Cinnamon Crescents with Orange + Almond Glaze

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls with Orange-Almond Glaze from spicedblog.com  #cinnamonroll #cinnamonbun

I’ve had this day circled on my calendar for weeks.  Yup, that’s right.  Wednesday, April 10th.  Big red circle.  Nope, its not my birthday.  So why is it circled you might ask?  Because April 10th is National Cinnamon Crescent Day.  And as you may have noticed from previous posts, I am slightly obsessed with cinnamon.  I love it.  When it comes to breakfast foods, I always opt for something anything with cinnamon.  Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookie.  You get my drift.  So go out and celebrate National Cinnamon Crescent Day with these delicious Cinnamon Crescents with Orange-Almond Glaze.  You know I will be!

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls with Orange-Almond Glaze from spicedblog.com  #cinnamonroll #cinnamonbun Like any yeast dough, this recipe is made in several stages.  The dough is mixed and then put in a warm spot to rest for a bit.  Then you shape the cinnamon crescents and put them away to rest again.  In the cooler months, I often use my oven as a resting place for the dough.  I turn on the oven to the lowest setting, and as soon as it hits about 85-90 degrees, I immediately turn it off.  Now you’ve got a perfect closed space for your dough to hang out and rise!  Of course, its always important to cover the dough with plastic wrap or a linen cloth to prevent a dry crust from developing.

This recipe can easily be adapted to make cinnamon rolls or even cinnamon swirl bread if you’d prefer.  The only difference is the way you shape the dough.  For either cinnamon rolls or cinnamon bread, simply roll the dough into a large log rather than cutting it into triangles for crescents.  If you prefer cinnamon rolls, then just cut the log into 8-10 pieces and lay each piece on its side.  For cinnamon swirl bread, just put the log into a bread pan.  Then return the dough to a warm location for the second rise.  (Note: you will likely need to adjust the baking time for rolls/bread.)

Cinnamon Crescents with Orange + Almond Glaze

Ingredients

    For the Dough
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur!)
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp orange zest (~half of a medium orange)
  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the Filling
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • For the Glaze
  • 2 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp orange zest (~half of a medium orange)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 4 Tbsp orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp milk

Instructions

    For the Dough
  1. In the bowl of a countertop mixer with the dough hook attached, combine all of the dry ingredients (flour, yeast, sugar, salt, nutmeg, zest).
  2. Warm the milk on the stovetop or in a microwave for a few seconds. It should be slightly warm to the touch but not hot. Add milk and remaining dough ingredients (butter, egg yolk, vanilla) to the bowl.
  3. Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes.
  4. Cover dough and place in a warm (~80 degrees) location for about 1.5 hours or until doubled in size.
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured countertop and roll into a square approximately 16"x16".
  6. For the Filling
  7. Using your hands, gently spread the butter across the top of the entire square of dough. (Note: If the butter is not soft enough to spread, just microwave for about 6-7 seconds. The butter should be soft and spreadable but not melted.)
  8. Combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle this mixture evenly across entire square.
  9. Carefully cut into 4"x2" squares. Then cut each square diagonally to create 2 triangles of dough from each square.
  10. Beginning with the 2" base of each triangle, roll each piece of dough into a crescent shape.
  11. Place crescent rolls onto parchment-lined pans, cover, and return to a warm location for ~45 minutes.
  12. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-27 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
  13. For the Glaze
  14. Combine all ingredients for glaze and stir until smooth. Drizzle over cinnamon crescents and serve warm. (Note: Allow crescents to cool slightly before applying glaze.)
http://spicedblog.com/cinnamon-crescents-with-orange-almond-glaze.html

Tasty (and Easy!) Side Dish: Green Beans, Tomatoes, and Pancetta

Green Beans + Tomatoes + Pancetta = Delicious (and easy!) Side Dish.  Click for recipe from Spiced!

One of my many favorite things about summer is eating directly out of the garden.  I know it sounds a bit cliche, but I seriously walk out to the garden every afternoon and see whats ripe…and then that becomes dinner for the night.  If you’ve never planted an herb/vegetable garden, then try it this year!  Start small if you’d like.  Many veggies & herbs are container-friendly, so start with just a couple containers on the back porch.  Your dinners will be tastier, and your wallet will thank you!

Green Beans + Tomatoes + Pancetta = Delicious (and easy!) Side Dish.  Click for recipe from Spiced!

Since Spring is just beginning here, it’ll be a few more months before the garden really begins to produce much.  So at this time of the year I resort to whatever is on sale each week at the market.  There must have been a bumper green bean crop this year as I keep finding beans on sale!  Fine by me…I love green beans.  Today’s recipe is one of my go-to favorites for string beans.  The small amount of pancetta adds an incredible boost of flavor while the tomatoes add an acidity that really provides a nice balance to this dish.  I often finish this with a couple squeezes of fresh lemon juice which adds a nice layer of brightness.  I also remove the hard tips of the beans before cooking–just line the beans up and use a sharp knife to remove all the tips at once.  I find that a good set of chef’s knives makes all the difference in the kitchen!

Green Beans + Tomatoes + Pancetta = Delicious (and easy!) Side Dish.  Click for recipe from Spiced!

This dish is easy and only requires a couple of ingredients…so next time you see green beans on sale at your market, grab a pound and give this recipe a shot.  One bite and it’ll become a go-to favorite for you, too!

Tasty (and Easy!) Side Dish: Green Beans, Tomatoes, and Pancetta

Ingredients

  • 1 pound green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, diced (Either pre-sliced or whole will work.)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice, to finish

Instructions

  1. Blanche the green beans (place beans in gently boiling water for 4-5 minutes and then immediately transfer beans to bowl of cold water for 4-5 minutes)
  2. Chop the beans at an angle into 1" pieces. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, place diced pancetta into a saute pan and cook until crispy (about 8-10 minutes depending on thickness). Discard all but 1 Tbsp of fat from the saute pan.
  4. Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the saute pan along with the remaining 1 Tbsp of fat.
  5. Over medium heat, add tomatoes to the pan and cook until slightly tender (3-4 minutes).
  6. Add chopped beans and continue to cook on medium for another 3-4 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and add the cooked pancetta. Stir until well combined.
  8. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and serve hot.
http://spicedblog.com/tasty-and-easy-side-dish-green-beans-tomatoes-and-pancetta.html

Smoked Salmon & Chipotle Cream Cheese Spread

Smoked Salmon & Chipotle Cream Cheese Dip--click for recipe from Spiced! If you regularly read Spiced, then you know that my wife and I live in upstate New York.  We love it up here.  The summers are great and the leaves are gorgeous in the fall…not to mention the apple picking in the fall, too!  Winters?  Eh.  But the rest of the year makes up for those.  We moved up here a couple years ago from Atlanta, Georgia.  While it was nice to move to a bit smaller city, we really miss the Atlanta restaurant scene.  We’ve found a few places up here that we enjoy, but it’s nothing like Atlanta.  How can you compete with a place that features literally dozens of restaurants run by former Iron Chef and Top Chef stars?

One of my wife’s favorite restaurants in Atlanta is Two Urban Licks, and we always ordered their Salmon Chips every time we visited.  This appetizer featured homemade potato chips loaded with salmon, chipotle cream cheese, capers, and red onions.  Needless to say, we miss it!  So last weekend, we decided to try and recreate this dish ourselves.  Our version is definitely a bit different that theirs, but its certainly reminiscent…and still quite delicious in my opinion!  It’s a relatively simple spread to make, but (like many spreads and dips) it tastes much better if you make it the day before and let the flavors meld in the refrigerator overnight.  I suspect this spread will become a go-to appetizer whenever we have company over…its that good!

Smoked Salmon & Chipotle Cream Cheese Dip--click for recipe from Spiced! So if you are ever find yourself near Atlanta (maybe for the Final Four this weekend!), then definitely take a trip to Two Urban Licks.  Their food is excellent, and they are one of the only restaurants in the country to serve wine out of casks.  It’s worth a visit, but you will absolutely need reservations to get in.  And if you do go, then put an extra order of Salmon Chips in for me!

Smoked Salmon & Chipotle Cream Cheese Spread

Ingredients

  • 1/4" piece of chipotle in adobo (start with a small amount and add more depending on your preference)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 Tbsp red onion, chopped
  • 6-8 ounces cold smoked salmon, chopped
  • capers, for garnish
  • chives, for garnish (optional)
  • Box of Melba toast (see note below)

Instructions

  1. Place chipotle and cream cheese in a food processor (I use the mini-processor that came with my immersion blender) and blend until smooth.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the Chipotle Cream Cheese, smoked salmon, and red onion and mix by hand until well combined.
  3. Spread onto a hard cracker or melba toast.
  4. Garnish each toast with 1-2 capers and chives.

Notes

Chipotle (in adobo sauce) can usually be found in small cans in the Latin foods aisle at your market. One can will last a long time, so store leftovers in a ziploc bag in the freezer.

Most markets carry boxes of melba toast in the cracker aisle. Any hard cracker will work. Two Urban Licks serves this spread on homemade potato chips, so you could also make your own potato chips (or substitute store-bought kettle chips).

http://spicedblog.com/smoked-salmon-chipotle-cream-cheese-spread.html

How to Make Ricotta Gnocchi

How to Make Ricotta Gnocchi--click for recipe from Spiced! Gnocchi is absolutely one of my favorite Italian foods.  Ever.  I’m pretty sure it was a daily staple when my wife and I traveled to Italy on our honeymoon a couple years back.  If you’ve never had good gnocchi, then you are missing out.  Like most pasta dishes, there are many different varieties of gnocchi, but flour, potato, and ricotta are among the more common types.  Gnocchi are often served with various red sauces or a simple brown butter and sage sauce.  Depending on my mood, I usually opt for red sauce or pesto…mainly because pesto makes everything better!

How to Make Ricotta Gnocchi--click for recipe from Spiced!

So the other day I noticed I had some leftover ricotta cheese in the refrigerator.  I didn’t have any immediate need for it, so rather than letting it go to waste, I decided to make some ricotta gnocchi.  This recipe is incredibly quick and simple to make and is almost foolproof…oh, and did I mention that it’s delicious, too?  You could come home after a long day at work and have dinner on the table in a little more than 30 minutes.  And you’d have time for a glass of wine, too.  (What is it about Italian food that seems to require a glass of wine?)

How to Make Ricotta Gnocchi--click for recipe from Spiced! One of my absolute favorite ways to serve this dish is to simply toss the ricotta gnocchi in pesto and then heat in a saute pan until warm.  Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and dinner is done!  But don’t forget to pour another glass of wine first.

How to Make Ricotta Gnocchi

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups ricotta cheese, drained
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1.5 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together until well blended.
  2. Cover and let dough rest for about 30 minutes.
  3. While dough is resting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  4. Roll dough into a log approximately 1" thick. Roll log in extra semolina flour to keep it from sticking.
  5. Cut log into ~1" pieces.
  6. Carefully place each gnocchi into the boiling water and cook until gnocchi float (just 1-2 minutes).
  7. Use a slotted spoon to gently transfer the cooked gnocchi into the pan with whatever sauce you prefer.

Notes

An easy way to drain ricotta cheese is to wrap it in cheesecloth and then place in a colander over a bowl in the refrigerator. Ideally, ricotta should drain for a couple of hours or as long as overnight. (Just do this before you go to bed, and your ricotta will be ready to go for dinner tomorrow...just keep it in the refrigerator!)

http://spicedblog.com/how-to-make-ricotta-gnocchi.html