Walked outside *just* in the nick of time to catch this additional Wildlife Wednesday sunset. Nice timing, sun!
I’m officially obsessed with my new cookbook.
The one that gives me ALL the secrets behind Flour‘s amazing baked goods. Including their famous sticky buns.
Who could ask for anything more???
Last week I made the sticky buns BUT they were gobbled up before I could get a picture. I’m not mad.
Anywho, I am apparently on some sort of spiritual journey through Flour’s cookbook, as I just baked my way through not one, two, or even three recipes…
I made four. In a 48-hour period. Nah, I didn’t go out this weekend.
Hi, my name is Melanie and I’m a 23-year-old bakeaholic. Hiiiiii Melanie.
Don’t WORRY! In that 48-hour period I also did the Jillian Michael’s *LAST CHANCE WORKOUT* one..time. It sucked. Especially the mountain climbers.
…. where was I???
Oh yes…a weekend of FlOuR…part one. Banana bread with cow sprinkles because I teach preschool and we are learning about the farm and I have 38 different kinds of sprinkles.
Meep! Say iiiiiitttt…saaayyyy it…. I’m cute. Cows! Mooooooo.
This recipe was not only DELISH but it also received an A+ for easiness to make with kids. Go Joanne Chang!
Flour’s Famous Banana Bread
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
3 1/2 overripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsp sour cream (I used plain yogurt)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 9×5 inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
Beat sugar and eggs on medium for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
On low speed, drizzle in oil. Add bananas, sour cream or yogurt, and vanilla, then mix until just combined. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake for 1 to 1.25 hours, or until golden brown on top and center springs back when you press it. Allow to cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack, then pop it out of the pan to finish cooling.
I also mixed up a little glaze to put on top:
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp water
Bit by bit, my room is finally starting to come together! When I moved in on September 1st, the only thought running through my mind was: YELLOW. The walls are bright, yellow, extreme, and did I mention…bright? Since I am lazy and not a fan of home “projects”, I am 98% sure I won’t be taking the time to repaint the walls a more appropriate/grownup color. That being said, I really need to go with this yellow theme. I wish I had thought to take a “before” picture from when I first set my room up, because since then a LOT has changed.
I got a new duvet cover.
Which works great with the yellow walls.
I moved furniture around to get the feng shui just right.
I put my bed up on risers so I can store things underneath.
I invested in a cute baskets to put things in and clear up space on my vanity.
I got new lamps.
And I finally bought a bookcase.
In the magical land of meatballs and cheap yet cute furniture, IKEA.
Here is before, with a semi-assembled bookcase and lack of wall art:
The walls may still be painfully yellow, but I’m working on it. Slowly but surely.
I need more books! But I’m very proud of my knick-knacks.
This apartment is turning into a home!
I just lo-o-o-o-ve when I discover that I can make things I buy to eat all the time. Such as naan.
I love it even more when these things are relatively easy and uncomplicated to make. I wanted to share this homemade naan recipe with you for two reasons:
1. It is straight up delicious.
Mmmmm. Buttery, doughy goodness.
OhEmGee. These sticky buns. THESE STICKY BUNS. Pumpkin sticky buns with pecans and brown sugar glaze.
Another life-changing food event. These buns took no less than 3 hours and 3 sticks of butter. Well worth the effort and cellulite.
Since this recipe took SO much time and brain power, I’m going to walk you through it step by step.
Step 1. The Dough
1/4 cup water
1 scant tablespoon yeast (1 package)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit a few minutes until the yeast is dissolved.
Meanwhile, warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan on the stove top until the butter is melted. Combine this with the sugar in a large heat-proof mixing bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Let the milk mixture cool until it is just warm to the touch – NOT HOT. Then stir in the yeast and the pumpkin. Add the salt and five cups of the flour all at once, stirring until all the flour has been absorbed. Squish it between your hands if you’re having trouble incorporating the last of the flour. The dough will be sticky, but should come together in a shaggy ball. If it’s still more the consistency of cookie batter, work in an additional 1/2 cup of flower.
Cover the dough and let it rise for 1-3 hours. During this time, it should double in bulk. At this point, you can punch the dough down and refrigerate it overnight or continue shaping the rolls.
To shape the rolls (either immediately or with the refrigerated dough), sprinkle your work surface with a little flour and dump the dough on top. Pat it down into a rough rectangle and then use a floured rolling pin to roll it into a rectangular shape about a half an inch thick, longer than it is wide. If the dough gets sticky, sprinkle a little more flour on the dough’s surface and on your hands.
Step 2. The Filling
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups pecans – toasted, chopped, and divided in half (optional)
Melt the butter in the microwave and stir in the brown sugar and the spices. Spread this over the rectangle of dough, leaving an inch of bare dough at the top. Sprinkle one cup of the toasted pecans over the dough, if using. Starting at the edge closest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch it closed at the top.
Step 3. The Cutting
Cut the cylinder of dough into 1 1/2 inch rounds. Place them in two 9×13 pans or two round cake pans.
Step 4. The Rise
Allow the dough to rise for 20-30 minutes, or until the dough is “fat and puffy”. I couldn’t wait until the fat and puffy stage so I put them in the oven after 20ish minutes.
Step 5. The Bake
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees, until the tops are golden brown.
Step 6. The Glaze
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter. When the butter has melted, add the brown sugar and salt. Stir until the brown sugar has melted. Remove from heat and strain into a mixing bowl to remove any sugar clumps. Stir in the powdered sugar. This should form a thick but pourable glaze.
Let the baked rolls cool for about five minutes and then pour the glaze on top.
Step 7: The Eating
Recipe found here.
Have I ever told you guys how I have the funnest job ever? How I get to hang out with ridiculous four-year-olds all day? And sometimes teach them things?
Yeah… I think I’ve mentioned it a time or two.
Part of the fabulousness of my job is Baking Fridays. Each Friday I gather up a few of the least snotty kiddos, allow them to dump some flour in a bowl, and sometimes, if they’re really good, hold the bowl and stir. Sometimes I try to teach them math, like 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup = 1 cup. Mostly they like sneaking chocolate chips when I’m not looking.
Because we are in the month of October, all Baking Fridays have revolved around pumpkins. Duh.
This Friday we made Pumpkin Blondies. As a general rule, I judge recipes based on how easy they are to follow when 5 pairs of teeny tiny hands are trying to steal chocolate chips behind my back. These Pumpkin Blondies score an A+ on this scale. And an A for taste and texture.
We used this recipe. As Anna, age 4, put it….
“These pumpkin blondies fill Melanie’s heart with love”
Yeah, pretty much.
I love me some whoopie pies.
Today I made Martha Stewart’s (do I even need to say where I get my recipes anymore?) Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting.
They are like two pumpkin cupcake tops smooshed together with fluffy cream cheese frosting. Heaven.
Worry not, my friends. These pretty little things are not actually cupcakes. They are mac&cheese bites.
I’ve been wanting to make these ever since this post last winter. I finally had an excuse as I was invited to attend a homemade dinner with friends this past Sunday.
I used this recipe.
Then, I got creative and jazzed the second batch up with blue cheese, hot sauce, and a few sprinkles of breadcrumbs. Delicioso!
Needless to say they were a hit. If you want to make new friends via mac&cheese, this is the way to go.