These are inspired by and adapted from a secret family recipe for cinnamon rolls that my aunt made for many years.  Since I’ve been making these recipes I have adapted a good and easy to follow plan kinda like changing the batteries in your smoke detector at New Years.  At Christmas time I replace my yeast, baking powder and baking soda supply so they are always fresh.


2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup Canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
4-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 package Active Dry Yeast
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large honey crisp** apples, finely diced
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup spiced rum
3/4 cup real butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla powder
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon Starbucks vanilla powder
1/2 cup heavy cream
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt

**Honey Crisp are my favorite apple full of flavor and coincidentally only available during Christmas time.
•In a small bowl pour the rum over the raisins and set side to allow the raisins to plump. The rum is the first secret ingredient and is only to plump the raisins.  Remember to pour off the rum before adding them to the apples.

•Combine the milk, canola oil, and sugar in a large saucepan or small pot.
•Heat it until is is just about to boil, but don’t allow it to boil. Turn off the heat and let it cool until warm…but not too warm!
•Add 4 cups of the flour and the yeast, and stir to combine. The dough will be very sticky at this point.
•Cover the pot and let the dough rise for an hour.

While the dough is rising prep the filling. 
•Saute’ the apples in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes.  Pour apples into a colander to drain off excess moisture and set aside.
•In the same skillet over medium heat, add the butter and brown sugar continually stirring it until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves.
•Add cream slowly constantly stirring until it bubbles and begins to thicken. •Lower the heat and add the apples back into the skillet.
•Add the drained raisins.
•Sprinkle with the cinnamon and vanilla.   The vanilla is the second secret ingredient that make these rolls so yummy. Cook a few more minutes to allow thickening.
•Spoon it into a bowl to cool. (If mixture is too thin once again use the colander to remove excess moisture. Remember apples are full of water depending on their ripeness.)

•Add the remaining flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to your pot of dough stirring to combine.

At this point you can make the rolls or
refrigerate the dough until you’re ready.
Apple Raisin Cinnamon Rolls 4
•Preheat the oven to 375˚.
•Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a rectangle about 10 x 30 inches.  I use Press-N-Seal to coat my counter – easy to roll out dough and easy to clean up that way.
•Spoon the apple raisin mixture all over the dough and spread it out evenly.
•Roll the dough toward you into a long, tight roll pinching the seam to seal the roll at the end. Roll it over so that the seam is on the bottom.
•Slice each roll 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick placing them into prepped cake pans.
•Set the rolls aside and let them rise for another 30 minutes.
•Bake rolls for 15 to 18 minutes or until they’re nice and golden.
While the rolls are baking, make the icing.
•Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.
•Add the brown sugar stirring to dissolve until it starts to bubble.
•Add the cream, cooking for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat.
•Whisk in 2 cups of powdered sugar until well blended. Add up to 2 more cups of powdered sugar to get to the consistency you want. Ice the rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.
•Serve warm or cool completely to freeze.  If freezing, wrap in several layers of saran, sealing all the edges well.
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Oh my, this is the best bread I have ever tasted! It is a must make again and again recipe!

Delicious pumpkin bread smothered in a maple brown butter icing. Ginger Pumpkin Bread adapted from Martha Stewart.
Yield: 8-10                                       Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60-70 minutes             Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes12 tablespoons {1 1/2 sticks} unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (1 3/4 cups)
3 large eggs
**2/3 cup golden raisins
**1/2 cup chopped walnuts
**these were my additions and we loved them!!!
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a 8×5 loaf pan; lightly butter or spray with baking spray and then dust wit flour (tap out any excess flour and discard), set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, pumpkin, melted butter, and eggs. Next add in the flour mixture, and stir until just combined.
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a cake tester is inserted into the center and comes out with only a smidgen coating it, which is about 60 to 70 minutes.
  • Let cool 10 minutes; invert pan and transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool completely.

1/4 cup Real Maple Syrup
1/4 teaspoon Real Vanilla Extract
2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/3 cup Powdered Sugar, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon Heavy Cream
A pinch of Kosher Salt

  • Heat a small skillet over medium/medium-high heat.
  • Once the pan is hot, add in the two tablespoons of unsalted butter. The butter should instantly start to melt and turn golden.
  • Once melted and a deep golden, turn off the heat and add in the maple syrup and vanilla, whisking constantly {it should bubble up}.
  • Once the bubbles have subsided a bit, whisk in the powdered sugar.
  • Keep whisking while adding the tablespoon of heavy creamy and a pinch of kosher salt.
  • Drizzle warm icing over cooled cake. Slice and serve!
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This recipe is from my mother-in-law. She tells the story that it was something she would make at the end of the month when funds were shirt because it was cheap. Cheap works though! This is one of the most flavorful salads and always a family favorite.

Seafood SaladSeafood Salad
Green leaf lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
2 bunches green onions, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 can albacore flaked tuna, drained
1 can bay shrimp drained, or 1 cup fresh (optional)
1 large lemon, juiced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

  • In a large bowl mix together the lettuce, green onions and tomatoes.
  • Add the tuna and shrimp.
  • Toss well.
  • Sprinkle lemon juice, salt and pepper over top and toss again.
  • Add mayonnaise and toss well.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese and toss agin.

Parmesan Rolls
4 French Sandwich rolls, cut into halves
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Mix melted butter and olive oil.
  • Dip tops of rolls into butter mixture and then into the Parmesan cheese.
  • Broil until golden and crusty.
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BakingPartnersButton2-1BreadWe are going to try two method of bread making one is Asian method Tangzhong and other is Scandinavian method of Scald flour. These are two are really easy to put together. For this challenge you have to try one of the methods and make bread, if you want to try both methods that are also welcome. Tangzhong method gives very soft bread. Scalded flour method usually is used to try whole grains like rye, millet, buckwheat etc… You can make white bread with that technique too.  I made the White bread Scandinavian method of Scald flour.

Scalded flour bread Adapted from Cornercafe via Baking Partners

Makes one 23cm x 10cm x 10cm loaf

[Ingredients] Scalded Flour: 100g bread flour 100ml boiling water

Main Dough: 350g bread flour 20g (2 tablespoons) milk powder 35g caster sugar 5g (1 teaspoon) salt 8g instant yeast 200ml (approx.) lukewarm water, adjust as necessary 35g butter, chopped into small pieces at room temperature

[Preparation] Scalded Flour: Pour boiling hot water all at once over the flour and stir quickly with a pair of chopsticks (or fork) until combined with no more visible dry flour. It should be a doughy clumpy mixture at this stage. Set aside for 5 minutes for the dough clusters to fully absorb the heat and the moisture. Then cover with cling film and let cool to room temperature, about 1/2 hour, or up to 1 hour.

For the Main Dough: 1. Prepare a 23cm (L) x 10cm (W) x 10cm (H) loaf tin. Sift bread flour, milk powder, caster sugar and salt onto the working surface. Add instant dry yeast and mix well. Form the flour mixture into a well. Add scalded flour mixture, then gradually add just enough lukewarm water to form into a slightly sticky, soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. During hand kneading, the dough also needs to be thrown onto the working surface once every few minutes between kneading to improve the dough structure. (I usually just pick up the dough to about head-high and throw it down onto the working surface 10 to 20 times every few minutes between kneading.) 2. Knead in butter until incorporated. Form the dough into a round ball and let it rise until double in size in a large greased bowl, cover with cling film (should take about 1 hour in warm weather, longer in winter months). To test if the dough has risen properly, dip a finger into bread or plain flour and poke down into the centre of the dough as far as your finger will go and pull out again – the hole should remain if it is ready. If the dough springs back, then it is not ready, continue to prove further. 3. Punch down, knead briefly and form into a ball shape. Then let rest for 15 minutes. 4. with a rolling pin, roll out into a long oval shape. Then roll up from the short end like a Swiss roll. Rest 10 minutes and repeat the rolling process, then place the roll-up dough into the tin. 5. Cover loosely and let rise until the dough has risen to almost the top of the tin. 6. Bake in preheated 175°C oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Taste: Soft white bread loaf that stays soft for at least 2-3 days Consume: Best within 3-4 days Storage: May be frozen to keep longer, defrost before serving

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1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, 1/2 soft & 1/2 melted
2 jumbo eggs
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup golden raisins, currants or craisins
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
2 large, RIPE bananas
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • Combine the melted butter, brown sugar and bananas in a sauce pan.
  • Cook until smooth and then add nuts and raisins.
  • Stir until well coated & set aside to cool.
  • Cream softened butter, sugar and eggs until fluffy.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  • Add this to the creamed mixture gradually until well blended.
  • Add cooled banana mixture.
  • Pour into greased and floured pan(s)*
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45+ minutes.

*This recipe will make 2 large loaves or 1 cake. If making bread, skip the frosting.

FROSTING (optional)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
juice of 1 small lemon
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  • In a medium bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add lemon juice and vanilla. Beat until blended.
  • Add powdered sugar gradually until well blended and smooth.
  • Refrigerate 1 hour to set icing before serving.
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We are a group of home bakers helping each other to achieve baking perfection.  Baking partners was begun by Swathi at Zesty South Indian Kitchen.

Baking a homemade bread, cake or cookies will give the best outcome. However in order to achieve the best results, a  perfect recipe and the right techniques are required.

We are a small group of home baker friends, who love to bake and want to learn more about the nook and corners of baking.  We are planning to try out recipes from books/magazines and cooking shows.  Every member gets a chance to present their choice of recipe and share important points with the rest of the group. The main purpose of this group is to learn the techniques, critic procedures if there are ways to improve and to eat delicious food.

I’m making up for last month, which was shaped dinner rolls and we had to choose 3 shapes, and I failed to post during the move.  This month’s theme is holiday cakes and I chose the Brazil Nut cake. 

For the dinner rolls I chose Lion House, Clover Leaf and small braid knots.  I loved the Lion house and small braid knots, but my clover leafs were embarrassing.

Loved the Brazil Nut Cake!

Faye Levy Chocolate Sensations, HP Books Inc., USA, 1986, p.22-23
Chocolate –Brazil Nut Cake
1-1/2 cups Brazilian nuts (about 7 oz)
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
¾ cup Sugar
¼ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup (6 oz) unsalted butter slightly softened
6 eggs separated, room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Chocolate Honey Frosting
½ cup whipping cream
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
6 tablespoons (3 oz.) unsalted butter, slightly softened but still cool
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon honey
¼ cup Brazil nuts chopped
  • Preheat oven to 350F(175C). 
  • Toast nuts in a shallow baking pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Transfer nuts into large strainer. Rub nuts against the strainer with a towel and remove most of the skin and keep aside.
  • Melt chocolate in double boiler or heatproof medium bowl over hot, not simmering, water over low heat, stirring occasionally until smooth, remove and set aside to cool.
  • Butter 9”x3” springform pan, line base with parchment paper and grease and flour the sides of the pan.
  • Grind the nuts with 2 tablespoons sugar into a fine powder. Transfer into a bowl and sift flour and baking powder and mix thoroughly.
  • Cream butter and 6 tablespoons of sugar and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add one egg yolk at a time and beat till all 6 are blended and pale. Stir in the melted chocolate.
  • In another bowl beat egg white and cream of tartar in medium speed until it forms soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat till white are stiff and shiny but not dry.
  • Gently fold in 1/3 of the white into the chocolate flour mixture, repeat folding in batches until batter is blended.
  • Transfer batter into prepared pans and bake for 40 minutes or till the tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Using a spatula go around the cake gently and invert onto a cake rack and allow cooling completely.
  • Bring cream to a full boil in a small saucepan remove from heat and immediately.
  • Add the chopped chocolate. Stir quickly till the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Cool to room temperature. 
  • Whip this at high speed till it thickens and becomes pale.
  • Cream butter in a medium bowl until it is soft and smooth, gradually add the chocolate mixture and honey and beat well
  • Using a long spatula spread frosting evenly on the side and top of the cake. 
  • Fill the center with chopped Brazil nuts.
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2 + 1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 + 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 + 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 + 2/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
6 + 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 JUMBO eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 cups blueberries

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift together the 2 cups flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peel in a large mixing bowl.
  • Whisk together the eggs, 6 tablespoons butter, buttermilk and vanilla.
  • Gently fold in the blueberries.
  • Pour liquid mix into flour mixture and beat until smooth with a hand mixer.
  • Pour into a prepared 9×9 pan.
  • In a small food processor process all the remaining ingredients except the walnuts until smooth.
  • Using your hands form small flat pancakes with the mixture and scatter over cake batter until well covered.
  • Poke a few holes down into the cake for the streusel to run into or run a knife through creating a swirl.
  • Scatter walnuts evenly over top.
  • Bake 1 hour.
  • Serve warm with a dab of butter melting on top of each piece.
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Syrian Bread

When I was a child growing up in west Michigan we had a neighbor that lived at the end of our street, that would make Syrian bread. Occasionally she would bring us some and I loved it. I never did get her recipe. When I was young I didn’t cook much, and that was mostly due to the fact that my mom was such a good cook.

I haven’t really thought about Mrs Ansara’s Syrian Bread until I ran across this bread on Treat and Trick…and what luck, it was a bread machine recipe!!! Whoo hoo!!

Into the bread machine:
1 1/8 cup warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons yeast

Hit the dough cycle.
Preheat oven to 400 degree F.
When the cycle is complete punch down dough and divide into 8 and make into balls. Roll each ball out into about a 6″ circle, (mine ended up being a little more rectangular),
Brush tops with melted butter and bake (probably will only be able to bake a couple at a time) 8 minutes and then flip and brush other side with the butter and bake for another 5 minutes.

While I baked some I also did what she did and made some on the griddle about five minutes each side. You can tell when they get done with the little golden spots that start to appears. I topped some of them with …black and white sesame seeds, garlic, and sea salt (I keep this blended and in a jar to use on many things). On a few others I topped with zaatar seasoning (also a blend that I’ve made), but didn’t get a picture of those. I guess they tasted too good hot off the grill to stick around for a photo op!

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3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted + a little to coat the pan
1 teaspoon vanilla
Juice of 1 lemon
Powdered Sugar

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Coat the inside of an ovenproof 12 inch skillet with butter or PURE. Be sure to remember to edges and sides.
  • In a mixing bowl beat the eggs until well blended.
  • Add the milk and blend again.
  • Sift together the flour and salt and gradually fold into the egg mixture.
  • Add the melted butter and vanilla, blend until smooth.
  • Pour batter into the buttered skillet.
  • Bake 15 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to 350 minutes and bake another 10 minutes until pancake has billowed high and turned golden brown.
  • Sprinkle with lemon juice and powdered sugar. You can also use regular maple syrup or molasses or I especially like it with Blackberry Pineapple Dipping Sauce or Lemon Sauce.
  • Serve immediately.
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Blueberry Almond Lemon Muffins

These little mouthfuls are wonderful as breakfast or a snack.  The addition of ground almonds give them a little more interest than a regular blueberry muffin and make them a little more moist.  These were a hit with my family, I hope they will be with yours also!

Blueberry, Almond, Lemon Muffins.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup of ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Zest of a lemon
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks butter (melted and cooled)
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups blueberries
sliced almonds – for sprinkling

Heat the oven 350 F

Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

Melt the butter in the microwave and let cool.

Combine the flour, almonds, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda in a bowl.

Mix together the sour cream, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla extract.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.

Toss the blueberries in a tablespoon of flour and gently fold into the ingredients. 

Spoon into the muffin pan and bake for approx 20 – 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven, cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool thoroughly.

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