Sunday, February 24, 2013

Orange-White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cinnamon Rolls

I hope you'll forgive me for being just a little slow in posting this recipe. It's not that it's not a good fact this is probably the yummiest cinnamon roll I've made. For sure, it's my favorite so far. So, why the hesitation? Frankly, it's because I'm on a diet going through a lifestyle change. Not to worry--I haven't completely abandoned the "good stuff". After all, my motto is "everything in moderation". It's just that I'm still in the beginning stages and, while most of this batch is resting in the freezer, it's a little painful looking at the picture. Please bear with me as I learn the moderation process.

I think orange zest may be one of my favorite flavor additions...this roll is full of it!

Orange-White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
1 egg, slightly beaten
3-3 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into 4-5 pieces
1 (3.5-4 oz) bar premium white chocolate
1/2 cup diced macadamia nuts

2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2-3 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 375 ° F.

 Heat the milk, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and orange peel in a small saucepan until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Let cool until temperature is about 110 degrees F (like bathwater warm).

I started early on with the orange flavor by putting some in the warmed milk.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups of the flour and the salt.

In a large mixing bowl, combine milk mixture with yeast, egg, and 2 cups of the flour mixture; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. (Alternately, just use the dough hook on your mixer and let the mixer knead the dough for about five minutes).

Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a clean damp towel. Allow dough to rise until double, about 1 hour.  In the mean time, process the brown sugar, cinnamon, orange peel, and white chocolate in a food processor. Add the cold butter and pulse until incorporated.

Roll out the dough into a 12 X 9 inch rectangle (I like to do this on my Silpat). Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch edge. Sprinkle the diced macadamia nuts evenly over the the filling. Roll up the dough from the long side and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal sized pieces and place into a greased 9 X 13 inch pan. Cover and let rise until doubled (or refrigerate overnight).

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven and frost while warm.

For frosting, beat the cream cheese and the butter in a medium bowl. Add the orange peel and vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar and orange juice, beating to desired consistency.

I've said it before--the frosting is the best part.

Hint: to avoid over-consumption, wrap each cinnamon roll in plastic wrap and freeze. To serve, simply nuke the frozen roll for 30 seconds.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Whole Wheat Focaccia with's a Hearts and Flours Improv!

It's time for another monthly Improv and this month--in honor of Valentine's day--our theme is "Hearts and Flours"! For those not in the know, the monthly Improv, hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, is a friendly little competition where we create dishes based on two seasonal ingredients. Truth be told, I took this month's theme a little out of the box. Instead of creating a heart shaped food, I used "hearts" in my food--and made it heart healthy to boot!

Yum...I love artichoke hearts! Unfortunately, I've only ever had them in fatty appetizers or drenched in oil. These are packed in water.

If you haven't deduced from my last post, Healthier Mixed Berry Muffins, I'm trying to drop a lot a little weight and eat a little healthier. That is not to say that I won't continue posting some decadent stuff (I promise--those Orange-White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cinnamon Rolls will be up next), but I've found that a little moderation is in order. Luckily for me, my husband is on the same wavelength so it's easy for me to try out some new things.

One of the things that we discovered is that it's a lot easier for us to make better eating choices when we're at home. That said, it's hard to make dinner for the two of us after working all day. So, believe it or not, this focaccia bread recipe came about because I was tired and in a rush (thank goodness for my KitchenAid mixer!)

Whole Wheat Artichoke Focaccia

1 cup warm water (like bathwater warm)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fast rising yeast
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt 

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or black pepper)
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and sliced
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Combine the water, sugar, oil and yeast in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to foam.

In the mean time, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups of the all purpose flour, salt, and seasoning. Add it to the yeast mixture.

Using the dough hook on the stand mixer, knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until it cleans the sides of the bowl. Add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, if needed. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning it once. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set it in a warm, draft-free area to rise for 30-45 minutes.

Whole wheat flour can make the dough a little dry. Initially, I dumped all of the flour into the mix at once...I had to add a little more water. Luckily, the dough is pretty forgiving and it all turned out fine.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F; spray a 15" X 10" pan with cooking spray.

Gently deflate the dough and press it into the prepared pan. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with the garlic powder and the pepper. Evenly top the dough with the sliced artichoke hearts, drained tomatoes, onions,and spinach. Sprinkle the cheese and the Italian seasoning over the top.

I was going to bake this on a pizza stone, but discovered it had broken in half (!). Luckily, using the jelly roll pan made this even easier.

I loved this combination of toppings, but you can get creative here...add some olives, fresh herbs...whatever floats your boat. :)

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Cut into squares--this will make 6 servings at about 300 calories per serving.

I really loved how this turned out! If you aren't familiar with white whole wheat flour, you can read about it on the Whole Grains Council's a great way to add whole grains if you aren't fond of regular whole wheat flour. Feel free to substitute your favorite spices. I used a little cayenne pepper to give it a slight kick, but regular pepper works fine. I'll bet some fresh basil (I didn't have any) would make a nice addition, too.

Don't forget to check out what everyone else is making!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mixed Berry Muffins...a healthier option

Well folks, believe it or not, my elliptical has been dusted off and I've officially started exercising at least once a day. Don't get too worked up, though. I'm not switching over to posting diet food...but I did manage to make some muffins a tad bit healthier. I hope you don't mind if I share....

Diets really don't work out very well for me. If I deprive myself, I end up craving things that I wouldn't normally even think about eating That said, I need to make some changes or my health is going to suffer. So what is a food obsessed gal to do? As it turns out, nothing terribly drastic.

I'm thinking that if I trim a few calories here and there, and use some common sense, I should be able to shed a few pounds, no? Let's start with my basic muffin recipe. If you want a the full-calorie version, you can find it here: Strawberries and Cream Muffins Now, here's what I did to change it up:

Mixed Berry Muffins

1 cup all purpose flour, divided
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus an additional 2 tablespoons for topping
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries
1 (6 oz) container low-fat Greek yogurt (I used strawberry)
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil or coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.; line cupcakes pans with 18 liners.

You may want to spray the liners with a little cooking spray. I found the lower fat muffins stuck to the paper.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 1 cup white whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, and orange peel; set aside.

Toss the frozen berries (if the strawberries are huge, cut them into smaller pieces) with the remaining 1/4 cup flour. Mix the yogurt, buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add the berries and the yogurt mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed...batter will be lumpy...don't over mix.

Yikes, there are some huge strawberries in there...I cut them into smaller pieces. Keep the fruit frozen so your batter doesn't get all discolored.

With a cookie scoop, divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the batter. Bake the muffins for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Another change I made was to make the muffins smaller...I divided the batter into 18 muffins instead of 12. I also used a little less sugar for the topping.

I had forgotten that I had some dried orange peel from Penzey's in the fridge. I mixed some in with the sugar that I used for the fact I made a little extra orange-sugar and used some on my oatmeal during the week.

So what do you think? They are smaller, have less fat, and have a little more fiber. The orange peel and the flavored yogurt gives them some good flavor...I really wasn't missing anything. The only other thing I did was to freeze them all---that way I'm not tempted to eat more than one. I just nuke one for about 30 seconds when I take it from the freezer. Feel free to use fresh fruit in your version...the berries here weren't looking very pretty, yet.

Now, just so you don't think I've completely given up all the good stuff, stay tuned for my next post--Orange-White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cinnamon Rolls...all packed neatly in a freezer bag right next to my healthy muffins... 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Creamy Tomato Bisque

Did you know that January is soup month? It makes sense. Here in Minnesota we've had the coldest weather in four years. A nice hot bowl of soup makes the best meal when your tootsies are cold, no? Now it's February and it's still cold..brrrr...I think it's time for another bowl.

One of my favorite soups is tomato, but it wasn't always that way. My mother made tomato soup quite often when I was growing up. It was the real deal, cans involved. Plus, she made sure there were little meatballs floating on top. I preferred a hamburger. Silly, silly I wish I could have a bowl of that perfect soup now. 

While I can't have a bowl of my mother's soup, I can and do make my own...even in mid-Winter when the temps are below zero and the tomatoes in the grocery store hard and sour. The secret is in the canned tomato....

Recently, I received a package of Tuttorosso Tomatoes to try. This was a real treat for me, since we can't get Tuttorosso Tomatoes in Minnesota. Luckily, we do have Red Gold Tomatoes and they make the Tuttorosso brand, so I knew they would be good....and they were! They also made an excellent addition to my recipe for Creamy Tomato Bisque. A little later, I will tell you how you might be able to get your own pack of Tuttorosso Tomatoes to try. First, Let me share my recipe....

Creamy Tomato Bisque

1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes, chopped with juice*
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon tarragon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups light cream
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Salt to taste

*I subbed the Tuttorosso Peeled Plum Shaped Tomatoes and the Tuttorosso Crushed Tomatoes with Basil

Melt butter in large pot over medium/high heat. Add onions, carrots and green pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened. Add the flour and continue to sauté for another minute, stirring constantly. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, sugar, basil, tarragon, cayenne pepper, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Remove the bay leaves and, working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until almost smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot, add the cream, paprika, curry powder and white pepper; heat the soup until it is hot, but not boiling. Salt to taste.

I topped this bowl with crispy bacon.....

.....but you could put some Grilled Cheese Sliders on top.

This weekend will mark a whole year since I was able to visit Red Gold Tomatoes, so it's fitting that I re-share this recipe with you now. I continue to be impressed with the quality of this product....really--put these tomatoes next to one of the other well-known brands and you will actually see the difference!

Tuttorosso has a recipe contest going on right now (through February 8th). Enter an original Italian recipe that uses Tuttorosso tomatoes to win some cool prizes. The first 4000 to enter will receive a free apron! For more information, read the rules on their Facebook page.

Would you like to give these awesome tomatoes a try? Simply leave a comment telling me all about your favorite tomato recipe. You can "like" The Dutch Baker's Daughter on Facebook and "like" Tuttorosso Tomatoes on Facebook for additional entries. Please enter using the Rafflecopter's easy...really!!

We will make this giveaway short and sweet....let's start on Friday, February 1, 2013 and end at 12:00 AM on Monday, February 4. I will use Rafflecopter to randomly choose the winner on Monday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Red Gold Tomatoes provided me with a sample and the giveaway. All opinions remain my own. You must be 18 years of age and reside in the USA to enter.