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By Heather Harris Brady

I’ve featured a carrot cake before, with coconut and crushed pineapple, but when I saw this one in Cooking Light I had to give it a try. The browned butter adds a nice depth, and it does get better over the second and third days. I made some adjustments to the original recipe.

Make sure you use larger carrots for this recipe, the ones they typically sell in the bulk section for juicing work well. The small baby carrots just don’t have enough flavor.

If you have a pretty fluted bundt pan now’s the time to use it! I apologize for the weird capitalization, my iPad always gets fussy with blogging.

Carrot Cake with Browned Butter, Makes one 12″ bundt cake

1 stick of butter

1/3 c. Olive oil

1 c. Granulated sugar

2 t. Vanilla

2 large eggs

1/2 c. Greek yogurt

1-1/2 t. Cinnamon

2-1/2 t. Baking powder

1/2 t. Baking soda

1/2 t. Fresh ground cardamom

2 c. Carrots, finely grated

2 c. White whole wheat flour

1 c. Un bleached all-purpose flour

1/3 c. Milk

Glaze

3 T. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese

2-1/2 c. Confectioner’s sugar

1 t. Milk

1/2 t. Vanilla

Put the butter in a saucepan on medium heat and stir. It will melt, bubble and eventually foam up.  As soon as it starts to turn brown (the milk solids in the butter are what will be browning), take it off the heat. Let it cool to room temperature and then preheat the oven to 350.

Put the browned butter in a mixing bowl. Beat in the oil, sugar and vanilla. Then beat in the eggs one at a time. I used a wooden spoon but you can do it with a mixer if you like. Stir in the white whole wheat flour, then half the yogurt, the cinnamon and the cardamom.

Add the rest of the flour, the rest of the yogurt, the baking powder, the baking soda, and the milk.

You should have a thick batter. It might seem a little too thick to you, but that’s okay! We’re adding a lot of moisture with the carrots.

Fold in the carrots.

Spread the batter in a greased baking pan.

Check it at 40 minutes. Your tester should have moist crumbs.

While the cake is cooling make the glaze. Combine the sugar, vanilla and cream cheese in a bowl.

Drizzle in the milk and whisk until you have the desired glazing consistency.

Put the cake on a serving plate and pour the glaze over the top.

I garnished this one with some flakes of coconut and chopped candied pecans.

Store the cake in the refrigerator, loosely covered.

by Heather Harris Brady

I’ve been experimenting a lot with whole grain flours lately, because I don’t want to settle for “wow, this is good for something healthy”. I’m going for “this is amazing”. So when I manage to hit that magical point I will share the recipes – like this one for whole grain pancakes. It’s based on a recipe from Cooking Light magazine, but I’ve tinkered with it so it uses ingredients I’m more likely to have onhand.

One thing I’ve learned over the course of my trials is that you need to allow time for the grains to hydrate in order to get maximum fluffiness in the finished product. I hope you enjoy these pancakes as much as we do, they’ve become my new standard recipe. If you’d like to play around with this recipe I think grated apple would be a great addition to try.

Whole Grain Pancakes, Makes about 12 4″ pancakes

  • 2/3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1-1/2 c. low-fat milk + 1 t. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1 T. light olive oil
  • 3/4 c. white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. spelt flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 large egg

Combine milk and oats in a small bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.

Pour the soaked oats and milk into a larger bowl. Add the egg, olive oil, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Whisk well.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until well-combined.

The final texture should be close to very heavy cream.

Heat a griddle and grease it lightly with olive oil. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto the griddle and watch for bubbles to appear all over the surface.

Flip the cakes and brown the other side. I usually poke the middle of each one with my finger, when they are springy they’re done.

I stack them so they stay warm.

Serve warm with butter, more syrup and fruit.

They cook up light and fluffy.

Put any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate.


Four years ago: Cream Scones
Three years ago: Key Lime Pie
Two years ago: Mixed Berry Pie
One year ago: Kerrygold Croissants


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by Heather Harris Brady

This recipe was inspired by the oat bran muffin recipe I have that I like so much. While these scones are whole grain, they are lighter and fluffier than many a coffeeshop scone. They are also very light on sugar.

Feel free to make substitutions or additions to the mix-ins, that’s part of the fun!

Everything Scones, Makes about 9 5″ scones

  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 c. oat flour
  • 3/4 c. spelt flour
  • 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. regular all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. old-fashioned oatmeal soaked in 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • 2/3 c. whipping (heavy) cream
  • 1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1/2 c. shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the flours, baking powder and sugar in a food processor bowl. Add the butter.

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Process to crumbs. (You can cut this in if you don’t have a food processor.)

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Add the soaked oatmeal and all but 2 T. of the cream and process for 10 seconds. Let this mixture sit for five minutes, so the flour can absorb the liquid.

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Add the rest of the cream, vanilla and almond extract. The mixture will be sticky.

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Turn the dough into a bowl and fold in the chips, coconut and banana.

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Pat the dough into nine dollops on a greased baking pan. Sprinkle them with coconut if you like.

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Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly brown.

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Remove the baked scones to a rack to cool.

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See, light fluffy whole grain goodness!

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Goodness smeared with butter 😉

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These are large scones, so you can cut them in half to serve if you like. They keep nicely for a few days at room temperature, wrap and freeze for longer storage.

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by Heather Harris Brady

I came up with these cookies after noticing boxes of “ancient grains cookie mix” at the grocery store – for $7 a box! When I use alternative flours I try to work with the different textures rather than against them. These cookies are chocolate peanut butter because everyone expects peanut butter cookies to have a more shortbready, crumbly texture by nature.

I used a blend of quinoa flour and spelt flour, in combination with some regular unbleached white flour and some extra wheat germ. These are good keepers, and are great with a cold glass of milk on the side.

Ancient Grains Cookies, Makes about 36 3″ cookies

  • 1/4 c. butter, at room tempertaure
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 c. natural peanut butter (The ingredient list should read: Peanuts.)
  • 4 T. dark cocoa (I use Hershey’s Special Dark.)
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. quinoa flour
  • 1/2 c. spelt flour
  • 3/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3 T. wheat germ
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy.

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Beat in the eggs one at a time.

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Beat in the peanut butter.

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Then the flours, baking powder and baking soda.

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Beat in the cocoa and then the chips. You should have a nice creamy batter.

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Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes.

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Cool complete and then store in an airtight container. These keep nicely for about five days. Freeze in a ziplock for longer storage. I freeze half the baked cookies and use them to replenish the cookie jar – but they aren’t bad frozen 😉

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Four years ago: Champagne Sabayon
Three years ago: Chard Quiche
Two years ago: Burmese Chicken Soup
One year ago: French Breakfast Puffs


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by Heather Harris Brady

I’ve never an actual copy of Farm Journal magazine, but I LOVE their cookbooks and whenever I find them in antique stores I buy them. This recipe is based on one from their Homemade Cookies cookbook, and if you can imagine a Lofthouse molasses cookie this would be it. They are big, soft and while there is a lot of molasses in them the flavor is more mild than a traditional molasses cookie.

The whiteness of the icing starts to fade after a few days, just FYI. I made a few changes to the original recipe, including the addition of fresh ginger. They are amazing with a glass of cold milk or a cup of hot tea. They also cut out beautifully, and would make beautiful hearts if your Valentine is a fan of molasses cookies.

Ginger Creams, Makes about 40 3″ cookies

  • 1 c. butter, at room temp
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. dark molasses
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. fresh ginger
  • 1 T. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 5 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. salt

Icing

  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. white vanilla
  • 1 t. water

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Cream until light and fluffy.

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Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vinegar, ginger and molasses.

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Beat in 4-1/2 c. flour, the baking soda, baking powder and salt.

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You should have a pretty brown dough. At this point you can chill it for 30 minutes if you like.

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Generously flour a work surface and roll out a portion of the dough. Cut out your shapes and put them on a lightly greased baking sheet.

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Bake for about 12 minutes, until the edges are lightly brown. Repeat, roll out and bake the rest of the dough.

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Stir together the icing ingredients. Add a bit more water if necessary, to achieve a spreadable consistency. Ice each cookie with a thin layer. Let the cookies sit out until the icing is dry.

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These cookies, when iced, are best within three days. Freeze uniced cookies in an airtight container for longer storage.


Three years ago: Meatloaf Sandwiches – The Lazy Cook’s Super Bowl Sunday
Two years ago: Grandma’s Chocolate Cookies
One year ago: Salted Butterscotch Pots de Creme


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by Heather Harris Brady

It’s hard sending a child to college, it’s harder still when they come home down two jean sizes! So part of the reason I don’t post as much lately is simply that I spend a lot of time baking and mailing. While I do bake a lot of my son’s favorites to send, I do try to mix in surprises – like these apple pie bars. Apple pie is one of his favorite desserts, but it’s hard to deal with in a dorm room with a tiny fridge and no place to wash up.

Given that, I tried to pack all the pie goodness in these individual servings that he can take out of the freezer as need arises. I started with a base from my chocolate oatmeal bars and took it from there. You could have these as-is, or you could fancy them up by plating them and topping each one with a scoop of ice cream.

Apple Pie Bars, Makes about 16 2.5″ servings

For the bars:
2½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. light brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
2 large eggs
3 cups old-fashioned oats
5 c. peeled and sliced baking apples

For the glaze:
1 t. vanilla
2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. water

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl and mix well.

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Beat in the eggs.

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Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients.

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Reserve a cup of the mixture, press the rest into a greased baking sheet (mine’s about 14″ square).

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You’ll have to flour your hands, the dough’s quite sticky. Put the sheet into the oven and bake for about 12 minutes, until the edges start to lightly brown.

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While the crust is baking, heat two tablespoons of butter in a frying pan. When the butter’s melted add the apple slices.

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Saute over medium heat until the apples are just barely tender.

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Reduce the oven to 375. Spread the sauteed apples over the hot crust and sprinkle with cinnamon.

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Then dot the top with the rest of the reserved crust mixture.

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Return the sheet to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes, until the streusel is brown.

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Cut into squares while still warm.

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When the bars are cool stir up the glaze (just stir all the ingredients together) and drizzle it over the top.

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Once the glaze has set you can package them (for college shipping!) or store them in an airtight container. I would put them in the refrigerator to keep longer than two days.

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by Heather Harris Brady

These cookies are a little kooky for me, but I guess sometimes I’m as susceptible to the charms of decorations as anyone else! And, if you can’t go all out during the holidays – when can you?

These cookies are really all about fun, fun on the outside, fun on the inside. I’ve adapted a recipe from an article I cut out years ago from a magazine.

Secret Cookies, Makes about 30 3″ cookies

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2-1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/4 t. almond extract
  • Sprinkles or colored sugar for coating

Preheat the oven to 375. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl, cream well.

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Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

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Then the flour.

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Stir 3/4 c. of dough into the chocolate.

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Roll a 1″ ball of chocolate dough and then cover it with a thin pancake of vanilla dough.

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Then roll each ball in sprinkles or sugar.

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Put them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for about 10 minutes.

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I added an extra white chocolate drizzle to the plain sugar ones to dress them up for a party!

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by Heather Harris Brady

Anyone who’s been with this blog through the winter holidays knows that I have the same cookie lineup every year, but I continue to audition new prospects because never let it be said that I’m one to rest on my cookie laurels 😉

This is the first audition – a soft sugar cookie (which American readers will recognize as Lofthouse style). It has that same addictive cakey quality as the store-bought version, but with the twist of lemon poppyseed. It’s based on a compilation of recipes online with a few changes of my own. Sorry for the crappy picture, we’re really short on daylight at the moment!

I like the Scandinavian white-on-white coloring, but if you want to get crazy with frosting colors or sprinkles now would be the time!

Soft Lemon Poppyseed Sugar Cookies, Makes about 36 3″ cookies

  • 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. lemon extract or bakery emulsion
  • Zest from two lemons
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 T. poppyseeds

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 6 T. heavy cream

Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy.

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Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Then beat in the lemon flavoring and zest.

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Combine the remaining dry ingredients and half of them to the bowl. Beat well. Then beat in the yogurt.

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Add the second half of the dry ingredients and beat for another minute.

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Scoop the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it up as a ball and refrigerate it for at least an hour. When you’re ready to bake preheat the oven to 425. (I know, hot for a cookie recipe!)

Turn the dough out.

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Roll it out to about 1/3″ thick and cut. (I only worked with part of the dough at a time so I could make sure I kept the thickness consistent.)

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Put the cookies on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for 6-7 minutes. I took them out right around the 7-minute mark.

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While the cookies are cooling make the frosting. (I didn’t do the step by step here to keep the post length down.)

Beat the sugar and butter together, drizzling in the flavoring and half the cream. Mixture will be thick. Continue beating, drizzling in the remaining cream as you go, until you reach your desired spreading consistency. I have a stand mixer so I just turn it to high and let it run for about five minutes at this point. The longer you beat the creamier your frosting will be.

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When the cookies are completely cool frost them.

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You can leave them out, uncovered for an hour or so, and the frosting will crust over just a bit. I froze mine on the sheet and then stacked them between sheets of waxed paper in a freezer container to freeze until the holidays.

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Four years ago: 12 Days of Cookies
Three years ago: Russian Braids
Two years ago: Apple Clafouti
One year ago: Holiday Biscotti


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by Heather Harris Brady

First off let me note that I have not fallen off the wagon and gone whole-hog on the food coloring – that bright fuschia icing is from freeze-dried raspberries! I know, right? Perfect for upcoming holiday cookies! But I digress.

This cookie story starts with a trip my little slice of heaven on Earth – Whole Foods. I could wander that store for hours. In the bakery of the Whole Foods in question is a display of international cookies, including a lemon ricotta coated in pale pink raspberry icing. They are delicious.

So the quest began. Finding a recipe for the cookie was easy enough, and while I tinkered with it a bit they are basically the same. But the icing was going to be the hard part. I finally hit paydirt when I read a piece on a pastry chef who uses pulverized freeze-dried fruit for macarons.

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I got this bag at Target for $3.99 and only used about a third of it for this recipe. The color is spectacular and I’m going to experiment with this idea more in the future. I touched up the flavor with a bit of raspberry bakery emulsion and voila! These cookies are delicate, cakey and while you could use a lemon glaze if you want I think the raspberry really sets them off.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Raspberry Glaze, Makes about 30 3″ cookies

  • 1 stick of salted butter
  • 1 container of part-skim ricotta (15 oz.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 c. granulataed sugar
  • Zest of two lemons, finely grated
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. lemon bakery emulsion
  • 2-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • For the glaze:
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/3 c. freeze-dried raspberries
  • 1-2 T. water
  • 1/2 t. raspberry bakery emulsion

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the butter and sugar together well.

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Beat in the ricotta, then the eggs one at a time, beating well after addition.

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Beat in the flour and baking powder.

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Stir in the lemon zest, juice and flavor. You should have a thick, creamy batter.

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Drop by tablespoons until a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake about 12-15 minutes, until the edges are light golden brown.

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Cool the cookies while you make the glaze. The freeze-dried raspberries are an amazing color, and they taste like raspberry popcorn.

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Put the raspberries in a spice grinder and run until finely ground to a powder.

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Add the raspberry powder to the powdered sugar.

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Drizzle in water until you have the desired consistency.

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Spoon the glaze over the cookies. You can do the whole cookie, or just a lacy pattern if you don’t want as much raspberry flavor.

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Let the glaze air-dry for about two hours and then store the cookies in an airtight container.


Four years ago: Apple Pie
Three years ago: Peanut Butter Pie
Two years ago: Ginger-Chocolate Scones
One year ago: Quick Orange Cinnamon Rolls


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by Heather Harris Brady

At this point we know there’s no escape. This next week is going to be miles of rough road, it’s going to call for coddling and coddling by definition calls for butter and cinnamon. Buckets of butter and cinnamon.

These cinnamon danish are based on one of my old guilty pleasures, the McDonald’s cinnamon danish. I don’t even think they sell them anymore and I haven’t had one in years. So I rebuilt it from memory and it’s pretty close! The pastry is flaky, the filling is loaded with cinnamon and the icing adds vanilla to the mix. I’m cutting some photos below to save length, but if you’re new to bread dough you can find mixing instructions and photos in one of my other bread recipes.

This does need to rise overnight, so start them the day before. you can cut this recipe in half if you like.

Cinnamon Danish, Makes about 30 3″ x 4″ Danish

For the dough

  • 4-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1 pkt. fast-rising yeast
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 12 T. butter (reserved, at room temp)

For the filling

  • 4 T. cinnamon
  • 1 c. fine bread crumbs
  • 1-1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2/3 c. white sugar
  • 5 T. butter

For the glaze

  • 3 c. confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 t. vanilla
  • 2-4 t. water

Make the dough:

Scald the water and milk together in a saucepan, stir in the sugar and 3 T. butter. Cool to lukewarm and stir in the egg, flour and yeast. Let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down the dough and knead it well, adding flour if necessary to keep it from sticking, until the dough is satiny and elastic. Wash and grease the bowl, put the dough back in, cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge overnight.

On baking day:

Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

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We’ll work with one half at a time. Roll one ball of dough out to 1/4″ thickness. Slice the reserved 12 T. of butter in half, and then take one half and cut it into halves lengthwise. Put it in the middle of the dough.

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Fold the dough over the butter, bringing the bottom up and the top down to flop over it.

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Yay! We’re laminating! Roll this back out to 1/3″ thick. Repeat the fold, bottom up, top down.

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Repeat one more time: roll this back out to 1/3″ thick. Repeat the fold, bottom up, top down. Wrap your now-laminated dough in plastic wrap and put it back in the fridge and repeat the process for the other dough ball.

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix to fine crumbs.

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Get the first ball of dough back out of the fridge. Roll it out to 1/4″ thick.

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Let it rest for a few minutes and then cut it into squares. (This waiting period keeps them from shrinking.)

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If you want to be proper make an egg wash by beating an egg with 1 T. of water. We’ll use this to seal the edges as we fill. Take a square and add a tablespoon of filling to the center.

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Bring opposite corners up to the middle and seal them with egg wash or press them.

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Turn the danish seam side down onto a greased cookie sheet. Keep going until you’re done! It will be worth it, trust me.

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When the danish have nearly doubled in bulk take a sharp knife and make three slits across the top to show off that pretty filling.

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Bake for 15-20 minutes, until flaky and golden brown.

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Make the glaze while the danish are baking. Stir together the sugar and vanilla, and drizzle in water as needed for the proper pouring consistency.

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Lay the baked danish on a cooling rack and drizzle glaze over them contentedly, taking in deep healing breaths of the cinnamon steam as you go. You will immediately feel better.

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You will feel better yet when you take a bite.

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Four years ago: Calzones
Three years ago: Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Two years ago: Chocolate Sheet Cake
One year ago: Sugarfree Apple Butter


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