Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Cinnamon Rolls


Sundays are all about Breakfast Rolls at my house- The Cooker Boy loves to help me make the dough, and he would devour the entire pan if I’d let him. This recipe is a variation on the first Cinnamon Roll recipe I poted- both the original and this version are from The Pioneer Woman. The addition of brown sugar, salt and chocolate chips makes these cinnamon rolls taste like chocolate chip cookies. I didn’t make any changes to this recipe- it’s perfect just the way it is! ( I did, however, cut the recipe in half. As much as I love breakfast rolls, there’s no need for me to make more than 2 pans at a time.)

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 pkg dry active yeast
1/2 tablespoon (heaping) salt
1/2 teaspoon (scant) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (heaping) baking powder

1/2 stick butter,melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt (scant)

Heat milk, sugar and oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until warm but not boiling. Allow to cool to slightly warmer than lukewarm. Add yeast and 4 cups flour and stir until just combined. Dough will be wet and sticky. Cover and set in a draft-free area (I use my oven, turned off of course) and let sit for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, add remaining flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir until combined. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour prior to rolling, and longer if you have the time.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and grease desired pans. Divide dough in half, and keep unused half refrigerated until needed. Generously flour your work surface, then turn dough onto floured surface.
Roll into a large rectangle, leaving dough about 1/4 inch thick. Mix melted butter and vanilla, and drizzle 1/2 of mixture onto dough. Use fingers or pastry brush to spread evenly across the dough. Combine sugar and salt, and sprinkle half over melted butter. Top with half of brown sugar, chocolate chips and pecans if desired.

Beginning with the edge farthest from you, roll dough toward you forming a tight roll. Pinch edges together to seal. Slice into 1/2-3/4 inch thick pieces, and lay in prepared pans. Allow dough to rise for 20 minutes then bake for 20-22 minutes at 375 degrees or until tops of rolls are golden brown.

Prepare icing while rolls are baking. Mix butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and milk and mix with electric mixer until smooth and pourable.

Pour on rolls while warm, and top with extra chocolate chips and pecans if desired.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!


Rubber Duck & Diaper Cakes


 Just a few photos today- These cakes were made for a coworker’s baby shower earlier in the week. I used some of my favorite recipes for the rubber duckie cake- the bottom tier is chocolate cake with raspberry champagne filling and vanilla buttercream, and the top tier is white cake with a layer of chocolate ganache filling and tiramisu buttercream. Both layers were popular- and the cake was demolished by my coworkers- and someone asks me about it every time I’m at work now. I’ve even earned a new nickname…Martha!

As I was shopping for a gift, I thought I would try a different kind of cake- a diaper cake. This one requires no baking, just a little time and creativity in assembling. The mom-to-be loved it, and I think I’ve found a new business effort! Diaper cakes make great baby shower centerpieces, as well as gifts. I made mine using Pampers Swaddlers Diapers, baby washcloths, receiving blankets,  a hooded bath towel and some ribbon. I’m sorry I didn’t take better pictures before I wrapped it up- it turned out super cute, and all of the “ingredients” are must haves when you bring a new baby home!

Celebrate Life: Raspberry Champagne Cream Cupcakes


A few months ago, I happened upon the Frosting for The Cause Website and was excited to volunteer for the project. Frosting for The Cause is a volunteer baker/blogger effort to raise awareness as well as funds for cancer research. Each day of 2011, a new blogger will post about their experience baking goodies for their local hospice as well as where they are choosing to make their financial contribution.

As a Respiratory Therapist working in a medical center, I interact with cancer patients as well as non-cancer patients who are making the decision to seek hospice care. I am often blessed with the opportunity to be involved in the transition from critical care to the comfort care that hospice provides. I have been touched by many patients who eventually sought hospice care, and I am honored to have been a part of their lives, even if for just a brief moment in time.

On a personal level, cancer has affected a few of my family members as well as several of our family friends. Some of these people were lucky enough to win their battle with cancer, some were not. Each of them has taught me something along the way- that no matter what, life is to be celebrated. Life can be long, life can be short- we never know what the future holds for us. This post is dedicated to those family, friends, patients and their families that have fought long and hard fights.

The recipe I decided to use for this project is a celebration cake- Raspberry Champagne Cream Cake. I made the cake itself last week for my family’s New Years Day Dinner, again Monday for a friend’s birthday party, and decided that I would make the same recipe in cupcake form to take to the Stuart F. Meyer Hospice House here in Palm Coast, Florida.

Photo from Florida Hospital Hospice Care

The SFMHH is a small, 8 bed inpatient facility with a warm homelike atmosphere that provides patients (and their family members) the care and support they need in their last weeks and days. My son and I visited the facility this afternoon to drop off the cupcakes, and it is truly a beautiful facility filled with warm and caring people. I was honored to be able to provide this small gift to the patients, their families, and the staff that works so selflessly to provide comfort at every level. My financial contribution will also be going to Florida Hospital Hospice Care, in honor and memory of the patient’s I’ve handed over to the loving care of the Florida Hospital Hospice Care nurses.

“You matter because you are you. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but to live until you die.”  Dr. Cicely Saunders (founder of modern hospice care)

Mini Raspberry Champagne Cream Cupcakes adapted from The Pampered Chef
Makes 56 mini cupcakes

1 package white cake mix
3 egg whites
3/4 cup pink champagne
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 drops red food coloring gel

Raspberry Champagne Sauce:
1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup pink champagne, divided
2 tbsp cornstarch

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 lb powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup Raspberry Champagne Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place mini cupcake liners in mini muffin tin and set aside. Place cake mix in large mixing bowl, and whisk to break up lumps. Add the remaining cake ingredient, and whisk 2-3 minutes or until smooth.

Using a small scoop, fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.

Place in oven, and bake for 16-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove pan from oven, and cool on cooling rack for 10-15 minutes. Remove cupcakes to cooling rack and cool until completely cool. Repeat with remaining batter.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare Raspberry Champagne Sauce. Combine 1/4 cup champagne and 2 tbsp cornstarch in small bowl, whisk until combined and set aside. Combine raspberries, sugar, water, and 3/4 cup champagne in small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil.

When mixture comes to a boil, slowly add remaining champagne to pan, whisking constantly. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat, pour sauce into a small bowl through a fine mesh sieve to strain any lumps and seeds out. Let sauce cool for 1 hour.

When cupcakes and sauce are completely cool, prepare frosting. Place butter in a large bowl, and beat with electric mixer on high until smooth. Add powdered sugar in small batches, mixing well  and scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. When all powdered sugar has been incorporated, add vanilla and 1/4 cup Raspberry Champagne Sauce, and mix until just combined.

Prepare pastry bag with selected tip, fold over edges and place inside a drinking glass. This stabilizes the bag and gives you two hands to use to fill the bag with frosting!

Pipe frosting on cupcakes, and top with sanding sugar if desired.

Top with sanding sugar, if desired, and enjoy.

Boxed up and ready to go!

 Remember that even the small things in life deserve to be celebrated!