Category Archives: Christmas

Make Ahead Cinnamon Buns and Christmas Macarons

My family absolutely loves this recipe for cinnamon buns. They are softer and a bit smaller than a traditional cinnamon roll. My husband prefers them this way! Every Christmas, I make these using the “to freeze” method for my mommy friends. What better gift to give my busy, exhausted mommy friends than the gift of not having to make breakfast at christmastime? I package up the rolls in round paper baking pans along with a container of powdered sugar and cinnamon  for the glaze and a tag with directions to bake the buns and make the glaze. It is one of my favorite gifts to give! I also keep one batch in our freezer to have a simple christmas morning breakfast.

Ingredients
Dough
3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 oz.) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons (3/4 oz.) potato flour or 1/4 cup instant potato flakes
2 tablespoons (3/4 oz.) nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons  (1 1/4 oz.) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons (2 oz.)  soft or room-temperature butter
2/3 cup  (5 3/8 oz.) lukewarm water
1/2 cup (4 oz.) lukewarm milk
Filling
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Topping
2 tablespoons  ( 1 oz.) melted butter
Glaze
1 cup (4 oz.)  confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons (1 1/2-2oz. ) cream or 2 to 3 tablespoons (1-1 1/2oz.) milk
Instructions
Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl, and mix and knead — using your hands, a stand mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough.
Place the dough in a lightly greased container — an 8-cup measure works well here —

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and allow the dough to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s just about doubled in bulk.

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Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
Roll the dough into a 20″ long rectangle, about 12″ wide. This soft dough rolls easily, so you shouldn’t have much trouble with shrinking or “push back.”
Sprinkle 2 teaspoons cinnamon over the surface of the dough. A small sieve or tea strainer works well here.
Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a 24″ log; it’ll naturally stretch from its original 20″ to about 24″ as you roll. In order to make the neatest job of cutting out the buns, use a sharp knife to mark the log at 1 1/2″ intervals.
Slice the dough into 1 1/2″-thick buns. The neatest way to do this, by far, is by looping a piece of dental floss underneath the dough where you want to cut it, then pulling the ends in opposite directions. The floss will cut the dough neatly, without squashing it.
Lightly grease two 8″ round cake pans. Divide the buns between the two pans, spacing 8 in each pan.

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Cover the pans, and allow the buns to rise till they’re crowded against one another and quite puffy, about 60 to 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

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Uncover the buns, and bake them for 20 to 23 minutes, until they’re golden brown on top and the edges of the center bun spring back lightly when you touch it.
To serve buns now: Just before the buns are done, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, and cream or milk to make the glaze. Turn the hot buns out of the pan onto a rack, and brush with the melted butter. Spread with the glaze, and serve immediately.
To serve buns later: Turn the hot buns out of the pan onto a rack, and brush with the melted butter. Cool completely. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature for a couple of days; for longer storage, freeze. Just before serving, tent the buns lightly with foil, and rewarm in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 minutes (a bit longer, for frozen buns). Stir together the glaze, brush over the buns, and serve warm.

To freeze buns: Bake the buns in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

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Wrap tightly and freeze. Take the buns out of the freezer the night before you want to bake them. Let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, let them rest on the counter while you preheat the oven to 350. Bake the buns for 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter. Spread with glaze and serve immediately.
Yield: 16 glazed cinnamon buns.

recipe source: King Arthur Flour

To give the cinnamon buns to my friends, I bake them in pretty round paper pans. These pans can be ordered online, or I can find them at Home Goods most of the time. After  I bake them for the first 15 minutes, I let them completely cool, wrap them tightly in saran wrap, then put them in a large twist tie baggie. Now they are ready for the freezer. I put the powdered sugar and cinnamon for the icing in small plastic containers. I finish it off with a ribbon and tag with baking directions.

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My friends love receiving this annual gift!!!!

I also wanted to quickly share the macarons I made for my kids teachers and our neighbors. I made red velvet with cream cheese buttercream macarons and gingerbread spice with eggnog buttercream macarons. I found clear macarons boxes to package them in. I also found free printable labels from liagriffith.com. The labels are made so you can download them and personalize them for your needs! Click on the link above to download your own labels! I loved seeing the teacher’s faces light up when they received the pretty box of macarons. I am always sure to include the hardworking principal, nurse, and secretaries along with all of my kids teachers. I am so appreciative of all of the hard work that they do to teach  my children and keep them safe at school. For my neighbors, I delivered the macarons and our christmas card to their mailboxes.

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I hope you have a wonderful holiday season! Enjoy baking with your family, giving gifts, and spending time with loved ones throughout this next week. Merry Christmas to all and happy baking!

 

Christmas Baking Ideas

What are you baking for Christmas this year? Now that my shopping is complete, my homemade gifts are made, and my kids are off school for winter break, I can finally focus on my Christmas baking! Here are a few things I will be making for our holiday parties.

Funfetti Shortbread Bites from cookingclassy.com

I made one batch of these adorablly delicious shortbread bites with my daughter. They didn’t last long, so we will be making another batch to bring to our family Christmas parties.  This recipe comes from a wonderful blogger at Cooking Classy. I have been following her for the last couple of years. Every recipe I have tried from this blog is fantastic! These are a wonderful treat to bring to your Christmas party or to hand out to neighbors and friends. It is a very quick and easy recipe, and it makes a lot at once. Click on the caption above for the shortbread bites recipe.

 

Italian Ricotta Cookies from cooking classy.com

These Italian ricotta cookies look so delicious. I love trying new recipes, and I cannot wait to try this one! Click on the caption above for the link to the recipe from Cooking Classy.

 

Twix Thumbprint Cookies from cookingclassy.com

These Twix thumbprint cookies from Cooking Classy also look wonderful. I know my family will love these as well! Click on the caption above for the recipe.

 

Holiday Butter Cookies from King Arthur Flour

I have been using this Holiday Butter Cookie recipe for my cutout cookies for the last couple of years. I use fiori di sicilia to flavor the cookies. It is a wonderful blend of citrus and vanilla that makes these cookies so delicious. If you cannot find it, you can use any flavor you prefer such as vanilla extract or almond extract.  I do not roll my dough quite as thin as the recipe suggests. I like my cutout cookies on the thicker side. This cookie has the perfect combination of crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. The cookies also hold their shape after being cooked. I also like the cookie icing recipe. It dries shiny and adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the butter cookies. I will be making quite a few of these cookies this weekend. I am bringing them to my families annual cookie decorating day at my mom’s house. I am also hosting a cookie decorating party for my girlfriends. I provide the baked cookies and icing and the girls bring the wine and appetizers!

I would love to hear what you are baking this year. Let me know in the comment section below! Happy holiday baking!!!

Look for my next post soon…my make ahead cinnamon rolls. Not only do they make a quick and easy breakfast for Christmas morning, but they are also the perfect gift for my mommy friends! What better gift for a busy mom than a quick breakfast that she doesn’t have to cook!