A Cinnamon Roll in a Minute

I know I missed a week or so there, but I’ll blame finances and if this was a more political blog, I’d go into the details of being a struggling, underpaid, under-worked, over-educated millennial, but this isn’t…  It’s just that the past week, I was using up the minute dinners and cans of goods, so there wasn’t really anything worth posting.  I did attempt this delicious mug cake below, but the first picture was horrible, so I made it again… it was that good.

Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake...it was delicious.

Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake…it was delicious.

I’ll first start off by saying, I didn’t alter this one in any way.  I know that a lot of the times I will, substituting or adjusting for my own tastes, but with these mug cakes, I want to try and do that exact and find the best one.  Let me say that this one really does taste like what it claims to be: a cinnamon roll in a mug cake.  If the texture hadn’t given it away, I would have thought it was a cinnamon roll.  Obviously, this has a more cake texture to it than the bread-like roll but boy, the flavors are so very, very close.

This one is a definite try.  It actually cooks up in the time that the recipe says, is fluffy and full of flavor.  I’d even recommend this on Sunday mornings (it was a tradition in my house as a kid that my dad would get up before church and pop in the cinnamon rolls for us when we woke up…  it was the extent of my dad’s baking).

It has become clear to me that I need a better mug to do these in…  so the search will be on…

Twofer: Dinner and dessert

Tonight was a pasta night.  It happens quite a bit, usually in the form of an easy microwave dinner or just some pre-made in a jar sauce with noddles.  Nothing fancy but nothing creative either.  I decided to forgo the stables and do something new.

The menu?  Pasta with an easy creamy garlic sauce that I found on this blog and a quick, microwave dessert that’s a bit of a stable for me when I want something sweet and fruity.  I will say this about the menu…  wait a bit before going from your garlic sauce to your apple dessert.  It doesn’t always go well together right away.

Let’s break it down.

The sauce wasn’t too difficult to make and I say this as being a person who cannot make a savory sauce or gravy right to save her life.  Desserts?  No problem.  Savory?  Apparently it doesn’t work in my brain.  That being said, I’ve watched enough cooking shows to believe I could handle this, and you know what?  I did.  What I will say, however, was that I did have to change things up a bit…as usual.

Pasta with a creamy garlic sauce topped with cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese and parsley

Pasta with a creamy garlic sauce topped with cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese and parsley

The recipe on the site calls for a tablespoon of butter, finely chopping garlic and three tablespoons flour (among other things, you’ll have to check the website out to see what).  I didn’t have fresh garlic (boo) so I used the minced stuff which is probably what changed things for me.  My mixture ended up too dry before I added the milk to the mix.  So I hurried and put in another tablespoon of butter, which seemed to help and worked the milk into the mix.  I do think I will cut back on the flour in the future and add more salt, otherwise, the quick save did the trick.

Now, to top it off, and because I’m a sucker for cheese (forget mold allergies, I love my cheese!), I sprinkled a bit of shredded cheese on top, a bit of dried (wish I had fresh) parsley (I’m on a parsley kick), and some cherry tomatoes.  I turned out rather tasty.  It wasn’t as strong a flavor as I would have liked and fresh garlic is probably what would have made this so I’ll give it ago another time when I have it in the house, but for a quick and easy pasta sauce?  It’s a keeper.

On to dessert.  I’m a fan of microwave desserts since I’m just one person.  It makes it easy to stop at one serving.  What I love even more are apples.  I can eat apples till I’m too stuffed to eat.  Just ask anyone who has worked with me at Greenfield Village at Firestone Farm during apple harvest.  Apples, love them!

My favorite thing to do is to add some sugar, both brown and white (I love the flavor mix of the two with an apple), cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to a chopped apple.  Always taste your apple to check the sweetness, etc.  Every apple breed is different and that changes your ratio of sugar to spices.  I’ll admit, I had a sweet apple and might have added a bit too much sugar (ha!), but I got excited.

Spiced apples with ice cream

Spiced apples with ice cream

Microwave those apples with your spices and sugar for about 1 minute.  I always do spurts of 30 seconds just to be sure.  Then I crumble up some graham crackers or vanilla wafers (preferred) and top it off with just a small scoop or two of french vanilla bean ice cream.  It warms the belly and really isn’t as bad for you as a good slice of chocolate cake, which is a winner in my book.

All in all… not a bad meal.  A typical meal, but a pretty good one.

Coming Back: The Great Mug Cake Experiment

Yes, The Weekly 52 is going back to its roots this coming year and posting at least one new recipe a week.  It worked fabulously the week before, even if I ended up losing track of posts mid-summer.  I did keep baking/cooking a recipe a week.  I loved the experiment so much that I want to bring it back…especially with the continued rise of quality recipes on Pinterest.

To start it off…it’s another mug cake.  I love little mug cakes, to be honest.  I don’t have to bake a huge cake and still get a little dessert.  The downfall is that they can be tricky buggers.  Some are spongy, some are tough, etc.  So when I stumbled on this from Pinterest, I had to try one of them, even if it was based off Buzzfeed.

Two little mug cakes sitting nicely in a row

Two little mug cakes sitting nicely in a row

First things: it isn’t my usual ‘healthy’ dessert.  I say this by explaining that I sub in applesauce when I can to cut down on some of the sugar and egg ingredients.  I’ve had great success with it, but I really wanted to follow this one to the letter since it proclaims to ‘fix’ what’s wrong with most mug cakes.

The top recommendation is to use self-rising flour or at the very least, make your own and they tell you how (1c flour + 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, pinch of salt).  I’ll say this: it’s a key thing to making the consistency that of a regular, baked cake.  I get it…and I’ll stick to it.

Next is the egg and yes, I tend to sub this out a lot so that I can use eggs in other edible things but I stuck with it.  They warn that this is for two mug cakes and that’s the kicker: one egg in a mix is two mug cakes and yes, cutting an egg in half isn’t going to happen.  Another good tip.

The other recommendations are pretty common sense so I moved on to the few recipes they offered on the site.  It is a book afterall and so these were just samples of recipes inside.  I’ll take it and run with it.

I started off with the basic yellow cake recipe because you can do so much to it and yes, they recommend adding.  I stuck to the recipe and made an addition: I added a half spoonful of my homemade strawberry jam.  Next time, I’ll add more but I used up all that I had…

My two mugs baked at 2 minutes and I probably could have gone a smidge longer but they were fine.  They bounced back and cooked all the way through.  I threw on some homemade buttercream colored a dark pink, sprinkled on chocolate chips and called it good.

And it was good.  Was it the best mug cake I’ve ever had?  Honestly?  No.  But it was up there on the list and one that I’ll keep around and reuse.  I will say that it was good enough to think about trying to find the book and putting it on a birthday wish list.

The Art of Scrap Cookies

Whew, I’ve been a busy girl.  Not busy enough that I’m not making new things each week, but just busy enough to let updates and posts slip off the to-do list.  I’ll be better about it.

This time, I have a cookie to write about and a lovely, little cookie to boot.  It’s a mix of period recipe and my own little tweaking and I’m quite proud of the result.  It tastes like a little vanilla wafer, smooth and not overly sweet, so that means you can eat a couple without sugar overload.  At least in taste.

These little wafers are so light and sharp that they'll probably be my go-to 'sugar' cookie

These little wafers are so light and sharp that they’ll probably be my go-to ‘sugar’ cookie

Technically, they are called “Scrap-Art” Cookies but I played around and added lemon juice and a very good drop of honey into the mix since the note in the recipe said that it could be dry, the dough.  My solution was to add a hint more liquid and it worked beautifully.  They rolled out nicely and baked up beautifully.

So here’s the recipe:  (note: with period recipes, standardization of measuring is a later invention, so pick a cup that’s going to represent your cup and use that as a base… something on the smaller size because I guarantee these recipes make A LOT)

1 cup butter
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2.5 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Large drop of honey.

You’ll cream the butter, egg, vanilla, sugar, lemon juice and honey together.  Then add your dry ingredients.  Chill in the frig like you would for sugar cookies.  I chilled them for about an hour.  Roll thin and cut into shapes or circles with a cup.  For fun, I added one chocolate chip to the middle.

It’s a Pupton of Apples!

Usually I bring home victorian era recipes.  Not this time.  We’re going back to the 18th century for this one, and probably a little older.  I’m not really sure on the true age of this particular recipe but I do know that it is good.

Doesn't it look so lovely and bread like?

Doesn’t it look so lovely and bread like?

It’s called a ‘Pupton of Apples.’  Now, what’s a pupton?  I have no idea and I did do some searching and even the presenters at the house I worked in who have been there and are in charge, don’t really know.  It’s a mystery but I have found a great blog entry about the pupton to share and it does mention the Hannah Glass book that this one was taken from, so it’s a great resource if you’re interested.

smell up your home with some apples and cinnamon!

smell up your home with some apples and cinnamon!

Basically how it goes is this:  You chop up at least 3 cups of apples (more if you’re an apple fiend like me) and fry them up with a cup and a half of sugar and only two tablespoons of water.  Trust me, that’s all you need to make a marmalade with your goodies.  Toss in as much cinnamon as you like and viola, something you can just gobble up with a spoon if you’re so inclined.  I almost did.

Rustic and homey feeling, right?

Rustic and homey feeling, right?

Next you take about two cups of bread crumbs.  I didn’t have any ‘modern’ ones who I toasted some bread and crumbled.  Homemade bread that’s been baked a bit in the oven tastes the best but no matter how you do it, it still works.  One to two eggs; I found that doing it either didn’t change it much taste and consistency-wise.  Then there’s a 1/4 lbs butter or one stick of butter, however you want to think of it.  Mix that all together and then add in your marmalade.  It’s a thick heavy mix but if it isn’t ‘mold-able’ add in some flour to help it out.

The more apples you cut, the more you get to enjoy.

The more apples you cut, the more you get to enjoy.

But it in a bake dish at about 325-350 and bake.  Mine took about 30-40 minutes but I’m always checking it since this comes from a time when bake kettles are in fashion and you’re using coals.  What you end up with is a lovely, ‘rustic’ looking cake that tastes delicious fresh from the oven with a bit of ice cream.  If it was fall, oh man, I’d be making this weekly.

On a side note: dried apples work just as well, just remember that they soak up the water when frying them and you may have to add a bit more.  You end up with a more ‘candied’ mix than marmalade but just as tasty.

Period Little Biscuits

Short and sweet, just like this biscuits…

So what happens is this:  I work at Greenfield Village and therefore, work the farm life and living histories areas where we cook (and much, much more) but that means that many of us take home these recipes and make for ourselves and for our families…because they are just so yummy.  Therefore, all the trial and error happens there and less at home, though converting from a coal stove to a modern stove does have some whoopsie moments.

Look at those discs!  Perfect for soup bowls.

Look at those discs! Perfect for soup bowls.

These South Carolina Biscuits are found in the Buckeye Cookery which I’ve referenced before and since it’s still being printed, I can’t really give out the recipe like I want, but look this book up.  It’s glorious and has so much info in it besides period recipes.  These biscuits are described as good biscuits for a lunch (taken away from the house) but they are also good for a quick bread for dinner.

Now, I should say that they are not super fluffy biscuits but have some nice layers to it.  This lack of fluffiness made my family shrink back from them, which is sad because there’s just a hint of sweetness to this little goodies.  I adore them.  They’re easy to make and easy to eat.  You don’t need jelly, jam or butter on these babies.  So I was somewhat sad to know that I was the one eating them up.

You win some, you lose some I guess.  I’ll try another biscuit recipe later on and fool them…but check out this cookbook.  I swear, you’ll love it!

Brownie Pie

Whew, busy and crazy week, no?  But I’m finally getting around to the brownie pie I made last Sunday… and later today I’ll get something up about some yummy period biscuits that are great for soup days.

A brownie pie is just that: a brownie in a pie crust.  It’s not exactly a new revelation but I can honestly say that I thought to toss it together before I went looking to see if there were any legit recipes for it.  Turns out there are plenty but they are all pretty much the same, so don’t worry about that.

You can see my squished side there...whoops...

You can see my squished side there…whoops…

My original plan was to make a graham cracker crust but the danger of keeping graham crackers in the house are that they get eaten before you can make a crust but that’s alright.  Another time maybe.  With that out of the equation, I threw together my basic sweet crust and halved it to just make the bottom part of the pie.  Some recipes have you bake the crust before baking the brownie but I baked them together and actually think it turned out better than if I had just baked the crust first.

Once the pie crust was done, I threw together the brownie recipe from the first post I made on this blog.  I want to try another, healthier recipe but when grocery day is the next day you don’t have all those healthy substitutes on hand, but that’s alright.  Brownie pie doesn’t lend itself to healthy eating but it is delicious.

Soft and goodie on the inside and the pie crust just frames it nicely.  No lost crumbs.

Soft and goodie on the inside and the pie crust just frames it nicely. No lost crumbs.

Bake it for the length of the brownie, though about 15 minutes in, put some foil around your pie edges so that they don’t burn…just don’t squish down your lovely crust like I did…equally on both sides so at least they were symmetrical.  Ah well, tastes the same right? In the end you have a lovely pie that’s moist and would do wonderfully with some fruit topping.