PROJECT PASTRY QUEEN: MOTHER’S DAY PANCAKES

It’s my turn again to choose the recipe for Project Pastry Queen, and this time I chose Mother’s Day Pancakes. I could eat breakfast food for every meal of every day, and pancakes are my absolute favorite breakfast food.
I’ve tried over and over again to make perfect, fluffy pancakes on my own, and I’m just not very good at it. These pancakes turned out pretty darn good, though. I had some brown bananas that I needed to use, so I used the “Rather Sweet Variation” and added banana and mini chocolate chips to my pancakes. The kids scarfed them, and I really liked them too. The banana and chocolate chips made them feel more like a dessert than breakfast, which is probably why the kids liked them so much. I think this is a great pancake recipe, and I will be trying it again soon without the add-ins.  I am posting the original recipe for those of you who don’t want the add-ins, and I’ve included the banana chocolate chip pancake variation below. This recipe gives a range for the amount of buttermilk to use; if you want thicker pancakes use less buttermilk, and if you like thinner pancakes, use more.

Mother’s Day Pancakes

2 large eggs
3 1/2 to 4 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract, optional
1 Tbsp. butter, for frying

Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk in a large bowl. Add the baking soda and mix until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar; whisk until just incorporated. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla. Pour the batter into a pitcher. (At this point, the batter will keep for 2 to 3 days, covered and refrigerated). Set a griddle or frying pan on the stove over medium heat. Add some of the butter for frying; when it begins to foam, pour some of the batter into the pan to make pancakes of whatever size you wish. When the bubbles form on top of the pancakes, flip them and cook until the bottoms are golden brown. Serve immediately.

To make chocolate chip banana pancakes, mash 2 ripe  bananas or cut them into 1/4 inch slices and stir them into the batter. Cook as directed above. To make chocolate banana pancakes, stir in 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips with the bananas. Your kids will love them.

Source: The Pastry Queen

PROJECT PASTRY QUEEN: JAILHOUSE POTATO CINNAMON ROLLS

This week, I got to choose the recipe for Project Pastry Queen: jailhouse potato cinnamon rolls. The reason I chose this recipe was that I wanted to compare them to the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls that I make all the time. Lucky for me, we had food day at work on Friday, so I had a place to take them because if they had remained in my house, I would have gained 10 pounds and my kids would be on a constant sugar high. I kept a couple of smaller pans at the house for the kiddos, and they have not lasted long. These rolls are so soft and sweet and decadent.

I think the texture is not very different from the Pioneer Woman’s rolls, but these are a little more involved to make because you have the extra step of making the mashed potatoes. Of course, the icing is different too, but I changed it up a bit and doubled the amount, using the Pioneer Woman’s recipe as inspiration. My changes are noted below in the recipe but I included the original recipe below as well. I asked a lot of people at work which recipe they preferred.

Some said they couldn’t tell the difference, and others said that they found these rolls to be more moist and still others said they like the Pioneer Woman’s recipe better. I think it’s a toss up as far as taste goes. These are absolutely delicious and are worth the work for a special occasion.

As everyone else in the PPQ group has said, the dough for these rolls is a pain in the rear end to work with. It is very wet and soft and falls apart easily. I always preheat my oven for a minute or so and then turn it off and put the dough in there to rise, since my kitchen is quite drafty. That was a big mistake with this dough.

When I went to check on it at about 45 minutes into the rise time, the dough had exploded all over my oven. I had put it in a very large bowl to rise, but when it reached the top, it just started spilling over the edges. It was everywhere! I probably lost about 1/4 of the dough. Even so, I ended up with 4 dozen cinnamon rolls from one recipe (double what the recipe says you’ll get). My advice to make the dough easier to handle is to really flour your work surface, hands, rolling pin, and dough as you work with it.

It really tries to fall apart when you roll it up, so be careful not to roll it out too thin to begin with. (I realized as I typed the recipe that it says to chill the dough and I did not do that. Maybe that’s why it was so hard to work with?) I really liked these rolls but I think I prefer making the Pioneer Woman’s rolls better, just because they are less time consuming and the dough is easier to handle.

When I make cinnamon rolls, I usually make them in the evening and bake them the next morning. I have found that once you get the rolls cut and in the pans, you can cover and refrigerate the pans overnight and the rolls will actually rise most of the way in the refrigerator.

I pull them out and put them on the counter about 20 to 30 minutes before I’m ready to bake them. This always works like a charm and I don’t have to wait for the second rise time. Thanks to the Project Pastry Queen girls for letting me choose the recipe this week!


Jailhouse Potato Cinnamon Rolls

Dough:
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled, quartered, boiled and mashed
Reserve 3 c. of potato water
1 oz active dry yeast (4 pkgs.)
3/4 c. plus 1 tsp. sugar
3 lg. eggs
2 tsp. salt
9 c. flour

Filling:
4 c. toasted pecans, optional (I didn’t use them)
4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 sticks butter, melted

Icing:
2 lbs. powdered sugar
1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 stick butter, melted

Butter two 9X13 disposable foil pans by greasing using butter or Pam (you will probably need more pans, depending on how many rolls you end up with. I used 4). Wash, peel and dice the potatoes and boil until fork tender. After boiling the potatoes, set aside 3 cups of the potato water and let cool to 110 degrees using a candy thermometer, or to the temp of hot water coming out of the faucet. Mash potatoes in a large bowl, set aside. Sprinkle yeast over the water, stir until dissolved, add 1 tsp. sugar. Allow to rest for 5 minutes until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the mashed potatoes and 3/4 cup sugar together. Add the melted butter, eggs , salt and potato water and mix until smooth. Add the flour 3 cups at a time. After the dough begins to get thick, switch to the dough hook and add the remaining flour. Mix until all the flour is incorporated.  Place the dough in a large greased bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place until the dough is doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Leaving the dough in the bowl, flour your hands and punch it down until it deflates. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. At this point the dough can be refrigerated until the next day. You can proceed from here, but it is easier to handle the dough after it has chilled.

With floured hands, remove the dough from the bowl onto a well floured surface and divide in half. Using a rolling pin, roll each half into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle. About 20 X 10. Spread each rectangle with half the butter. Then half the brown sugar mix. Then half the chopped pecans.

Starting with the long side, carefully roll the dough. Using a very sharp floured serated knife, cut each roll crosswise in 2 to 3 inch slices. Place the slices, cut side down, in the foil pans spacing about one inch apart so they have room to expand. Make sure the end flap of each roll is set snugly against a side of the pan. At this point the rolls can be tightly wrapped in polastic wrap and a layer of foil and frozen up to 3 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight or for one hour at room temperature and continue following the directions from this point. Leaving them covered, set the rolls in a warm draft free place and let them rise until they get puffy, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove covering and bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown.

Combine icing ingredients with a whisk and drizzle over warm rolls.

*I changed the icing substantially. The original recipe calls for 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar, 1/4 c. milk and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

Source: Adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

SOUTHERN BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

I am on a quest to make biscuits that taste better than what I can buy in a can. These are pretty darn close and they turned out pretty good for a novice biscuit maker like myself. I’m sure with practice, I will learn how not to overwork the dough and how to make my biscuits  even lighter and fluffier. These are fairly foolproof, though. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

The kids asked for them later in the day for a snack and gobbled up the leftovers the next morning. If you fold the dough over on itself a few times before flattening it out, more air will be incorporated into the dough and will give you a taller, lighter biscuit. Just be careful not to overwork the dough.

If you mess with it too much, you will end up with a tough biscuit. A food processor can be used to make the dough and makes it a little bit easier to avoid overmixing. If you want to make these in advance, you can freeze the cut biscuits for up to a month. Just pull as many biscuits as you want from the freezer and bake them from frozen at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

2 c. all purpose flour
6 Tbsp. cold butter
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 c. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together and cut in butter with a fork or pastry cutter until butter is incorporated and mixture is crumbly. Pour in buttermilk and stir the dough, just until incorporated. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and lightly flatten the dough and then gently fold it over itself a few times. Gently flatten it out again with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick – do not use a rolling pin. Cut biscuits out with a biscuit cutter and place in a cake pan or on a rimmed cookie sheet very close together (this will help biscuits to rise higher when baking and will result in soft edges). Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush the tops again with melted butter and serve warm.

*You can use a food processor to make the dough. Just be sure to pulse only a few times until the butter is cut into the dry ingredients, and then only a few times more until the buttermilk is incorporated.

Source: Adapted from Recipezaar