Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

21 Nov

I think I must be the worst wannabe blogger ever. I mean let’s just be honest–it’s been forever. So welcome back, to both you and me. (And now I’m just going to pretend like nothing’s happened–I’m an awkward person.)

When I think of cinnamon rolls I never think, “I can totally do that in an evening.” Let’s face it, if you want cinnamon rolls, you call in sick and prepare yourself to be elbow-deep in flour for the next six hours. Unless you’ve enlisted the Dough Boy, they are definitely not a convenience food. And if we’re being completely honest, the ones from the tube are just not the same (think bread to filling ratio) and also, who can risk the mini heart-attack from opening those things?

I was not looking for a cinnamon roll recipe when I found this one. And a happier accident never was, because I am here to tell you that these cinnamon rolls are actually easy. I know, you think I’m fibbing. You’re thinking, “She’s gone away for months, and now she’s come back like nothing ever happened, and she is going to tell us that she has an easy cinnamon rolls recipe? Yeah right.”

To which I can only say: “Try them.”

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Mrs. Schwartz’s Kitchen

Printable Recipe


1/2 cup warm water

2 tablespoons instant yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree

1/2 cup melted butter

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon salt

5 1/2 cups flour


1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups brown sugar

4 teaspoons cinnamon


1/2 cup butter

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup heavy cream

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

The night before, combine water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk together lightly and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, butter, eggs, and salt. Mix together until the ingredients are well combined. Add the pumpkin to the yeast mixture and stir until combined.

Add 5 cups of flour to the mixture and, using a dough hook, beat all the ingredients together until a ball forms. If the dough is still sticky, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour and mix until combined.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough sit overnight in the refrigerator. Check on your dough once before you go to bed, just to make sure you don’t have a dough monster taking over your fridge.

In the morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator and set aside. In a small skillet, melt the stick of butter for the frosting over medium-low heat until brown bits start to form on the bottom and the butter begins to smell a bit nutty. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine all ingredients for the filling in a medium bowl, and using a pastry cutter, mix together until the mixture resembles a thick paste.

On a floured work surface, turn the dough out and begin working it into a large rectangle. I found it best to smoosh with my hands first and then use a rolling pin. Once the dough has been rolled to about a 1/4 inch thickness, spread the filling over it, making sore get an even layer. Roll the dough up as tightly as possible.

Lightly grease an 11″ x 7″ baking dish. Cut the ends of the rolls off and cut the remaining roll into eight equal sections. Place the rolls cut side up in the prepared dish. Cover and let rise one to two hours.

Preheat oven to 350. After the rolls have risen, bake 17-20 minutes, or until set. While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the browned butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Mix together until well combined.

Let rolls cool slightly before frosting.

Mini Vanilla Birthday Cupcakes

22 Jun

Mini cupcakes are the most dangerous food. They just pop into your mouth and, before you even realize it, you’ve eaten 54 of them. Which is why I recommend them only for the most important of occasions, say, for example, a very special girl’s fourth birthday.

It was a great (although very, very hot) day, filled with shopping and slushies and even the best birthday surprise ever if you’re four: a pedicure! She was so amazing at sitting still and getting her nails done that she even got a beautiful flower with a rhinestone center on each big toe.

Everyone had such a good day, even though we all weren’t able to have a nap on the way home. And there’s no better way to top off having your toes bejeweled than a tiny cupcake (or four) with a cute little dab of marshmallow frosting on top. But don’t get carried away!

Mini Vanilla Birthday Cupcakes

Adapted from Beth Michelle

Printable Recipe

3 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a mini muffin pan with paper wrappers. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time. In a small bowl, mix together vanilla extract and buttermilk. With the mixer running on low, add about half of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk mixture. Divide batter into the prepared pans (in many batches–by my count this recipe makes at least 90 cupcakes) and bake for about 10 minutes, until just barely golden brown.

Marshmallow Frosting

1, 16 ounce jar marshmallow creme

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar

7 drops red food coloring

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and marshmallow creme together until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, food coloring and vanilla and beat until frosting reaches the right consistency for piping. Pipe as desired onto the cupcakes.

Shirley Temple Cupcakes

17 Jun

School’s out! I’m free! And it’s on to a summer of great western adventures…stay tuned!

Anyway, our last faculty meeting was Wednesday, and in the hopes of making it cute and party-like, I brought cupcakes. As it turns out, my cupcakes lent a definite cuteness but, unfortunately, a party-like atmosphere was not to be attained. In fact, we’re having a follow-up meeting later this week–I won’t ask you to stay tuned for that.

I thought what we really needed was a stiff drink, but as that is generally (always) frowned upon on campus, a Shirley Temple was the next best thing.

Shirley Temple Cupcakes

Adapted from The Curvy Carrot

Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour, divided

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup Cherry 7-Up

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon Maraschino cherry juice

7 drops red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a muffin tin with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in vanilla and almond extracts and mix to combine. With the mixer running on low, alternate adding the dry ingredients with the 7-Up.

Transfer about 3/4 cup of batter to a small bowl. Using a spoon, mix in the Maraschino cherry juice and additional tablespoon of flour. Stir in the red food coloring. Distribute the pink mixture evenly among the prepared muffin tins, about 1 1/2 teaspoon per tin. Using the back of a spoon that’s been dipped in water, spread the pink batter so that it lays flat on the bottom of each tin. Then, using am ice cream scoop, divide the uncolored batter amongst the tins. Bake about 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cherry Buttercream Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

pinch of salt

5 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons Maraschino cherry juice

In a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Slowly mix in powdered sugar and increase speed to beat on medium for about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to beat on medium high until frosting reaches the right consistency. Pipe on frosting and garnish with a stemmed Maraschino cherry.

Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

10 Jun

Here it is. My first-ever gluten-free bakeventure!

We have a friend of the family who is very conscientiously working her way through an elimination diet  in order to alleviate pain that has been with her since early in the year. She invited us to her croquet-themed birthday celebration, and naturally I offered to bake something. I knew when I suggested I bring the dessert that her diet requires her to be wheat-free, so I thought I would make some cute-o macarons, which use almond flour, as a birthday snack for the party-goers. However, after more conversation with the birthday girl, she revealed that not only can she not eat wheat, but she can’t eat almonds, or chocolate, or peanuts, or citrus.

So. The macarons were out and the search began. This seemed to be a very particular challenge because the more I looked the more at gluten-free recipes the more I found that they mostly all were chocolate. And what have I ever made in my life that didn’t have lemon in it? It required a good three days of work, which I mostly neglected any other duties to perform. But it was totally fine because in the end it all paid off: I came across this beaut, ran the recipe by the recipient, and set to work.

I was nervous about the texture and durability of this cake. Gluten makes strands of protein which holds baked goods together–and this recipe calls for two cake rounds to be cut in half. I was sure they would crumble if I even just looked at them. But I had promised this cake and so I had to sally forthThis recipe was very well-received at the party–the cake itself is dense and not very sweet so it’s a nice vehicle for the sweet coconutty frosting.

Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

Adapted from Gluten Free Canteen

Printable Recipe

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cup sugar

4 eggs, plus 1 egg white

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend (I used King Arthur Flour’s Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour Blend)

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1/2 coconut, unsweetened and grated

3/4 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 8″ round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment and flour the pans.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. With the mixer running on low, add in the dry ingredients and coconut. Stir in the milk and sour cream. Mix until just combined. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake 10 minutes, reduce oven to 325° and bake about 15 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely, and transfer to the freezer to make cutting the layers in half more manageable.


3 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

2 tablespoons whole milk

about 2 cups coconut, unsweetened and grated

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until combined. Add vanilla and almond flavor and mix on high for about a minute, until light and fluffy. Gradually add milk to the mixture until it is the right consistency for spreading. Beat on high again for one minute.

To assemble the cake, cut each layer in half. Place the first layer on a cake stand or platter, and frost with a small amout of frosting, making sure to get all the way to the edges. Repeat with the next three layers. Using the remaining frosting, cover the whole cake. Press the grated coconut into the frosting–it’s yummy and it hides all manner or mistakes!

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

25 May


I find myself embroiled in the almost-end-of-the-school-year battle. Fourteen days left, which means the end is in sight and makes everyone (teachers and students alike) anxious to be out, out, out of school, but at the same time there are final exams to write and review lessons to prepare and, truth be told, I’m mostly interested in finding a hammock to read in.

For those of you preparing for a long weekend (yay!), here’s an easy recipe to share with your picnic pals, who will probably be more than happy to help you figure out where to put your hammock. Plus it doesn’t take too much time, so there’s plenty left for all the grading.

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Printable Recipe

12 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup mascarpone, softened

1 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 cup sour cream

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add sugar and salt and continue mixing, until very well combined. Add the mascarpone and continue beating. With the mixer running, slowly add the milk and vanilla. Allow the mixture to become smooth, and then add the sour cream. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour (ideally two, or overnight if you can stand it).

Once the mixture has chilled, turn on the ice cream maker and slowly pour in the ice cream base. Allow the machine to churn for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture is visibly thickened. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and allow to set in the freezer for about 30 minutes (or you will end up with cold, tasty soup).

In the meantime, make the garnishes.


1 pound stawberries

1/4 cup sugar

Wash, hull, and slice the strawberries. In a large bowl, stir together the fruit and the sugar. Allow to sit at least 30 minute. Use as a topping on the ice cream. Store the leftovers in the fridge.

Graham Cracker Crumble

6 graham crackers, crushed

1/4 cup sugar

4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°. In a small bowl, combine all three ingredients. Mix together until crumbs are just moistened. Press out onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake about 10 minutes, or until the edges are just turning brown. Let cool. Break apart and sprinkle on top of the ice cream.

Strawberry Margarita Milkshake

5 May

Let’s just get one thing straight about Cinco de Mayo: it’s made up. Even more made up than Valentine’s Day, and that’s really saying something.

But even an obscure battle in which 4,000 Mexican troops defeated 8,000 French soldiers is a pretty good reason to enjoy margaritas in the sunshine, so I say let’s celebrate! Plus, this recipe is so easy, you could probably do it while battling Frenchmen!

Strawberry Margarita Milkshakes

Printable Recipe

2 cups vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup margarita mix

1/4 cup tequila

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Pulse until well blended.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk the two ingredients until soft peaks form. Top milkshake with whipped cream.

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars

1 May

It would probably be inappropriate of me, as the teacher, to whine about having to walk over six miles greening up. But dang, I’m toddling for cripes’ sake.

It might be better for me to lament the fact that after my long, arduous Vermont winter, I forgot that my Scandinavian skin hates the sun. I look like a baby lobster.

This recipe is sunburn-friendly–there’s no need to stick you scorched face in to a hot oven more than once.

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars

Adapted from Išbandyti receptai

Printable Recipe


1 1/2 stick butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup flour

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, and salt until light yellow and fluffy. Gradually add in flour and mix until combined–the dough will be crumbly. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a baking dish by lining it with parchment paper. When the dough is chilled, press into a thin layer in the baking pan. (Slightly damp hands will keep the dough from sticking to you.) Bake 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool.


1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups pretzels, roughly chopped

In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar and water, stirring only until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat, without stirring, for about 15 minutes. It will be difficult to tell when the caramel is ready because of the darkness of the brown sugar, but I generally go by when it starts to smell like caramel. While the sugar mixture is boiling, combine the heavy cream, salt, and vanilla in a small bowl. Once the caramel is ready, add the butter and heavy cream mixture and stir vigorously. Return to heat and stir until caramel is smooth. Stir in pretzels. Pour caramel over cooled crust and let set.

Chocolate Topping

1 bag milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon honey

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and stir constantly over medium heat until chocolate is just melted. Spread over caramel / pretzel layer. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.