On a roll

Hi friends!

It’s beautiful in the City today – I took a hike out to the bluffs overlooking the golden gate above Marshall beach and played hide and seek with Goldie and Karl. It was a supremely lovely way to spend a few solo hours.

Karl seems to have followed me home too, he’s lurking just over the Lone Mountain ridge where it drops down into the inner Richmond. I LOVE fog. Just in case there was the slightest bit of doubt that I don’t love the crap out of this city… fear not.

my rooftop view is somethin else.

Also today I made these apple, date & walnut cinnarolls! Highly recommend if you’re like me and love a good cinnamon roll but not the usual gut bomb nature of them. Not to say that these are health food pe se, but they have a much lighter profile than standard cinnamon rolls – without sacrificing any of the things we love about them.

These are whole grain & refined sugar free (could easily be vegan/dairy free; see recipe notes) – they’re cute and fluffy and “frosted” (let’s use that term loosely) with straight coconut butter.

I love them for breakfast or dessert and all the snacks in between – arguably they make a great snack since they’ve got all the things: protein, whole grain carbs, healthy fats etc etc…. but I leave that up to you.

the plants wanted in…

Happy weekend, friends! I hope it’s treating you well.

Apple, Walnut & Date Cinnarolls

Whole grain & refined sugar free; easily dairy/vegan – see notes below. Yield: ~10 rolls. Adapted from this recipe.

For the dough:
1.5 c + 1.5-2.5c whole wheat pastry flour, divided
1/2 c + 1/4c almond flour, divided
2 1/4 teaspoon (.25oz packet) rapid rise or instant yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup warm oat/almond/milk of choice (approximately 110º F – I used whole milk)
1/2 cup warm water (approximately 110º F)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

For the filling:
3 small apples, peeled & diced
6-7 medjool dates, diced
1/4 c chopped walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon, divided
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c butter (use coconut oil or plant-based butter for vegan/dairy free), melted
3 tbsp coconut sugar

For the frosting:
1/4 c coconut butter, melted

In a small saucepan over medium heat, saute apples and dates in butter or coconut oil for 1-2 minutes. Add a splash of water and cover, simmering until the apples are just soft. Stir in 1/2 tsp cinnamon, walnuts, and vanilla, and remove from heat. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together 1.5 c whole wheat flour and 1/2 c almond flour, plus yeast and salt. Add in warm milk, water, olive oil, and extracts, and stir until smooth. Knead in the remaining whole wheat & almond flours a little at a time (you may not use all the whole wheat listed; I usually don’t) – I add it about 1/2 c at a time; you want to be careful not to add too much, or the dough will be tough. It will gradually get less sticky and form a soft dough; a photo of mine is below. You’ll be able to pick it up without much stickiness but it should still feel soft. You might use more or less of the additional flour – go with your gut! Cover and set aside for 5 minutes.

Once the dough has rested, grease a dish of choice – I use a 9″ pie dish but I’ve also done this in a 9×9 square pan – basically, you just want these guys to sit snuggly up against one another. Roll out the dough into a rectangle and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with the coconut sugar, followed by the remaining cinnamon. Spread the sauteed apples/dates/walnuts evenly over the dough, right up to the edges. Starting at the long edge, roll the dough up tightly into a log. I like to cut it with dental floss – it cuts SUPER cleanly and doesn’t squash the rolls, but you can use a knife or a bench scraper if you like those instead. If you’re using floss, scootch the floss underneath the roll, cross the ends and pull tight to cut through the roll. Set the cut rolls into the prepared pan, cover and let rise somewhere warm for 30 min.

lil proofing rolls

Once they’ve sat for 30 min, preheat the oven to 350, and bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and let cool a bit before frosting – which is literally as easy as drizzling melted coconut butter on them. Slice and serve!

Leftovers keep well covered on the counter or in the fridge overnight; reheat before serving.

unbaked…
baked & frosted!

Let’s roooollllllll

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This is how I roooolllllllllll.

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Or something like that! I roll with rolls for dessert and for breakfast, because I am all about the treats that do double duty. These are appropriately autumnal with pumpkin and warming spices and such, and glazed pecans just sort of scream HOLIDAY TIME!!!! to me. Do you hear that, or is it just me? … don’t answer that.

Anyway, moving on. Cinnamon rolls! A winner all around, especially when there is some kind of glaze or frosting involved (which is absolutely necessary…there is no question).

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These happen to be paleo, grain free, gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free (everything EXCEPT taste free), so if that’s how you roll (ha. pun intended), these are for you!

Let’s see, what else is new…

More drawing!

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More photography fun:

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Succulents! Why not.

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I don’t have much anecdotal humor for you today, so you’ll just have to content yourself with some cinnamon rolls. I highly recommend making them to be eaten for dessert… and then for breakfast! You won’t be sorry, promise.

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Grain Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Coconut Glaze and Maple Pecans

These aren’t overwhelmingly pumpkin-y, more towards the cinnamon side, but are delicious regardless. Grain free, paleo, refined sugar free, and dairy free. Roll dough adapted from Eat Something Delicious, here! Yield: 1 8″ skillet-worth of rolls; I got about 8 large rolls.

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For the dough:

  • 2 c tapioca starch
  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 eggs*
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar

*the eggs I used were small, so I needed a few tbsp of coconut milk to bring it together — you may not need this if your eggs are larger

For the filling (This makes extra; use it to top the rolls or eat separately!)

  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/6 c coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1 heaping tbsp almond butter

For the glaze:

  • 1/4 c coconut butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 runneth-over tsp vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt

For the pecans (these are great to make ahead and store for when you need them):

  • 1 c pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt

If making the pecans ahead, do that now!

Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat. Once hot, add maple — it will foam a bit when it hits the pan. Add in pecans and sea salt, stirring to combine. Keep stirring and cooking for about 3-5 more minutes, until the maple has caramelized. Line a baking sheet with parchment for easy clean up and pour the pecans out, breaking up any large chunks. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight jar.

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8″ cast iron skillet, or other pan of choice. I sprinkled the bottom with a little extra coconut sugar, just for fun.

For the dough: stir together tapioca starch, almond flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut sugar. Make a well in the center and add the eggs and vanilla. Use a fork to combine until you get lots of little pieces, then get in there with your hands and knead until the dough comes together (add coconut milk here if needed; by the tsp and just until the dough comes together to avoid sticky dough). The dough should come together nicely and be stiff enough to roll out; if it’s too sticky, add a bit more starch. Flour a clean work surface and a rolling pin (or do like I did and roll out between parchment paper), and roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 1/4″ thick.

In a small bowl, make the filling: stir together pumpkin, maple, coconut sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and almond butter until smooth. Spread the filling onto the rolled out dough, leaving about a 1/2″ clear on the edge furthest from you (there will be leftover filling!). Roll up the dough starting on the long side (I always try to cram as much filling in there as possible and end up with it going everywhere, so you do you!). Once the log is rolled up neatly-ish, slice it into rolls. I like to start in the middle and slice outwards to get the most even slices. Place the rolls into the skillet, so that their sides are just touching. Bake for 20-30 minutes — sorry for the range; mine stayed in much closer to 30 so that the centers of the rolls that were touching would be done all the way through — the rolls should be firm to the touch and not goopy in the spaces between them.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Make the glaze while the rolls are cooling: stir together warmed/melted coconut butter (it’s solid at room temp), maple, vanilla, and sea salt together until smooth. Alternatively, store it in a jar and dance around to mix it up. It’s way more fun, I guarantee.

If you want a true glaze and less of a frosting, pour the melted coconut butter mix over the rolls and eat immediately. Let cool to room temp or overnight if you’d rather have a consistency closer to frosting. Either is delicious!

Before serving, drizzle glaze over the rolls and top with a few pecans for decorative shenanigans. Serve with more glaze, more pecans, and vanilla ice cream because you’d be missing out otherwise, and we can’t have that!

Leftovers keep well covered on the counter overnight; in the fridge for longer storage.

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Impatience-Free Baking is a virtue

Princess Leia's hair...?

I really do love cooking long and complicated things. I mean, like Austrian pastry complicated status. Something that makes you feel ridiculously accomplished at its completion.

However.

I might, perhaps, love instant gratification just a little bit more. Wouldn’t you rather have a cookie NOW, instead of waiting for the dough to chill for 24 to 48 hours?! Pshhh, I don’t plan that far in advance. I don’t even plan far enough in advance to have the butter softening on the counter. That’s what the microwave is for, jeez. Call me lazy. And I am. But. I make up for it occasionally with really absurdly complicated things…

This is not one of those things. Because let’s be honest, yeast is annoying. I mean, yeast is great when I want to make bread or pizza and I have lots of time and I’ve been thinking about a recipe for a long time. When I want gooey delicious goodness RIGHTNOWINFRONTOFME, it’s not so awesome.

Which is why I turned to this no-rise, no-wait, (nearly) instant gratification recipe for cinnamon rolls. That and because Vacuum Vati LOOOVES cinnamon rolls (like, as much as I LOOOVE chocolate chip cookies. that’s how much). AND because I happened to have all the ingredients handily to hand. AND it [was] the holidays (sorry, this was supposed to be a post around Christmas, oops). But it’s not like it has to be the holidays for you to make these… in fact, so not. Cinnamon rolls never need an excuse. Just like cookies! Wait. Let me clarify. Good food that makes you happy NEVER needs an excuse. Especially when you eat it with people who make you happy. Especially when there is no waiting involved. Even better!

gooey deliciousness

Impatience-Free Cinnamon Rolls

From the Dainty Chef, over here!

These are delicious, as a) they’re filled with gooey goodness, but also because b) they have an interesting mix of spices in the filling—cinnamon, cardamom, and allspice. It lends them an unusual taste, a nice change from standard cinnamon rolls.

For the dough:

  • 3/4 c low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/3 c low fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the gooey delicious goodness:

  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 oz (1.5 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom

such an adorable little spiral... soon to be decorating my stomach.

Preheat the oven to 400.

In a food processor, combine cottage cheese, buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla, pulsing until smooth. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and pulse just until the dough clumps together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead several times. Roll it out into a faintly rectangular shape… mine was a bit lopsided, although that turned out fine, as it made for varying roll sizes (nice for my family, and for Vacuum Vati, who got the big ones).

Combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl (brown sugar and spices). Brush the dough with the 1.5 tbsp of melted butter, leaving a small border. Press the sugar-spice filling into the dough, evenly covering the whole surface. Starting at the long edge, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the seam, but leave the ends open.

Using a sharp knife, cut the rolls into equal pieces. Mine fit perfectly into a standard loaf pan, but if you have fatter rolls, an 8″ square cake pan works just as well. They should fill the pan, but small gaps are okay. Bake for about 20-22 minutes (I took mine out at 20, and they had a perfectly gooey interior).

I frosted mine (because, seriously, cinnamon rolls are SO NOT complete without frosting) with the frosting/glaze that I use for Crazy Chocolate cake. I never measure, but it’s essentially powdered sugar, Earth Balance spread, and vanilla extract. Mix like crazy until you have the taste/consistency you want… and swipe over your cinna-rolls when they’re still slightly warm. The glaze will harden as it cools.

Drool. Eat. Gloat, since you only had to wait a little while for the oooewygooeydeliciousness to appear in front of you.

I do apologize for the glut of dessert recipes recently… I promise something healthy… soon! Ish. We’ll get there. Eventually…