Wednesday 28 October 2015

Bacon, Cheddar and Onion Perogies

While perusing Instagram the other day, I came across a contest from ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen. It's pretty simple.... just post a picture of your favorite way to eat perogies and hashtag it as #BFKperogies.  Maybe that potato prize pack will be sounds like a random drawing, so that means no, it will not be, as I have the worst luck in the world at contests.  But a girl can hope.  I will never splurge and buy myself a potato ricer, so the one that comes as part of the prize pack is my best shot.

So this is what my life has become......

Just jokes.... I was actually really excited and got right on the perogy making.  Give me a reason to bake and cook and I will!  It was like it was meant to be.  I had 1/4 pound of bacon in my fridge needing a reason to be fried. I have about 50 lbs of potatoes in my basement compliments of my parents freakishly great 2015 potato season.   The day was overcast and gloomy.  What a great nap-time to be inside and perogying.

After peeling, boiling and mashing the potatoes, frying the bacon, caramelizing the onions and grating the cheese.... I started to remember why I buy perogies.  I really, really remembered why I buy perogies when I started rolling out the dough, filling them, and pinching them shut.  An hour into my toil I only had 50 perogies to show for it.......

However, at dinner time, with a massive dollop of sour cream and some more caramelized onions, I totally remembered why I'd rather make them.  I cannot describe the taste difference between a homemade little morsel of perogy goodness and a store-bought one.  They're just better.  I know that's a very, very vague description of it, but that's all I can say.  The dough is more tender.  The filling is more flavorful.   They're just better.

Even 1 out of 2 children loved them.  50% is better than 0%.  100% of husband loved them.  Success.

Here's the recipe:

Bacon, Cheddar and Onion Perogies (yields about 50 perogies)

For the Dough:
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil

Stir the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl.  Add egg, water and canola oil and stir until it forms a soft dough.  If it's too sticky, add more flour, 1 tsp at a time.  Conversely, if it's too dry, and more water, 1 tsp at a time.  Knead on a floured surface about 15 to 20 times, just until it holds together and isn't sticky.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest on your counter for about 30 minutes.

Prepare your filling why you wait:

For the Filling:

3-4 medium potatoes (I've used all varieties, but my favorite are Yukon Gold)
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/4 pound bacon, diced
1/2 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar

Prepare potatoes by peeling and quartering them.  Place in a medium sized pot with salted water, just and boil for approximately 20 minutes, until fork tender.  Drain and mash.

Meanwhile, place diced bacon and onions in a pan and fry until bacon is just crisp, stirring often so onions don't burn.  Drain excess grease.

Combine mashed potatoes, bacon and onion mixture, and shredded cheese in large mixing bowl.  Stir until thoroughly combined.  This is your filling.  I tend to eat several bites with a spoon at this point.  You know, to make sure it's safe for everyone else :)

To assemble:

Using a sharp knife, halve your dough and leave one piece covered with plastic wrap.  Roll to approximately 1/4 inch thickness.  Using a 3.5 inch biscuit cutter (if you don't have one, you can use a jar ring, the top of a jar, a pint glass, etc), cut out circles for your perogies.  Place approximately 1 heaping tsp of filling in the middle of each dough circle.  Fold the circle in half and firmly pinch the outsides together to seal your perogy.  Work quickly in this step because a moist dough makes this much easier to do this.  Also, be sure that you don't overfill your dough, because if the filling is bursting out the seams, it makes it tricky to pinch these little guys shut.  Repeat with remaining dough, and re-roll scrap dough once more if desired.

As you finish assembling the perogies, lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet (I use parchment on the bottom so they don't stick).  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.  Once frozen, they can be stored in a zipped lock bag for several months and you can pull out the number you need when you are ready to cook them.

To cook:

Place in a large pot of boiling, salted water.  Cook for about 5 minutes (until they float to the top).  Serve with sour cream, bacon bits, or caramelized onions, if desired.  Sometimes I fry them in butter after the boiling step too, just to make them even more delicious :)

Perogies fried in butter with caramelized onions

Saturday 24 October 2015

Can't-Eat-Just-One Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite things.  My usual recipe is more of a cinnamon "knot".....where you dip a rope of dough in butter and a brown sugar/cinnamon mixture, and repeatedly knot the dough to form a gooey nugget of deliciousness.  I'm actually a bit surprised I haven't posted these, as they are my go-to recipe that I learned from my mom.

For a change though, I decided to try the Taste of Home recipe "Can't-Eat-Just-One Cinnamon Rolls". Every Friday, an ingredient challenge is launched as part of Taste of Home's Cook's Corner message board.  I don't participate in this as often as I'd like, but this week the ingredient was Yeast.  I was having people over for coffee this morning and I thought it would be a good chance to try a new recipe.

My usual cinnamon knots are so drenched in brown sugar and cinnamon, and so sticky that they don't really need a frosting.  I was pretty pumped that this had a frosting component.  It didn't disappoint!  I really like that the recipe makes 24.  If you're ever making a brunch for a crowd, this would be a perfect recipe because they bake up beautifully in two 9x13 pans, and are frosted warm and ready to serve basically right out of the oven.  I think they'd make a great addition to a brunch buffet.  My usual recipe makes about 15, and sometimes that's just not quite enough :)

Here is a quick re-cap of the original recipe, found here

For the dough:

2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup instant vanilla pudding mix
1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour (I used the full 3 1/2 cups)

-Mix yeast, sugar, and warm water together in a small bowl.  Set aside.
-Beat the milk and pudding together on low speed for approximately 1 minute.  Let sit for an additional minute before adding the egg, melted butter and salt.  Add 2 cups flour and mix on low to medium speed until smooth.  Stir in remaining flour to form a soft dough.
-Knead dough for 6 to 8 minutes (or about 4 to 5 in your mixer with a dough hook).  Once it is smooth an elastic, place in a greased bowl and allow to rise, covered, for about one hour.  I like to do this in my oven with the light on, so that it's draft free and slightly warm.
-After the dough has doubled in size, punch down and roll into 2 rectangles (approximately 18x10 inches) on a floured surface.

For the filling:

1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Melt butter.  In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.  Brush half of the butter on each rectangle. Evenly sprinkle sugar over top and roll up, starting with the longer end.  Cut each roll into 12 slices and place in greased 9x13 pans.  Allow to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Bake rolls in a preheated 350F oven for 20 minutes.

For the frosting:

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp water

Beat the frosting ingredients together and spread on warm rolls.