Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pecan cinnabun Easter Sunday

After much searching, I've finally happened upon the quasi-perfect pecan cinnamon bun recipe. I say "quasi" because I want to account for the possibility that somewhere out there lurks a truly ideal recipe that will make you cry with happiness.. This may not be your nirvana, but I'm happy to report that these buns have elicited a few tears of joy (mine actually, when I realized that all that bloody work had indeed paid off).

But I'll let you judge for yourself.

Note: This recipe is taken from a contribution (Cinnamon Rolls III) to I'm transcribing it here with a few notes, because I found it really confusing to go through all their different versions and comments. So all you have to do is TRUST ME and start baking. I make the dough in my bread machine (more later on my obsessive and rather unnatural love for my Zojirushi) and then let it rise and finish off the recipe.

If you use a bread machine you have to make the dough with all the caveats proper to it: liquids first, flour on top of liquids, none of the other ingredients touching the liquids OR the yeast. Each dry ingredient placed on the sides. I added a tiny tiny pinch more yeast, but just a bit. I used the kind for bread machines.

Pecanbuns (16 rolls)

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons milk


  1. In the pan of your bread machine, combine water, melted butter, vanilla pudding, warm milk, egg, 1 tablespoon sugar, salt, bread flour and yeast. (ok, order matters as I said above… incorporate butter in the milk, make sure it’s not too hot).
  2. Set machine to Dough cycle; press Start. When Dough cycle has finished… HERE I let it rise for two hours or so… turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 17x10 inch rectangle. Spread with softened butter. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over dough.
  3. Roll up dough, beginning with long side. Slice into 16 one inch slices and place in 9x13 buttered pan. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes (Note: I found it works better if you just let it rise until it doubles, typically three hours, depending on your kitchen.)
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. While rolls bake, stir together cream cheese, softened butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and milk. Remove rolls from oven and top with frosting. I found 18 minutes was perfect, but my oven tends to run hot.

Caramel sauce for caramel pecan topping

I make my own, but you can find a good one here. I strongly advise you to use white sugar for caramel. Brown sugar has too many impurities and will not give you that "authentic" caramel taste :)

Enjoy. I have a batch rising right now... :)))

Friday, April 22, 2011

Another year, another blog...

Hmm.. It seems I've missed a couple of years. It's been a while. I think the problem is that I'm not vain or deluded enough to think anyone cares about my clever musings / philosophical meanderings / rapturous insights (were that I had any). Can't share my reno/decorating tips because in spite of spending an inordinate amount of time watching House Hunters and Sarah's House I don't have anything worth noting that could realistically be of any use to anyone. I'm mildly embarrassed by my artistic efforts and sadly devoid of amusingly clever observations on human nature and/or pet behaviour. I suppose I could find rich fodder for commentary at work, but that would be SO inappropriate. Ahem.

I would let this blog die a merciless death, but alas, I'm quite fond of the title. So, I'll find something to imprint on the Internet, whether it likes it or not. I'll start with fulfilling my long-standing promise of posting the recipe for lemon icebox squares (with thanks to Dianne H., who kindly passed along the original recipe). To anyone grappling with diabetes, diets and/or citrus allergies, please move on... nothing to see here.

Note: I've renamed the recipe to be more descriptive of the finished product. I'd add my name to it, but even my narcissism has limits.

Lemon Mousse Squares


2 Cups Graham Cracker crumbs

(or 20 Graham crackers firmly crushed)

1/2 Cup Brown sugar

1/3 Cup Melted butter

Mix together and press in a 9x9 pan or 13x8 (save a few crumbs for the top).


1 Large can of evaporated milk (Carnation)

1 Pkg. x8 servings (or 2x4) lemon Jello dissolved in ½ cup boiling water

1 Lemon: juice and rind

1 Orange: juice and rind

1/2 Cup White sugar

** Have all ingredients ready at the point of beating milk

Beat milk until thick. Note, this may take a while -- do not despair. It has to thicken, not just "foam." Fold in sugar, juice, rind and Jello. Spread evenly on first mixture and sprinkle the top with crumbs.

Leave in fridge for at least 1 hour to chill. Cut into squares once set. I like putting them in the freezer for a bit. They're light, but tasty. Truly addictive, if you like lemon. Yum. If you do make it, let me know how it turns out.

Well, this well has run dry for now. Sad, I know. Perhaps if you tell me your problems I can offer you terribly useful suggestions on how to run your life. Nothing that actually requires professional help please -- although I'm an undeservedly happy person, any felicitous developments and outcomes in my life are almost exclusively due to blind luck and other people's infinite patience with my idiosyncrasies. Ok, fine, I won't try to run your life. Just a gratuitous hint: if you're just starting to get your pennies together check out Rob Carrick, either in the Globe or on his eponymous FB site for some really good basic financial advice. I wish I had received some sort of financial education in my younger and more impressionable years. Parents, take heed. I'm actually not joking on this one.

"Next," the caramel pecan cinnamon bun recipe that *I swear* tastes identical to a certain well-known commercial brand that I love but will not mention here for fear of swift legal/economic reprisal. Such is life. The week after that I will tackle the unified field theory and offer some suggestions on how to actually achieve cold fusion. Stay tuned.

Till Sunday,