Friday, May 25, 2012

Do Certain Recipes Intimidate Anyone Else?

I didn't cook a lot growing up, not because my mom didn't cook (she is an awesome cook and cooked all the time), but just because I had no interest in it. Sometime in college, I discovered that I actually do like to cook, and if I do say so myself, I think I've made quite a bit of progress cooking wise in just over 5 years! That said, there have always been a few recipes out there that just straight up intimidated me for some reason. I'd watch other people make them and profess how easy they are, but I was still scared to give them a shot.

Freezer Jam was one such instance, but I think I've conquered that one now thanks to this recipe (step-by-step with photos!). Beef roasts were another, but again, I think I've got that down now. If you can believe it, homemade ice cream even intimidated me for awhile, but now it's no biggie. Homemade bread--specifically yeast bread--was one that intimidated me for a LONG time, but a birthday gift of this book (non-affiliate link) from Justin last year made me love to bake artisan breads.

But cinnamon rolls? They were still intimidating. I'd attempted them once before, and they just didn't turn out as I'd hoped. They tasted good, but it was just a sticky, gooey, pain-in-the-butt mess that took FOREVER. But leave it to pregnancy to cause another inconvenient craving, which is how I found myself cleaning the kitchen last night at 6pm so that I could make cinnamon rolls from scratch. I enlisted Lizzy's help, and it actually wasn't too bad. Justin and I were each munching on a warm cinnamon roll by about 9:15pm (well, I was munching on one, he was munching on five).


And after Lizzy and I each had one this morning, there were only 2 of fifteen left (as a side note, cinnamon rolls are very hard to photograph!). Hopefully, Justin took some to work to share! Otherwise, I'm very jealous that he can eat 10 cinnamon rolls within 24 hours and not instantly gain 10 pounds. But I digress. If you're interested, here's the recipe, which was modified slightly from Kaitlyn Cooks, because I don't think some of the steps are absolutely necessary--will they improve your end result? I'm sure they will...but you'll still get a good result leaving the dough in your mixer rather than using both a mixer AND turning it out on a wood board...and I'm just all about simple.Which probably explains why I don't have nearly as making baking successes as cooking successes, since baking tends to require being a bit more precise, and you know, actually following the recipe. But, adding my own little spin on things worked here, so I'm gonna roll with it.

Dough Ingredients:
  • 1 cup milk, warmed in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
  • 2 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast (for me, this was about 1.5 packages)
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 2 room temperature eggs (they can't be cold, let them sit in warm water for a few minutes)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cups AP flour
Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened

Cream Cheese Glaze:
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tbsp of milk
Directions: Add the warm milk to the bowl of a stand mixer and stir in the sugar, sprinkle with the yeast. Wait about 5-10 minutes. Add the melted butter, eggs and salt and mix together using the paddle attachment for a Kitchenaid mixer. Mix in the flour cup by cup switching over to the dough hook when the dough forms a ball. Knead in the stand mixer, adding a little more flour if the dough is too sticky (the original recipe said to knead the dough in the mixer for 8 minutes--I didn't time it, and probably only kneaded for 4 or 5). The dough should be smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise about 1-1.5 hours. Punch down, re-cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Put dough on a lightly floured (and preferably clean) counter/table Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough lengthwise and cut into at least 12 rolls (I got 15 easily). Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch glass baking pan.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 F.  Bake rolls for 15 minutes or until golden brown (see original recipe for an overnight option). While the cinnamon rolls are baking. Add the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla to your stand mixer bowl and beat with the whisk attachment until smooth, remembering to scrape down the sides and bottom. Add the milk tbsp by tbsp to thin out the glaze. Top hot rolls, fresh out of the oven, with a spoonful of glaze. Use the backside of the spoon to spread it. Enjoy these little guys warm.

They were worth cleaning the kitchen for the first time in weeks, for sure! 

As far as intimidating recipes go, anyone out there relate and have something that intimidates you to make? I think for me, the only one left that really makes me nervous is Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon, which I have wanted to make since I saw Julie & Julia, but still haven't attempted even though I really, really want to! I know there are simplified recipes out there, but I really want to go big and try the "original".

Someday...I will make it, even though it's sort of an all-day affair. I WILL, and it will be delicious. 


  1. I make the same cinnamon roll recipe - YUM!

  2. 2-3 years ago, I would have said a lot of things intimidate me. But as I learn to make more things at home, getting further from processed and convenient foods, there aren't many recipes that I'm intimidated by. I attribute that a lot to my favorite cooking blog, Annies Eats. If you haven't, do check it out! The cinnamon rolls look awesome!

  3. The bane of my existence is bagels. Australia doesn't believe in them, at least not on the west side, so I've tried making them three separate times and they all have turned out TERRIBLE.

  4. Oh my god I so want to try, cinnamon rolls are so delicious!!

    P.S. I get so excited every time I read your blog thinking about your pregnancy and you guys having another little one :) <3


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