Tuesday, December 27, 2011

You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog...

I just finished the book, The Art of Racing in the Rain, and I have to say that it was my favorite book of the year. It tells the story of a family through the perspective of their dog, Enzo. It is an amazing story that made me laugh out loud and cry from page to page.  Enzo expresses himself the way we wish our dogs could. It is a fantastic and heartwarming story and I cannot recommend it enough.

After finishing the book, I decided to do something special for our dog, Teddy.  What can I say, I am a sucker for that mutt. So, I started doing some research on homemade dog treats and found that they are not only simple but also dirt cheap to make. The best part about them is that I know what Teddy is eating and that makes me feel great.  Because we keep his treats in a glass container on the counter, I wanted the treats to look great too.  I bought dog treat cookie cutters (which you can find online or at any Michael's craft store), but you could just as easily cut them into strips with a pizza cutter (I can promise your dog will not care).

Whenever I am working on a batch of these treats, Teddy spends the whole time in the kitchen with me, sniffing the air and licking his chops. It is fun and rewarding.  Give it a try!

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

2 Cups whole wheat flour
1 Cup white flour
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup water (or chicken broth)
Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Whisk together the oil, peanut butter and water.

Mix together the flours and add flour, one cup at a time, forming a dough. Knead dough into firm ball and roll to 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut into shapes using cookie cutters or into 3 to 4 inch pieces. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 20-30 minutes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ah brown sugar how come you taste so good!

Turn on your ovens, it is finally Fall! Is there anything better than fresh baked anything? Seriously? I love summer and all of the smoking and grilling that comes with it, but there is just nothing like smelling up the whole house with the scent of fresh baked bread. Especially when that bread is filled with cinnamon and brown sugar, then you have something that's worth getting out of bed for.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls take a little time to make but they beat the pants off of those puny, tasteless things that come in those scary tubes that pop open. The flavor and texture of these will blow your mind, and you can make a whole batch for the price of just one of those buns in the mall, and of course the best part of all, you can make extra frosting! I have been using Alton Brown's recipe for Overnight Cinnamon Rolls for years and I have had no reason to try another one since. Enjoy. (And Check out all of Alton Brown's Cookbooks, I have them all and reference them often)

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe by: Alton Brown (http://www.altonbrown.com/)

4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray


8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons


2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
3 tablespoons milk
5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups


For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.