Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns

Happy Hump day blogland! I am already counting down the days until the weekend again. My work has a costume contest for Halloween, and Jet (our fur baby) and I are dressing up together. Can anyone guess what we will be? 

We are also having a potluck lunch on Friday at work, so this past weekend I was testing out some new recipes, as well as spending a few hours with our friends and our fur babies getting lost in a corn maze! It was a successful Fall weekend!
I am always looking for new ways to use my pumpkins, and I never get sick of anything pumpkin! The other week I baked challah bread for the first time, and that was the first time I had also ever used yeast. And it was so much easier than I had thought it would be! That is where this recipe comes in. It is very similar to the dough used to make challah bread. I think they were a success, because the hubby devoured most of them the first night I made them. Luckily I was able to take a few photos of them before they vanished into thin air.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
These pumpkin cinnamon buns are great to make ahead of time too. You could assemble them at night, let them rise in the fridge and finish in the morning for a weekend breakfast.

What you will need:
Dough:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk, warmed (but not over 116 degrees)
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
1/4 cup (packed)light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
2/3 cup homemade pumpkin puree, or canned
1 large egg
Oil for coating rising bowl
Filling:
3/4 cup (packed) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Glaze (optional):
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. milk
2 cups powdered sugar
Few drops vanilla extract

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
First, you want to make your dough. Melt your butter in the microwave or on the stove in a saucepan.

Combine the warmed milk, 1-2 tsp. sugar, and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After five to seven minutes, it should be a bit foamy. 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
To the bowl of your stand mixer combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add 1/4 cup of your melted butter and stir to combine. Add yeast/milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix combined. Switch mixer to a dough hook and run it for 5 minutes on low.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
Scrape mixture into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel. Set aside for 1 hour, it should just about double.

While the dough is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides of the pan and the paper with nonstick spray.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
Once the dough has doubled in size, transfer the dough onto a very well floured surface and flour the top of it well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 16×12" rectangle. Brush the remaining melted butter over the dough. Stir together the filling ingredients (sugars, cinnamon, and salt) and sprinkle mixture evenly over dough. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
With a sharp serrated knife, using zero pressure (only the weight of the blade) gently saw your log with a back and forth motion into approximately 1" sections. The dough will make approximately 16-18 buns.

Divide buns between two prepared pans. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let them rise for another hour.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
If you are prepping your buns ahead of time, you can put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, leave them out for an hour to warm up and finish rising.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes. The cinnamon buns will puff up and get golden brown and leave the whole house smelling absolutely amazing!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns~ The Dreams Weaver
To make the glaze, beat your cream cheese until it is light and fluffy, add powdered sugar, and vanilla. Pour in the milk little by little until you get the consistency of a thick icing.

Once the buns have cooled, you can add the glaze to the tops of them. The buns are good enough on their own that the glaze is totally optional!


Enjoy!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

The Best Challah Bread

Happy Monday blogland! Last week was my first attempt at making challah bread, and let me tell you it came out AMAZING! My husband devoured a loaf in minutes (granted it was a mini loaf.)
I never knew how easy it was to make it! I am hooked, I am never buying challah again. 
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
What you will need:
2 1/2 lbs. bread flour or all purpose flour (approx. 10 cups)
2 tbsp. dry active yeast
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tbsp. salt
1/3 cup oil
2 3/4 cup warm water
2 eggs
1 egg+water for egg wash
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
Put yeast, 1-2 tsp. of sugar, and add 1/2 cup of water in a bowl. Mix the ingredients together and let the yeast proof (activate) and foam up until it doubles in size.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
In a bowl of a stand mixer, add the 2 eggs and mix the eggs with a beater attachment. Then add all of the wet ingredients (the rest of the water, oil, yeast mixture) and mix together again. Add the sugar and salt and mix again.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
With the mixer on the lowest speed, add flour cup by cup until the dough starts forming a ball and pulling away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
At this point, swap out the beater attachment for a dough hook. Keep adding flour cup by cup until the dough is no longer sticky to the touch. In total this should be roughly 10 cups of flour.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
Knead the dough together by hand to make sure everything is incorporated together. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover the top of the dough with a thin layer of oil and cover with a wet towel. 
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
Let the dough rise until it doubles in size, this should be about an hour. Punch the dough down and let it rise for another hour.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
At this point, you are ready to form the challahs. I like to do simple braids. 

I also stuffed the centers of one of my challah's braids with a cinnamon sugar mixture. To do this, all you need to do is combine sugar with cinnamon in a 4:1 ratio with a little bit of melted margarine.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
Roll out your 3 ropes for the braids and flatten each. Lay out your filling in a thin line down each flattened rope and pinch up the sides to seal it in. Then just braid the challah like you would normally.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
Once all of your challahs are formed, let them rise for an additional half hour. 

Top each challah off with egg wash (one egg with a little bit of water) and some cinnamon sugar if you want it sweet.

Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes.
The Best Challah Bread~The Dreams Weaver
Enjoy!

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Beef Shepherd's Pie

My friend made a shepherd's pie similar to this one a few week's back at a potluck get together weekend. I had never made shepherd's pie before, or had ever even tasted one! I tweaked her recipe a bit, OK really a lot! My husband always wants me to make it now and there are never any leftovers!

Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver

What you will need:
6 medium potatoes
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. butter
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 head of broccoli
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. salt
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 lb. ground beef
1 small can tomato sauce
Pinch of ground black pepper
Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver
Preheat the oven to 375F.
 
Cut the potatoes into small cubes so they boil faster. Place all potatoes in salted boiling water for 15-20 minutes, or until fork tender.

While the potatoes are boiling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, broccoli and spices. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver
Stir in the tomato sauce and cook until the sauce darkens in color.
Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver

Add in the beef and break up any large clumps of meat. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes.
Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver
 While the meat is cooking, drain the potatoes and mash using a hand blender or by hand. I add a little margarine to the potatoes so they stay creamy.
Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver
Transfer the meat mixture into a greased dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top, leaving a 1/4 inch border around the edge.

Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver

Bake until potatoes brown and the juices begin to bubble around the edges, about 40 minutes.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Beef Shepherd's Pie~ The Dreams Weaver

Enjoy!

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies

My first post when I started my blog almost a year ago was my Roasted Pumpkin Puree. That was the first year we had gone pumpkin picking and the first time I ever tackled a whole pumpkin! Well, my love for pumpkin has grown since then! 

This year I wanted to try a new recipe from the pumpkins we've picked. These soft baked pumpkin cookies melt in your mouth with their great pumpkin flavor and warm spices topped with a sweet vanilla glaze.
Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
What you will need:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda 
1 tsp. baking powder 
1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg 
1/2 tsp. salt  
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Glaze (recipe follows) 
Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  

Beat sugar and butter together in you mixer until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually add in flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt while the mixture is on low speed. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets. 
Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver

For glaze: 
Combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies and allow glaze to set up before putting them away.
Soft Baked Pumpkin Cookies~ The Dreams Weaver
Enjoy!

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Friday, July 11, 2014

DIY Coffee Sugar Scrub

I’m a huge fan of coffee, especially my new found love of cold-brewed coffee. After cold brewing, I am left with a ton of coffee grounds after. I wanted to find a way to re-purpose my leftover coffee grounds. I was researching ways in which to use them and stumbled upon a great scrub idea from The Kitchen on the Food Network.
Coffee, and caffeine in general, do amazing things for the body. Coffee intake has been studied on its affects, and drinking coffee helps prevent certain types of cancer! It is also an antioxidant. The grounds, when used as a scrub, are excellent exfoliates. They diminish the appearance of cellulite and tighten and tone your skin. Plus, you get to smell like coffee after! I love the smell of coffee.

DIY Coffee Sugar Scrub~ The Dreams Weaver
What you will need:
3 TBSP coffee grounds
1 TBSP sugar (any one will do, I used brown sugar)
2 TBSP olive oil (or coconut oil)
½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)

DIY Coffee Sugar Scrub~ The Dreams Weaver
Mix up all of the ingredients in a jar or some sort of seal-able container.
It will last up to 2 months in a sealed container. 


Enjoy!


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Monday, July 7, 2014

How To Make Cold Brewed Iced Coffee

No morning is complete without my coffee fix! No matter what season, my coffee of choice is always over ice! I grew up in a coffee family {maybe that’s why I’m on the shorter side!} Coffee is connected to so many moments in my life: the smell of coffee at family breakfasts on the weekend, hanging out at Starbucks with friends, midday iced coffee with my mom and sister, and finally getting my husband to share my love of coffee with me. 

However, when I try to make my own iced coffee from hot brewed coffee, it never tastes quite as good as the iced coffee I get at Starbucks or any other good coffee shop. Hot brewed coffee over ice always tastes watered-down and slightly burnt. 

I think I have found the answer to my problems. I am going to share my secret, an at-home cold brewed iced coffee that is bold and flavorful. 
How To Make Cold Brewed Iced Coffee~ The Dreams Weaver
First, you need to choose a coffee. You want to use a good quality coffee, as the taste will really come through. I used one of my favorites, Starbucks Dark French Roast. 
How To Make Cold Brewed Iced Coffee~ The Dreams Weaver
Once you have course ground your beans, {if you are starting from whole coffee beans like I am} measure out how much coffee you will need and pour it into you container. I used a mason jar since it closes airtight. You are going to want 4 ounces {1/2 cup} for every 1 quart {32 ounces} of water. 
How To Make Cold Brewed Iced Coffee~ The Dreams Weaver
Pour in your filtered or spring water. 
How To Make Cold Brewed Iced Coffee~ The Dreams Weaver
Give the coffee mixture a good stir to combine everything. 
How To Make Cold Brewed Iced Coffee~ The Dreams Weaver
Screw the cover back on to your mason jar. You want it to be air tight, if using a container without a lid cover with saran wrap. Let the coffee sit for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. 
How To Make Cold Brewed Iced Coffee~ The Dreams Weaver
After 12 hours it's time to strain the coffee grounds out. {If you let the coffee sit longer, the final result will be more bitter and bold.} You can use a cheese cloth or a fine strainer like I did to strain the coffee. 

To strain, place your strainer over a bowl or a pitcher and pour the coffee mixture through. The cold brewed coffee will filter through and the coffee grounds will stay in the strainer. 

The cold brewed coffee will last in a sealed container in your fridge for up to a week!

Save those coffee beans!  I have an easy DIY coffee sugar scrubyou can make with them later in the week! 
How To Make Cold Brewed Iced Coffee~ The Dreams Weaver
Now it's time to pour some of your cold brew over ice.

Tip: Make some coffee iced cubes so your coffee never gets watered down! 
How To Make Cold Brewed Iced Coffee~ The Dreams Weaver

You can drink it black, as cold brewed coffee is naturally sweeter than hot brewed coffee, it will naturally taste sweet. 
How To Make Cold Brewed Iced Coffee~ The Dreams Weaver
Or, add some milk and sugar for even more decadence.
How To Make Cold Brewed Iced Coffee~ The Dreams Weaver
Enjoy!

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