Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Caramel Sticky Rolls

Holy goodness. Eat these.  Now.  NOW!  I love cinnamon rolls as much as the next person, but this is a welcome variation.  Also, it is one of those miracles of chemistry that is baking because a little bit of butter and brown sugar turn into an amazing caramel that douses these buns in very sticky and amazing goodness.

I made these to surprise my husband when he came home from work one morning.  His response was, "Great.  I'm going to get fat."  In my opinion, a few extra pounds so that you can eat these rolls is totally something you can live with.  And he did.  And he was grateful.

Sticky Pecan Caramel Rolls

1 1/2 pounds of bread dough (It would be too laborious for me to go over the whole method of bread making in this book, but it is wonderful.  You should definitely check the book out from your library.  I used the Challah dough from this same book to make these rolls.)

Caramel Topping
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
30 pecan halves (I omitted these)

The Filling
4 tablespoons salted butter, softened (I used unsalted.  You can just add a little salt.)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped and toasted pecans (I omitted these)
Pinch of ground black pepper (I omitted this too.  I don't remember this being on the ingredient list.  I think I might try it next time.)

Cream together the butter, salt, and brown sugar.  Spread evenly over the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan.  Scatter the pecans over the butter-sugar mixture and set aside.
Roll out the dough to a 1/8-inch thick rectangle on a lightly foured surface.
Cream together the butter, sugar, and spices.  Spread evenly over the rolled-out dough and sprinkle with the chopped nuts.  Starting with the long side, roll the dough into a log.  With a very sharp serrated knife, cut the log into 8 equal pieces and arrange over the pecans in the pan, with the swirled edge facing upward.  Cover loosely and allow to rest and rise 1 hour (or just 40 minutes if you're using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).
5 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350.  Bake about 40 minutes, or until golden brown and well set in the center.  While still hot, run a knife around the inside of the pan to release the rolls, and invert immediately onto a serving dish.  If you let them set too long they will stick to the pan and be difficult to turn out.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Swedish Meatballs

Wow.  It has been 3 weeks since I've posted a recipe.  Don't worry, this one will make up for it.  These meatballs were so tender and delicious.  It was so hard to not lick the plate clean.  They are better than the IKEA version if you've ever had them.  Serve these babies over egg noodles for a sensational meal.

Swedish Meatballs

1 large egg
1/4 cup half & half or heavy cream
2 medium sized dinner rolls, torn into small pieces
1 pound ground turkey
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Vegetable oil for frying (optional) - see tip below

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup half & half or heavy cream
2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon

For the Meatballs:
Whisk egg and cream together in medium bowl. Stir in bread and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a bowl mix together the turkey, nutmeg, allspice, pepper, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder with clean hands.  Using fork, mash bread mixture until no large dry bread chunks remain; add mixture to the meat mixture and blend with hands until just incorporated.  (When mixing meat, try to handle it as little as possible.)
Using a small or medium ice cream scoop, form meatballs with wet hands and set aside; repeat with remaining mixture to form 25 to 30 meatballs.
Heat oil in 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat until edge of meatball dipped in oil sizzles (oil should register 350 degrees on instant-read thermometer), 3 to 5 minutes. Add meatballs in single layer and fry, flipping once halfway through cooking, until lightly browned all over and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. (Adjust heat as needed to keep oil sizzling but not smoking.) Using slotted spoon, transfer browned meatballs to paper towel-lined plate.
Tip: rather than frying your meatballs, use a mini muffin pan and bake them instead! Spray the mini muffin pan with cooking spray to prevent sticking and place your meatballs in each well. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove and use in the recipe as directed. (This is the method I chose.)

For the Sauce:
Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add butter. When foaming subsides, add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until flour is light brown, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in broth. Add brown sugar and mushrooms and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce is reduced to about 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream and return to simmer.
Add meatballs to sauce and simmer, turning occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
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