Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ahh! Cinnamon Rolls -- the Old Fashion Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

 I have tested quite a few "Yeast" Cinnamon Roll recipes before, but none came quite so good -- they taste dry.  Replicating Cinnabon's cinnamon roll is not quite my goal as I am sure ... the dough conditioners and other stuff to keep them fluffy throughout the day is not quite achievable.  This recipe came from Alton Brown's "Good Eats 2, The Middle Years" cookbook.   If any foodies interested in the science behind how each ingredient reacts and works together, this book is like a "mad scientist" must have guidebook.
And of course, I couldn't just follow the recipe exactly, as I have no buttermilk.  But considering the fact that I have test making the wonderfully soft HOKKAIDO Bread, Challah bread, and Ponchik, I know the secret of the Sour Cream and TAN ZONG.
 For the dough:
4 large egg yolks - room temperature
1 large egg - room temperature
2 oz sugar
6 TB unsalted butter - softened
3/4 C Sour Cream + 2 TB water
20 oz Flour - Divided into two 10 oz
1 /4 oz Instant Dry Yeast
1-1/4 tsp Kosher salt
Mix to combine egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter in the mixing bowl with a paddle attachment.  
Add sour cream.  Mix for 1 minute.
Mix 10 oz of flour, yeast and salt together with a whisk in a bowl first.  Then, add to the egg mixture.
* At this point, luckily for me, I transferred my dough to my commercial Hobart mixer.  
*Change to Dough Hook.    Add 4 oz more of flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes.
Add more flour if necessary.  Knead until smooth dough forms. 5 minutes more.
Mix until smooth.  Transfer to an oil'd bowl.  Cover and let rise until doubled in size.
Turn the dough over to a work surface.
Knead gently for 30 seconds.
8 oz light brown sugar
1 Tb ground Cinnamon - Ceylon
pinch of Kosher salt
3 Tbsp softened unsalted butter
Mix Cinnamon and brown sugar together and salt
Line a 13x9x2 baking pan with parchment paper
 Form the dough into rectangle shape.  Roll out the dough 18 x 12 inch.
 Spread the softened butter on the dough.  Sprinkle the sugar mixture over it and spread with the palm of your hand as close to the edges of dough.
 Start rolling in the ends tightly.
 Pinch close the edge at the end.  Roll gently to even out the roll all across.   Cut the roll into halves.  Roll gently to even out the roll, again, if needed.  Slice the roll with very sharp serrated knife.
Note:  In this picture the pan size is not 13x9x12.  I don't know why, but I end up using my brownie pan, instead.   Not trusting that it will expand to fill all the gap when double in volume.
 Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Take out and let rise and bake in the morning, or like me, I left it covered in the kitchen overnight.    I came down at 5:30 am in the morning, and there they are all bubbled and doubled in the pan.   Preheat the oven to 350'F.
Cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil to prevent top from over browning, if needed.  As for mine, as you can see is "over crowded".  Before the center temperature reaches 190'F, the external crust would have burned, so I covered the pan with aluminum foil for the first 20 min.
Bake at 350'F in the middle rack
 Insert digital thermostat to the center - its done when the temperature starts to reach 190'F.   **Take out before it reaches 190'F.
Simple Icing:
Mix 5-1/2 oz of Powder Sugar  with 2 Tbsp of milk. 1 tsp of Pure Vanilla.
If you have some cream cheese, soften it and add to it.  If not, skip it.
The mixture should be runny but not like water.  The mixture should coat the spoon thick.
Add more powder sugar, if needed.
 Drizzle the icing over the wonderfully baked Cinnamon Rolls. 
 And guess what, they were shared at the office that morning.   Lucky them!

Polly's Jiane Bien - Fried Meat Filled "Cake"

Food adventure is getting better and better each day, as our access to International food is becoming so convenient.  I am seeing several dishes and snacks that are so much alike to each other that I chuckle quietly when I eat them.  And when I find one that is really tasty that's like "Wow, this taste good" comes out really from the heart.
This is old time family recipe. 
Dough is made from flour that is mixed with hot water.  The principle of 'fried' dough is to make the dough with flour mixed with hot water to create half cooked dough.  If the dough is used to make steamed or boiled dumpling, then, cold water is used to mix the flour.   NOTE:  I am still testing this dough ingredient's measurement's consistency, so if you know a good dough bread recipe for frying, it's worth using that.
I am not 100% satisfied with this dough texture.

1/4 lb ground pork
Finely Chopped Mixtures of vegetables - I used Kale salad mix from COSTCO
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
1 egg
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp Sesame Oil
Mix all the ingredients together.  Set aside

1 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Hot water
1/8 tsp of salt
Mix and knead for 5 min.   Set aside Covered and rest for 30 min.
 Divide the dough into 4.  Roll it out into 4 inch rounds.  Divide the meat mixture into 4.  Enclose the meat in the dough.
Preheat the frying pan.  Add 2 TB cooking oil.  Medium heat.
Place the Bien.

 Add 1/2 Cup hot water.   Turn up the heat.
 Cover and cook until all liquid evaporates with only 1 Tbsp left.
 Remove the lid.  Listen attentively and do a visual check of the bottom without lifting the Bien   What you are trying to do is brown the bottom to beautiful golden color. 
 The Jiane Bien (Fried "Dumpling"/"Cake"/"Bread") is ready
 Serve with Soy sauce and Sweet Vinegar mixture with slivers of raw gingers.

Polly's Easy Macaroni Cheese Lunch Box

In a hurry out of door to the office?  But need some good tasting lunch to go?
Boil 4 Cups water
Add a box of Kroger Brand Macaroni and Cheese.  Why Kroger?  at least it doesn't have Yellow Color #4 or whatever the other brands use.  And it tastes pretty good.   You can always make from scratch... adding butter, and shredded cheese, and cream roux.
For this one, after Macaroni Cheese is prepared, Add a big handful of Salad Mix from COSTCO - Kale Salad Mix.  Stir it up, and Voila!  Your lunch.
 You can make Macaroni Cheese with Mushroom.   Clean and chop up mushrooms.  Stir fry them with some butter; salt and black pepper. 
Add them together.  Pack your BENTO Box.  Pack a small container of Peppercini.
At lunch time, Top it with Peppercini, and you got tasty lunch.
If you want Proteins, then add a can of drained Albacore.

Lemon Lime Bars

This is made from home grown Lemons and Limes.
My co-worker didn't know what to do with all the lemons in his garden... natural things to do is to share them, and we all benefits from the final product.

Makes 32 bars
2/3 C butter, softened
1/2 C packed brown sugar
2-1/2 C flour, divided
1 TB + 1 tsp of equal amount of Lemon and Lime Zest from the home grown.  About 2 large Lemons and 1 large Lime Zest
6 eggs
2-1/4 C granulated sugar
1/2 C Lemon Juice
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp finely shredded lime peel - from 1 lime
2 TB sifted powdered sugar

1 beaten Egg white
Preheat oven to 350'F about 5 minutes before baking (*to conserve energy.)
Line 13x9x2-inch pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.

For crust, beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds with paddle attachment.  It should become fluffy.  Add brown sugar; beat until combined.  At low speed, Add 2 Cups of flour and mix until crumbly.
Add 2 tsp lemon peel.

 Transfer the mixture into line pan.  Preheat the oven to 350'F.
Press down gently but firmly >> I used a small bottle to press down evenly.
 Do not compact the mixture, but roll out evenly.   The butter and flour mixture will naturally pack itself down.
Poke the dough with fork to prevent rising.   Bake for 10 minutes.   In the meantime, make the Filling.
*Do not brown it like some other recipes calls to do.  Take out and set aside.
In a mixer bowl, combine eggs and granulated sugar.  Beat well for 2 minutes at medium speed.  Add lemon Juice.  Take a quarter cup of the mixture out in a bowl or in a large measuring cup.   You are about to add some dry ingredients to it.

Tip:   If you were to add the rest of the dry ingredients into a large amount of liquidy mixture, likely result is unmixed chunks of dry ingredients floating every where.  To prevent this.  Add the dry ingredients into the 1/4 C of egg mixtures that you set aside.  Premix the dry ingredients with it to make a nice slur.
 Mix until well blended.  Making sure that there are no lumps.  Add more egg mixture into to make it even more smoother mix. Then, Add to the egg mixture
 Beat an egg white.
 Brush the bottom of the crust all around with the egg white.
Tip:  This technique will prevent the moist, liquid from soggying up the crust.
This technique would work with pie crust as well.
 Ready for the filling.
 Add the filling
 Bake for 30 minutes --- depending on your oven - until it is set.
 Remove from oven.  Cool for 1 hour.  Lift it out of the pan carefully.
 Peel away the parchment paper.
 Use a pizza cutter to slice through.
 Place it back in the pan or as is, Sprinkle white powder sugar through a strainer.