Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: A Year in Review

Can you believe another year has come and gone?  When I was young I remember my parents and grandparents commenting on how fast the years go the older you get.  I remember thinking "what a bunch of old codgers!" Well, I'm here to tell you that I'm eating my words, it is so true! This year has flown by!
One of the nice things about blogging and Facebook is the ability to quickly look back over the year and recall all the things done and tried, places visited, skills gained. I thought I would share with you some of my most viewed posts from the year. It seems that posts about desserts are pretty popular. Perhaps next year I should write more about burning off calories?!!

January always finds me in semi-hibernation mode as I get ready for another long tax season.  I did get away for a weekend this past January, meeting up with some of my high school girlfriends for a weekend at the beach.  It was very relaxing and I had a lot of fun teaching them how to make homemade pasta.
The month of February and Valentines Day are hard for me.  Both my Hubby and I are CPA's, working very long hours and 7-day workweeks.  Finding time to celebrate a lovers' holiday is difficult.  I did manage to make him his very favorite dessert, crème brulee.
I don't do much in the kitchen in March. Many of our dinners this month are bowls of cereal.  Mom comes to the rescue and makes a margarita cheesecake for our office manager and family friend, Anne. Everyone loves this.  I think we like to celebrate Anne's birthday so much because we know we will get this creamy dessert!
Oh, how I love the month of April for two reasons!  One, tax season is behind us and, two, the local strawberry patches open up for their seasonal business. This strawberry cream puff dessert is a favorite of ours.
Each May I host a Mother's Day luncheon for the women in my family.  I enjoy decorating for this and being able to provide a setting for all of us to get together.  This year we welcomed my great-nephew into our family. We all got our share of cuddle time this day!
I spent a lot of time in my sewing/craft room in June.  One project was a few pillowcase dresses for my youngest granddaughter.  Easy to make and so cute on!
Local peaches start hitting the farmstands in July.  Each year I must make a sour cream peach pie for my Hubby. He's quite spoiled, though he will tell you otherwise!
My youngest granddaughter started preschool in August.  We had a sugar cooking decorating session where we worked on her ABC's. She loves to be in the kitchen baking with her Nana!
In September we spent more quality time together, this time making Hungry Caterpillar wrapping paper for a baby shower gift.
I hosted a baby shower for my daughter-in-law in October.  What fun to design and plan a baby shower based around my family's hobby of drag racing!
November found me back in the sewing room a lot, learning how to do a Dresden plate quilt block. It was my first venture into making a traditional quilt block and I don't think it will be my last.
When I think of cranberries I think of Thanksgiving and Christmas. In December I used leftover cranberry sauce to make cranberry rolls. They were a huge hit.
2014 will end with a big bang for my family. My daughter-in-law is being induced the morning of New Year's Eve. We will welcome our fourth grandchild, and first grandson, hopefully before the clock strikes on a new year. They want the tax deduction and I can think of no better way to close out the year than holding my newborn grandchild!

Thank you for visiting my blog this year, allowing me to share my love of home, garden, crafting, cooking and baking with you. I wish you a new year filled with joy, happiness and health.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Citrus-Roasted Chicken With Grand Marnier

I was doing so good, hadn't bought any new cookbooks in over a year.  I've bought two the last two months so I've fallen off the bandwagon! The latest purchase was once again recommended by the women who belong to our food board. The Pollan Family Table is an excellent cookbook. The recipes are family recipes, recipes that use fresh, local ingredients.  The main theme of the book is the importance of the family dinner, of cooking and baking together.  One of the authors, Tracy Pollan, is married to the actor Michael J. Fox.  I'm glad I purchased the book, I have many recipes earmarked to try. 
This chicken dish was a winner. The addition of the Grand Marnier to the citrus-based marinade gave it an amazing flavor. The recipe calls for a honey tangerine.  I found nothing like that in our locale so used a few Cutie tangerines. This dish makes a pretty presentation, too, would be nice to serve for company.

Next time I make this I will line the baking pan with aluminum foil.  Broiling the sugary mixture left for a very hard-to-clean pan!

Citrus-Roasted Chicken With Grand Marnier

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh honey tangerine (Murcott orange) juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 medium red onion, cut lengthwise, then cut into thin half-moon slices
7 or 8 twigs fresh thyme
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 or 9 pieces chicken (breasts, thighs and legs; about 4 pounds)
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 lemon washed, thinly sliced, and seeded
1 honey tangerine (Murcott orange), washed, thinly sliced, and seeded

For the marinade, in a small mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the oil, the lemon and tangerine juices, the wine, mustard, grand Marnier, brown sugar, paprika, red pepper flakes, onion, 2 of the thyme springs, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Place the chicken in a large plastic bag.  Pour in the marinade, seal, and turn to coat completely. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, ideally 1 hour before cooking if you have marinated it overnight. Set racks in the middle and upper third of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place a colander over a large mixing bowl and drain the chicken, reserving the marinade along with the onion and thyme.  Remove the chicken and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Pour the marinade, onion, and thyme into a rimmed baking sheet.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add half the chicken pieces skin side down (do not crowd them) and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, undisturbed, until a dark golden crust forms. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place on the baking sheet, skin side up, on top of the marinade.

Wipe the skillet clean. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and repeat with the remaining chicken. Transfer the chicken to the baking sheet, reserving the oil in the skillet.  Turn off the heat and let the skillet cool for 1 minute.

Add the garlic to the oil in the skillet and turn the heat to medium. Cook the garlic for 3 minutes, flipping it halfway through until the garlic is lightly browned on both sides. Transfer the garlic to the baking sheet with the chicken.

Arrange the lemon and tangerine slices around and under the chicken.  Lay 3 springs of thyme on top and season with salt and pepper.  Bake on the middle rack for 25 to 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and the juices run clear.

Remove the  baking sheet from the oven and raise the temperature to broil. Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving platter, leaving the marinade, citrus, onion, and garlic on the sheet. Broil on the upper rack for 4 to 5 minutes, until the citrus slices caramelize. Remove the sheet from the oven and arrange the citrus, garlic, and onion under, on, and around the chicken. Garnish with a few sprigs of thyme.

Pour the liquid from the baking sheet into a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce reduces by a third, 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve the chicken warm with the sauce passed separately (I just served over the chicken).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Chocolate Cake Roll

This is an easy dessert and looks impressive, too! For me, often the easiest projects bring me the most grief.  I think I get complacent and don't pay as much attention to the instructions as I should. The cross stitch project I'm currently working on is a very easy and basic pattern. I think I have ripped out more threads than I have on the linen right now! So frustrating! Making this cake became problematic for me, too.  I took it out of the oven and it was rather lumpy.  I let it cool, then inverted on the towel and proceeded to (attempt) remove the waxed paper.  It was stuck and tearing off in chunks no matter how careful I was.  I was thinking I should just cut it up in cubes and make a trifle.  I took a bite of the cake and it was so bitter.  A quick perusal of the recipe and I remembered that I didn't add the sugar! How dumb! Thankfully, the cake is easy to make and I quickly had another one in the oven. All turned out well with the second attempt!

The filling in this cake can be modified for various add-ins and flavorings to the whipped cream.  On this day I added toffee bits and vanilla sugar to the filling. Use your imagination! Other suggested combinations are:

Grand Marnier liqueur and chocolate chips
Crème de Menthe liqueur and chopped Andes mints
Amaretto liqueur and maraschino cherries
Crushed up peppermint sticks
Chopped up peanut butter cups 

Making the roll isn't difficult, the key is to roll up the cake while it is still warm and let it cool in the roll shape.  Once cool, it is very easy to unroll, add the filling and re-roll. A little extra effort to make a roll but it looks so nice!

Chocolate Cake Roll

4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or other flavoring
1/3 cup toffee chips, or other add-ins

1/4 cup butter, cubed
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with waxed paper and grease the paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs on high speed for 3 minutes.  Gradually add sugar, beating until mixture becomes thick and lemon-colored.

Beat in the chocolate, water and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; fold into chocolate mixture.  Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-13 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.  Cool for 5 minutes.

Invert cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners' sugar.  Gently peel off waxed paper.  Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form; adding sugar gradually.  Add desired flavoring and add-ins.

Unroll cake; spread filling evenly over cake to within 1/2" of edges.  Roll up again.  Place seam side down on a serving platter.

For frosting, melt butter and chocolate in a microwave; stir until smooth.  In a large bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla.  Add chocolate mixture; beat until smooth.  Spread over cake roll.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Wassail (Old English wæs hæl, literally 'be you healthy') refers both to the salute 'Waes Hail' and to the drink of wassail, a hot mulled cider traditionally drunk as an integral part of wassailing, an ancient southern English drinking ritual intended to ensure a good cider apple harvest the following year (source, Wikipedia).

I don't know when my family first began the tradition of drinking wassail during the Christmas season.  Grandma got the recipe from friends and started making it.  Mom has made this drink for every Christmas Eve as long as I can remember. We walk in her house on Christmas Eve and instantly look for the crockpot, with the warm drink in it! For various reasons we, aren't celebrating Christmas Eve at my parents' house this year. A pot of wassail is now simmering on my stove, the smell filling my house with a delicious aroma. The warm drink, on a chilly day, just hits the spot. It's actually a pretty healthy drink, made up of fruit juices and apple cider. If you want to liven it up a little, a splash of spiced rum is great with it (Grandma would never approve of this!  Ha ha!)
This recipe makes a big pot of wassail.  It is easily halved for a smaller crowd.  It also refrigerates well and gets better with age, as the cinnamon and cloves continue to spice the mixture. I think it's best with fresh-squeezed orange juice but bottled juice works just fine.
Seeing these pictures I realize I should polish the copper pot. Oh, well!


2 quarts apple cider
2 cups pure orange juice
Large can (46 ounces) pineapple juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
Sugar to taste (I add no sugar)
1 stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves

Combine all ingredients in a pot.  Simmer until ready to use. (Can be kept warm in crockpot).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Eggnog Bread with Rum Glaze

My stitch 'n bitch group met for the last time this year.  Traditionally, it's our Holiday celebration, we take time from sewing on our projects and exchange gifts. What I love about our exchange is that our gifts aren't elaborate, we don't spend hours shopping.  Our gifts are minimal, usually homemade.  The start of my gift is always a jar of my pomegranate jelly.  This year I supplemented the gift with some homemade gift tags and a mini loaf of eggnog bread.

If you like eggnog, you will like this bread.  It is heavier, more of a pound cake texture.  The spiced rum in both the cake and glaze give it a little extra flavor. They don't take a lot of preparation time, which is always nice for the busy holiday time. It's a nice holiday treat to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

Eggnog Bread with Rum Glaze

2 eggs
 1 1/2 cups of regular eggnog (not low fat)
2 teaspoons Spiced Rum
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 (3.4 ounces of powdered) package of instant French vanilla pudding mix
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350. Spray three mini loaf pans with baking spray.

In a mixer, with the paddle attachment, mix together the eggs, eggnog, rum, sugar, vanilla and butter. The butter will remain clumpy but that is just fine. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, pudding mix, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add the dry mixture to the wet and blend until incorporated. Avoid over mixing. Again, the butter will remain clumpy and this is to be expected. The butter will melt when cooking. The dough will be thick.  Pour into your prepared pans. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (A regular loaf pan will take about 45-55 minutes). 

Cool, in pans, on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove loaves from pans and cool completely.

Rum glaze:
1 cup sifted confectioners sugar
2 teaspoon eggnog
2 tablespoon Spiced Rum
1/8 teaspoon  ground nutmeg

Whisk together glaze ingredients and pour over cooled cakes.

Linda made each of us a Christmas house, made of paper, complete with battery lights in them.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Pre-Ballet for 4 year olds is over until after Christmas break.  They had a small celebration at class today.  What's a Nana to do but bake some cookies?

The girls got to wear Christmas colors to class today.  Nana got the tulle out and made a tutu. So fun to spoil them!


Monday, December 15, 2014

Chocolate Irish Cream Cake

Sometimes I need to bring a dessert to a gathering and there just isn't time in my schedule (especially during a work week) to make something elaborate or time-consuming. When faced with that I often turn to cake mixes. They can be easily enhanced to make an impressive dessert. Left untouched, cake mixes are rather mundane. Enhancing them with pudding, fresh citrus zest, liqueurs, nectar, fresh fruit, chocolate chips and whatever your creative mind can come up with, turns an ordinary dessert into a wonderful creation. Homemade frosting is a must, but they are easy to do, anyway. No one will ever know that your cake started with a mix!

One of my go-to cookbooks when I need a quick dessert is The Cake Mix Doctor.  I've had this book over 15 years now and have used it quite often. The author has done some follow-up cookbooks but I've stuck with the original. She also has a website.

I needed to make a dessert to take to book club and was craving something with chocolate. I've made Chocolate Kahlua Cake many times so planned to make it.  A quick perusal of my liquor stash showed I didn't have enough Kahlua for the recipe.  I did have some Irish Cream Liqueur. Hmmm, why not?

To top the cake, I made a quick ganache and drizzled over the top.  Then I topped it with a drizzle of warm caramel sauce and some chocolate shavings.

To enhance the chocolate in the cake you can substitute some brewed coffee for the water; I usually use a ratio of half water, half coffee.  If you are using Kahlua and want to play up the Mexican flavors, add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the batter.

I made the cake the evening before I needed it.  Once cooled, I wrapped it in plastic wrap.  The next evening I made the ganache and finished decorating the cake. Neither night was labor-intensive, easily done while making dinner!

Chocolate Irish Cream (or Kahlua) Cake

1 package plan devil's food cake mix
1 package (5.9 ounces) chocolate instant pudding mix
3/4 cup Irish Cream Liqueur (or Kahlua)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with baking spray (or oil and dust with flour, shaking out the excess flour).

Place the cake mix, pudding mix, liqueur, water, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for one minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for two to three minutes more, scraping the sides down again if needed.  The batter should look thick and smooth.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula.  Place the pan in the oven. 

Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly pressed with your finger and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 47 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it on a serving platter.

Once the cake has cooled, bring the cream to a boil (in the microwave or on the stove.) Remove from heat and add the chocolate chips. Allow them to sit in the hot cream for 5 minutes, then stir to combine. Place waxed paper strips underneath cake.  Drizzle cake with ganache, then with warm caramel (barely warm so it doesn't melt the chocolate).  Top with shaved chocolate.  Once the ganache is set, carefully remove the waxed paper strips.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Lemon-Glazed Persimmon Bars

I was recently gifted with a bag of ripe persimmons.  I got busy and pureed them in the food processor, and froze the pulp in Ziploc bags. So now Grandma's persimmon cookies can be made any time I get the urge for them.  I did take some of the pulp and made these persimmon bars, I wanted to try something different. They were very good, especially with the lemon-sugar glaze. California is finally getting some rain.  Everything is soaked and flooded.  It's the perfect time to enjoy a cup of tea and a little sweet, with a fire to warm things up. These persimmon bars were just perfect for this! 
The recipe calls for chopped dates. I had none in my pantry and I'm not a big date fan.  I substituted dried cranberries.  'Tis the season, right?!!  

Lemon-Glazed Persimmon Bars

1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup pureed persimmon pulp
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup finely chopped dates
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour (or use baking spray) a 10" x 15" x 1" jelly roll pan; set aside.  Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves in a bowl; set aside. Whisk together persimmon pulp, lemon

 juice, and baking soda in another bowl; set aside.  Whisk together sugar, dates, oil, and egg in a large bowl; add dry ingredients and persimmon mixture, and stir until just combined. Pour into prepared pan, and smooth top with a rubber spatula; bake until lightly browned about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make a glaze by whisking together the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar in a bowl until smooth. Let cookie sheet cool for 5 minutes and then pour glaze over warm cookie sheet, spreading it evenly over the top with a rubber spatula. Let cool to harden glaze, and then cut into finger-sized bars.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's A Wrap!

A number of years ago, a friend gave me her gift wrapping tip and I've followed it ever since.  Each year I buy one large roll of wrapping paper and some basic coordinating ribbon and bows.  I wrap all the presents in the same paper. I don't have to worry about whether I have the right color bow for the package I just wrapped or whether I have enough paper on the roll for the present I want to wrap! It is a very effective way to wrap a bunch of presents and I think it also makes for a pretty presentation under the tree, everything matches. I usually don't have a lot of wrapping paper and supplies to store after the holiday season is over.  It's a system that has worked out very well for me.

I like to make gift tags, each year I do some with the same general theme.  This year snowflakes is what I've been making. I know it's more cost-effective and takes less time to just buy some tags but I find this a rather therapeutic endeavor. I usually make my tags during football games on Sundays.  I'm being productive and it helps to keep me from throwing things at the TV when my 49ers are losing (ugh, what a dud of a season we are having!)
Christmas is pretty much a wrap for us, we celebrated with the grandchildren and our daughters last weekend. December 2014 finds us with many scheduling conflicts, such as fathers' visitation schedules, in-law (and out-law) holiday plans and two of the granddaughters are in the Nutcracker ballet so their days are packed with rehearsals and performances. We are expecting grandbaby #4 in a week or so, and will be traveling four hours for the delivery.  We didn't want to chance having a family gathering and getting "the I'm in labor phone call". So, we had our dinner and gift opening a little early. I find that as our family grows we just have to be flexible! Due to the crazy schedule I did very minimal decorating, just a few kid-friendly decorations. I didn't put up our big Christmas tree, just a small one. Now that I am done with shopping and wrapping, won't be cooking Christmas dinner or brunch, and won't have a lot of undecorating to do I am finding myself feeling quite relaxed. All I need to make this Christmas complete is a healthy grandson!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sausage Minestrone Soup with Orzo

Though I love to bake, and share many of my baked creations here, I do cook, too.  We eat most of our evening meals at home. In the summer we grill a lot. In the winter months we eat a lot of soup.  Soup is easy to make, can be made from almost any ingredients and usually results in leftovers for the next day's lunch or dinner. After Thanksgiving I made stock from the turkey carcass. I used the stock in this soup, as a substitute for the chicken stock. This soup is a favorite of ours, especially in cold weather.  We've been getting some much-needed rain in Northern California. This soup, cornbread, and a glass of wine made a great dinner!
The meaty flavors from the sausages really enhances the tomato-flavored stock. This makes a big pot of soup.  I shared with my neighbors, a co-worker and we had leftovers for dinner the next night.  It also freezes well.

Sausage Minestrone Soup with Orzo

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 pound hot Italian sausage
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, sliced
5 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 can (28 ounces) chopped tomatoes
12 cups chicken stock
4 cups tomato juice
2 bay leaves
1 can (16 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can (16 ounces) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (16 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 large zucchini, diced
1 large summer squash, diced
1/2 cup dried orzo
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet or a roasting pan with parchment paper or foil.  Place the sausages on the pan and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool on a plate lined with paper towels.  Cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices. (It's important to cook the sausage separately so that there is not a lot of excess fat when you mix it into the soup).

Heat a stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, celery, and carrots.  Saute for 8 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, stock, tomato juice, bay leaves, chickpeas, kidney beans, cannellini beans, and cooked sausage slices.  Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and simmer for 40 minutes, adding more stock or water if too much liquid evaporates.  Remove and discard the bay leaves.  Add the zucchini, summer squash, and orzo.  Cook for an addition 10 minutes.  Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper.

Orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cranberry Rolls with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

I still had leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving (I think it multiplies in the fridge!) I am trying to be better at utilizing leftovers so have been brainstorming for uses. I used some in these cookies and we really enjoyed them. I make rolls with orange marmalade as the filling so thought that cranberry sauce would work, too. Instead of a regular confectioners' sugar glaze I opted to do a cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting would make a car bumper taste good! I've always loved cranberry-orange nut bread so thought a little orange juice in the frosting would be a great combination on the rolls. I took my experiment to the office and the rolls were declared a success.  They were quite yummy!
Again, I went to my Zo bread maker as I began these rolls after work. Between doing chores, making dinner and generally unwinding, there usually isn't enough time to also make yeast dough. The bread machine saves a little time. While I made dinner the bread machine mixed and kneaded away. Instead of soft music playing while we ate, we had the "thunking" of the dough in the bread machine! Yes, my kitchen is full of ambiance! After the bread machine ran through it's cycle all I had to do was roll out the dough into a rectangle, add the filling and roll up into a cinnamon roll shape. I refrigerated the pan of rolls overnight.  They rise up quite nicely.  I take them out while the oven is warming up, then bake as usual. I think doing overnight yeast breads is a great time saver! Plus it's a great way to get just-from-the-oven-warm yeast bread with hardly any effort in the morning.
After their overnight refrigerator rise.
Any sweet dough or cinnamon roll recipe will work for these.  You can also use frozen bread dough found in the grocery store.
To assemble, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into an approximate 9x14-inch rectangle. Spread 1/4 cup of softened butter over it, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Spread a thin layer of cranberry sauce over this (I used homemade sauce so did a few pulses in the food processor so it was not so chunky).  Do not spread all the way to the end of the dough as it will ooze out during the rolling process.  If it does, just remove the excess! Starting with the long end, roll the dough into a cylinder shape.  Cut into 12 pieces (I used dental floss to cut with). Place in buttered 9x13-inch pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.  Alternatively, refrigerate overnight.
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until browned and no longer doughy (test with a toothpick or skewer). Let cool for 10 minutes; frost with orange cream cheese frosting.
  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons of orange zest

  • In a mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese until it's smooth and creamy.  Add the powdered sugar and continue to mix. Add orange zest and 2 tablespoons orange juice and continue to mix.  If the frosting seems thick, and more orange juice.
    A warm roll and a cup of tea made some tax research much more pleasurable!