Jun 30, 2011

Blogiversary and a late daring bakers challenge!

One year ago I embarked on a culinary journey and honestly, had no idea where the year would bring me. Sure, before I blogged I cooked, but blogging has allowed me to flex my culinary muscle and do things I never thought I would be able to!  I joined some cooking groups along the way and have met some amazing people that I feel like my life is richer for knowing. I have chronicled the past year of dishes even though it has been one of the hardest (work wise) years of my life, and I don't plan on stopping now!!!
So if you haven't gotten sick of me waxing poetic on the last year, here is my severely late June Daring Bakers Challenge.
When I made this recipe I was knee deep in strawberries for jam and that served as my inspiration for this project.  Sadly, I only completed one component of the challenge and totally punked out on making my own phyllo dough.  This will however, be completed in the future!
I think this turned into a very creative non traditional approach to a very traditional dessert.

Strawberry Baklava
6 ounces blanched almonds
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
 1 pound phyllo dough
8 ounces clarified unsalted butter, melted

Heat oven to 350.  Place the blanched almonds, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not creamy.

In a 9x13 pan brush the sides and bottom with butter and then lay out a layer of phyllo dough.  Brush with more butter and repeat this 9 times for a total of ten.  Top with one third of the nut mix spread thinly.  Top with six more layers of phyllo and butter and then remaining nuts. Eight more layers after that and then brush the top with butter.  Bake in the oven for 30  minutes and then remove and cut into squares.  Return to oven for another 30 minutes and then remove from oven and allow to cool for two hours. While it is cooling make your syrup.

1/2 cup strawberry puree
1 1/4 cups honey
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
Combine strawberry puree, honey, water and sugar in a pan over medium heat and boil for ten minutes.

After the baklava has cooled for 2 hours, re-cut the entire pan following the same lines as before. Pour the hot syrup evenly over the top of the baklava, allowing it to run into the cuts and around the edges of the pan. Allow the pan to sit, uncovered until completely cool. Cover and store at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to overnight before serving. Store, covered, at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Blog-checking lines: Erica of Erica’s Edibles was our host for the Daring Baker’s June challenge. Erica challenged us to be truly DARING by making homemade phyllo dough and then to use that homemade dough to make Baklava.

Jun 16, 2011

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

Ugh, I am a bad bad blogger!!! But in my defense it has been a very busy couple of weeks!! We have been down a manager at work so I have been working crazy weird shifts several times out of the week  and also it was my birthday! (Hopefully I will have a fatty post on that later this week considering we made a FEAST!) And also to add to my list of sad excuses, its spring! Which is a magical time here in the valley! I got my first CSA farm share (spinach, two kinds of lettuce, radishes, and strawberry spread) and finally the strawberries are in SEASON! My oh my.  Today SA and I went to a u-pick place and scored some beautiful berries.  Red, juicy, and ORGANIC.  They taste amazing! This recipe is something that one of my friends and I threw together after hearing about a trader Joe's recipe.  They are delicious and even addictive. I recommend that if you make them you make them for a group so you aren't eating them all by yourself.
please forgive me, I semi-ho'd it!

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Rolls
peanut butter cream cheese frosting
two pieces of bacon cooked until crispy and crumbled

Cook Cinnamon Rolls according to directions and spread peanut butter cream cheese over top while still hot.  Sprinkle with bacon and cinnamon to taste!

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 -3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Mix peanut butter and cream cheese together until smooth and add vanilla and powdered sugar one cup at a time until spreading consistency.