Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Cider Salted Caramel Sauce

We got a car!!!!!

More specifically, my husband picked out a certified pre-owned mini-van. He got it Friday night and now I’m in love with it.

I loved our Rav 4, but it wasn’t going to work out for us long term with 2 kids and 2 dogs. We are active with friends and family so then we can’t travel with any of them. Sure, someone could squeeze between 2 car seats but that’s not too fun. And, what do we do if we want to bring one of the kids friends with us for something? We certainly wouldn’t be able to get 3 carseats/booster seats in the back.

So now we have a Honda Odyssey that has more cup holders in it than I know what to do with. Seriously, that is what I snapped to Amanda when I first got into it. And, of course, my husband is like, enough with the cup holders! Do you actually like it?!?!?” Yes, I love it. It’s so great.

Now I need to find the perfect political bumper stickers to slap on there. And I need a Vineyard Vines’ pink whale on it. Isn’t that just perfect? The preppiest bumper sticker ever with a “Pod Loves America” sticker?! HAHAHA

Anyway… cinnamon rolls!!!!

 

Guys, I learned something very valuable the first time that I made these… don’t put cinnamon in the dough. At least not the quantity that I put in. Cinnamon is acidic and can retard the yeast from getting its bubble on. It rose well-ish over night, but didn’t do another successful rise when rolled out the dough and made the cinnamon rolls. I baked them up anyway just to taste the flavor, which was good,but the texture was horrible.

So, repeat after me, do not put a lot of cinnamon in the dough.

Okay, so now we that all learned something from my fail, let’s make great Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls!!!

Secondly, in my adventures in making a crap ton of cinnamon rolls this year, do not over work the dough, or roll it out too thinly. It breaks up the bubbles in the dough, so keep that in mind when you are making them. You really want to keep the dough to be at least 1/4″ thick.

The apple cider salt caramel sauce is everything on these cinnamon rolls. EVERYTHING.

If nothing else, just make the caramel sauce and put it on everything. But you really need to take the time to follow the instructions. I make this sauce all the time in the fall and once I was rushing and didn’t make the sauce syrupy enough at first and when I added the rest of the ingredients it was a mess. I was sorta able to  salvage it, but just follow the directions and take your time. It’s soooo worth the time babying it.

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Cider Salted Caramel Sauce

Makes 12 cinnamon rolls*

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 1 Cup warm milk (100-110 degrees)
  • 1 packet yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted (but not hot!)
  • 4 Cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Filling

  • 2 large baking apples- cored and then sliced into 1/8″ thick slices
  • 1/2 Cup melted butter
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon

For the Caramel Sauce

  • 2 Cups apple cider
  • 1 Cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 Cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon sea salt

Process

  1. Add the yeast to the warm milk. Let rest for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs, then slowly mix in the warm milk mixture. Add the butter and just mix to combine.
  3. Add in the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a hook attachment, work the dough until combined.
  4. On a well floured work surface, roll the dough into a smooth ball. Add the dough to a large bowl that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Rotate to cover the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let double in size, at least 1 hour.
  5. Once the dough is ready, preheat your oven to 350 F and grease a 9x 13 baking pan.
  6. On a well floured work surface, roll the dough out so it is approximately 14″ x 24″ x 1/4″ thick
  7. Evenly arrange the apple slices on the dough in rows along the entire length of the dough. Keep the apple slices 1″ back from the edge where the cinnamon rolls are sealed, when rolled. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon.
  8. Roll the long edge towards you and then cut into 12 evenly sized rolls. Arrange the cinnamon rolls in the baking pan.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare your caramel sauce. Using a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat, bring the apple cider to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and slowly cook until cider has reduced from 2 cups to 1/4 Cup. It will be fairly thick and syrupy at this point. Stir occasionally.
  11. Add the sugar, cream, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring continuously. You’ll want it to be syrupy at this point.
  12. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract. Add 1/2 teaspoon  the sea salt, mix well. Add more to desired taste. Transfer to a heat-proof container and let cool.
  13. Serve your warm cinnamon rolls with a healthy drizzling of caramel. (You will likely have to reheat the caramel sauce for drizzling consistency if it cools or you store it for a few days as the caramel thicken as it cools.)

Caramel adapted from Bashful Bao

*I purposefully rolled out my cinnamon rolls to be smaller and more than 12 so that I could share at work. Typically, I would just make 12 cinnamon rolls, as the recipe states.

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Buttermilk Chive Biscuits

Lila is a tough critic. But she approved of these biscuits.

Lila is one of my friend’s daughters. She is just about a year and a half old and in the year that I’ve known her I’ve gotten stink eye from this adorable little girl more times than I can count. She is the queen at mean muggin’.

But I think I finally broke through to her!!!!

All thanks to these biscuits!!!!!

Autumn and I made them the day before for our family. She is a fantastic little helper and baker. She helped me measure everything into the bowls. We count out the ingredients as we pour them into the bowls. And we she even learning how to propely scoop the floor into the measuring cup too!

That’s why Kid Chef Bakes: The Kids Cookbook for Aspiring Bakers by Lisa Huff is fantastic new cookbook. It has so many recipes that are kid friendly so they will love what you make with them in it. Kids of all ages will love everything from the cookies to the cupcakes to the bars. 

The book is full of clear instructions and lots of beautiful pictures. I love how informative it is for the kids learning the different processes and techniques used in baking. The book starts with different lessons in learning baking skills. It starts with basics likes measuring and moves on to folding ingredients in, and how to work with dough. All really important, interesting, and fun things for kids to try as they develop their kitchen skills.

(To note: Autumn said she would help me with the biscuits, then decided making biscuits at her sandbox/water-table on our lanai was more fun. We co-baked things. ha!)

 

Well, back to little miss Lila!

I was helping out my friend by picking Lila and her bigger sister, who is awesome friends with Autumn, up from daycare and giving them dinner while she hustled back from a meeting from work. I managed to get a smile from her while at daycare as I picked her up from her classroom, but the real moment when she let her guard with me when the kids were eating. She saw some leftover biscuits in a container on our counter and she eagerly pointed to them. While it wasn’t what I had planned on feeding her, I figured an extra biscuit wouldn’t hurt!

She gobbled that biscuit right up!!! I got the cutest smile when she was done and the rest of the night as smooth sailing.

I guess you just can’t resist a really great biscuit. I know I can’t.

This foolproof biscuit recipe is from Lisa Huff’s

To note: I didn’t have a 2″ round cookie or biscuit cutter and my cast iron pan was too small. But I made due with what I ha. And guess what… delicious biscuits.

The moral of the story is to adapt to use the size cutter that you have, or use the pan that you have, or even both! Square biscuits? Cool! 2 Smaller pans? Cool! Do the best that you can and just make it work otherwise.

Just don’t let anything come between you and these awesome biscuits. They are a going to be an instant family favorite!

Buttermilk Chive Biscuits

Makes 12 biscuits

Ingredients

  • Butter, for greasing the pan
  • 2 3⁄4 Cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold, cubed unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Cup chopped fresh chives*
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Cups cold buttermilk
  • Flour, for the work surface
  • 3 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Process 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees . Set the oven rack to the lowest level. Grease a 10 1/2″ cast iron pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Cut in the butter with a fork or pastry cutter, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chives
  4. Add 1 Cup of buttermilk; stir to loosely combine. Slowly add more buttermilk as necessary until the dough just comes together but is still moist. Do not overwork the dough or the biscuits will come out dense and dry.
  5. Place the dough on a well floured surface. Gently press the dough into a 1″ thick disk. Cut out the biscuits using the round cutter to form the biscuits. If you need to reform the dough into a 1″ thick disk to cut out more biscuits, do so gently so you don’t overwork the dough.
  6. Place the biscuits next to each other in the prepared pan. Bake on the bottom rack for 12 to 17 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Brush with the melted butter. Cool slightly before serving.

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Win a copy of Lisa Huff’s new book

Kid Chef Bakes: The Kids Cookbook for Aspiring Bakers

 

Leave a comment telling me what you like to make with your kids or what you liked to make with your parents while growing up.

Ends 11/9/17. Open to US residents only

 

 

Rolo Monkey Bread

“If you can lean, you can clean”

Back when I was a college freshman, working retail, I had a boss who would say that. If he caught anyone leaning against a wall or the column next to the register zoning out he would say that so that they got back to work. And if he caught you, he usually made you clean.

I feel that is my life now.

But I am catching myself and I then mentally freak the fuck out and then try to do 10 things to make up for that ‘clacking off’. I never feel like I can just sit and relax. Even if I am on FB, it’s generally to do something related to the blog account, some side hustle stuff, or the account for the dogs I am trying to figure out how I am going to build.

Or if I am on instagram, I am scrolling through and engaging with people that are niche related and I am

The trifecta of getting ‘ish done is when I am pumping, while sitting at the computer so I can write a blog post and search using a specific platform, earning me extra spending money. Extra points if I am listening to a pod cast and I remembered to plug my phone into the fast charger at the desk.

Life just never feels like it ever slows down.

And, in someways, we aren’t doing that much either. Autumn goes to gymnastics 1x a week and that’s it, but the general life maintenance makes things chaotic. From prepping clothes and bottles for the next day, laundry, walking dogs, cooking dinner and dishes, the week night quickly speeds by and before we know it, it’s time for bed and another day of madness until the weekend comes when we try to tackle bigger projects, hang with friends and family, and maybe even get in a nap.

It just feels that I need a month of no distractions and crap to get really caught up on life, with the things I need to do and just want to do.

But that’s why I am always looking for short cuts for things.

I certainly like to make monkey bread or pies or pizza by scratch, but there are times when it’s just easier to grab some biscuits or a pre-made crust or order take out.

And when you add some chocolate candy to the dough… dessert perfection!!!

I love that the Rolo candy, hidden inside the dough ball, gets all melty and gooey. The cinnamon glaze that envelopes each dough ball is perfect with that sweet caramel and chocolate filling too.

Serve this with some ice cream and you are in for a great dessert treat.

Some people might just think that monkey bread is for breakfast,but I think that you will convince them pretty quickly that it’s great for dessert as well when you serve up this sticky sweet caramel and chocolate treat!!

Rolo Monkey Bread

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 rolls of biscuit dough, 16.3 ounces each (8 biscuits per roll)
  • 32 Rolos
  • 2/3 Cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 Cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup butter, melted

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cut each biscuit into 2 equal pieces.Stretch each biscuit out
  3. Combine the sugars and cinnamon in a bowl.
  4. Dip each dough ball into the melted butter, then into the sugar mixture.
  5. Place each coated dough ball into the bundt pan. Pour any remaining butter over the dough balls.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and the top pieces are firm.
  7. Let cool for 5 minute before inverting on a serving plate.

 

Super Quick Pull Apart Cheesy Garlic Bread

It’s October!!!!! I am soooo excited!!!!

We are finally out of the 90 degree temps. The high yesterday was 89 degrees yesterday and the 10 day forecast shows temps as low as 86 for the high. I love the heat but I am thrilled with this.

It is finally cool enough to go out on long enjoyable walks at night now. Last night my friend and I went out as the sun was setting and we chatted as we quickly did a 2.25 mile loop in our neighborhood. That was great, but it was also great to wrap it up and  feel refreshed, not feeling absolutely gross and drenched. #floridaproblems

At least it meant the day ended on a high note as I had to watch my Giants lose yet another game. And on the final play as well. GET IT TOGETHER GUYS!!!

At least there are great things in life like this pull apart garlic bread.

I am a sucker for garlic bread, but this is so much better than your average garlic bread. It’s quick to make, super buttery and flaky. And the cheese, is the thing that takes it to the next level. It gives it those slightly burned edges, that are extra tasty. yum!!!

I made my garlic bread in a 9×5 loaf, but if you have mini loaf pans then you can use that instead. I would use 2 loaf pans instead of 1 large one. I as well would cut back on some baking time, but, honestly, I don’t know how much since haven’t tried it. I’d check it after 15 minutes and see what ya think.

The worst thing about this bread is that it will disappear so quickly. Once you pull a piece off, another will follow, and there another hand sneaks in and grabs another piece, and before you know it you are just licking your fingers planning the next time you make it.

Super Quick Pull Apart Cheesy Garlic Bread

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce package Crescent dough sheet
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • chopped parsley for garnish

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan or 2 mini loaf pans with non stick cooking spray.
  2. On a well floured surface, roll the dough out so it is 24″ x 12″.
  3. Combine the melted butter, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Mix well.
  4. Spread the butter mixture over the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle with the cheese.
  5. Cut into even sized 24 pieces, then stack them up and lay that pieces on their side in the loaf pan. You will need to spread the pieces out a bit.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

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Instant Pot Monkey Bread

Guys!!!! We have power!!!!! I still can’t believe it!!!!

Did you hear that yelling?! That was me in utter excitement that we still have power even after Irma has hit FL this weekend.

We occasionally lose power during an afternoon thunderstorm. It might just blink or we might lose it for 1-10 minutes, or a few hours. So I was sure that we would be without power for several days. It surged about 8 times last night, but we certainly lucked out and didn’t lose it.

At one point over the weekend, I pulled up a hurricane tracker and it basically had the eye of the storm going right over our community and continuing right on up through Tampa. I could zoom in enough to the map to see that the black spaghetti line was within walking distance to our house and you could zoom in and see our lot. WTF. That was scary to see.

I’m really glad that Irma changed its course and continued hits northerly trek up the state of FL further East of what was predicted, keeping us, and Tampa, on the West side of the storm, which is the weaker side. While it worked out well for us, I know a lot of people still effected here in the area, and elsewhere. I have a lot of friends without power in the Tampa area and I know people in Miami that have a lot of clean up to do. Shoot, my mom had a tree fall on her house! Thankfully, it landed on the part of the house that house where her garage is, but it still caused some damage. Plus, it scared the shit out of her when it happened! OMG!

Since I had thought that we wouldn’t have power for at least 3 days, I prepped and prepped and prepped for that. We had plenty of water, iced teat, juice, seltzer and soooo much food to get us through it. I bought bread and frozen it for PBJ’s. I organized the fridge so that I could know where everything was so I could open it, grab something, and close it immediately. I had prepped tons of meals that I frozen anticipating them staying chilled or thawing out and then we could just reheat them on the gas stove. My instant pot was my best friend during all of this.

I having been using my Instant Pot for everything that I can think of. Soup! Rice! Spaghetti! Taco Meat! Pulled BBQ Chicken! The list goes on and on. I really love how quickly everything comes together and there is so little clean up. I still love my slow cooker but there are times when I want something, like a roast, done in an hour or so and the Instant Pot is perfect for that.

Using a 6-Cup Bundt Pan, I made monkey bread in my 6-Quart Instant Pot in just 20 minutes. Normally it takes 45 minutes for a monkey bread in the oven, and you make a biiiiiig one. But this guy was a mini version and took half the time. It was great that I didn’t need to heat up the oven, which always makes our house so hot, and it was a smaller sized monkey bread.

The one thing that I would note is that it does have a spongier texture compared to the monkey breads I make in the oven. I certainly didn’t think it was a bad thing, still really enjoyable, but I wouldn’t be a good blogger if I didn’t give ya all the facts, now would I?

Let’s hope that we don’t have any other hurricanes for a long time, but at least now we know how to best prepare for it. Or how to get the hell out of dodge if it’s going up the West Coast of FL. With my Instant Pot with us, of course!

Instant Pot Monkey Bread

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large can of Grands Biscuits (16.3 ounce)
  • 1/3 Cup
  • 1/3 Cup
  • 2 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup butter, melted

Process

  1. Spray a 6-Cup bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Pour 1 1/2 Cups of water into your 6 Quart Instant Pot. With the handles folded under, place the trivet into the pot. Pull off about 6″ of tin foil and fold it over 2x to create a sturdy handle to help you remove the bundt pan, set aside.
  3. Cut each biscuit into 8 pieces.
  4. Combing the sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the cut biscuit pieces to the sugar combination. Coat well.
  5. Sprinkle some nuts into the bundt pan, then place a layer of the coated pieces into the pan, sprinkle with more nuts, add the remaining the coated pieces.
  6. Sprinkle any remaining cinnamon and sugar mixture over the filled bundt pan. Pour the melted butter evenly over the pieces.
  7. Place the filled bundt pan into the pot on the trivet, with the piece of foil under it, with edges extending up for easy removal. Fold over so they don’t interfere with the lid.
  8. Seal and then set on MANUAL on HIGH for 20 minutes. When done, do a quick release.
  9. Remove and carefully invert onto a plate. Enjoy!

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