Doughnut Muffins

Doughnut Muffins

This spring may be the best I can remember. Sure, it’s not super warm out and we’ve had quite a bit of rain as of late (but April showers bring May flowers, you know), but we haven’t had measurable snow since the very beginning of March.

The temperatures are seasonably warm, the birds are singing all the time, the daffodils and tulips are just starting to bloom, and having the windows open keeps it just a little too chilly in the house in the best possible way. Eating dinner when it’s still light outside is such a treat too. It changes my whole outlook on life.

Doughnut Muffins

I always thought summer was my favorite season, but I’m realizing when spring actually decides to grace us with its presence it may best summer by just a little. Don’t get me wrong, I love those warm, even hot days, with the sun beating down, the flowers in full bloom, their scent wafting through the air with the breeze.

But spring signals so much hope. The world comes alive with color and plants and animals. After the long, desolate winter, spring is such a delightful time. It makes me feel alive right along with the rest of nature.

Perhaps I just feel that way about this spring since there’s no longer any snow on the ground and my winter coat has been safely stowed away. Whether this spring is an anomaly (though it shouldn’t be) or a sign of wonderful things to come, I am making sure to enjoy it as much as possible.

Doughnut Muffins

I don’t know why, but these Doughnut Muffins remind me of spring. They don’t have any especially springy ingredients, but they make me feel bright and springy on the inside!

When these are baking, they seriously smell like the best doughnuts EVER! It’s crazy because they are clearly not doughnuts, but if you close your eyes and inhale, you’ll think you’re in the middle of a doughnut shop.

They don’t quite taste like doughnuts, but that’s okay because they are still amazing. These beautiful, domed muffins have a firm exterior with a fluffy, moist interior, and that glaze with the little vanilla bean specks. Let me just say make extra.

Doughnut Muffins

Doughnut Muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

Muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk (I used almond, use what you love)

Glaze

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

2-3 tablespoons milk (I used almond, use what you love)

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but you could use a hand or stand mixer. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla bean paste.

Alternately add the flour and milk, beginning and ending with the flour. You should do three additions of flour and two of milk. Once the flour and milk are fully incorporated, scoop the batter into the prepared pan, filling the tins almost all the way full. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool while you prepare the glaze.

For the glaze, whisk sugar, milk, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Add more sugar or milk as necessary until a thick, yet pourable glaze is formed.

Dip each muffin into the glaze and allow the excess to drip off before placing on a rack or serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature. Muffins may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil, and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy

http://piesandplots.net/doughnut-muffins/

Boozy Coke Floats

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FinalFourPack #CollectiveBias Coca-Cola is a corporate champion of the NCAA.

Messaging below is intended for ages 21+ and is intended to be enjoyed responsibly, in moderation.

Boozy Coke Floats

Are you ready for the upcoming college basketball tournament? I sure am! There is something so wonderful about filling out brackets, watching the games with my parents, and cheering on our favorite teams.

I’m so glad I have them to watch the games with and my aunt and friends to text with during the games because it’s no fun to watch alone. Sporting events are about coming together and celebrating victory or dealing with defeat as a whole.

Boozy Coke Floats

Coco-Cola has been a part of my victories and defeats, whether sports related or not, since I can remember. Whether it was my birthday and I was handing out cans of Cherry Coke (my favorite!) to my classmates along with some cupcakes or it was the middle of summer and my baby sitter and I were cooling off with an ice cold can of Coke from the cooler as we sat by the pool, it’s always been something that connects me to other people.

Shopping at Walmart

Even better are the Coca-Cola NCAA® Final Four Packs that are available at Walmart. I stocked up on my last trip. These are four packs of cans that come in Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke, and Coke Zero. They are perfect because you can try each flavor without making a big commitment. I’ve always been on the indecisive side, so I’m a fan of not having to make decisions :)

Plus, they are perfect for sharing. I split up our packs so Dad could have a variety stash at work and Mom and I could have ours at home.

Boozy Coke Floats

Boozy Coke Floats

Boozy Coke Floats

I wanted to whip up a quick, easy, fun recipe with the Cherry Coke and Vanilla Coke, so I decided on some Boozy Coke Floats. Clearly, these would be totally, completely awesome without the vodka for kids, but if you are looking for an adult beverage, vodka is a fun addition.

The ice cream flavor possibilities are endless, but I went with salted caramel and butter pecan. After filling my glass with slightly softened ice cream, I poured either the Cherry Coke or Vanilla Coke to almost the top. (I just realized a combination of the two would be awesome as well!) And then I added just enough vodka.

Boozy Coke Floats

My favorite combination was the Cherry Coke with the butter pecan ice cream and a hint of cherry vodka, but play around to find your favorites. The smell of the Cherry Coke took me right back to childhood along with the melty ice cream and then the vodka was a bridge into adulthood.

Mom and Dad loved these too (Dad’s just a little camera shy), and so will all the people you watch basketball with, whether man, woman, young, or old.

Be sure to enter the National Coke Zero Final Four Selfie Contest! If you upload a selfie with a Coca-Cola product on the site below, you have the chance to win tickets to the 2016 NCAA Final Four. And then you can go to the site to find your selfie and see all the others.

Coca Cola #FinalFourPack Walmart Sweepstakes – $1,000 in Prizing

Boozy Coke Floats

Vodka Coke Float

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 floats

Ingredients

1 can Cherry Coke

1 can Vanilla Coke

3 scoops salted caramel ice cream

3 scoops butter pecan ice cream

1 ounce cherry vodka

1 ounce vanilla vodka

Instructions

Grab two tall glasses. Scoop salted caramel ice cream in one glass and butter pecan in the other.

Pour desired flavor of Coke into each glass. I recommend Cherry Coke with butter pecan and Vanilla Coke with salted caramel. Fill almost to the top. Save the remainder of the can to top the glass off as you drink.

Top with the flavor of vodka that matches the flavor of Coke you chose. Enjoy immediately!

Notes

Recipe is easily multiplied. My ideas are only a starting point - the varieties of ice cream and vodka you can use are endless!

http://piesandplots.net/boozy-coke-floats/

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SnackPackMixins #CollectiveBias

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

I’ve told you before how I’m obsessed with candy, especially at Easter. While a handful of jelly beans puts a huge smile on my face, I’m even happier when they are mixed with other ingredients and Snack Pack pudding for some #SnackPackMixins.

Whoever said you shouldn’t play with your food is totally and completely wrong. Food should be fun! The kitchen is the best place to get creative and let your unique personality shine through. It’s also a wonderful time to get kids involved, especially with these fun, easy to make pudding cups.

Pudding Cup Ingredients

Vanilla SUPER Snack Packs are the perfect vehicle for some fun family time in the kitchen. I picked them up at Walmart and had to resist buying one of every Snack Pack flavor – there are so many and they all sound so good. Because they don’t need to be refrigerated and have an easy open lid, they are also great for school lunches and parties. Oh, and it’s pretty awesome they have as much calcium as an 8 ounce glass of milk! I am not a milk drinker and am always looking for sources of calcium.  Walmart even has a coupon available now!

Buying the Pudding

The vanilla pudding itself is so creamy and has a really great flavor. I happily enjoyed it plain. That great vanilla flavor means that other flavors pair well with it too.

I started these fun pudding cups by stuffing a Mega Stuf Golden Oreo (or two) into the pudding. I loved how it absorbed the pudding and softened, blending in perfectly.

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

Then, I got creative with the toppings to create springtime scenes. I crushed some Honey Maid Teddy Grahams to create “sand” and used blue jelly beans for “water.” In another scene some of the Teddy Grahams frolicked with gummy bunnies under a yellow and orange jelly bean “sun.”

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

It was fun to color coordinate jelly beans to create the landscape, as well as use animal shaped gummies. The variety of candies you can use to create the scene is virtually endless. All of the fruit flavors really popped against the vanilla flavor and the cookies added a welcome crunch. Peanut butter and chocolate candies would definitely work as well.  The mix in possibilities are endless!

Making these Pudding Cups would be an awesome Easter festivity for kids since they can all create their own delicious masterpiece.

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

Layered Easter Pudding Cups

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Vanilla SUPER Snack Packs

Mega Stuf Golden Oreos

Cinnamon Teddy Grahams

Blue, yellow, and orange jelly beans

Gummy bunnies

Gummy butterflies

Instructions

Push an Oreo into each of the pudding cups so that it is in the middle, totally surrounded by pudding.

Crush some of the Teddy Grahams. An easy way to do this is to put them in a zipper bag and then smash them with a spoon.

Sprinkle Teddy Grahams on top of the pudding cups as desired. Decorate with more whole Teddy Grahams, jelly beans, and gummies. Use your creativity and whatever candies you like!

Notes

Make as many pudding cups as you like using whatever toppings you want. My ideas are only the beginning of the possibilities!

http://piesandplots.net/layered-easter-pudding-cups/

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding #SundaySupper

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Some people may say I’m old fashioned.

I always dress up. Even when I’m just going to the grocery store. In fact, other than my tennis shoes that are just for working out, I only own heels. I’m all about wearing skirts and doing my hair and makeup and looking presentable every time I leave the house.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Writing cards and thank you notes is one of my favorite things to do. And I’m not talking about emailed ones. I love having a pen in my hand and writing out an actual card that gets a stamp (and usually stickers) before being sent off in the mail box to the people who mean the most to me.

I take pictures with my actual camera. Yes, I love my camera phone. It is so useful when I’m out and about and don’t have my camera with me. But when I want awesome pictures before, during, or after an event, I use my camera. It’s not just for taking food photos.

And I love old fashioned foods. Pecan pie. Apple pie. Sugar cookies. Vanilla cake. Banana Pudding. I’ll take any of these things over cookie butter any day.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Speaking of old fashioned foods, I made Banana Pudding for today’s Old Fashioned Sunday Supper because Mom always talks about how her Aunt Rose made it when she was a kid. I’d never had banana pudding until I made this. How did I wait so long??? It is a delightful combination of homemade vanilla bean pudding, ripe bananas, and Nilla Wafers.

Together the flavors and textures blend together perfectly. Mom and Dad loved it – I think it brought them back to childhood. I really liked it, but I think I would have liked it better with homemade vanilla wafers – no surprise there. All in all though, it’s another old fashioned recipe I’m glad to have in my repertoire.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients

¾ cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 cups milk (I used almond, use what you love)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cubed

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch slices

Juice of 1 lemon

50-60 Nilla Wafers

Instructions

In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in egg and egg yolk. Whisk in milk until fully combined, about 30 seconds. Place the pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to bubble and thickens considerably. Think about what consistency you would like pudding to be.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time, making sure each piece is incorporated before adding another. Whisk in the vanilla bean paste.

Pour the pudding into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, placing the plastic directly on the surface of the pudding. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

After the pudding has chilled, combine the sliced bananas and lemon juice in a bowl.

In a medium sized glass bowl, place a small portion of pudding. Cover with a layer of Wafers, followed by a layer of bananas, and a layer of pudding. Continue until you have used all the bananas, Wafers, and pudding. Be sure to end with a layer of pudding. Decorate the top with a few more Wafers. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Pudding may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown Additional chilling time is necessary

http://piesandplots.net/old-fashioned-banana-pudding-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Bodacious Breakfasts and Appetizers:

Made in the Shade Main Dishes:

Swell Side Dishes:

Dreamy Desserts:

The Bee’s Knees Beverages:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars

Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars

My TiVo gave up on me last week.

It was Thursday night and suddenly it worked slower than a snail. I couldn’t even watch HD programs. The horror, I know! But my TiVo was seven years old and outlasted three TVs, so buying a new one wasn’t the worst thing ever.

And it went in easily. Only three cords. But it was just teasing me. Because once the CableCard went in things got … interesting.

Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars

Comcast tried to activate it … at nearly midnight. But it didn’t work after several phone calls, some lasting thirty or more minutes. With the Oscars on Sunday and me having to watch TV without a DVR (how did I manage?!?), I was in meltdown mode.

The next day, after unplugging several times, reinstalling the CableCard, and talking to seriously the most helpful person at Comcast or Xfinity or whatever they want to be known as today, it worked. The premium channels are still missing, but other than that it’s all good.

Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars

And let me say I am so in love with my new TiVo Roamio. Who needs match.com when I can have TiVo???

I’m also pretty in love with these Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars. They are best the next day after they are extra moist and well … gooey. I really like the top in all of its gooey glory and the cinnamon sugar topping.

I actually ran out of granulated sugar and made the whole recipe with brown sugar instead. Best decision ever! It adds extra flavor and moisture and makes these totally irresistible. I think I’ll grab one and catch up on some TV watching!

Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars

Gooey Cinnamon Cake Bars

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 24 bars

Ingredients

Base

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

¼ cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

Gooey Layer

¼ cup light corn syrup

¼ cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

Topping

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan. Line it with parchment and butter the parchment.

Make the base. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer will work. Beat in the egg and milk. Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Stir until combined. Spread into an even layer in the prepared pan.

Make the gooey layer. In a small bowl, whisk together the corn syrup, milk, and vanilla. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer will work. Beat in the egg. Mix in ½ cup flour, followed by half of the corn syrup mixture. Mix in another ½ cup of flour, the rest of the corn syrup mixture, and then finish with the final ¼ cup of flour. Place dollops of this gooey mixture on top of the base and spread into an even layer.

In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping. Sprinkle over the cake.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges are set but the center is still soft and gooey. Allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Notes

Recipe adapted from The Moveable Feasts from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

http://piesandplots.net/gooey-cinnamon-cake-bars/

Popcorn Puppy Chow #SundaySupper

Popcorn Puppy Chow - A no bake, gluten free treat that takes minutes to prepare!

I’m a little too excited for the Oscars tonight. I can’t wait to watch E!’s red carpet coverage to see all the dresses. Fashion is one of the best parts of the show. I dream every year about which dress I would wear if I was attending. Which for the record, I will be one year soon. This year, the finale dress from Zac Posen’s recent runway show is kind of calling my name. It’s gorgeous.

Then there’s the show. I know Neil Patrick Harris will be an amazing host. He is so multitalented. I love hearing really inspirational acceptance speeches too. It’s so interesting that sometimes the best ones come from the people I don’t know. You know, the sound mixers and costume designers.

Popcorn Puppy Chow

I have seen a few of the movies this year. Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Theory of Everything, Gone Girl, The Judge. I may have to check out Birdman before the show. I really loved The Theory of Everything and Eddie Redmayne’s performance. I will never understand how an actor can immerse themselves in these roles. They are so talented.

Popcorn Puppy Chow

I know you want a snack while you watch the show that can be incredibly long. I have the perfect one for you: Popcorn Puppy Chow.

Anytime we’re talking about movies, I immediately think of popcorn. But I had to do something fun with it. Puppy Chow is always a hit, and when combined with popcorn, it is a combination so addictive, you’ll devour it while you wait for the Best Picture winner to be announced way after your bedtime.

Popcorn Puppy Chow

The nutty peanut butter really shines through and adds some creaminess to the crunchy popcorn. A no bake, gluten free snack just like this is exactly what Oscar night needs.

Popcorn Puppy Chow

Popcorn Puppy Chow #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 minutes

Total Time: 14 minutes

Yield: Varies

Ingredients

½ cup popcorn kernels

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

Place the popcorn kernels in a large paper bag. Fold it down several times and place it in the microwave. Microwave on high for approximately 2 minutes. When the popping of the corn slows down, stop it, as it is done.

Separate the popped corn from the kernels.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine peanut butter and white chocolate chips. Microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted. Stir in the vanilla. Add the popcorn and stir to coat. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and stir until fully coated.

Popcorn may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

http://piesandplots.net/popcorn-puppy-chow-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Nominees for Best Supporting Appetizers:

Nominees for Best Course in a Leading Role:

Nominees for Best Supporting Sips:

Nominees for Best Delectable Desserts:

Nominees for Best Dressed Table:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Not Quite M&M Cookies

Not Quite M&M Cookies

I made tacos last Friday for dinner, complete with homemade corn tortillas and taco seasoning. If you haven’t checked out that recipe yet DO IT! It’s so good, and you can even broil the tortillas until brown on both sides to make them even easier.

But I digress. I was feeling great after dinner. And then it hit. Scratchy throat. Sniffles. Oh no!

Someone in the house who shall remain nameless . . . ahem Dad ahem . . . probably wasn’t careful enough when he was ill and contaminated me.

Not Quite M&M Cookies

I know it’s probably not that bad. I do have a reputation for being a drama queen, but if you know me, you know getting sick is my worst fear in life. Literally. No joking. And since it’s almost a week later and I’m still fighting my cold, I’m pretty stressed and upset. And I may or may not be giving Dad the silent treatment.

I mean he even refused to eat his garlic the other night. In case you didn’t know, garlic is antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial. Though it’s not working fast enough.

Not Quite M&M Cookies

Amid all the garlic, apple cider vinegar, soup, and lean proteins I’ve been eating, I needed a cookie. A huge, soft, sugary cookie. I’ve had my eyes on Pinch of Yum’s Big Soft M&M Cookies for awhile and felt it was the perfect time to whip them up.

Clearly I couldn’t make them with M&Ms, so I swapped in Reese’s Pieces. You could go with either, but the melty Reese’s Pieces were insanely tasty in them. Oh, and you might notice some are different colors and bigger than you might expect – those are Reese’s Pieces Eggs that I stockpile every Easter. They are even better than the original Pieces. Like way better.

Not Quite M&M Cookies

These cookies are so soft and chewy. The flavor of the base is mildly vanilla which pairs so well with those peanut buttery Pieces. Don’t wait to make these cookies!

Not Quite M&M Cookies

Not Quite M&M Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 28 minutes

Yield: 13-15 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup vegetable shortening

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 ½ cups Reese’s Pieces

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, cream sugars and shortening until light and fluffy. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer would work too. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until the dough is combined. Stir in the Reese’s Pieces.

Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, scoop batter onto the prepared pan. Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes until light golden brown and flattened slightly. Serve warm or allow to cool on the trays. Cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about an hour or in the microwave 30 seconds.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

http://piesandplots.net/not-quite-mm-cookies/

The Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls #SundaySupper

The BEST Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Making and eating these rolls, I can’t stop thinking about how my Granny would have loved them. She would have loved making them and watching movies while they rose and eating them. Unfortunately, she’s been gone for just over seven years, so I’ll never get that memory, but I often imagine what it might be like.

By the time I got up (and I never sleep past eight), she would have already watched a movie (perhaps A Few Good Men or Legally Blonde), drank a few cups of coffee, and eaten something sweet, maybe a homemade muffin from the day before.

After I got up, we’d watch a little news and eat breakfast. Then we’d make the rolls. We wouldn’t break out the stand mixer, but instead Granny would mix them by hand as I added ingredients. We’d wrap up the dough to rest and go take a walk. (This is my day dream, it can be summer :)). Our amble through the neighborhood would be full of birds singing, fresh flowers, and bright sunshine.

The BEST Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

We’d roll the dough and slather on the butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Roll up the swirl and cut it into buns to rise again. I’d pop a DVD in or check OnDemand for another movie while we waited for them to rise again.

We’d eat a quick and light a dinner (more room for cinnamon rolls), bake off the rolls, make the cream cheese frosting, and indulge in the best cinnamon rolls we’d ever had. We’d watch another movie before Granny would head to bed and I’d sit up awhile, relishing in the perfect day I had with my grandmother.

The BEST Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Of course this will never happen, since she’s gone, but I take comfort in imagining it, thinking of her daily, and asking for her guidance in this crazy thing we call life.

This week’s Sunday Supper was all about casseroles. These are admittedly not exactly a casserole. But they are baked in a casserole sized dish and are best served warm from the oven, like many other casseroles, so I went with it. And you should be glad I did because these cinnamon rolls are THE BOMB!

The BEST Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

After just the first bite, I was instantly transported to the Cinnabons I used to love. Except these are infinitely better. The sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on the bottom of the pan makes these soft, giant rolls that much better because it intensifies the cinnamon-y goodness in the roll itself. Oh, and the frosting, slather it on. Not only does it keep the buns soft, but it also tastes fabulous with the little vanilla bean flecks.

I have no doubt Granny would have loved these and I would love them just a little more if I could share one with her.

The BEST Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

The Best Homemade Cinnamon Rolls #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Yield: 12 cinnamon rolls

Ingredients

Dough

¾ cup warm water

1 packet dry active yeast

½ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)

1 large egg

1/3 cup canola oil

4 1/2-5 cups all-purpose flour

For the pan

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

For the filling

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 ¼ cups packed light brown sugar

2 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

Make the dough. In a large bowl, pour in water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir and let proof 5 minutes. When the mixture is bubbly, add remaining ½ cup sugar and salt. Stir to incorporate.

In a small bowl, stir together milk, oil, and egg. Add to the yeast mixture and stir to incorporate. Add 2 cups of flour and mix to combine. Add additional flour in ½ cup increments until the dough comes together and is sticky, but not sticky enough to stick to hands. Knead the dough by hand for about 5 minutes. Place the dough in an oiled bowl (the same one is fine), cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours until at least doubled in size.

Prepare the pan. Line a 9 by 13 inch pan with parchment. Butter with the 2 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Make the filling. In a medium sized bowl, stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch.

Flour a large, clean surface to roll out the dough. Lightly flour the dough, the rolling pin, and your hands. Roll out dough to a large rectangle, perhaps about 12 by 20 inches, until it is ¼-1/2 inch thick. Just do the best you can – it doesn’t have to be perfect. Spread the butter over the dough and sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over it. Use all of it. Lightly press it into the dough.

Starting from one of the long sides of dough, roll into a tight spiral. Cut off the uneven ends. Then cut the roll in half, in half again, and then cut each half into thirds, leaving you with 12 rolls. Place the rolls into the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours. They should be giant and touching.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. I highly recommend peeking inside one of the center ones with a fork or knife to be sure it’s cooked (I made the mistake of not doing that with a different recipe. My frosted cinnamon rolls were raw. No bueno!)

While the rolls bake, make the frosting. In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter using a hand or stand mixer. Add vanilla bean paste, corn syrup, and lemon juice and beat to combine. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar while beating on low. Once all the sugar has been added, beat until frosting is light and fluffy.

Remove the rolls from the oven and frost immediately with half of the frosting. Allow them to cool a couple minutes and then add more frosting. You can also serve with a dollop of frosting on the side.

Rolls are best served hot out of the oven, but they may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Warm them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Rolls may also be frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for a couple hours or in the microwave for about 1 minute, until warm.

Notes

Additional, inactive prep time of 4 hours is necessary for the dough to rise.

Recipe adapted from Lauren's Latest

http://piesandplots.net/the-best-homemade-cinnamon-rolls-sundaysupper/

Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Captivating Breakfast Casseroles

Appetizing Casserole Sides

Main Event Casseroles

Decadent Dessert and Sweet Casseroles

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Banana Bread Blondies

Banana Bread Blondies

Family is the most important thing in life. I am so lucky to see my parents every day. It is hard for me to imagine a time when that will not be possible. It is impossible for me to imagine going weeks, months, or years without seeing them, but that is the reality for many people.

While I may see my parents every day, I understand how it feels to be away from family, because I do not often have the opportunity to see my aunt and uncle. They mean so much to me and are people I know I can always turn to no matter what. However, they live hours away and over the past few years, my uncle’s job has taken him to several different locales, including one in another country!

My Family

My aunt, me, and Mom during her last visit.

This makes it nearly impossible to see them. I always wish I could call them to come over for dinner or to watch a movie or go shopping or to see a play, but without weeks or months of planning and schedule checking, it can’t happen. Even with the planning, it often doesn’t happen.

One thing that brings us all together is food. Western Union understands really well. Many of their customers are “Dual-Belongers,” meaning they live in one place for a better education, career, or life, but their family, and therefore their heart, lies somewhere else. They rely on Western Union to send money home, which seems like no big deal to them. It’s something they do without question or second thoughts.

Banana Bread Blondies

Food helps link them to their homes, whether those homes are oceans away or a long drive. Once Western Union heard from their customers how important food is in linking them to home, their family, and memories, they created #WUHomeCooked, a heartwarming video in which they surprised some of their customers with a surprise meal from their family!

The video is really inspiring and reminds me how lucky I am to have any family at all close to me. The world can be a really lonely place. It made me think of my aunt and uncle and how they must feel when they are far away from home and family, as well as how I feel missing them.

Banana Bread Blondies

They don’t always get to cook, a simple thing I take for granted because I do it every day. While eating out is fun, it gets old after awhile, and a homemade meal, or even better, a baked treat sounds good to them. I was inspired by my aunt’s love of banana bread to create these Banana Bread Blondies.

I wish I could send her some (oh! Maybe I could do that!), but I hope if she gets the chance to make them, she feels as connected to me as I did to her while whipping them up.

They have all the classic banana bread flavors with the dense, chewiness of a blondie and are rather addictive. Plus, they only take one bowl to mix together. I think I’ll grab another one while I pick up the phone and talk to my aunt. I hope you find ways to stay connected to those most important to you. Just as Western Union discovered, food is a great way to keep that connection going!

Banana Bread Blondies

Banana Bread Blondies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 18 bars

Ingredients

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

3 small ripe bananas, mashed

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup pecans

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together sugars and butter until combined. Mix in the bananas, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in the flour and salt. Fold in the pecans until evenly distributed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the blondies comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan before cutting into bars.

Blondies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or frozen, individually wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag, for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in the microwave 30 seconds.

http://piesandplots.net/banana-bread-blondies/

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Rice Pudding Ice Cream

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This post is sponsored by Minute® Rice. They’re making it easy to make our favorite holiday recipes this season!

Rice Pudding Ice Cream

We’re in the home stretch. Christmas is nearly here. How is that even possible? We just celebrated Thanksgiving! Nevertheless, whether we’re ready or not, it’s time to get festive with friends and family and try to have a great time. After all, life is short, and we shouldn’t be stressed at such a joyous time of year.

Easy to prepare, yet elegant meals are the best way to go this time of year. Minute® Rice is here to help! It is so easy to have in the pantry as part of a go-to dinner. Whether you cook up a pot of rice to go alongside your favorite quick to prepare protein, turn some into a skillet full of vegetable filled fried rice or combine it with leftover vegetables and protein from the night before, Minute® Rice is the perfect solution to those busy nights.

Rice Pudding Ice Cream

I’ve always been a big fan of white rice, and Minute® White Rice cooks in only five minutes! We all have time for that, especially because then we can make a healthy, wholesome meal so we don’t turn to fast food. They also have Minute® Brown Rice and Minute® Multi-Grain Medley that cook in ten minutes. They are a great way to keep dinner time from getting boring.

But, let’s be real, I’m all about desserts, so I knew I wanted to turn Minute® White Rice into a dessert no one would be able to resist. We’ve all had rice pudding. But have you ever had Rice Pudding Ice Cream? I didn’t think so.

Rice Pudding Ice Cream

I know you’re thinking this is super complicated to make, but rest assured, it’s not. You’ll only need about ten minutes to make the rice pudding itself. Then it will need to chill. I mean, tasting while it’s warm is encouraged, but most of it will need to chill :) That’s another great thing about this recipe – it can be made ahead of time.

Once the pudding has chilled, stir in some more milk and spin it in your ice cream maker. I think this would be fun to do at a party. Everyone will love that it’s an interactive dessert! Because the mixture is thick, the ice cream doesn’t even need additional time in the freezer, but it can be stored in there. It is sure to be one of your new favorite desserts! Plus, it’s vegan and gluten free, so everyone can enjoy it. Woo hoo!

If you want more amazing recipe ideas, check out the more than four hundred ideas Minute® Rice has on their website.

Rice Pudding Ice Cream

Rice Pudding Ice Cream

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

1 cup Minute® White Rice

4 ½ cups milk, divided (I used almond, use what you love)

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup jumbo raisins

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Instructions

In a large pot stir together rice, 3 cups milk, and sugar. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 6 minutes, until the mixture has thickened, stirring frequently.

Add the raisins and cook for 2 more minutes, continuing to stir. Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon and vanilla bean paste.

Pour into a heat safe container and place in the refrigerator to chill at least 4 hour and up to overnight.

Once chilled, stir in the remaining 1 ½ cups milk. Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Because the mixture is so thick, it may not take the full time to churn. Serve immediately or store in freezer containers in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Notes

Additional chilling time is necessary.

http://piesandplots.net/rice-pudding-ice-cream/

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Minute® Rice.

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