serve immediately.

These were ooey gooey good!  Stay tuned because I have a great way to use up the rest of your leftover rolls later this week.

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I Heart Screwtop

11 Feb

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, and it’s only fitting that my first restaurant review should be a place I love.  ♥

Screwtop is a charming neighborhood wine bar in Clarendon, VA.  I’ve been there several times and have yet to be disappointed.  The staff is knowledgable and friendly, and the food is creative and whimsical.  The wine…lets just say I’d be happy to celebrate or drown my sorrows anytime with their selection!  In fact, the place is just perfect for book club; provided that book club is really an excuse to drink and nosh, instead of actually discussing a book. 

Moving on!  My most recent trip to Screwtop was with my best friend RB.  She had recently returned from a trip to South America and was really pleased the featured flights that evening were from Argentina and Chile. 

I started my dinner with the Obscurely Delicioso flight of red wines.  How could I pass them up with a name like that?  Total consumer.  I really enjoyed the Familia Mayor Bonadara and Yale Cabernet Carmenere wines.  I wasn’t a fan of the Alma de Chile Carmenere, and thought it tasted too much like the Chili Dog wine from the VA Wine Festival.  RB ordered the Chilaxing in the Andes white wine flight.  All three of her wines were light and refreshing.  

The two of us also decided order the Baked Camembert cheese with fig compote, walnuts and crusty bread.  It warmed me up from horrible cold, and was incredibly comforting.  I felt transported to a ski lodge somewhere sitting by the fire.  Heaven knows I strongly prefer the great indoors to snow.

After the cheese we decided to order… more cheese.  RB ordered the Mac’s Mac & Cheese Trio.  This included three adorable portions of pasta.  The flavors were blue cheese, traditional and truffle.  She let me sample (another plus to being best friends) and I LOVED the truffle.  The blue cheese was surprisingly good and tangy.  The traditional was fine.  I liked it, but I’d rather save room for the other two flavors and eat the truffle oil popcorn.

I ordered Wendel’s Low Country Lasagna served with a side of their yummy tomato soup.  The soup was thick and had chunks of tomato that made it seem more like a bisque.  I’ve ordered it before and it’s a real winner.  The lasagna was made with beer-braised beef and a good amount of tomato sauce.  I thought it was a nice twist on a very traditional receipe.  

All and all, I thought this was a great meal.  I love this funky little place and would order most of the items we ate/drink again.  I also thought the truffle oil popcorn was a nice touch with the wine.  Overall Rating B+ 

After a filling and rich dinner our thoughts turned immediately to a nice brisk walk.  We were so full we were busting at the seams!  Somehow (these things just happen) we decided after a few minutes that we needed to finish the night on a sweet note.  We ended up outside of Crumbs and this happened.  

My excuse-I overdid it on the cheese and simply blacked out.  That happens to people right?! 

My Attempt at Thundercake

27 Jan

Yesterday evening the DC area got our first real snow storm of the year.  But it wasn’t your average storm, instead we had thundersnow and thundersleet.  The storm moved in quickly, the traffic was horrific, and many areas lost power.  I was one of the few lucky ones to make it through the storm without issue, so I decided to celebrate by making Thundercake.  Well, actually I started off cleaning, then was invited for a glass of wine with one of my apt. friends, then made dinner, and that all led to the thundercake experiment.  

Honestly, what else were we supposed to do while we were snowed in?  This is the story of a cake using some of my favorite flavors and the icing that almost wasn’t. 

Everything started out so simple.  I pulled out a box of leftover spice cake mix, canned pumpkin, nutella, and cream cheese from the fridge.  Most people have these ingredients lying around in a snow storm right?   

Back to the cake.  I followed the box instructions that said to combine the mix with 3 eggs and vegetable oil.  I then mixed it until the ingredients were incorporated and poured the batter into a greased baking dish.

I decided that this spice cake needed a little something extra, so I added 4 tsp of nutella to the batter and ran a knife through the nutella to make a pretty swirl design.

I popped the cake into a 350 degree preheated oven and baked for about 38 minutes.  Now it was time to find a frosting recipe.  I decided to turn to my trusty food network website and found a Rachael Ray recipe for pumpkin cream cheese frosting.  Perfect!  I looked at the recipe and realized I didn’t have everything I needed.  That should have stopped me in my tracks, it didn’t. 

Too late to turn back, I needed frosting stat.  So, I tried to find similar ingredients in my fridge/cupboards and make substitutions.  The recipe called for 8 oz of cream cheese and I only had 4 oz, so I substituted 4 oz of nonfat plain yogurt to get the tang.  Strike 1.

The recipe then said to add 1/2 of a can of pumpkin, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.  I was able to do this correctly, but was lacking an orange to zest, so left this out.  Strike 2.

I was then supposed to beat all of these ingredients together and slowly add 3 and 1/2 cups of powdered sugar to the mix.  I was a 1/2 cup short, but actually this worked out fine because 3 cups was already tooth-achingly sweet.  No strikes there.

Try as I might I could not get my frosting to whip up.  I really needed more cream cheese or yogurt with a higher fat content to thicken it.  So after bringing in RB and G for a cake consult, I decided to add more yogurt and the remaining 1/2 can of pumpkin.  Strike 3. 

This produced what can only be described as sweet orange gloop.  I was about to throw in the frosting towl and settle for boring spice nutella cake on it’s own (I know I’m being overly dramatic but I REALLY wanted frosting).  When my two friends gallantly offered to hit the market in our basement in search of more cream cheese while I resumed pouting over my bowl.

A few quick minutes later I was back in business.  I whipped the new 8 oz container of cream cheese with 1/3 or 1/4 of the sweet orange gloop.  I honestly have no idea how much I poured in and was beyond precise measuments at this time.  To my surprise, this combo made an amazing thick and tangy cream cheese frosting.  Seriously, this stuff was crazy good.  As in we were all scraping the excess out of the mixing bowl after the cake had been iced. 

A true thundercake miracle!  The cake still looked a bit orange and gloopy, but it’s always a good sign when your friends say hurry up and take the picture I want a piece! 

My lessons learned were that it pays to have good friends during a snowstorm, it’s nice to have a market in the basement of your building that is open during said snow storm, and finally, you should always add more cream cheese.