King Cake Scones

King Cake Scones

A year ago, when starting this blog, I wrote one of my first ever posts about a kid-sized king cake that I enjoy making with my kids during Mardi Gras season. We had so much fun making a traditional king cake into a smaller version to enjoy as a family. This year, Fat Tuesday, the last day of the Mardi Gras season falls a few days after Valentines Day and with all our celebrations and cookie baking, I needed something quick and easy to make this year. These king cake scones take about 30-40 minutes…start to finish! No rise time. No kneading dough. Basically, the perfect sweet treat I was looking for to give us the Mardi Gras feel after a busy weekend of celebrating.

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Cinnamon Flavor

These King Cake Scones are based on the flavors in my kid-sized king cake recipe. Traditionally, king cake is flavored with cinnamon, though you may find other flavors now as well: vanilla, cream cheese, etc… I based the scone recipe off of these chocolate chip scones which we love. The scones themselves are not super sweet with only ⅓ cup of sugar in the dough. The cinnamon sugar filling and the glaze on top really give these king cake scones their sweetness and the balance between the two is perfect.

Grating Butter

One of my favorite tips when working with pastry, scones or biscuits is to grate the butter into the flour mixture. Start with butter straight from the freezer or refrigerator. Grate it into a pile and add the small bits of grated butter to the flour mixture. This grated butter is the perfect size for most recipes calling to “cut in” butter. You can also use a pastry cutter (affiliate link) to get pea-sized pieces of butter sprinkled throughout the flour mixture.

Preheat Oven

I used to be the kind of baker who would forget to preheat my oven. ALL. THE. TIME. As a busy mom, I never thought I had the time to wait for my oven to fully preheat. While that might work for some recipes (I’ll often put loaves of bread into a preheating oven to finish the rise while the oven comes to temperature), it does not work well for others. These scones really benefit from a properly preheated oven. They don’t bake very long and the high heat reacts with the baking powder giving them a beautiful rise. Basically, for this recipe, you won’t want to cut corners. Preheat the oven before baking these king cake scones.

Light Hand

Scone dough is very similar to biscuits or pie crust. If the dough is overworked, the gluten starts to develop, which results in tough, not tender scones. To achieve a tender scone, do your best to use a light hand when working the dough. I use a fork to mix the dough together until it has just barely come together. Then turn the dough out on the countertop and fold it over in a kneading motion two-three times. And that’s about all you’ll want to “work” this dough.

Sandwiching the Filling

Typically, scone dough is rolled out, cut and baked. This recipe differs because you actually cut the dough in half. Roll out both halves of the dough into equal eight inch circles. Then add a sweet cinnamon filling on top of one of the circles of scone dough. Smooth it around, leaving a little bit of space at the edge of the circle of dough. Then sandwich the other piece of dough on top. You get a nice thick layer of cinnamon filling in the middle of the scone. Pinch the edges of the scone dough closed together, moving around the edges of the dough. Initially I thought the scones would be oozing out filling but the filling holds pretty well when baked. A little cinnamon mixture will ooze out a bit, but it is easily removed from the scone after the scone cools if desired.

Glazing and Sprinkling Sugar

Once the scones have cooled, spread the glaze over the top. The glaze is meant to be fairly thick to allow the sanding sugar (affiliate link) to stick to it. If you want a thinner glaze, add a little more cream to thin it out. Sprinkle sanding sugar on top of the glaze in the typical Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and yellow. 

My whole family loves these scones. They taste sweet, cinnamony and are super quick to make. My kids all enjoyed helping glaze and sprinkle the sanding sugar on the king cake scones. King Cake Scones are the perfect low-key way to celebrate Mardi Gras this year! Enjoy!

King Cake Scones

King Cake Scones

Quick, fun and super delicious. These King Cake Scones, sandwiched with cinnamon, covered in sweet glaze and sprinkled with sanding sugar are the perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 scones

Ingredients
  

King Cake Scones

  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cold from the fridge or freezer
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk

Scone Filling

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Scone Topping

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • green, yellow and purple sanding sugar

Instructions
 

Scone Dough

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Grate the entire stick of cold butter into small pieces. Add the butter to the flour mixture and mix until little pieces of butter are evenly distributed throughout. Alternatively you can "cut" the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter into pea sized shapes.
  • Mix together the eggs, heavy cream and milk in a liquid measuring cup. Pour into the butter/flour mixture and mix together until it is just combined and forms a ball.
  • Turn the dough out onto a countertop or pastry mat and knead two or three times. Cut the dough into two equal sections. Let rest while you mix together the filling.
  • To a small bowl, mix together the scone filling: brown sugar, powdered sugar, flour, ground cinnamon, heavy cream and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  • Lightly flour both balls of dough. Roll both balls out into equal sized 8 inch circles. Spread the cinnamon scone filling on top of one of the circles, leaving a little gap on the edges.
  • Place the other 8 inch circle of dough on top of the cinnamon filling, sandwiching the scone dough together. Pinch the seams closed.
  • Cut the dough into 8 triangular sections and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake scones for 14-16 minutes until baked through and a little brown on top.
  • While the scones bake, mix up the glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract. After the scones have cooled a bit, top each scone with glaze. Sprinkle colorful sanding sugar on top of the scones. Enjoy!
Keyword King Cake, Scones

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Chocolate Puff Oven Pancake

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I’m the kind of mom who loves sweet, simple and easy traditions. We like eating this puff oven pancake on special mornings (ie: back to school) and we look forward to this chocolate version every Valentine morning. It is simple enough to throw together on a school morning. It’s sweet enough to be a “Valentine-kid-approved” breakfast and also has enough protein to be “mom-approved.” This chocolate puff oven pancake is the perfect breakfast to start your Valentine’s Day off right.

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Valentine Traditions

In my home while growing up, the tradition was to eat a sugar cookie for breakfast on Valentines Day. Yes. It’s the day I looked forward to every year as a kid because I got to eat a frosted Valentine cookie with my name on it! Sometimes I would save it for when I got home from school, but more often than not I would eat it for breakfast…and savor every bite. You can find the recipe for these best ever sugar cookies here. As I became a mom myself, I still give my kids a cookie with their breakfast (some traditions are hard to break!), but I also like having something that has a little more protein, some fruit and not quite as much sugar as my kids will be consuming throughout the school day. This chocolate puff oven pancake hits all the right spots. It is breakfast decadence at its finest, but also filling and just delicious. It could also be a delicious Valentine dessert, or a fun anytime breakfast for the chocolate lover in your life.

Use a Blender or Whisk by Hand

I love puff oven pancakes because they are so simple. Throw ingredients in a blender, pulse for 20 seconds, pour the batter into a preheated pan and stick it in the oven. We love this recipe for an original puff oven pancake and make it frequently. This chocolate version, made chocolatey with the addition of cocoa powder, really puts a special spin on an old favorite recipe for a special occasion. If you don’t have a blender, you can always whisk the ingredients together in a bowl and it will turn out just fine.

Cocoa Powder in Chocolate Puff Oven Pancake

The cocoa powder is what gives the chocolate puff oven pancake its rich, chocolatey flavor. I’ve made it with dark/rich cocoa powder and regular cocoa powder from the grocery store. My family preferred the puff oven pancake made with the dark cocoa powder. The flavor is more intense with a dark cocoa powder and not as subtle. My favorite cocoa powder is this one from Costco, but I also like using the Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder (affiliate link) that you can find in most grocery stores. You can use a dutch-processed cocoa powder in this recipe with no issues.

Make-Ahead Instructions

This year, Valentine’s Day happens to fall on Sunday. We won’t worry about rushing off to school and can enjoy a leisurely Valentine breakfast. On a typical school-day, I like to have all the ingredients set out the night before. I’ll chop the strawberries, whip the cream and get a little bowl of sprinkles all set out. I even set my pan in the oven with a little bit of butter in it so it is ready to be preheated as soon as I get downstairs. Turn on the oven, blend up the ingredients, pop it in the oven. The chocolate puff oven pancake takes 5 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to bake. Then I’m free to wake my kids and help them get ready for the school day. We only have to double and triple check that they still have their bag of Valentines. After twenty minutes of hands-off time, breakfast is ready. I love sending my kids off to school with some protein in their bellies from a filling breakfast.

ALL the Toppings

We top our chocolate puff oven pancake with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, followed by a healthy scoop of freshly whipped cream. Strawberries are up next with some sprinkles for good measure. You can use any type of fresh fruit and whipped cream. I’ve used whipped cream out of a can many times, even though freshly whipped cream makes this breakfast extra special. Chocolate puff oven pancake is so versatile and fun to make. Your kids will thank you for getting to eat chocolate for breakfast!

What are your Valentine traditions? Do you make a special breakfast? Cookies? We love celebrating traditions, and it seems that food often plays a role in them. You can find a few more of my family’s traditional foods on the blog.

Chocolate Puff Oven Pancake

Amy
Rich, chocolatey and full of protein? Chocolate puff oven pancake is the perfect Valentine or any special occasion breakfast.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 1 8 by 8 pan

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder see recipe note
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar for topping
  • sliced strawberries for topping
  • freshly whipped cream for topping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the 2 Tablespoons of butter in an 8 by 8 pan and set it in the oven to melt while you whip up the ingredients. Once the butter has melted, be careful not to let it sit too long in the oven by itself or it can burn. This usually isn't an issue if you quickly whip up the other ingredients.
  • To a blender add the eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt. Blend together about 20 seconds until fully combined.
  • Pour the blended mixture into the hot pan with melted butter and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Prepare toppings: slice strawberries, whip cream, sprinkles, etc…
  • Dust with powdered sugar and Enjoy!

Notes

Cocoa Powder: This recipe tastes best and has a more intense chocolate flavor with a rich dark cocoa powder like Hershey’s special dark chocolate cocoa powder (affiliate link). You can substitute regular cocoa powder and it will still taste delicious, just not quite as “chocolatey” in flavor.
Keyword chocolate, Puff Oven Pancake, Valentines

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Sweet Spinach Banana Muffins

I make a lot of muffins. Muffins are delicious, quick, easy and freeze well for quick breakfasts, snacks and even perfect to pack in lunch boxes. We have been making these sweet spinach banana muffins for years and they are a hit every time. My youngest (preschooler) seems to have a vendetta against any and all vegetables (except carrots…he’ll eat carrots). These muffins though, are his favorite. Spinach banana muffins and green smoothies are about the only way I can get green veggies into him right now. The struggle is real over here folks. But these spinach banana muffins get him his greens and he begs to make them with me. I call that a win-win!

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Kid Friendly Muffin Making

Sweet spinach banana muffins are super easy to make with kids. The wet ingredients, including the banana and 8 ounces of spinach get blended up in a blender until nice and smooth. My preschooler loves packing the spinach into the blender, whirling it around and watching all those ingredients blend together into a very green liquid mixture. The dry ingredients only need a quick whisk in a bowl and then the magic happens…pouring the green spinach liquid into the flour mixture. It is very, very green. Kids love this fun green color and it’s all natural too.

Twenty-Four Beautiful Muffins

I love a muffin recipe that makes twenty-four muffins. If you fill the muffin tins just a little over halfway full, you’ll get 24 muffins out it. If I have any leftover batter I’ll usually spoon it into the tins that look like they need a little extra batter. These USA pans (affiliate link) are my favorite muffin tins. With these pans, I only need a little spritz of cooking spray and then I can bake my muffins without muffin liners. You can also use muffin liners if you prefer that option. Let the muffins cool a bit in the tins before popping them out.

Jam-Packed with Spinach and Whole Grains

I have always loved baking and cooking but as soon as I had my first baby (over 11 years ago), I became passionate about feeding my kids the least-processed foods as possible. Making almost everything from scratch was an affordable way I found to feed my family healthy foods. Spinach banana muffins have been our go-to for years because they are delicious but also filled with whole grains and veggies. I make these muffins with 100% whole wheat flour. I buy mine at our local mill, but any whole wheat flour should work. I always use fresh spinach and don’t notice much if any flavor from the spinach in the muffins…just the bright green color.

Freeze for a Quick Meal

I’ve mentioned this before but I love freezing muffins. Let the muffins cool completely and then stick them in a gallon-sized ziplock bag in the freezer. Sometimes I’ll individually wrap them if my kids take them as part of their school lunch. To reheat, just pop in the microwave for 10-20 seconds or let them come to room temperature and enjoy. A school lunch tip that we use all the time: put them in the lunchbox frozen. They thaw throughout the morning and are nice and moist when lunchtime rolls around.

Brown Bananas and Coconut Oil

Spinach banana muffins have a pleasant banana flavor. This flavor is more pronounced if you use brown (even black) bananas. The more ripe the banana is, the more banana flavor your muffins will have. If you prefer not as strong banana flavor, use a yellow-green banana. Because you are blending the banana up in the blender with the other ingredients, you can easily use any banana you have on hand, even if it’s not quite ripe. I also like to add the coconut oil while the blender is running. Coconut oil solidifies quickly if a certain temperature is not met and adding it while blending prevents the coconut oil from solidifying into chunks.

These spinach banana muffins are really and truly some of our family’s favorites. I find myself in the kitchen making them at least once a month and I don’t mind one bit if my kids eat them for an after school snack or a quick breakfast as we’re heading out the door because they are packed with vitamins and nutrients. We are a muffin-loving family, so even when we don’t have these spinach banana muffins on hand, we usually have some kind of muffins. Some of our other favorites are these amazing chocolate chip muffins, cinnamon sugar muffins (with or without sourdough discard), carrot cake muffins (perfect for spring), pumpkin spice muffins and so many more.

Sweet Spinach Banana Muffins

Sweet spinach banana muffins are packed with 8 ounces of spinach, sweet bananas and whole wheat flour. These muffins are delicious, full of nutrients and perfect for a healthy breakfast or snack.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 18 mins
Total Time 38 mins
Course Bread, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 24 muffins

Ingredients
  

  • 3 medium-sized bananas mashed, see recipe notes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk see recipe notes
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted you may substitute any neutral flavored oil
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 3 3/4 cup whole wheat flour see recipe note
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two muffin tins with cooking spray (my favorite muffin tins here, affiliate link).
  • To a blender, add the bananas, eggs, buttermilk, sugar, spinach and vanilla. Blend on high for 30 seconds to a minute until the mixture is smooth and creamy. With the blender running, drizzle in the melted coconut oil and blend together until the ingredients are completely blended together.
  • To a large bowl, add the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together.
  • Pour the spinach banana liquid into the flour mixture and gently combine with a large spoon. Stir until only a few streaks of flour mixture remain (be careful not to over-mix).
  • Fill each muffin tin about half full (about 1/4 cup batter per muffin tin) until all 24 tins are filled.
  • Bake for 16-18 minutes until muffins are baked all the way through. Stick a toothpick in the middle of a muffin. If it comes out clean, the muffins are ready. If a little wet batter is stuck to the toothpick, the muffins need a few minutes longer.
  • Let the muffins cool for 5-10 minutes and then remove from the tins to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Notes

Bananas: If you want a strong banana flavor in the muffins, use very ripe bananas where most of the banana is brown or even black. If you want a more mild banana flavor, use yellow bananas.
Buttermilk: I prefer to use buttermilk. If you don’t have it on hand, you can mix together 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt as a substitute. 
Whole Wheat Flour: I like using all whole wheat flour. You can also substitute all purpose flour or 50% all purpose and 50% whole wheat flour.
This recipe was adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe “Whole Grain Hulk Muffins.” This recipe makes 24 muffins instead of 16, calls for a little less spinach and I decreased the amount of sugar from the original recipe.
Keyword banana, muffins,, spinach

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Sourdough Blueberry Crumb Cake

My family has shopped at Costco since I was a child. I was actually brought home from the hospital to Kirkland, Washington (Costco’s headquarters city) where my parents lived at the time. That name may sound familiar to you if you’ve shopped at Costco, because Kirkland is the “Costco” store brand. My grandma used to buy us Costco muffins (you know those giant muffins that are more like cake than muffin?!) and I would always, always pick blueberry. I love the taste of the tart blueberries mixed with a sweet muffin. The minute I cut into this sourdough blueberry crumb cake I had a childhood flashback to those Costco muffins. This cake is thick and full of blueberries. It also has considerably less sugar than a Costco muffin and is jam-packed with tart blueberries. The crumb topping takes it over the top and had me coming back for “tastes” throughout the day. If you are also a fan of blueberry muffins, you’ve got to try this sourdough blueberry crumb cake.

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Sourdough Discard or Sourdough Starter?

If you’re new around here, you may not know that I love baking with sourdough. I’ve got a whole bunch of recipes that use sourdough discard and sourdough starter. Because I refresh my sourdough starter often, I end up with quite a bit of leftover discard in my fridge. I don’t like this discard to go to waste, so I find muffins, waffles, crackers, pretzels and breads to put it into. The sourdough discard enhances the flavor and creates less kitchen waste. Not all sourdough discard is created equal, though. The longer the discard sits in your fridge, the more fermented and sour it will taste. If you like this flavor in your baked goods, use discard that is older. For a more mellow flavor, use discard that is only a day or two old. If you love baking with sourdough but don’t want any sour flavor, use bubbly sourdough starter instead of the discard.

Fresh or Frozen Blueberries?

My local Kroger had a great deal on blueberries this past week, so I used fresh blueberries in this sourdough blueberry crumb cake. The fresh blueberries gave this crumb cake delicious flavor. If you can, I recommend using fresh blueberries. If fresh isn’t not an option, you can use frozen blueberries. Truthfully I don’t always have fresh blueberries on hand and more often than not have a bag of frozen berries available. Toss the frozen blueberries in 1-2 teaspoons of flour, lightly coating them before stirring the berries into the cake mixture. This helps so they don’t all fall to the bottom of the cake and will be more evenly dispersed throughout. I’ve made this sourdough blueberry crumb cake with fresh and frozen blueberries and it’s delicious both times. The frozen blueberry cake did take a little more time to bake, so be prepared to add on 5-10 minutes of bake time if you use frozen blueberries.

Blueberry Crumb Topping

One of the things that sets this cake apart is the delicious crumb topping. Melt the butter, add in the dry ingredients and mix together with a spoon until you get a thick and crumbly topping. Use your fingers to sprinkle the crumb topping all over the top of the cake. I also like to dot the top of the cake with a few more fresh blueberries, pressing them in between pieces of crumb topping so that there is blueberry in every bite. Once this crumb topping is baked up, it makes the perfect sweet, crumbly crust. My four year old could be found sneaking pieces of crumb topping all. day. long. And I don’t blame him. It is GOOD!

Baking the Sourdough Blueberry Crumb Cake

Sourdough blueberry crumb cake takes a little over an hour to bake. It bakes up nice and tall and can be cut into 16 good sized pieces. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the crumb cake for a little over an hour. I like to check on the cake after about 55 minutes (oven temperatures can vary). If the cake is jiggly in the middle, keep baking for another 10 minutes. I’ve found that my cake needs about 65-75 minutes to bake all the way through. If you are using frozen blueberries it may take a little bit longer than if using fresh blueberries.

I love this sourdough blueberry crumb cake. It is not overly sweet (you can add a little more sugar if you want a sweeter cake) and the blueberry really shines through. The cake rises beautifully and would be perfect for a family brunch, to pull out as a special after-school snack or even to drink with a cup of tea on a snowy day. If you are a blueberry muffin lover like me, add this recipe to your “to-make” list. It’s delicious.

Sourdough Blueberry Crumb Cake

Sourdough blueberry crumb cake is a lightly sweetened cake made with sourdough discard, studded with sweet blueberries and topped with a sweet crumb topping. Perfect for breakfast, brunch or a snack, this crumb cake is delicious!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 16 slices

Ingredients
  

Crumb Topping

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

Sourdough Blueberry Cake

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sourdough discard or bubbly sourdough starter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk see recipe notes for substitutions
  • 2.5 cups fresh blueberries see recipe note for frozen blueberries

Instructions
 

Crumb Topping

  • Melt 6 Tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, vanilla, cornstarch, salt and flour. Mix together until it forms a moist, crumbly topping. Set aside the crumb topping for later.

Sourdough Blueberry Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • To a small bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Fluff together with a fork. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, mix together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and creamy.
  • Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Mix again, scraping the sides and bottom as needed until fully incorporated, light and fluffy.
  • Pour ¾ cup sourdough discard (direct from the fridge or use ripe sourdough starter) and add to the bowl. Mix together.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Pour in the buttermilk and mix until smooth.
  • Add 2 cups of fresh blueberries (reserving ½ cup for topping) to the batter and stir lightly to combine. See recipe note if using fresh blueberries.
  • Line an 8 by 8 pan (my favorite, affiliate link) with parchment paper. Pour blueberry cake mixture into the pan and spread evenly.
  • Sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of the cake, spreading it evenly and breaking up clumps with your fingers as you go. Dot the top with the reserved ½ cup of blueberries.
  • Bake the cake for 60-75 minutes until baked through. Once the cake has stopped jiggling in the middle, take a sharp knife and stick it straight in the middle of the cake. If it has batter on it, continue baking a few more minutes. If it comes out clean, the cake is finished baking.
  • Cool and slice to serve. The cake stores well at room temperature for a day or two or can be frozen for longer storage.

Notes

Buttermilk: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can substitute 1/4 cup milk mixed with 1/4 cup sour cream.
Blueberries: Fresh blueberries are best for this recipe, but frozen blueberries work too in a pinch. If using frozen blueberries, toss them in 1-2 teaspoons of flour and then gently stir into the batter. This helps the blueberries spread throughout the cake and not sink to the bottom. Using frozen blueberries may also increase the baking time about 10 minutes. 
Keyword blueberry, crumb cake, snack cake

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Kolaches

I have hemmed and hawed about posting this Kolache recipe. It’s not that I don’t want to share it with you…I do! But it’s one of those recipes that I have been working on perfecting and have made many, many times in the process. I feel like I’ve finally got them exactly right and with the holidays approaching, I figured now would be a good time to share it with you. Kolaches are perfect for a Christmas morning breakfast, to share over a Thanksgiving weekend or to make for a family brunch. They can be sweet or savory and are absolutely delicious.

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What is a Kolache?

Traditionally kolache has its origins in the Czech Republic. I lived there as a child and my Czech Babicka would make kolach which I inhaled as a kid. Kolach is basically a pastry that holds fruit surrounded by puffy dough. My Babicka would cut her Kolach into slices with a plum filling and a streusel topping. It was my favorite Czech pastry and I have many fond memories of this delicious treat. 

Americanized Kolache

Czech Kolache was brought to Texas by Czech immigrants and over the years has become “Americanized.” Now you can find kolache bakeries throughout different parts of the United States that specialize in these little filled pastries. You can fill them with anything you can dream up, but the traditional filling is fruit. I use homemade jam in the center of my kolaches. Some I make with plain jam and others I add a cream cheese layer and then the jam. We also love a maple pecan kolache that is reminiscent in flavor of a cinnamon roll. Many kolache shops will add seasonal fillings. These fillings should give you a good starting point if you want to create some of your own.

Kolache or Klobasnek?

Kolache are technically a pastry with fruit and surrounded by fluffy dough. If you want to fill your kolache dough and enclose the filling inside the dough, then you are actually making a klobasnek. Klobasnek are typically filled with meat and are an Americanized version of a Czech sausage roll with kolache dough. Klobasnek are absolutely delicious and I am including a recipe for my favorite breakfast Klobasnek as well. It is probably one of my favorite foods…ever!

Overnight Kolache Dough

Kolache dough is enriched with A LOT of butter and A LOT of egg. It is a pretty sticky dough and because of that, I find that it benefits from a long overnight rise in the refrigerator. This makes the dough much easier to handle, shape and work with so that it is not over-floured and tough. I actually prefer this method because I can whip up the dough the night before, sleep while my dough rises and then shape and bake in the morning. The overnight rise is one of the keys to the success of this recipe. 

Shaping Kolache

Once the dough has risen overnight, pull it out the next morning and cut the dough into 24 pieces. Yes this makes a lot of kolache. Yes, it is worth it! The kolaches will freeze or they are perfect to share with loved ones or neighbors. Once you have your 24 pieces of dough, decide which you will make into kolache and which you will make into klobasnek. I usually split them into 8 klobasnek, 8 jam filled kolache and 8 cinnamon maple filled kolache. The recipes for the filling below reflect that. The processes for shaping kolache and klobasnek is different as outlined below:

Kolache

Roll the kolache into a ball and set them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let them rise until just about doubled in size. While they rise, mix up the fillings for your kolache. I like to put the cream cheese mixture in a piping bag, prepare my egg wash and get my homemade jam or cinnamon sugar mixture ready. Once the kolache have risen, take the bottom of a jar (I’ve found a 16 ounce ball jar to work really well) and press down in the center of each kolache. The sides will rise up a bit and it will form an indentation for you to put the filling in. If using the cream cheese mixture, take your piping bag and pipe a circle on the inside of the outer edge of dough. Fill the center of the dough with jam or cinnamon sugar. Brush with egg wash and bake.

Klobasnek

If you are planning to make klobasnek, you will want to make the filling mixture before pulling your dough out of the fridge. I will often make my fillings the night before along with the dough and refrigerate them. Then I just have to pull them out the morning of and fill my dough. Roll each klobasnek into a ball and then, using a lightly dusted surface and rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle. Add a scoop of filling to the middle of the dough, and then bring the sides up and pinch them closed, completely encasing the filling in the kolache dough. Set each klobasnek on a parchment-lined baking sheet to rise. Once risen, brush with egg wash and bake.

My Takeaway Tips

Let the dough rest overnight in the fridge. It makes for a night and day difference when working with the dough.

Make the fillings the night before. This saves time when assembling them in the morning and the Klobasnek filling is best when used chilled.

Save your egg whites! This recipe uses a whole lot of egg yolks. Save the egg whites and use them in the Klobasnek filling. 

You can mix up the fillings for Klobasnek. Add bacon, mushrooms, veggies, whatever you want.

Don’t forget the egg wash at the end. I’ve done this many times because I’m so excited to bite into one of these amazing pastries, but the egg wash really does give it a finished, golden color that you will want. Trust me!

I forgot the egg wash on these. Still completely delicious but no golden brown shine.

If you don’t have homemade jam, use a favorite jam or make your own fruit filling (though this may take a little bit longer)

Fruit Filling Recipe:  Blend or mash 2 cups of strawberries (or other berries). Add them to a saucepan on the stove and over medium to medium-low heat, simmer the berries with ½ cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, a pinch of salt, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice until thickened and jam-like (about 15-20 minutes). Cool in the fridge before using.

So without further ado: the best Kolache recipe (better than a bakery and totally worth the overnight chill in the fridge). Enjoy!

Kolaches

A light, tender and delicious pastry made three ways. Maple Cinnamon Pecan, Fruit-filled and sausage, egg and cheese: this recipe details how to make all three delicious Kolaches.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Overnight Rise 10 hrs
Course Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine American, Czech
Servings 24 kolaches

Ingredients
  

Kolache Dough

  • 2 cups milk, warmed 2% or whole milk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks reserve the whites to use later if making Klobasnek
  • 1 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg yolk reserve the white to use later if making Klobasnek
  • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring reserved for cinnamon cream cheese mixture
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon reserved for cinnamon cream cheese mixture

Cinnamon Filling

  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter melted
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon water as needed
  • 24 pecans for topping

Fruit Filling

  • 1/4 cup favorite jam strawberry, raspberry, mixed berry, blueberry, lemon curd, etc…

Sausage, Egg and Cheese Klobasnek Filling

  • 1/2 to 1 lb breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • a sprinkle of ground pepper
  • 7 egg whites reserved from making the dough and
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups shredded cheese cheddar works well here

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water or milk

Instructions
 

Kolache Dough

  • To a liquid measuring cup, add the milk. Warm it in the microwave (or on the stovetop) in 30 second increments. Stick your finger down into the middle of the milk to check the temperature. If it is the temperature of baby’s bath water, you are good to go. If it’s too cold, warm it a little longer. If it’s too hot, stir it until it is warm and not hot.
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the warm milk, yeast and sugar. Let it sit while you crack the eggs.
  • Using two bowls, crack and separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. One bowl should hold the yolks and the other holds the whites. Set the whites aside to use later on.
  • Add the egg yolks to the yeast mixture in the stand mixer. Pour in the melted butter (make sure it’s not too hot! You don’t want to kill the yeast). Then add the salt.
  • With the stand mixer running, add the flour a cup at a time and mix. Once the dough comes together, continue kneading the dough for about 7-10 minutes. I like to set a timer and let the mixer do its thing while I start preparing the fillings.
  • After the dough has kneaded, it will be very sticky. This is normal. Don’t worry and don’t add more flour (unless you feel it needs just a few extra Tablespoons).
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container that has room for the dough to at least double in size. Cover the container and stick the dough in the fridge to proof overnight. The overnight proof will help solidify the butter in the dough, which will make it easier to work with the next morning.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • Using a hand mixer, whip together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, egg yolk (you can add the white to your bowl of egg whites from making the dough), flour and vanilla extract. Whip until completely incorporated and thick and creamy, about 3 minutes.
  • Stick a piping bag (or ziplock works too) into a glass and fold the edges over the glass. Transfer half of the cream cheese mixture into the piping bag.
  • To the other half of the cream cheese mixture, add maple extract and ground cinnamon. Mix together. Stick a second piping bag or ziplock into a glass and fold over the edges. Transfer the rest of the cream cheese mixture into the piping bag and close.
  • Refrigerate the piping bags of mixture overnight and pull out the next morning to come to room temperature when you pull your dough out of the fridge. If you want to make the filling the morning of shaping, there is no need to refrigerate the filling.

Cinnamon Sugar Filling

  • Put the softened or melted unsalted butter in a small bowl. Add the powdered sugar, brown sugar and ground cinnamon and mix together with a fork. It may be a little crumbly. Add a teaspoon of water until it forms a thick paste. Cover and let sit at room temperature before using.

Sausage Egg and Cheese Klobasnek Filling

  • To a skillet, brown the breakfast sausage. Add the onion powder, garlic powder and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference. Transfer cooked sausage to a medium-sized bowl.
  • To the reserved egg whites, add two eggs with their yolks and scramble in the same pan as the breakfast sausage. Season to your preference with a little salt and pepper. Pour the cooked scrambled egg on top of the sausage.
  • Add 1 ½ -2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese on top of the scrambled eggs and sausage. Using a large spoon, mix it all together until the cheese, egg and sausage is evenly distributed throughout.
  • Cover the mixture and stick in the fridge until ready to use. It should be cool before being used to fill the Klobasnek.

Shaping (8-12 hours later)

  • After an 8-12 hour rise in the fridge (overnight), pull the dough out and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Go ahead and pull the fillings out of the fridge at this time too, the cream cheese fillings and egg filling.
  • Separate the dough into 24 pieces using a bench scraper or sharp knife.
  • Line three baking sheets with parchment paper (you may be able to get away with two if making all kolaches but if you are also making the Klobasnek, you will want three baking sheets).
  • Shaping Klobasnek: Lightly flour the surface and a rolling pin. Roll one piece of dough into a circle shape, about 5-6 inches round. Take about ½ cup of the sausage, egg and cheese filling and place it in the center of the circle. Pull the sides of the dough up and around the filling in a circular manner and pinch together, enclosing the egg mixture in the dough. If any filling seeps through, patch it with dough from the bottom of the Klobasnek. Place on the baking sheet and repeat with seven more balls of dough. Let rise until puffed up about an hour.
  • Shaping Kolache: Roll each piece of dough into a ball using a little pinch of flour if needed. Place the balls of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 8-12 balls of dough per sheet. Let them rise in a warm place for about an hour until puffy and almost doubled in size. Using the bottom of a 16 oz canning jar, press down firmly on top of each ball of risen dough, forming a large circle indentation and higher sides. Take the cream cheese mixture and snip the end off the piping bag. Pipe a circle around the outer edge of the kolache dough, repeating until all eight kolaches are filled. Repeat the process with the cinnamon sugar cream cheese filling. Using your favorite jam, place about a teaspoon of jam in the center of the cream cheese mixture. To the cinnamon maple kolaches, place about a teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar filling in the center.

Baking

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Egg Wash: Crack an egg in a small bowl and whisk it with a teaspoon of water. Using a pastry brush, brush the outsides of the kolaches with the egg wash.
  • Bake the Kolaches for about 12-15 minutes until lightly browned and bubbly. Add 3-4 pecans on top of each cinnamon maple kolache when they come out of the oven. For the Klobasneks, bake about 18-22 minutes until baked all the way through. Enjoy warm!

Notes

Recipe Notes:
This recipe makes 8 cinnamon maple Kolache, 8 fruit Kolache and 8 sausage egg and cheese Klobasnek. You can change the fillings around to make more or less filling depending on your favorites.
The cream cheese mixture is meant to be divided in half. Add the maple flavoring and ground cinnamon to half of the cream cheese mixture and put in a piping bag (or ziplock bag). Take the other half of the cream cheese mixture and put in a different piping bag. You will end up with two bags of the cream cheese mixture. 
I like to make the dough and fillings the night before baking the Kolaches. The morning of, I shape the dough and fill it. It is possible to make the fillings the morning of if that works better for you.
Keyword kolache,

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Homemade Snow Day Donuts

Back when I first started this blog…almost ten months ago (crazy!), I wrote about one of my favorite kid traditions on a snow day. Snow Day Donuts are the donuts that I make just about once a year. I don’t own any fancy donut equipment or even a deep fryer, so these donuts can be made using the things that I have in my own kitchen. Typically on the first snow day of a year when school is cancelled and there is palpable excitement in the air…we play in the snow, drink cocoa, make donuts and share with our friends and neighbors.

Jump to Our Favorite Snow Day Donuts Recipe

A Weird Year

This year, thanks to COVID, the kids are doing virtual school and we aren’t having friends over right now. This would have been one of those easy traditions to by-pass…but the fact that our first big snow landed on the 1st of December was too magical to miss. We mixed up our donut dough, welcomed our Elf on the Shelf, went sledding, ate far too many donuts and fit in our virtual classes for the day. Whew! And I’m glad we kept the tradition alive this year, even if it wasn’t quite the same.

Plan for about 3-4 hours

This donut dough is very good. It is light, airy and easy to work with. It does take time for the dough to rise, and the frying process takes a little extra involvement too. Plan for about 20 minutes to mix up the dough, then a rise of 1-1 1/2 hours. Cutting out the donut shapes takes another 20 minutes and then another hour rise before frying. I usually whip up the dough while the kids are putting on their snow clothes and let it rise for our first venture in the snow. Then I’ll come back in and cut out the shapes with whoever has had enough of the cold for the time being. All the kids come in for frying/topping. I have actually been eyeing a donut recipe that refrigerates the dough overnight, which I think would give an even better-tasting donut. With that said, I never know if we are going to have a snow day…it’s usually not called until the morning of, so those recipes wouldn’t work well for our snow day tradition. Instead we stick with this recipe, our tried and true favorite that is ready to fry when the kids come in from playing in the snow.

Use What You Have

I am a big proponent of using what I have in the kitchen and not buying a new appliance unless I really think I’ll use it a lot. In the case of donuts, I just don’t make them all that often. I typically make donuts about once a year…on the first snow day of the year. So I don’t have a fryer or donut cutters. I’ve found that plastic tops to water bottles work really well for cutting out the center of the donuts. I also use the lid of a canning jar to cut out the donut shape. Round cookie cutters work well too. Just make sure to press down hard.

Donut Holes, Filled Donuts and Apple Fritters

Once the dough is rolled out, it shouldn’t be re-rolled. If you want to make filled donuts, I take a little bit of the dough, roll it up into a ball and let it rise. Once it is fried, we fill them with frosting, jam or any creamy filing you want. When cutting the donuts out, cut as close together as possible to use up all the dough. I use a large cap to cut out donut holes from the scraps of dough, and when there is no more dough to cut out, with just scraps left over, I cut up an apple and make some apple fritters. The process for this is pretty easy:

  1. Break the scraps of dough into small pieces (using a knife or pulling pieces apart with your fingers so there aren’t long stringy pieces).
  2. Dice an apple (I like Granny Smith) and add it to the scraps of dough along with some brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of lemon juice.
  3. Scoop handfuls of the mixture together and squeeze together, forming a ball-like shape.
  4. Set aside to rise a bit.
  5. After you have fried all the donuts, fry the apple fritters (invariably apple pieces will get into the oil).
  6. Cover with glaze after they cool just a bit.

Frying Donuts

I don’t fry very many things and guess what? I don’t use a thermometer to check the temperature of the oil. This goes back to using what I have. Instead I like to heat my oil up to medium heat, throw in a little donut hole and watch it. That donut hole will tell me if my oil is hot enough and ready for my donuts. It will also tell me if I need to turn the temperature up or down a little bit. If the donut hole takes forever to turn brown, turn the heat up. If it browns too quickly, turn it down. The donut hole should sizzle with little bubbles forming around it and take about 30-45 seconds to brown on one side. Once that happens, I know I can start frying my donuts. Donuts take about 2 minutes per side, then flip to cook on the other side. Be careful about adding more oil to your pot or skillet. If you add more oil, it will cool down your oil and you will need to re-heat it to the correct temperature before continuing to fry your donuts.

Glaze and Toppings

My kids’ favorite part of making donuts is the toppings. We set up different glazes and sprinkles and let the kids go to town! I have recipes listed for a traditional glaze, chocolate glaze and a maple glaze. All are wonderful on their own and all are great topped with sprinkles. I’m dreaming of topping the maple donut with crispy bacon, that glaze is so good! However you top them, these donuts are best eaten warm. For donuts that are made the same day…these can’t be beat. I hope you enjoy them on a snow day or any day that calls for a homemade donut.

Snow Day Donuts

The perfect donuts to share with friends on a snow day. Light, airy, fluffy and sweet. These donuts hit the spot with a cup of cocoa and are perfect to pile high with glaze and toppings.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 3 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 30 donuts/fritters

Ingredients
  

Donut Dough

  • 1 3/4 cup milk, warmed to the temperature of baby's bath water
  • 2 Tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup shortening, melted or unsalted butter
  • 5 1/2 – 6 cups all purpose flour

Frying

  • 48 ounces vegetable oil shortening works well here too

Apple Fritters

  • Scraps of Donut Dough
  • 1 Granny Smith apple chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Powdered Sugar Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream or milk thinned to your liking
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted semi-sweet is my favorite
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • pinch of salt

Maple Glaze

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple extract
  • pinch of salt

Toppings

  • various sprinkles

Instructions
 

Donut Dough

  • Warm the milk (it should be the temperature of a baby's bath water) and pour into a stand mixer. Add the yeast and sugar. Smell for the yeasty smell that tells you your yeast is active.
  • Next add the salt, eggs and melted shortening (make sure it's not too hot so it won't kill the yeast).
  • Add one cup of flour and turn the mixer on. Continue mixing while adding flour a cup at a time until you've added 5 cups of flour total. Reserve the last cup of flour to add as needed.
  • Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until it is slightly tacky to touch but clears the sides of the bowl. Check out this post for tips on how to know when the dough is ready. Add extra flour as needed (you may need up to 6 cups of flour but you may also be fine with 5 1/2 cups).
  • Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover it and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • On a very lightly floured surface (you may not need any flour at all), dump the dough out and roll out until about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Use a circle cutter or the top of a mason jar or bowl to cut out donuts. Cut out a small circle in the center of the donut and transfer to a baking sheet to rise.
  • Cut out donut holes and make apple fritters with the donut scraps if desired (instructions for the apple fritters are in the blog post).
  • Let rise again until puffy and almost doubled in size.

Frying Donuts

  • Heat 48 ounces of oil in a large pot or skillet. Keep the temperature steady and around medium heat.
  • Toss a small donut hole into the oil when you start to see bubbles and watch how long it takes the donut hole to fry. If it starts sizzling, bubbling and takes about 30-45 seconds to brown on one side before flipping it to the other side, your oil is ready to fry donuts in. If you add more oil, that will change the temperature of the oil and you will need to use another "donut hole tester."
  • Fry the donuts a few at a time for about 2 minutes per side until golden brown.
  • Remove donuts from the hot oil onto a baking rack. Let cool for a few minutes before dipping in glaze, toppings and sprinkles. Enjoy warm!

Glazing Donuts

  • For the glaze, melt together the ingredients and whisk together. If the glaze hardens before or during the process, thin out with a bit of water.

Notes

Recipe Notes:
*Donut dough should not be re-rolled to form more donuts. Instead use the scraps to make donut holes or apple fritters.
*Donuts should be glazed after they’ve had a few minutes to cool so the icing doesn’t run right off them.
*Once the donuts are fried, the oil should not be poured down your sink drain. Instead, pour it into a container with a lid and dispose of it in the trash. 
 
Keyword donut, doughnut

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Family Favorite Cinnamon Rolls

I’ve been making these rolls for many, many years every Thanksgiving.

You may be wondering why I am sharing a cinnamon roll recipe right before the week of Thanksgiving. I should be sharing my favorite pie or telling you about this roll recipe that is perfect for your turkey leftovers. But instead, I am waxing poetic about cinnamon rolls. The best cinnamon rolls. Cinnamon rolls that I have been making and perfecting for many, many years. These rolls are tender, fluffy and filled with an ooey gooey cinnamon mixture then topped with a delicious “light on the cream cheese” frosting that is absolutely amazing. These cinnamon rolls are our family favorite and I have been sharing them with family and extended family every year over our Thanksgiving holiday.

Jump to Our Family’s Favorite Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Missing this view this year! We’ll be back next year 🙂

My extended family has been going to the coast of Oregon for Thanksgiving every year for the past 50 plus years. We enjoy pot-luck style feasting for many days, lots of family time, long walks on the beach and I especially love making new and favorite recipes fit for a crowd. These cinnamon rolls are a part of our family Thanksgiving week every year. I sometimes make these rolls twice during the week…we love them so much. The dough is substantial, yet soft. The middles are gooey but baked through. The icing takes these rolls to a whole new level of glorious cinnamon rolls. Basically, our whole family loves these cinnamon rolls. 

Because of Covid this year, Thanksgiving looks a little different and my little family isn’t going to the Oregon Coast. It’s been a tough year for so many and I’ll be honest and say, writing out this cinnamon roll recipe has been hard but good if that makes sense. It’s hard to know we won’t be there to carry on this tradition this year but also good because I love looking back on the many memories I have of cinnamon rolls shared and consumed for so many years. 

Enough of the walk down memory lane…Let’s get to the details. Here are some of my pro tips for my family’s favorite cinnamon rolls.

The Dough

This dough is a dream to work with. I like to use a stand mixer (affiliate link…but check your local Costco for a good deal if you’re looking for one) or Bosch mixer but you could also make this dough kneading by hand. Just knead for about 10 minutes…until your arms are screaming at you to be done. All the butter and eggs in the dough enrich it, which can make it take longer for this dough to rise. To help combat this issue, I use instant yeast in the dough. This is my favorite yeast (affiliate link). It doesn’t need to be proofed and it helps an enriched dough rise a little more quickly.

Filling Cinnamon Rolls: Cinnamon-Sugar Paste

Throughout the many years of making this recipe, I’ve learned a few tips that have upped my cinnamon roll game. Many cinnamon roll recipes will have you spread butter over the dough and then add the cinnamon sugar mixture on top. Instead, I like to mix together softened or melted butter in a bowl and mix cinnamon, brown sugar and a little bit of flour into the butter. Then I spread the cinnamon-sugar paste over the roll dough. I think this gives a more even flavor and that little extra flour helps keeps the rolls from gaping open when baked. If you want to add nuts or raisins into your rolls, you can add them right on top of the cinnamon-sugar paste and roll them right up. I sometimes top some of the cinnamon rolls with toasted pecans. Yum!

Shaping Our Family Favorite Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe makes 12 large cinnamon rolls. I roll out my dough on the counter, spread on the filling and then roll up, pinching the seam together. To cut out the cinnamon rolls, you can use a sharp knife, bench cutter or even dental floss. If you have any wispy cinnamon roll ends, go ahead and tuck them under the roll so they don’t come loose during the bake. I also prefer baking these rolls six or eight to a pan because they rise a lot on the pan and in the oven while baking. I do know that’s not always possible or ideal (especially when I’m doubling this recipe to feed a crowd), so you can cram 12 to a pan if you want, though they may not rise quite as much.

Add A Little Heavy Cream

One other tip that ups the ooey, gooey factor in a cinnamon roll is the addition of warmed heavy cream. I like to take ¼ cup of lightly warmed heavy cream and pour it over the tops of the cinnamon rolls right before baking. You want the cream a little bit warm so it doesn’t impede the rise of the rolls. This little addition keeps the rolls extra tender and gooey, while still being baked through.

Just drizzle the warm cream right over the top of the risen rolls. Yum!

Baking the Cinnamon Rolls

A word of caution on baking the rolls. Ovens all bake differently. Some ovens bake hotter in the back and cooler in the front. If you want an even bake on your rolls, rotate your pan 180 degrees after the first ten minutes of baking. This will keep half of your rolls from getting too dark and the other half being too light. Check the center of one of the cinnamon rolls once the pan is baked to make sure that the middle isn’t raw. Sometimes you need to let them go a minute or two longer just so they are completely baked through.

The Best Cinnamon Roll Frosting

The frosting on these rolls is amazing. There’s no other way to describe it. I’m not a huge fan of overly “cream cheesey” tasting frosting, and the ratios on this icing are just perfection. More butter than cream cheese, all whipped together take these rolls to an ethereal level. I also highly recommend adding in the maple flavoring that really give a unique flavor to the entire cinnamon roll. It is just divine! Whip the frosting until it is thick and creamy. Let the cinnamon rolls cool about 5 minutes before spreading a large dollop on each roll.

How to Make Cinnamon Rolls Ahead of Time: A Few Options

  1. Mix up the dough, fillings and frosting the night before. Stick the dough in the fridge for the first rise and let it rise overnight. The next morning, shape the cinnamon rolls, let rise and bake. This would probably be my first choice if I wanted the freshest cinnamon rolls for a special morning breakfast.
  2. Make and shape the cinnamon rolls. Place them on a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge. Pull the rolls out the morning of and let them come to room temperature and puff up a bit before baking and frosting. You may have a little bit of leakage from the cinnamon sugar mixture, but they should bake up well and taste delicious.
  3. Make the cinnamon rolls completely without adding the icing on top. Freeze them in ziplock bags. Warm them up and add icing on top when serving.
  4. Make the dough and increase the amount of yeast to 1.5 Tablespoons of yeast. Shape the cinnamon rolls and freeze them immediately. When ready to use, pull them out of the freezer, let them warm up to room temperature and puff up a bit and bake. The freezer can kill off a small amount of yeast in un-baked dough, so you add more to counterbalance this.

Have I convinced you yet? You need these cinnamon rolls in your life. And your family does too. I usually double this recipe to feed a large crowd at our Thanksgiving celebrations. This year I wasn’t planning to make these cinnamon rolls but my kids looked at me with those sad eyes of “too much has been cancelled in the name of COVID” and this mama has a hard time saying no right now, so I made them. And guess what? I am grateful I did. For the memories. For the traditions. For the look on their faces. And for the amazing gooey deliciousness that is sitting in my kitchen right now. I hope you love them too! Enjoy!

Family Favorite Cinnamon Rolls

All the cinnamon-sugar goodness rolled up in a tender, light & fluffy roll and covered in practically perfect icing. These cinnamon rolls are ooey-gooey perfection and our family's favorite treat.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Bread, Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 rolls

Ingredients
  

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 2 cups milk warmed (2% or whole milk works best)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 1/2 – 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Cinnamon Roll Filling

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter very soft or melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour

Cinnamon Roll Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream or half and half can also substitute milk in a pinch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
  • a pinch of salt

Instructions
 

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • Warm the milk in the microwave (about 1 1/2 minutes full power) or on the stove. To the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, add the warmed milk and melted butter. Feel the mixture with your finger (make sure you feel in the center of the milk/butter mixture) and make sure it is not too hot. You want the temperature to feel like a baby's bathwater. If it is too hot, let it cool a bit before proceeding.
  • Add the sugar and instant yeast to the milk/butter mixture. Stir. Look for the yeasty smell that tells you the yeast is activating (should happen within 10-20 seconds) and then proceed with the recipe.
  • Add the eggs, salt and a cup of flour. Turn on the dough hook on in your stand mixer and continue adding the flour a cup at a time until you have added 5 cups of flour. Knead for 1 minute until all the flour is fully incorporated. Check the dough by rolling it into a ball in your fingers to see if you need more flour. If the dough is too sticky to roll into a ball, continue adding flour 1/4 cup at a time, kneading for 1 minute after each addition. This process will make sure you don't over-flour the dough. Once you can pinch off a piece of dough and roll it into a ball with just a little sticky residue on your fingers, you can stop adding flour. Knead for a total of 5-7 minutes.
  • Lightly oil (or spray with cooking spray) a large container and dump the dough in the container. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise. I like to turn my oven into a "proofing box" with the oven light turned on. This is a nice warm spot for my dough to rise and speeds ups the process a bit. Make sure the oven is NOT turned on during this process.

Cinnamon Filling

  • While the dough rises, make the cinnamon filling.
  • To a small bowl, add the softened or melted butter. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Mix together until fully combined and set aside.

Cinnamon Roll Frosting

  • While the dough rises, whip together the butter and cream cheese until fully mixed and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, maple extract and salt. Whip together using a mixer until light and fluffy. Set aside.

Assembling the Cinnamon Rolls

  • Prepare two half sheet pans (18 by 13 inches) and cover with parchment paper.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, move it from the bowl to a clean space on the counter. The dough will be soft and not overly sticky. Pat the dough out into an approximate 18 by 12 rectangle.
  • Spread the cinnamon filling all over the dough with your fingers, making sure to cover up to the edges of the cinnamon roll.
  • Starting with the dough closest to you, roll up the cinnamon roll and pinch together the seam. Flip the cinnamon roll over, seam side down.
  • Cut the long log of cinnamon roll dough into 12 equal pieces.
  • Place the cinnamon rolls on the parchment paper, six or eight to a pan, leaving plenty of space to rise. Full disclosure, I often cram twelve to one pan, but I think they bake up better and have a better rise if they are placed six or eight to a pan.
  • Cover the rolls again and let rise for thirty minutes to an hour (depending on how warm your kitchen is).

Bake and Enjoy

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Once the rolls have puffed up and almost doubled in size, they are ready for the oven. If you want an extra gooey cinnamon roll, warm up some heavy cream and drizzle it over the top of the cinnamon roll before sticking in the oven. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 10 minutes. Then rotate the pan and bake for another 8-10 minutes until just starting to brown.
  • Check the middle of one of the cinnamon rolls by using a butter knife to pry up a bit of the roll and make sure it is baked to your liking (the center will tell you if it needs more time or is perfectly baked).
  • Let the rolls cool for 5 minutes before covering with frosting.
  • Freeze any extra frosted cinnamon rolls in a ziplock bag. To re-heat, place on a plate and warm in the microwave for 30 seconds (time will vary depending on microwave) and enjoy!
Keyword cinnamon roll

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Applesauce Bread

Our favorite local orchard is open until the end of the month. While the apple picking days are over and these fried apple pies with freshly picked apples will have to wait until next year, we are still able to buy their delicious cider by the gallon. We’ve been enjoying some late fall outdoor playtime with beautiful weather and, of course, apple cider. This applesauce bread is perfect to whip up for a fall day. It has the iconic fall spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice that you find in apple and pumpkin pies and is full of fall flavor. It includes one full cup of applesauce, delicious apple cider and is the perfect snack for this time of year.

This recipe makes one loaf, but I always double it because it freezes so well and I have a lot of kids to feed.
Jump to Applesauce Bread Recipe Below

My One-Bowl Method

One of the things I love about quick breads, is how easy they are to mix. I have a few favorites on my site: zucchini bread, banana bread and these pumpkin muffins. One thing they have in common is that I love only using one bowl. Most recipes will have you mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. My kitchen is usually so full of dishes on any given day that I always favor one-bowl recipes. I don’t want to wash another bowl if I don’t have to. The key to these recipes is adding the liquid ingredients plus sugar to the bowl first and mixing them together well. Then adding the salt and spices to the liquid ingredients and mix. Last adding the flour on top without mixing and then the leavening (baking soda/powder). I lightly fluff them together with a fork, my fingers or using my mixing spoon before completely incorporating them in with the liquid ingredients. This way those dry ingredients get a light mix (and don’t go flying out of my bowl when I start mixing) and I don’t have to wash two bowls. Win-win.

Apple Flavor and Whole Wheat Flour

This applesauce bread packs a punch of apple flavor with the applesauce and apple cider. It is possible to substitute the apple cider for apple juice, though the apple flavor won’t be as strong. If you want even more apple flavor and texture in your bread, dice up about ¾ cup of some of your favorite apples and add them to the mixture after the dry ingredients. I always use half whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour in this recipe and it turns out great. My kids don’t even know they are are eating whole grains. I think this recipe would also be a great one to substitute gluten free flour (my favorite here) if you need to make a gluten-free version.

The Perfect Bake 

One of the keys to getting a beautiful loaf of quickbread is to bake the bread at a high temperature for about 10 minutes. Then reduce the temperature and continue the bake for a longer time. This high heat helps activate the rising agent (baking powder/soda in this case) and forms a beautiful dome shape and crust on the bread. I bake this bread for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. Then reduce the oven temperature to 325 and continue baking for another 40-50 minutes.

Parchment Paper Yes or No?

I found that this bread did not need a parchment sling if you have a really great non-stick pan (shameless plug for my favorite bread pan ever, affiliate link). If you are adding diced apples to the batter,  you will definitely want to use a parchment sling. A tutorial is found here. If your pan tends to stick, I’d liberally grease it or use parchment paper. There’s nothing worse than making a beautiful loaf only to have it fall apart when you go to turn it out (I’ve done that one too many times).

This applesauce bread is just delicious. It makes for a great after-school snack, morning breakfast or would be amazing as a dessert with a little drizzle of glaze on the top. I would mix a Tablespoon of apple cider with half a cup of powdered sugar (add a little more or less depending on the consistency you want for a glaze) and drizzle it over the top for a special fall dessert. However you choose to eat it, I hope you love this recipe as much as my family does. Enjoy!

Applesauce Bread

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Bread, Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients
  

  • 8 Tablespoons butter, unsalted melted
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce if you use a sweetened version you may want to reduce the sugar in the recipe a bit
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves or allspice if preferred
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour half whole wheat/half all purpose work well here too
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • To a large bowl, mix together the melted butter, applesauce and apple cider with a wooden spoon. Incorporate each egg by mixing quickly. Add the sugar and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  • To the center of the same bowl, add the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Mix to combine.
  • Add the flour to the middle of the bowl. Don’t mix! Add the baking powder and baking soda right on top of the flour and lightly combine with a fork or using the same wooden spoon. Then, using the wooden spoon and a light hand, mix together until just incorporated. This helps make sure you don’t over-mix the batter resulting in a tough bread.
  • Lightly grease a bread loaf pan (my favorite here) or use a parchment paper sling.
  • Pour the mixture into the bread pan and bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees. After 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 40-50 minutes.
  • Stick a toothpick in the middle to check for doneness and then let cool to room temperature before slicing. Enjoy!

Notes

If you want even more apple flavor, add about a cup of diced apple to the mixture for a delicious flavor and texture.
I use a combination of all purpose and 100% whole wheat flour and the bread turns out great! (¾  cups all purpose, ¾ cups whole wheat flour)
This bread freezes very well. I like to slice my loaves and freeze for quick and easy breakfasts.
 
Keyword apple bread, applesauce bread, quickbread

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Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake.

Croissants For A Home Baker

I lived in Europe for six years as a kid. My love for all baked goods started young at the neighborhood bakeries and small supermarkets that sold fresh-baked pastries and bread. Almost every Saturday morning we would head downtown to shop at the bigger grocery store in town. While there, we would stop at the bakery counter and take home 20-30 of the most delicious, fresh chocolate croissants. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. We always ate one right away and my mom would bring the rest of the croissants home and freeze them for breakfast to be eaten throughout the week…with a large family they didn’t last long.

Jump to Croissants for the Home Baker Printable Recipe

Adventures in Making Croissants

I’ve often thought fondly about those chocolate croissants, but the process of making croissants has seemed out of reach for a home baker like myself…until recently. I decided there’s no time like the present and threw caution to the wind which resulted in my elbows deep in croissant dough. My first time through an entire recipe was filled with many laughs, a few tears and lots of fun with my 10 year old as we scoured recipes and tried to figure out the exact timing of the art of preparing croissants. The process took a couple days longer than we’d originally planned thanks to not reading a recipe correctly. Oops! We sure enjoyed those croissants, though…piping hot out of the oven at 10 PM on a school night (thanks to our “timing”). Every time we’ve made croissants since then we’ve learned, refined and fixed the errors we had made before until we’ve been able to get a pretty darn perfect croissant.

The Best Croissants Take Time

As far as time goes, this is one of the more intense recipes on my site. Making croissants takes time and effort, and it is not necessarily easy. After making them for the third time, with comments of “These are the best croissants I’ve ever eaten” and “When are you making these again?” I decided to share the recipe with you and give you the opportunity for croissant rock-star status too! Just fair warning…read all these tips and the recipe beforehand and break it into pieces. The recipe itself is not hard, just time consuming. That being said, you are only a few days away from the most amazing croissants…ever!

I love seeing all those beautiful layers of hard work

Two Days-Minimum

This recipe is going to take you at a minimum two days. The first day is very hands off. The second day requires you to be home to work with the dough every hour or so for about half your day. Prepare for this! If you go on to bake your croissants the second day, you will have a wonderful dinner. If you want to take three days to make the croissants, you can refrigerate the dough overnight and shape in the morning OR shape the croissants and immediately freeze them. Allow them to rise the morning of the 3rd day for a rockstar-status breakfast. This gives you the flexibility to have croissants whatever morning you want.

Dough after its final turn and ready to rest overnight in the fridge

Start With a Poolish

Building the croissant dough begins with a poolish. Poolish is a french type of “preferment” (according to King Arthur Flour, “a preferment is a preparation of a portion of a bread dough that is made several hours or more in advance of mixing the final dough“). It is more liquid and not stiff. Using a poolish deepens the flavor of the croissants. The longer the dough develops, the more complex the flavor. A poolish also gives extensibility to dough which is especially important for croissants because you are constantly working the butter into the dough and handling the dough much more than you would for a traditional loaf of bread. A poolish-based dough will often have better oven-spring than a dough formed without a poolish, and it can slightly extend the shelf-life of a bread. You may be tempted to cut corners when working with a long and complicated recipe. The poolish is not one of those corners to cut.

What Does it Mean to Laminate Dough?

The process of laminating dough may be unfamiliar. It takes some getting used to. I’ve found it helpful to have a measuring tape readily available and out as I was laminating my croissant dough. The first step of the lamination process is creating a block of butter that you will be rolling out and folding between the layers of your dough. I found the best results for my butter block when I added a little bit of flour on top of the butter. This helps keep the butter from sticking to a rolling pin and makes the process more seamless. Once you add the butter to the dough and fold the dough on top of the butter, you are turning the dough. Every time you roll out the dough and fold it over is considered a turn and creates beautiful layers of butter throughout the dough. This is called lamination. Laminating the dough is what gives croissants a unique, flaky, buttery goodness. This recipe calls for laminating the dough three times. You could do more or less if you want to try that, but I personally like the amount of layers that three turns provide.

Favorite Croissant Fillings

If you like plain croissants, these will not disappoint. If you like filled croissants, these are amazing. I especially love the savory combination of gruyere cheese and smoked ham. It is the best croissant I have ever eaten. I also love almond flavor, so adding a little bit of almond paste to my croissant dough and rolling it up is also heavenly. And there’s nothing like the perfect chocolate croissant. I take a few pieces of dark chocolate and add them to the croissant dough and it brings me right back to my childhood croissants…except maybe better. No matter what you fill them with, these are sure to knock your socks off and bring you to rockstar croissant status! Enjoy!

Jump to Croissants for the Home Baker Printable Recipe

Step By Step Directions With Pictures:

Day 1

Poolish (2-3 hours)

  1. In a microwave safe, medium-sized bowl, warm the milk in the microwave or on the stove until warm to the touch. It should feel like baby’s bathwater (not too hot as this can kill the yeast).
  2. Add the yeast (look for the yeasty smell to make sure your yeast is active…this happens within a minute or so of adding instant yeast).
  3. Mix the flour into the milk/yeast mixture, forming a thick batter. 
  4. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place. Let poolish rise until doubled in size, at least 2 hours.

Dough (20 minute mix, refrigerate the dough overnight)

  1. Add the poolish to the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add room temperature milk, yeast and sugar. Mix with dough hook. Add the salt and melted butter.
  2. Add flour a cup at a time and mix with dough hook. After the flour is incorporated, pick up a chunk of dough and roll it into a ball. If it rolls into a ball and isn’t super sticky, you can stop adding flour. If it is overly sticky and doesn’t form a ball, continue adding flour a bit at time and mixing. This helps to avoid over-flouring the dough. 
  3. Knead the dough with the stand mixer for 10 minutes. I like to set a timer and let it mix. A long kneading period helps the gluten develop. You can check this post for more information on how to test for readiness of dough.
  4. After the dough is kneaded, place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Refrigerate the dough overnight.

Day 2

Butter Block (10 minutes)

  1. Pull 5 sticks of butter out of the fridge. 
  2. Line the sticks of butter in the center of a row on a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle ¼ cup of flour over the butter.
  3. Pull one side of the parchment paper over the butter. Using a rolling pin, hit the butter to flatten it and meld it together to form a butter block. Continue hitting the butter until it flattens. 
  4. Roll the butter into an 8 by 12 inch rectangle (I use a measuring tape to help guide me). Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Lamination (30 minutes active time, 3 hours refrigeration/freeze)

  1. Prepare a sheet of parchment paper with a light dusting of flour. Use a measuring tape to guide you and set it to 18 inches at the top of your parchment paper. Take the dough out of the fridge.
  2. Roll the dough into a 12 by 18 inch rectangle. Place the butter block in the middle of the rolled out dough so that the butter block aligns with the top and bottom of the dough.
  3. Fold the left side of the dough over, covering the butter block. Repeat with the right side of the dough, folding over on top of the left side. Pinch together any seams so the butter is fully encased in the dough.
  4. Rotate the dough 90 degrees or a quarter turn and roll out the dough to a 28 by 12 inch rectangle. 
  5. Fold the dough in the same manner as above, folding from the left side ⅓ and then the right side ⅓, resulting in about a 9 by 12 rectangle. This is your first fold.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
  7. Second fold: After 1 hour, pull the dough out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface, repeat the process of rolling the dough out to a 28 by 12 rectangle and folding the dough over. Wrap again and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  8. Third fold: Repeat the same process as the first and second fold. FREEZE for 1 hour. At this point you can continue freezing the dough for up to 1 week. When you are ready to use the frozen dough, pull it out the night before you intend to use it and put it in the fridge before shaping. After 1 hour, pull the croissant dough out of the freezer and proceed with shaping.

Shaping Croissants (20 minute shaping, 2-3 hours proofing) 

  1. Line a couple baking sheets (my favorite baking sheets found here, affiliate link) with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare any fillings you plan on using (sliced cheese, sliced ham, almond paste or chocolate, etc...) by cutting or breaking them into small pieces or slices.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 30 by 10 inch rectangle. 
  4. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half so you have two sections 30 by 5 inches.
  5. Cut each 30 by 5 inch section into 6 pieces, resulting in six 5 by 5 inch sections.
  6. Slice each 5 by 5 inch section from corner to corner, resulting in a small triangle. Starting at the base, roll the triangle up to form a croissant. Place on a baking sheet.
  7. If you want to add a filling, place the filing at the base of the triangle and roll up, forming the croissant shape. You can also roll the 5 by 5 inch square up (cinnamon-roll-style) with a filling inside (ie: chocolate, almond paste) if you want a larger croissant. Continue with this process until all the croissants have been shaped.

Egg Wash/Rising/Baking

  1. Let the croissants rise, covered for 2 to 3 hours until puffed up and almost doubled in size.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Whisk together the egg, heavy cream and a pinch of salt. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of the croissants with the egg wash.
  4. Bake croissants for 10 minutes without opening the oven door. After ten minutes, rotate the pan 180 degrees in the oven for an even bake and continue baking another 8-10 minutes. 
  5. Allow croissants to cool slightly before digging in. Enjoy all your hard work!

Croissants for the Home Baker

Buttery, flaky and downright delicious, these croissants are amazing. The entire process takes 2-3 days, so plan accordingly. This is the printable recipe, but I highly recommend reading through the blog post and pictures to give you an overview if you are new to croissants, before beginning.
Prep Time 2 d 12 hrs
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine French
Servings 24

Ingredients
  

Poolish

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

Croissant Dough

  • 1 3/4 cups milk room temperature or lightly warmed
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter melted
  • 6 cups all purpose flour may need an extra 1/2 cup
  • all of the poolish

Butter Block

  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 sheet parchment paper

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream

Croissant Fillings (optional, depending on the fillings you choose)

  • 24 slices Gruyere cheese and Smoked Ham
  • 1 bar chocolate
  • 1 block almond paste

Instructions
 

Day 1

    Poolish (2-3 hours)

    • In a microwave safe, medium-sized bowl, warm the milk in the microwave or on the stove until warm to the touch. It should feel like baby’s bathwater (not too hot as this can kill the yeast).
    • Add the yeast to the bowl (notice the yeasty smell to make sure your yeast is active…this happens within a minute or so of adding instant yeast).
    • Mix the flour into the milk/yeast mixture, forming a thick batter. 
    • Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place. Let poolish rise until doubled in size, at least 2 hours.

    Dough (20 minute mix, refrigerate overnight)

    • Add the risen poolish to the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add room temperature milk, yeast and sugar. Mix with dough hook. Add the salt and melted butter.
    • Add flour a cup at a time and mix with dough hook. After the flour is incorporated, pick up a chunk of dough and roll it into a ball. If it rolls into a ball and isn’t super sticky, you can stop adding flour. If it is overly sticky and doesn’t form a ball, continue adding flour a bit at time and mixing. This helps to avoid over-flouring the dough. 
    • Knead the dough with the stand mixer for 10 minutes. I like to set a timer and let it mix. A long kneading period helps the gluten develop. You can check this post for more information on how to test for readiness of dough.
    • After the dough is kneaded, place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Refrigerate the dough overnight.

    Day 2

      Butter Block (10 minutes)

      • Pull 5 sticks of butter out of the fridge. 
      • Line the sticks of butter in the center of a row on a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle ¼ cup of flour over the butter.
      • Pull one side of the parchment paper over the butter. Using a rolling pin, hit the butter to flatten it and meld it together to form a butter block. Continue hitting the butter until it flattens. 
      • Roll the butter into an 8 by 12 inch rectangle (I use a measuring tape to help guide me). Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use. See photos in blog post for step-by-step guide.

      Lamination (30 minutes active time, 3 hours refrigeration/freeze)

      • Prepare a sheet of parchment paper with a light dusting of flour. Use a measuring tape to guide you and set it to 18 inches at the top of your parchment paper. Take the dough out of the fridge.
      • Roll the dough into a 12 by 18 inch rectangle. Place the butter block in the middle of the rolled out dough so that the butter block aligns with the top and bottom of the dough.
      • Fold the left side of the dough over, covering the butter block. Repeat with the right side of the dough, folding over on top of the left side. Pinch together any seams so the butter is fully encased in the dough.
      • Rotate the dough 90 degrees or a quarter turn and roll out the dough to a 28 by 12 inch rectangle. 
      • Fold the dough in the same manner as above, folding from the left side ⅓ and then the right side ⅓, resulting in about a 9 by 12 rectangle. This is your first fold.
      • Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
      • Second fold: After 1 hour, pull the dough out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface, repeat the process of rolling the dough out to a 28 by 12 rectangle and folding the dough over. Wrap again and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
      • Third fold: Repeat the same process as the first and second fold. FREEZE for 1 hour. At this point you can continue freezing the dough for up to 1 week. When you are ready to use the frozen dough, pull it out the night before you intend to use it and put it in the fridge before shaping. After 1 hour, pull the croissant dough out of the freezer and proceed with shaping.

      Shaping Croissants (20 minute shaping, 2-3 hours proofing) 

      • Line a couple baking sheets (my favorite here, affiliate link) with parchment paper.
      • Prepare any fillings you plan on using (sliced cheese, sliced ham, almond paste or chocolate, etc..) by cutting or breaking them into small pieces or slices.
      • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 30 by 10 inch rectangle. 
      • Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half so you have two sections 30 by 5 inches.
      • Cut each 30 by 5 inch section into 6 pieces, resulting in six 5 by 5 inch sections.
      • Slice each 5 by 5 inch section from corner to corner, resulting in a small triangle. Starting at the base, roll the triangle up to form a croissant. Place on a baking sheet.
      • If you want to add a filling, place the filing at the base of the triangle and roll up, forming the croissant shape. You can also roll the 5 by 5 inch square up (cinnamon-roll-style) with a filling inside (ie: chocolate, almond paste) if you want a larger croissant. Continue with this process until all the croissants have been shaped.

      Egg Wash/Rising/Baking

      • Let the croissants rise, covered for 2 to 3 hours until puffed up and almost doubled in size.
      • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
      • Whisk together the egg, heavy cream and a pinch of salt. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops of the croissants with the egg wash.
      • Bake croissants for 10 minutes without opening the oven door. After ten minutes, rotate the pan 180 degrees in the oven for an even bake and continue baking another 8-10 minutes. 
      • Allow croissants to cool slightly before digging in. Enjoy all your hard work!

      Notes

      This recipe takes 2-3 days to complete. Plan accordingly. I highly recommend reading through my blog post and looking at the pictures before beginning if you have never made croissants before. This will help you get an overall feel for the process before starting.
      Keyword croissant

      Follow me on Instagram @amybakesbread, like Amy Bakes Bread on Facebook or follow me on Pinterest for more baking ideas.

      Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake 🙂

      Crispy Pumpkin Waffles with Pumpkin Syrup

      Every year when fall rolls around, I get excited about all things pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pie (my favorite is from Costco…what’s yours?). Even though I love the flavor of pumpkin in baking, I do have one teeny, tiny complaint about this seasonal ingredient. It softens everything up (which can be good in some recipes, but not when you want something crispy). Is it too much to ask for a crispy pumpkin cookie? Or a crispy pumpkin scone? How about a crispy pumpkin waffle? Every year I get excited about making my kids pumpkin waffles for breakfast and time and time again…disappointed in the texture. Well, guess what? This year, the search is over! Ten crispy pumpkin waffles coming right up! These waffles have nice and crispy edges with a soft, light, pumpkin flavor and texture on the inside. Top it with some hot pumpkin syrup and you have yourself a little piece of fall on a plate.

      Jump to Recipe for Crispy Pumpkin Waffles and Pumpkin Syrup

      A Little Less Pumpkin Puree Keeps These Pumpkin Waffles Crispy

      One of the awesome properties of pumpkin is the amount of moisture it brings to baked goods. This is perfect for these one bowl pumpkin spice muffins where you want a light, fluffy, perfectly moist muffin. Unfortunately this doesn’t bode as well when you are going for a crispy texture. I decreased the amount of pumpkin usually called for in a waffle recipe to half a cup. This still gives the pumpkin flavor but lends to a soft interior while still getting some crispy edges on a waffle. 

      Key Ingredient: Cornstarch

      Cornstarch is one of those ingredients that seems unassuming but can give you the biggest bang for your buck texture wise. I highlight the importance of cornstarch in these crispy sourdough discard waffles, too. Cornstarch is the key in making these waffles super crispy. The combination of baking these in a waffle iron activates the cornstarch to help give you that really crispy texture as soon as your waffle iron beeps done. Cornstarch also has an added benefit of softening up the waffles so you get both: super soft pumpkiny middle and crispy on the outside.

      Drizzled with Pumpkin Syrup

      One of my favorite tricks to making a flavored syrup is so simple. Use syrup you already have in your pantry. We use pure maple syrup and have recently started using sugar free as well thanks to having a child with type 1 diabetes–all that to say this trick works great for any kind of syrup you have on hand. Pour about half a cup in a little in a microwave-safe jar. Add in whatever flavor sounds good to you. For blueberry syrup, add a handful of crushed blueberries. For pumpkin syrup, add a tablespoon of pumpkin (and a little sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice). Heat it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds, mix it up and you have a delicious flavored syrup. 

      Freeze a Batch

      My kids are always excited when waffles are on the menu for breakfast. I will often double this recipe because they freeze well. I stick leftovers in a gallon-sized ziplock and freeze them for a month or two, though they never last that long. To thaw, pull them out a few hours before you need them or (more likely) just give them a quick defrost or re-heat in the microwave (they won’t be crispy) or toaster (this helps them crisp back up) and you have a quick and delicious breakfast on hand. 

      One Last “Crispy” Waffle Tip

      One of the most important aspects on getting a crispy waffle is cooking the waffle to the recommended time on your waffle iron. We have some inexpensive waffle irons that produce yummy waffles. I don’t think the brand of your waffle iron is a key factor in crispy waffles. Just make sure you cook them until the light goes off and eat them hot for the most crispy edges and soft middle. Waffles that are left to sit out will lose some of their crispiness. You can always re-heat them in the toaster to help bring back the crisp if you aren’t able to eat them right away. Enjoy!

      Crispy Pumpkin Waffles with Pumpkin Syrup

      A crisp, pumpkin-flavored exterior with a soft, light inside make these the perfect waffles to eat this fall. Top it with some hot pumpkin syrup and you have yourself a little piece of fall on a plate.
      Prep Time 10 mins
      Cook Time 20 mins
      Course Breakfast
      Cuisine American
      Servings 10 waffles

      Ingredients
        

      Crispy Pumpkin Waffles

      • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
      • 1/2 cup cornstarch
      • 1/4 cup brown sugar
      • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice see recipe notes for substitution
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree canned pumpkin works best (not pumpkin pie mix)
      • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
      • 1/3 cup vegetable oil coconut oil works here too
      • 2 eggs
      • 2/3 cup buttermilk see recipe notes for substitution
      • 1 cup milk

      Pumpkin Syrup

      • 1/2 cup maple syrup any favorite kind of syrup will work
      • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin puree
      • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

      Instructions
       

      • Plug in waffle iron to preheat.
      • Using a whisk, mix together the flour and cornstarch in a bowl. Add brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together.
      • To a different bowl (or the same bowl if you don’t like to dirty two bowls like me), add the wet ingredients. Add the pumpkin puree, melted butter, vegetable oil, eggs, buttermilk, milk and vanilla extract.
      • Whisk together until fully combined. If batter is too thick, add a Tablespoon more milk at a time until desired consistency is reached. This batter will be a little bit on the thicker side.
      • Using a measuring cup or ladle, pour about ⅓ – ½ cup of waffle batter onto hot waffle iron. Bake according to the directions on your waffle iron. Ours usually take 2-3 minutes per waffle.
      • While waffles bake, mix up pumpkin syrup. To a small jar add ½ cup syrup, 1 Tablespoon pumpkin puree and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Heat for 10-20 seconds and mix together with a fork or spoon until smooth.
      • Serve waffles hot, drizzled with pumpkin syrup.

      Notes

      Buttermilk Substitution: I prefer using buttermilk, but when I don’t have it on hand I will often substitute equal parts greek yogurt/milk or sour cream/milk. Mix it together before adding to a recipe. 
      Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitution: If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, try substituting: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon cloves.
      Keyword pumpkin, pumpkin waffles