Tag Archives: breakfast

Weekend Special: Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls II Rants, Raves, & Rations

During the week, we do not eat “cooked” breakfasts.  Rather, we eat cold cereals, yogurt, hard-cooked eggs, string cheese, fruit, or sometimes oatmeal.   If we do eat something “cooked,” it’s been made prior to the morning because we don’t allot extra morning kitchen time (such as a quinoa bake or cinnamon quick bread).  On weekends…well, we splurge a little and typically make pancakes or eggs with a breakfast meat, and maybe a hearty slice of toast with a smearing of orange marmalade on the side.  Last weekend, I made buttermilk biscuits.  This weekend…

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls II Rants, Raves, & Rations

I made homemade cinnamon rolls.  They’re soft, moist, and deliciously sweetly spiced.  Topped with a light vanilla glaze, these are some of the best I’ve had.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls II Rants, Raves, & Rations

(We really want to cut back on this type of carbs.)

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls II Rants, Raves, & Rations

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls II Rants, Raves, & Rations

And I have a long history with cinnamon rolls.  At a family restaurant we used to frequent when I was a child, I would always order their “Sweet Cinnamon Swirl” – which was a flaky cinnamon roll pastry.  Each layer would be eaten first until I could finally savor the perfect center in all its soft, tender glory.  I still do this with any cinnamon roll.

What I find to be an issue with a lot of store-bought cinnamon rolls is that the texture lacks tenderness; the dry roll just tears off in pieces.  The icing usually leaves a lot to be desired, too.  While the glaze for this recipe isn’t my favorite (I normally like a tangy cream cheese frosting), it’s a nice addition to them.

The best part about this recipe is the simplicity.  One rise.  It took around two hours from start to finish because they only need one period of rising.  I turned on the oven to 200 degrees F and put the rolls in, shut the door, and shut the oven off.  This created a great environment for rising – especially when it’s 30 degrees warmer than normal here, and we have the air conditioning going inside.

Homemade Cinnamon RollsHomemade Cinnamon Rolls II Rants, Raves, & RationsHomemade Cinnamon Rolls II Rants, Raves, & Rations

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls II Rants, Raves, & Rations

They got a little larger than “double in size”

A couple of changes I will make to this recipe for next time is adding or substituting the white sugar for brown sugar, and making the aforementioned cream cheese frosting instead of the vanilla glaze.  Other than that, I appreciate Sally’s Baking Addiction for a great base recipe!

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls


    • 2 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 package Red Star Platinum Yeast (1 packet = 2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 2 and 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 large egg
    • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
    • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Vanilla Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs. half & half or cream


  1. Make the dough: Set aside 1/2 cup of flour. In a large bowl, toss the remaining flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
  2. Heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch. About 125F-130F degrees. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and only enough of the reserved flour to make a soft dough.  Dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 5-6 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl (I used non-stick spray) and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  4. Make the filling: After 10 minutes, roll the dough out in a 14×8 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Add more cinnamon/sugar if desired. Roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 11 even pieces and place in a lightly greased 9-inch round pan. I used a pie dish, lightly sprayed with nonstick spray. Loosely cover the rolls with aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes. (*Heat the oven to 200F degrees. Turn oven off. Place rolls inside oven and allow to rise.)
  5. After the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 375F. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. *I covered the rolls with aluminum foil after 15 minutes to avoid heavy browning.
  6. Make the glaze: Right before serving, top your cinnamon rolls with glaze. Mix the powdered sugar and cream together until smooth and drizzle over rolls.
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Berry Scones

Slightly sweet.  Moist.  Rich with cream and butter.  Scones are so versatile and scrumptious.  I enjoy them with all sorts of additions – blueberries, raspberries, cinnamon chips.  They can be lightly glazed or like mine, which have a delightfully crunchy sprinkling of turbinado sugar.

Berry Scones

I’ve done a bit of baking in the past week for Memorial Day and weekend breakfasts, and while I’ve enjoyed the brown sugar pound cake and buttermilk biscuits, I must say these scones came out on top.  My husband (we’ll refer to him as Mr. D) and I had some nice, simple scones at the bed & breakfast we stayed at on our Savannah honeymoon; this tweaked Ina Garten recipe blows them out of the water.  Theirs were a bit dry and just didn’t have the flaky, rich texture of these.

Ina’s original recipe is for “cranberry-orange” scones, but I didn’t have any citrus fruit on hand, so I made them with dried mixed berries (a trio of cranberries, cherries, and blueberries).  Her basic recipe is going to be my go-to from now on because it’s so easy and perfect.  I did cut it in half, as her dishes often yield large amounts.

Scones are wonderful for breakfast, brunch, or a snack, and they can be savory or sweet.  I’ve enjoyed cheddar-dill scones and versions with salty bacon.  I look forward to using this recipe with savory ingredients, too.


Berry Scones

Berry Scones

Berry Scones

Berry Scones

Berry Scones (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)


2 cups plus 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, diced
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1/2 cup dried fruit

*1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash

*Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on the egg-washed tops before baking


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 2 cups of flour, 1/8 cup sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas.

Combine the eggs and heavy cream and with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy. Combine the dried fruit bits and 1/8 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick circle (or just pat it out with your hands). You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn’t stick. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes.

Berry Scones

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Bircher Muesli: Quick and Healthful

Bircher Muesli

On an old Barefoot Contessa episode, Ina Garten made a breakfast dish called “muesli” that used raw oats, apple juice, and fresh fruit, and was topped with yogurt.  While this dish is much less popular than hot oatmeal in the United States, I did find some great recipes that served as inspiration for my own version.

The traditional “Bircher muesli” is named after a Swiss physician, nutrition researcher, and raw food-proponent, Max Bircher-Benner.  You may see “muesli” in the boxed cereal aisle at the grocery store, but they are much different than Bircher muesli, which combines oats, grated fruit, juice and/or milk, yogurt, and various mix-ins to be refrigerated and served cold.


My version is very close to what I researched to be “traditional”: oats, grated apple, milk, juice, and yogurt.  I added spicy cinnamon to the mixture and topped it with salty pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and a drizzle of honey.  One change I may make next time is to replace the rolled oats for steel-cut to keep more of a chewy texture.

This is a healthy, portable breakfast, easily served in a paper cup to take on the go.

Bircher Muesli


2 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats

4 Tbs. shredded coconut

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 large apple, grated on the large side of a box grater

1 cup apple juice

1 cup almond milk

2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

*Toppings: Honey, pepitas, fresh fruit, additional yogurt


Combine all the ingredients (minus the toppings) in a bowl and stir to mix well.  Refrigerate overnight (or a few hours) and serve with desired toppings.

Bircher Muesli

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Pumpkin Bran Muffins: Friday’s Fiber

Pumpkin Bran Muffins

Perfect for snacking and/or a breakfast on-the-go, these moist pumpkin bran muffins are full of fiber and have a nice, warm spice to them. They’re not a particularly sweet muffin because the only sugar comes from honey and molasses – so no white sugar! To make these even healthier, in place of all-purpose flour, I used white whole wheat flour. A sprinkling of bran atop the muffins prior to baking makes them look healthy, too. I won’t deny that I’d much rather have a streusel topping, though. The goal here, however, was to make a hearty, nutritious muffin for quick breakfasts…and that was accomplished with these fiber-rich treats.

Pumpkin Bran Muffins

As with quick breads, muffin batter should never be overmixed – or else you’ll have tough, heavy mounds to throw at your enemies.

Pumpkin Bran Muffins

(adapted from GreenLiteBites)

  • 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour (180g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 15oz can of pumpkin
  • ¼ cup molasses (84 g)
  • 2 tbsp honey (42g)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup non-fat unflavored yogurt (I used Greek)
  • ¾ cup Oat Bran (45g)
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Double-sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the pumpkin, molasses, honey, egg, egg whites, applesauce and yogurt. Beat until all ingredients are mixed well.

Pour the flour mixture and oat bran into the pumpkin mixture. Combine until just moistened. Do NOT overmix!

Line muffin tins with papers. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin cups. Sprinkle with bran and bake for about 20 minutes. (Yield: approx. 18)

Pumpkin Bran Muffins


Tomorrow is my 26th birthday, and I will be serving my family a homemade dessert of honey-lavender profiteroles and plain cream puffs filled with vanilla pastry cream. I’m using Julia Child’s recipe for Pate a Choux with a lusciously floral ice cream that I made last night using our new KitchenAid ice cream maker bowl; I also prepared the pastry cream to pipe into the shells. I’m very much looking forward to my first attempt at Pate a Choux and will report the results soon.

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Cinnamon Quick Bread

Cinnamon Quick Bread II Rants, Raves, & Rations

Quick breads are somewhat tricky to get “right.”  While they aren’t as finicky as risotto, they do require careful attention to flavor additions and mixing to yield a great product.  So many of these turn out incredibly dry, heavy, and/or bland.  Yes, cinnamon and sugar can cover a multitude of sins, but they can’t make up for a terrible texture.

Quick bread batter can also only take so much mixing abuse before it reaches a point of no return, producing an extremely heavy result.  You cannot beat it into submission!  The trick for these batters (and for muffins) is to mix the dry and wet ingredients until JUST combined.  While lumps are not so acceptable in leggings, they are perfect for quick breads and muffins.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is deliciously moist, sweet, spicy, and EASY.  This loaf is a breeze to make, and it’s likely that you have all of the ingredients on hand if you do much baking at all.  You could make a basic glaze with confectioner’s sugar and milk if you like that sort of addition, but it certainly doesn’t need one.  The crisped cinnamon-sugar top is perfect.

Cinnamon Quick Bread II Rants, Raves, & Rations

Cinnamon Quick Bread


Quick Bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Cinnamon Swirl/Topping:
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
In large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup sugar. Add egg, milk, and oil to flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Pour half of the batter into the greased pan and sprinkle with almost the entire 1/3 cup of cinnamon sugar.
Add the remaining batter, and lightly sprinkle with remaining topping.
Bake for 50-60 minutes.

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Breakfast for Dinner: Quinoa Egg Bake

It’s an unfortunate fact that most of my favorite breakfast foods are loaded with fat, sodium, and sugar – pancakes, waffles, casseroles, Eggs Benedict, etc.  It’s a tough fact of life that these are so delicious, yet competely unhealthy.  You may be thinking, “Oh, well try multigrain pancakes!” or “How about the soy-based sausage?”  I’m a realist; there’s just simply no comparison.  So what’s a breakfast-craving, trying-to-eat-healthier woman to do?

Enter the Quinoa Egg Bake.  It’s an easy, nutritious casserole, but excludes a lot of the fatty ingredients that make the dish delicious unhealthy.  However, it’s full of flavor, thanks to garlic, fresh thyme, parmesan, and spinach.

Quinoa Egg Bake

Spinach is loaded with fiber, vitamins A & C, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, and folates.  It’s one of our top vegetable picks for everything from dips, omelettes, soups, and salads.

If you’ve never had quinoa, it’s a plant-based complete protein that contains all of the eight essential amino acids, and it’s touted as a “superfood” because of its remarkable ratio of fats, carbohydrates, and protein.  Often we eat it in place of rice or another starch as an accompaniment to our main course.  Providing a blank canvas for a plethora of salads, side dishes, and casseroles, quinoa is extremely versatile and delicious.

This recipe can be prepared in just minutes and would be a fantastic addition to a breakfast or brunch spread alongside some fresh fruit.   Tonight we had breakfast for dinner; I served it with some multigrain bread that we slathered with my homemade orange marmalde.  The original recipe says it serves six, but realistically, it serves four.

Quinoa Egg Bake

Quinoa Egg Bake

(from FitSugar)


1 teaspoon butter or butter substitute
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
8 eggs
1 1/4 cup nonfat milk
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch x 8-inch glass or metal baking dish with butter; set aside.
  2. Put quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear; drain well.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and quinoa. Stir in spinach, then pour mixture into prepared dish.
  4. Cover tightly with foil then jiggle dish gently from side to side so that quinoa settles on the bottom in an even layer. Bake until just set, about 45 minutes.
  5. Remove foil and sprinkle top evenly with cheese. Return to oven and bake, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes more.
  6. Set aside to let cool briefly, then slice and serve.
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Cinnamon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

One of the first recipes I made without the help of my mom was a simple cinnamon coffee cake in my sixth grade “Life Skills” class.  It was a basic, single-layer 8×8 cake with a swirl of brown sugar and cinnamon, made with just a few ingredients.  Uncomplicated yet satisfying.  I’m not a big fan of most cake icings, so coffee cakes are especially appealing.  I’ll take a crumbly cinnamon streusel over buttercream icing any day.

This recipe requires a few more ingredients and steps than the cake I made as an 11-year-old, but the results make the additional effort completely worth it.  It’s rich, moist, and spicy, and would be a perfect addition to breakfast or brunch.  If I drank coffee, I’m sure this would be an excellent partner.  Instead of a regular square baking dish or round cake pan, I used a well-greased 10-inch springform pan that released the cake nicely.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Fragrant cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves are incorporated into the cake batter, and rich, sweet, vanilla cream cheese separates the layers.  The coffee cake is topped with a crusty crown of cinnamon streusel; chopped nuts would also be a nice addition to the topping.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake



1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. each: ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves


1 (8oz) package cream cheese
1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat cream cheese with the egg yolk for one minute, and then mix in sugar and vanilla.  Pour the filling over half of the coffee cake.  Spoon the other half of the coffee cake batter over the top.


1/4 cup of  brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter (softened)
1Tbs.  cinnamon
Combine all ingredients and use your fingers to cut the butter into the topping mixture until it resembles crumbles. Sprinkle over top of the cake before baking.


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggs and sour cream and beat for another 3 minutes.  Sift together dry ingredients in a separate bowl (flour, baking powder, salt, spices) and slowly add to the creamed mixture.  Mix on LOW until just combined.
Spread half of the batter into the bottom of the greased pan.
Pour the cream cheese filling over the batter.
Add the remaining half of the cake batter.
Top with the cinnamon streusel mixture.
Bake for 52-55 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack before removing the outer ring of the pan.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
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