Wednesday 30 March 2016

Caramelized Cabbage Buns

My Grandma Kyle used to make these delicious little bundles every time we came to visit.  She called them "gullywugs".  I don't even know what that means, or what the real name is.  I assume it is one of many random made up words that seem to be a part of my family.  They are such a simple food.  Pairing cabbage and onions and slow cooking them for hours give a caramelized little delight that tastes a lot better than it looks!

When I make these (which, unfortunately, isn't often enough), I usually just throw a bit of this and that into the pot and they're a little different every time.  That's just how I always saw grandma do this, so when I started making them, I did the same thing.  However, recently, Taste of Home Magazine had a call out for original recipes that were "all bundled up".  I figured this was a perfect submission for it.   I even submitted the photo to #gastropostyyc, and it was featured in today's Calgary Herald!  I hope grandma is smiling down on us today and proud that her gullywugs are now in print :)

Here's the recipe:  (yields about 12 buns)

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 medium sized head of green cabbage (about 3 lbs)
  • 2 cups sliced yellow onions (about 2 medium)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp loosely packed golden brown sugar

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour

To prepare the filling:

-Remove the tough vein from the bottom and center of the cabbage, and coarsely chop the entire cabbage either by hand, or in batches in your food processor.

-Measure the oil into a large dutch oven or heavy stock-pot.  Add the chopped cabbage, sliced onions, salt and pepper to the oil, and stir thoroughly to coat.  The pot will likely be VERY full!  Don't worry, it will cook down.

-Continue cooking the cabbage over medium heat, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the volume is reduced by about half.  (This usually take mine about half an hour).

-Stir in the brown sugar, and reduce heat to a very low temperature.  Cover, and allow to continue to cook down and caramelize for approximately 2 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes.  It will end up being a rich, golden color.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm.

For the Dough:

-Dissolve sugar in the warm water, and sprinkle yeast on top.  Allow to sit for about 5 minutes, or until foamy.
-Add canola oil, salt, and 1 cup of the flour.  Whisk until smooth.  Add the remaining flour, 1/2 a cup at a time, until the dough comes together and pulls away from the bowl.

-Knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Cover with a clean towel, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

To assemble:

-Divide dough into 12 equal balls.  Roll each into a circle, about 6 inches in diameter.  Scoop about 1/3 cup of filling into a rectangle in the center of each circle.  Fold the edges over-top of the filling, making a little log.  Pinch together to seal.

-Place each bundle, seam side down, onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

-Bake in a preheated 375F oven for between 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.  Allow to cool until just warm to the touch and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!

2006 J & M 680/760 gravity flow grain wagon

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Chocolate Chip Muffins

My favorite of all weekend meals occurred again this past weekend:  the brunch.  Brunch has so many opportunities for deliciousness.  Plus, it's like one ginormous snack for my kids.  Since it usually occurs around 10ish, they've already had a small breakfast.  When they're ready to ask for Goldfish crackers mid morning, you blow their mind by giving them a second, better, breakfast.   It's even better when you are invited somewhere else for brunch and they get new toys and surroundings out of the deal.  This all happened a couple days ago.

I was asked to bring muffins or scones.  Anyone who knows me well at all, knows that I think scones are a waste of time.  I've never met a scone that really grabbed me.   They need to be marinated in butter or lots of syrup or whipped cream or something to redeem themselves.  So I chose to make muffins.

I went to try a new muffin recipe, and then realized that I didn't have several of the ingredients called for:  namely, yogurt.  I dug deep into my consciousness and then remembered that I've subbed sour cream (my favorite condiment outside of ketchup) for this in the past with great results.   Then I realized I didn't have enough sour cream to fully substitute the yogurt.  Hmmmm....didn't I make a chocolate cake once that had mayonnaise in it.  Wasn't it delicious?   Ok, add some mayonnaise.

Wait, I don't have enough mayonnaise to make up the remaining shortfall either?!?  Throw in some milk.  The result:  amazingly moist and delicious chocolate chip muffins that are still holding their own, 4 days later.   I think this is a bold statement for any from-scratch white cake product.  Behold:  my re-invented chocolate chip muffin.  You're welcome.

PS.  My kids thinks the raw batter is top notch too.  Yes, they eat raw batter.  Lots of it.  I grew up doing this and lived, so they should too.

Yield:  12 - 15 muffins

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup full fat sour cream
3 tbsp 2% milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips, divided (I use semi sweet)

Cream together softened butter and granulated sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined.  Add mayo, sour cream, and milk and thoroughly combine.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.  Add to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.  Fold in 2/3 cup chocolate chips.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full.  Sprinkle a few of the 1/3 cup remaining chocolate chips on each muffin.  This is purely for presentation purposes.  You can skip this step and just add the full cup to the batter instead.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for between 18-22 minutes.

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Swirled Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

I made a carrot cake last week.  It broke my heart to give it away.  It saved my waistline.  But definitely broke my heart.  I didn't even sample a slice of the moist goodness and oh so delicious cream cheese frosting.  It looks ghetto to give a gift of partially eaten cake.  Or so some people say :(

I saved the leftover frosting in a little zipper baggie in the fridge.  I look at that little baggy everyday when I'm rooting through the fridge, thinking about how its time has almost expired.  However, I really, really, really struggle to throw out food.  So this morning I decided it needed to be used.  Our friends Alex, Heston and Sully were coming for a playdate.  They tolerate my experiments like true champs.  Today was no exception.

I didn't want to make a whole carrot cake again.  I made cinnamon buns last time these friends came over.  BUT.... what if I combined the two?!?!  Why had I not thought of that before?   It was 7:53 am.  If I hustled we would have a 10:30 snack.   The "Swirled Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls" were now born.....

Beware:  these are sloppy to make.  I was almost ready to write them off as a failure before they hit the pan.  But I persevered and the result was very much worth it!

1 & 2/3 cup warm water
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 & 1/3 to 4 & 3/4 cups flour
1 & 1/2 tsp yeast

Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer in the order given.  Knead with the dough hook until very smooth and elastic, between 5 to 8 minutes.  Place dough into a greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise until double in bulk (about 45 minutes).   I like to do this in my oven, with the oven-light on.

Meanwhile, prepare carrot cake filling:

Carrot Cake Batter Filling;
1 large egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
dash salt
3/4 cup very finely grated carrots

Combine egg, sugar, and oil in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add to wet ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Fold in carrots.

When dough has risen, place on floured counter-top (or on top of silicone baking mat on top of the counter).  Divide dough into two portions, and working one at a time, roll out into two rectangles, measuring approximately 16 x 12 inches.  Using a rubber spatula, spread half of the carrot cake batter evenly on top of the dough, leaving about a 2 inch border along all sides.

Yes, that's cake batter.  Not what it looks like.  Not really appealing.  Just trust me.
Very loosely roll-up the dough starting with the longest edge, and pinch to seal once rolled.  NOTE:  It is important to roll this loosely so you don't lose all your batter.  Yes, it will ooze.  That's ok. Gently, but quickly, cut into 9 equal sized pieces and place in a greased 8x8 pan (I prefer glass).  You will notice that the filling is oozing out while cutting.  Rub the swirled dough against the counter or baking mat to pick up this rogue filling before placing in the pan.  This messy goodness that looks like a disaster now will just be carrot cakey-goodnessy topping when cooked.  Trust me.

Ready to bake.  I know, they are so not pretty right now.  Keep trusting me.

Repeat with other half of dough and filling, and place in another greased 8x8 pan. Allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes, covered loosely with a tea towel.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for approximately 20 to 25 minutes.  Mine took 23 minutes.

While they are baking, whip up a quick cream cheese glaze using:

Cream Cheese Glaze
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup softened cream cheese
2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla

Cream together the butter and cream cheese.  Gradually add icing sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time, adding milk as needed.  Beat in vanilla.  Drizzle over warm rolls.