8 Ways to Celebrate National Dog Week!

As doting pet parents we know that every dog has his day, and we diligently mark August 26th on our calendars in recognition of National Dog Day. But did you also know that every dog has his own WEEK…

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First Day of Autumn

The first hint of changing colours, too.

(Long exposure with camera movement)

© Karen McRae, 2018

Alexander Henry Cat-finity Spiral Fabric

This post contains affiliate links*

Any other fabric fiends out there? I admit, I have way more fabric than I will every use in a lifetime, but I can’t resist this Cat-finity Spiral Cat Fabric from Alexander Henry. Oh, what should I make out of this?

If you share my fabric obsession, you can snap up some of this awesome fabric at Fabric.com. The pattern comes in black & white, multi-color, pink and brown. Have fun with it!

*FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the links, Hauspanther will get a small commission. We are dedicated to finding the coolest products for cats and cat lovers and we never recommend anything that we don’t love.

morning buns

morning buns

I promised another bun recipe for you, and here it is: Morning Buns. Unlike the Cinnamon Bun recipe I just posted, this one uses a quick Danish dough, which gives each roll buttery, flaky layers. I based the filling off the famous Tartine morning bun filling – I recently went to San Fransisco for the first time ever, and got to visit Tartine and try their famous morning buns (which I am still dreaming about). The buns are then coated in a cream cheese-orange icing, which brings out the orange flavor inside the filling, and also helps keep the centers tender and gooey. I can’t decide if I prefer these or the Cinnamon Buns better, but maybe I don’t have to choose.

*****************************

Where the sweet fields do lie forgot,

Where willing Nature does to all dispense

A wild and fragrant innocence;

And fauns and fairies do the meadows till

More by their presence than their skill

Their statues polished by some ancient hand

May to adorn the garden stand

But, howsoe’er the figures do excel,

The god themselves with us do dwell.

-Andrew Marvell, The Mower Against the Gardens

Summer is upon us, and I admit happily that I am enjoying the leisurely approach to life. There are no alarm clocks waking us before the sun, no lunches to pack, no children complaining about homework. I still have plenty of work to do, but somehow the days seem longer and sweeter without school in the mix. We have spent a lot of our days reading: I am a big advocate of books before screens, and am determined to make my children into bookworms. So far, so good. Currently I am reading the Harry Potter series out loud to my kids, and we just finished The Goblet of Fire (with a four hour marathon reading session today, and I may not be able to talk for a week). I haven’t been able to settle on a book for myself – I keep starting and stopping books, losing interest quickly (so if you have any summer reading recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them!). My daughter is also starting the The Nancy Drew series, which makes me incredibly happy, as I also started reading them at her age.

A few other things:

*Molly was kind enough to mention my cookbook in her Home & Kitchen Essentials article on Apartment Therapy.  Also, her new show debuted today on the Food Network!

*I really wish I could attend Yossy’s Fall Cooking workshop in Greece. Dang.

*Last week I spoke about my chocolate chip cookie recipe going viral at the Cherry Bombe Radio event here in Minneapolis. Mpls. St. Paul Magazine reprinted what I had to say on their website, if you want to read it.

morning buns

morning buns

Morning Buns

Danish dough recipe from my book, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book.

Filling adapted from Tartine Bakery

I’ve made the rolls in individual soufflé molds, specifically, these 3 x 2-inch copper mini molds from Mauviel. If you do not have soufflé molds, you could use ramekins instead, just make sure they are roughly the same size. The molds I used have straight 2-inch sides, which helps give the rolls their tall shape. The sides of the pans are buttered and then dusted with sugar, which caramelizes the sides of the buns, making for an incredible roll. As much as I like soft, gooey cinnamon buns, this version is currently my favorite way to partake.

The one downside to the copper molds is that they are crazy hot when they come out of the oven, which can make it a little tricky to get them out. I use a kitchen towel and wrap it around the base of the copper mold, then run a knife carefully around each roll, and flip them onto a wire rack. Make sure to line the bottom of each mold with parchment paper as noted in the instructions, or the buns will stick to the bottom and it will be extra hard to get them out.

Easy Danish Dough

Notes: The dough does need to rest overnight in the refrigerator, so plan accordingly. It’s important for the Danish dough to come to room temperature before you roll it out, or the butter will not incorporate correctly. This dough can be frozen, but doesn’t rise quite as nicely as when it’s fresh. If the dough is not used right away after being out and turned, it will puff up in the refrigerator. This will make it a little harder to roll out, but you will still have good results.

3/4 cup whole milk, warm (100-110F)

1 large egg, room temperature

2 large egg yolks, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups (355g) all-purpose flour

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick | 57g) unsalted butter, room temperature

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks | 170g) unsalted butter, cold, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

Filling

½ cup (99g) granulated sugar

½ cup (99g) brown sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

Zest of 2 oranges

Pinch salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Icing

2 ounces cream cheese

Pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2-4 tablespoons orange juice

2 cups (226g) confectioner’s sugar

For the easy Danish dough

Grease a large bowl.

In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, egg, yolks, and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt on low. Add the room temperature butter and mix on low until it is incorporated into the flour and no pieces are visible. Add the cold butter and mix on low, until it is broken down and smashed a bit, but still in 1/2-inch pieces. Add the milk mixture and mix on low until combined. The dough will be very sticky and there will be visible lumps of butter. Using a spatula, scrape the dough into the prepared bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 3 days.

The next morning, transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface. Knead 10-12 times, until the dough forms a ball. Cover the top lightly with flour and cover with a tea towel, let rest until it comes to room temperature. Pat the dough into a 6-inch square and roll into a 16 by 20-inch rectangle. If the dough sticks at all, sprinkle more flour underneath it. Brush any excess flour off the dough, and, using a bench scraper, fold the short ends of the dough over the middle to made three layers, similar to a business letter. This is the first turn.

Flip the dough over (seam side down) and roll into an 8 x 16-inch rectangle. Fold the short ends over the middle, business letter style. Repeat the steps again, for a total of four turns.

On the last turn, gently use the rolling pin to compress the layers together slightly. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour before using or keep refrigerated for 2 days.

To assemble

Butter ten 3 x 2-inch soufflé molds (see note above about soufflé mold specifics). Line the bottom of each mold with parchment paper, and then generously coat with granulated sugar, tapping out any excess. Place the molds on a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugars, cinnamon, orange zest, and salt.

Roll the dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the top, pressing it lightly into the butter so it adheres. Starting at the long side, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam gently to seal it and position the dough seam side down. Use a scissors or a sharp knife to cut the dough into 10 equal pieces. Transfer the pieces to the prepared pans and place them cut side up. Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Adjust the oven rack to the middle lower position. Preheat the oven to 375F.

Remove the plastic and bake 22 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the rolls are golden brown. While the rolls are baking prepare the icing.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the rolls cool for a few minutes. Use a kitchen towel or oven mitts to pick up each soufflé mold, then run a knife carefully around the edges of the pan, and flip the roll onto a wire rack. Carefully put the roll right side up, and repeat with the remaining rolls. Let cool for 5 minutes, then place a piece of parchment paper under the wire rack. Pour the icing over each roll. Serve warm.

For the icing

Place the cream cheese in a small bowl. Add the salt, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons orange juice and mix until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and mix until combined, adding more orange juice if needed, until the desired consistency is reached.

The post morning buns appeared first on The Vanilla Bean Blog.

Cinnamon Buns

cinnamon rolls

I’ve had a lot of people asking about these cinnamon buns on Instagram, and so I’m finally delivering with a recipe. This cinnamon roll recipe is adapted from my book but made a bit different: I’ve baked them in mini soufflé pans from Mauviel. I am really happy with how they turned out – the pans held the dough’s shape nicely, and pushed the buns up to be extra tall. The soufflé pans also help caramelize the sides of the buns while keeping the center tender, and this, in my humble opinion, makes them absolutely perfect. I have a few other recipes coming that involve these pans, and will try to get them up this next week.

**********************************

You have to understand,

that no one puts their children in a boat

unless the water is safer than the land

-Warsan Shire, Home

I read Warsan Shire‘s poem, Home this week. I think it is an important read, and you can read it in full here. I also just discovered the work of Joya Logue, and love her watercolors. This particular picture strikes a chord with me, and I have seen it paired with Shire’s poem quite a few times on Instagram the last day or two. As my children are home for summer break and we have the leisure to spend our days together reading and swimming and baking and being, I find my mind drawn constantly to those families that have been separated from one another. I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be to not know where my children were, and not sure if I would ever find them again. People are not statistics. Families Belong Together.

If you are concerned about what is currently happening at our borders, or if you are confused about what exactly is happening and why so many people are highlighting it, I have some links here for you. First of all, knowing exactly what asylum is and why people are seeking it is important. The American Immigration Council has a page detailing everything you need to know, and explains the process people go through once they reach our borders. You can read about that here. If you are curious about how the process has changed in the last few months (it has become harder to seek asylum), American Voice has an overview on the policies that have shifted. You can read about that here. Also, read this NPR piece on where the children go once they are taken from their parents. The New York Times has a great piece on Fact-Checking the Trump Administration’s Case For Child Separation at the Border. A google search of “who is speaking out against border policies” will bring up hundreds of hits – CEO’s, evangelical pastors, first ladies, the Pope, celebrities… so many people. I don’t bring this up to name drop, simply to say many people who often disagree on other issues are speaking up to say this policy is wrong.

My overall advice to you here is to read, fact check, and learn about what is going on.  People are not statistics.

If you’d like to contact your representatives about what is happening, you can find phone numbers and contact here. Resistbot is another great way to contact your local representatives, and you can find their webpage here. Don’t be afraid to use your voice, for this issue or any that is important to you! I’ve found the more I call, the easier it is each time. This website also has scripts that can help with calling.

If you’d like to give, here is a list of organizations mobilizing to help.

Also, I know that this is a food blog and many of my readers have different political opinions. I think what is currently happening to families at my own country’s borders is inhumane, and important enough to bring attention to here. To quote the late Anthony Bourdain, “People are not statistics. There’s nothing more political than food…who eats? Who doesn’t? Why do people cook what they cook? It is always the end or a part of a long story, often a painful one.”

People are not a means to an end, people are the end.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

I choose to raise my voice to help reunite families.

cinnamon rolls

A few other things (that seem trite after the above):

*My site got a little make over! I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I have to give a shout out to Alex from A Couple Cooks for all his help (and if you are looking for someone to help with your site, I highly recommend him!).

*A few months ago my site got hacked and someone signed thousands of people up for my email newsletter. My mailing list now should reflect those who want to be on there, but if you find you are not getting my emails anymore and would like to be, you can sign up on the side bar.

*Last week I spoke about my chocolate chip cookie recipe going viral at the Cherry Bombe Radio event here in Minneapolis. Mpls. St. Paul Magazine reprinted what I had to say on their website, if you want to read it.

*Molly’s new show starts this weekend on the Food Network! I can’t wait to watch.

cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe adapted from my book, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book.

I also have a recipe for brioche cinnamon rolls here if that is more up your alley.

I’ve made the rolls in individual soufflé molds, specifically, these 3 x 2-inch copper mini molds from Mauviel. If you do not have soufflé molds, you could use ramekins instead, just make sure they are roughly the same size. The molds I used have straight 2-inch sides, which helps give the rolls their tall shape. The sides of the pans are buttered and then dusted with sugar, which caramelizes the sides of the buns, making for an incredible roll. As much as I like soft, gooey cinnamon buns, this version is currently my favorite way to partake.

The one downside to the copper molds is that they are crazy hot when they come out of the oven, which can make it a little tricky to get them out. I use a kitchen towel and wrap it around the base of the copper mold, then run a knife carefully around each roll, and flip them onto a wire rack. Make sure to line the bottom of each mold with parchment paper as noted in the instructions, or the buns will stick to the bottom and it will be extra hard to get them out.

Dough

4 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup whole milk, warm (100-110F)

1/4 cup honey

4 cups (568g) all-purpose flour

2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

2 teaspoons salt

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks | 142g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces

Filling

3/4 cup (149g) brown sugar

1 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Icing

2 ounces cream cheese

Pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2-4 tablespoons water

2 cups (226g) confectioner’s sugar

For the dough

Grease a large bowl.

In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the eggs, milk, and honey.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, yeast, and salt and stir on low to combine. Add the egg mixture and mix on low to combine. With the mixer on low, add the butter, one piece at a time. When all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat the butter into the dough, until all the little butter pieces are incorporated, 1 minute. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl. The dough will be very sticky and you will need a spatula to scrape the dough into the bowl.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Place your fingers or a spatula underneath the dough and gently pull the dough up and fold it back over itself. Turn the bowl and repeat this folding again. Continue 6 to 8 more times, until all the dough has been folded over on itself. Re-cover the bowl with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat this series of folding 3 more times, for a rise time of 2 hours and a total of 4 foldings. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 72 hours.

For the filling

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

To assemble

Butter ten 3 x 2-inch soufflé molds (see note above about soufflé mold specifics). Line the bottom of each mold with parchment paper, and then generously coat with granulated sugar, tapping out any excess. Place the molds on a baking sheet.

Roll the dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the top, pressing it lightly into the butter so it adheres. Starting at the long side, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam gently to seal it and position the dough seam side down. Use a scissors or a sharp knife to cut the dough into 10 equal pieces. Transfer the pieces to the prepared pans and place them cut side up. Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Adjust the oven rack to the middle lower position. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Remove the plastic and bake 22 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the rolls are golden brown. While the rolls are baking prepare the icing.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the rolls cool for a few minutes. Use a kitchen towel or oven mitts to pick up each soufflé mold, then run a knife carefully around the edges of the pan, and flip the roll onto a wire rack. Carefully put the roll right side up, and repeat with the remaining rolls. Let cool for 5 minutes, then place a piece of parchment paper under the wire rack. Pour the icing over each roll. Serve warm.

For the icing

Place the cream cheese in a small bowl. Add the salt, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons water and mix until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and mix until combined, adding more water if needed, until the desired consistency is reached.

The copper soufflé molds were sent to me by Mauviel, but all opinions about them are my own.

 

The post Cinnamon Buns appeared first on The Vanilla Bean Blog.

Our Day Trip Packing List

As you probably know, John and I are devoted day trippers from waaaay back…in fact, we wrote the book on it! Our very first book was Day Trips from San Antonio and Austin; since then it’s…

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