Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls: Pillsbury Style

Get ready for some food porn:

So, every year for holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter) I would wake up to the delicious treat of Pillsbury cinnamon (/orange) rolls. They were fast to make in the morning, just requiring removal from their cylindrical cardboard pop-tube, and arrangement into a round pan. Then we'd pop them in the oven, and in to time we were spreading the accompanying frosting on top, then devouring the entire pan of them.

Well. I haven't eaten one of those in years.
But this time I was determined to not go without.

Thus, I have created the ultimate cinnamon roll recipe. It can be prepared ahead of time, and then the tube of dough can be chopped into individual rolls the morning-of, just like with the old Pillsbury's.

So let's make a list-- or even better-- a VEN DIAGRAM
Figure 1.1: The only difference between my cinnamon rolls and Pillsbury's is that mine are healthy and theirs are not (and make dinosaur noises, apparently)

 Here we go:


The dough:

½ c tapioca flour
½ c potato starch
¾ c arrowroot powder
¼ cup brown rice flour
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp guar gum
¼ tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder                  --> combine dry ingredients

3 tbs coconut oil (melted)
2 ½ tbs agave
1 tsp vanilla
10 drops stevia
1 egg                           --> combine wet ingredients; whisk in egg; add wet to dry

½ c coconut milk    -->  add coconut milk slowly, until it is dough consistency (a little sticky is ok.)

If dough is too sticky, dust with brown rice flour until it does not stick to your hand/spatula when touched.

--> Tape a sheet of waxed paper down onto a counter/table. Dust with brown rice flour. Place dough in the center, and use a (floured) rolling pin to roll out to ~¼ inch thick rectangle.


2 tbs coconut oil (softened)
2 tbs ghee (soft)
4 tbs coconut sugar
2 tbs cinnamon

--> Wisk together all ingredients until combined. If oils are completely melted, place bowl in freezer for a few minutes until it is a spreadable paste consistency.

Spread filling over entire rectangle of dough.

Untape the waxed paper under the sheet of dough. Begin rolling dough “hot-dog style” (AKA, roll the long side, to make a thin, long roll) by lifting the waxed paper and gently coaxing the dough into a tight roll. Since the part of the roll is the tightest, starting it is the trickiest, and after that you can just left the waxed paper and let the log of dough roll on its own.

This dough gave me ZERO problems, and it rolled up like an AMAZING dream.

I made these the night before I wanted to eat them for breakfast, so at this stage, I just taped the waxed paper around the log of dough, put plastic wrap around the open ends, and stuck it in the fridge overnight. (You probably could freeze them for an extended period of time too.)

Roll of delicious potential, just waiting to be released in the oven!

When you’re ready to cook them, unwrap the log and place roll on cutting board. Slice inch-thick rolls, and place into an 8-inch round cake pan.

Bake in the oven at 375 for ~25 minutes. Meantime, make the glaze!:


1 tbs erythritol (powdered if you have it; I used granular)
1 tbs almond meal
1 tbs coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vegetable glycerine

--> Whisk together all ingredients. This amount will just-cover pan of rolls; if you want a more substantial covering, double recipe.  And, O.M.G. this stuff takes like Cinnabon. Or rather, it tastes like Cinnabon smells at the mall, because I’ve never actually eaten a Cinnabon.

When rolls come out of the oven--  (they should have just a HINT of golden-ness on top from cooking; they don’t really change colors when done, but should have a firm crust on top to the touch) -- pour glaze over rolls.

Before Baking.

After Baking.

After Baking, with Glaze!

EAT!!!!!! :):):)

Yum! All gone.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

French Macarons Fail

Apparently, Macarons are all the rage in Paris. I, however, have never eaten one. Yet, I did help make a real-person version of them while visiting friends in Charlottesville for the weekend. Which of course inspired me to subsequently attempt my own ACD version.

...which went pretty far-off.

Cool lookin' cookies, but certainly not macarons.
Macarons are supposed to be light merengue cookies, perfectly smooth and gorgeous, filled with a smooth and delectable creme/caramel/jam filling.

Mine were pretty much none of the above. My cookies turned out dense and chewy, which was a result of several fundamental issues:

Issue #1: Eggs did not creme properly. AKA I did not creme them long enough to achieve truly stiff peaks before adding flour. Then, I probably added too much flower, which resulted in a dough, instead of a ribbony, lava-flow meringue. Problem, indeed. Also: I did not have the traditional almond flour, so I used brown rice flower. Which is ironic, that for once a recipe calls for an ACD friendly flour, and I have to substitute for a less-healthy one.

Issue with egg creaming leads me to ask: Can eggs creme properly, and remain stable that way (aka make a successful meringue) without the addition of granular sugar? (I did add cream of tartar to assist with this). Answer TBD...

Issue #2: Salted caramel agave sauce did not thicken. Ghee added to it separated to top of jar in fridge. Not good. Filled cookies with jam instead. Lame.

So yes, these cookies were quite sub-par.


1) Sometimes I like a challenge:

(as clearly stated by this lolcat, and exemplified by my Freshman year spring )


2) Everybody Makes Mistakes

(as expressively-danced by good ol' doglover 19970, youtube sensation)

Watch this Now!

thanks doglover, for providing a whole lot of college procrastination...


So, yes. STAY TUNED for updates on macaron attempts, AND popover attempts- I still haven't forgotten about those! And, of course, the dreaded white frosting. And hopefully no more obscure lolcat/youtube/unidentifiable internet references.

Easy Instant Spring Rolls

FEATURING:    Blue Dragon Vietnamese Spring Roll Wrappers!! "Rice pancakes for spring rolls. Delicious eaten fresh or deep fried!" (yeah... I'll just pretend I didn't read that you can deep fry them...)

Seriously, this is possibly the easiest meal to make in the world, slash best thing ever to do with leftovers.

How long does it take to cook a spring roll wrap? Fifteen seconds. In hot tap water.
How long does it take to make spring roll filling? Zero time, if you use salad leftovers, like I did. (Leftover salad from the Wholefoods deli, to be exact)
How long does it take to make a soy-sauce dipping sauce? Maybe five seconds, if you use rando juice from leftover cooked yellow squash, plus some Braggs Liquid Aminos. Or just zero, if you only use Bragg's.

So, there you go. A fancy lookin meal, for about 15 seconds worth of work. These wraps were super easy to work with, too-- very pliable, and self-adhesive. No struggling to fill them at all.


Egg and Cheese Crepes

Over spring break I was in Paris for a few days. My overall experience there may have been slightly sub-par, due to a vomiting/grumpy boyfriend, mediocre weather, and sugar-induced fatigue from a downward spiral into Hagen Daas waffle-eating. However, my crepe (and gaufre, and baguette, and Eiffel Tower!) experiences were superb. I never knew that crepes could be a fast-food, sold on street corners in the Latin Quarter.

So, the one and only Parisian crepe that I consumed was this junk-food-esque crepe, filled with egg, cheese, and chicken. It was SO, DARN, GOOD.

And the coolest part? The crepe chef poured out the crepe batter onto the griddle. (and smoothed it around with the crepe spreader dealy.) And then, he broke the egg RIGHT ONTO THE COOKING CREPE. And it cooked itself straight up through the crepe-- awesome. Then sprinkle on cheese, chicken, and fold into a quarter-wedge... hold like and sandwich and bite in.

So anyway, I can now replicate the yumminess pretty well:



2 eggs (if you don't care about it folding well, just one egg is fine)
1 tbs extra light olive oil

1/2 cup fake milk
1/2 cup (millet + garbanzo + all purpose baking) flour
dash of salt

--> basically, you want the consistency of this to be thinner than pancake batter, but still "batter-y"; aka, thicker than milk or water or any other liquid alone.


Heat a nonstick large skillet. To really make sure crepe won't stick, you can spray with a non-stick cooking spray first, but this shouldn't really be necessary.

Hold handle of skillet in one hand (non-dominant). Hold cup of batter in the other hand (dominant). Pour a small pancake-sized amount of batter into skillet, then quickly swirl the pan in a circular motion to spread the batter out, letting it run to the edges of the skillet, while maintaining a circular shape. This skill may take a couple of tries. The smaller the crepe, the easier it is to cook and flip it, but the less satisfying the result. Ideally, you will succeed in making a super-thin, skillet-sized (9 inch? 8 inch? How big is a big skillet??) crepe.

Let the first side of the crepe cook. If you were a genuine crepe chef, you would have a super-hot griddle which would cook your super-thin crepe so fast it would cook both sides at the sampe time. If, like me, however, you are an amateur using a teflon pan that can't be heated above "medium", you will need to flip your crepe.

To do so, loosen around the perimeter of the crepe, then slide the turner under and go for it. After the flippage, crack an egg on top of the cooked side. Use the turner to gently scramble it, trying not to puncture the crepe or make the egg spill too much over its edges. Then cover the skillet with a lid to trap the heat so that the egg will successfully cook.

When egg is cooked, sprinkle some fake cheese on top of it. Slide crepe onto a plate. Fold it in half twice to get the easy-to-handle quarter shape.

OMG cheese. And yes, shoutout to Almond Breeze in the background.

Coconut Almond Golden Waffles

Version 1: ADVANCED.

I decided to get fancy with my breakfast batter. I used my usual waffle proportions, with the following awesome ingredients:

1 egg
~1 tbs extra light olive oil           ----> stir together
~ 1 cup soymilk
~ 1/4 tsp almond extract
~ 15 drops stevia                      ----> stir together
~1/4 cup all purpose gluten free pancake mix (I used Trader Joe's brand)
~ 1/4 cup millet flour
~ 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
~ 1/4 cup flaxseed powder
~ 1/8 tsp salt
 shredded coconut
slivered almonds                     ----> stir together

So, I actually started out with this being pancake batter, and thus I made it thinner than waffle batter. (That's the only difference). I had half left over, which I ate later in the week. By this time it had thickened from being in the fridge, and thus was perfect to be cooked into the lovely waffles which you see above. These were pretty darn delicious, especially with extra almonds and coconut sprinkled on top.

Okay so then I made a simpler version, which basically was the same general result, except more versatile because the coconut and almond is only in the topping:
Golden delicious. (Waffle, not apple.)


1 egg
~1 tbs extra light olive oil           ----> stir together

~ 1 cup soymilk                        ----> stir together
~1/4 cup all purpose gluten free pancake mix (I used Trader Joe's brand)
~ 1/4 cup millet flour
~ 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
~ 1/8 tsp salt                            ----> stir together

Yes, this produces a golden waffle with a natural hint of sweetness. It's a great universal substrate waffle, for either sweet or savory use. I opted for sweetness for my last two dinners, sprinkling on slivered almonds and coconut, and drizzling on agave nectar for syrup.

I'm a huge fan of this flour combination. I am a huge un-fan of commercial "All purpose gluten free flour mixes"-- each of the three I've tried is phenomenally gross. Trader Joe's and Namaste Food brands have the same chalky taste (Is that... the sorghum flour?? excessive tapioca flour?? no idea. ), and Bob's Red Mill uses way too much garbanzo bean flour. However, the sweetness of millet flour generally softens out the strangeness of any of these. Millet also contributes the yellowy gold color (garbanzo helps too) which makes these waffles look so appealing. As a general rule, combining many GF flours helps to mellow out each of their "unique" flavors-- and in this case, "all-purpose", millet, and garbanzo blend into a balanced harmony producing a neutral and pleasing flavor.

Mac 'n' Cheese

Just look at that soft, stringy, cheesey deliciousness.

Mac and cheese is quite possibly the best comfort food in the world. It may seem daunting to create, for someone who can't eat mac and can't eat cheese. However, it really isn't difficult at all. So, bring on the cold, grey weather, and get eatin'.

Big handful of brown rice macaroni/penne pasta (I used this kind)*
Big handful of shredded fake cheese (I used a yellow/mozzarella combo)**
Little bit of almond milk (~1 tsp)
1-2 leaves fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions, with some salt in the pasta water. Drain and transfer to a new pan. Heat on medium, add cheese, milk, a fair amount of salt, and pepper if desired. Stir frequently. When the cheese is melted and gooey, and milk is incorporated into the mixture, break up the basil leaves and add them to the pot.

Eat it straight from the pan, if you dare.

That's it! Really, shouldn't be too difficult.

* Beware: some pasta (Tinkyada, for example) takes 20 minutes to cook. If you're looking for a quick meal, make sure you have a fast cooking pasta.

 ** My favorite shredded fake cheese is Veggie Shreds by Galaxy Nutritional Foods. It melts super well- although the cheese in these mac pics was something else, aaand I don't remember the brand. I actually haven't found any shredded cheezes that I don't like.