Once every few months I’ll see a recipe and won’t be able to get it out of my mind. I try to fight it because normally it involves an obscene amount of heavy cream but I never win. Like this one – I saw it and couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then just when I had started to move on with my life, Katie from goodLife{eats} started Tweeting about it. That was it. It had to be made.

If you’ve been reading for awhile you’re probably aware of my love affair with anything rolled. Cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, random creations inspired by Christmas candy, I love them all so this was an obvious winner from the start.

They were everything I hoped they would be. Sweet and tart all at once. I was actually shocked at how much I liked them since I’m not found of fruit and yeast bread together.

These would be perfect for a weekend breakfast. Just mix the dough and shape them into rolls, retard in the fridge overnight, and bake off in the morning! I guarantee whoever you’re baking for will be so excited to see these on the table!

Sticky Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
Ingredients
For the lemon roll dough:
  • 1 envelope 0.25 ounces, or 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk warmed to about 100°F or warm but not hot on your wrist
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 lemons zested
  • 2 eggs
For the sticky lemon filling:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter very soft
For the lemon cream cheese glaze:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 lemon zested
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a couple minutes. With the mixer paddle, stir in the softened butter, sugar, vanilla, and one cup of the flour. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Stir in the eggs and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft yet sticky dough.
  2. Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and pliable.
  3. (If you do not have a stand mixer, stir together the ingredients by hand, then turn the soft dough out onto a lightly floured countertop. Knead the dough by hand for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, pliable, and stretchy.)
  4. Spray the top of the dough with vegetable oil, and turn the dough over so it is coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise until nearly doubled – about an hour.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the nutmeg and ginger, then work in the lemon zest with the tips of your fingers until the sugar resembles wet, soft sand. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon. (Reserve the juice of the second lemon for the glaze.)
  6. Lightly grease a 13×9 inch baking dish with baking spray or butter. On a floured surface pat the dough out into a large yet still thick rectangle — about 10×15 inches. Spread evenly with the softened butter, then pour and spread the lemon-sugar mixture over top. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Cut the long dough roll into 12 even rolls, and place them, cut side up, in the prepared baking dish.
  7. Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise for an hour or until puffy and nearly doubled. (You can also refrigerate the rolls at this point. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake the rolls, remove the pan from the fridge, and let them rise for an hour.)
  8. Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the risen rolls in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into a center roll reads 190°F.

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We really, and I mean really, love granola around here. But of course, it’s just not that great for you. All the oil that usually goes into a batch of granola makes it a pretty high calorie snack and let’s face it, no one can stop after just a handful of the tasty stuff.

I’ve made granola with applesauce instead of oil in the past but this is by far my favorite version. It’s loaded with nuts (I used walnuts and pecans) and sunflower seeds which makes it not only yummy but also filling. It’s sweet but not too sweet and you can adjust the dried fruit amount to make it even sweeter if it suits you.

Applesauce Granola
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup nuts pecans, walnuts, almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, warm the applesauce with the honey and oil over low heat.
  4. Mix the applesauce mixture into the oat mixture and stir to coat everything. Spread the mixture onto a 9 x 13 baking pan.
  5. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the granola is a deep brown. Remove from oven and stir in raisins. Cool completely before enjoying.

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My apologies if the words “broccoli salad” bring back bad memories of the school cafeteria. I know all the cold veggie salads do that to me but I’ve been thinking about this salad for a few weeks now. I finally had a good reason to make it on Easter when I realized we were seriously lacking in the veggie department (yes, veggies coated in mayo are still veggies). I really thought I would be the only one eating this with, you know, people taking a little too be polite. No such thing. The men especially tore. it. up. There wasn’t a sunflower seed left when dinner was over. Talk about being shocked!

This recipe is apparently one that everyone has. I asked my mom if she had it and she managed to find it in 3 different places within about 2 minutes so you’ve probably got it in a cookbook somewhere, but I’m posting it anyway. Don’t be scared to try it, it’s pretty much a coleslaw with broccoli. The raisins add just the right amount of sweetness and this is coming from someone who thinks raisins taste like a tire. I truly love everything about this salad.

Broccoli Salad
Ingredients
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 1 head fresh broccoli cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
Instructions
  1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the broccoli, onion and raisins. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar and mayonnaise. Pour over broccoli mixture, and toss until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
  3. Before serving, toss salad with crumbled bacon and sunflower seeds.

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With one day left until the big day, I hope those of you that celebrate have your Easter menus all ready to go! If you’re still searching for a great dessert this Pasca, which is a Romanian Easter cake, would be perfect.

I went into this a little intimidated. It looks and sounds far more complicated than it really was. Although I do have to say that the recipe (which was the only Pasca recipe I could find) was complete crap. I ended up adding almost 3 cups of flour to the dough so hopefully I’ve adjusted the recipe to reflect all the changes I had to make. If you have a favorite sweet dough recipe – like cinnamon roll dough – use it! Just add a touch of lemon zest and you’re good to go.

I started planning my week of Easter goodies a few weeks back and this recipe reminded me of something but I just couldn’t figure out what. As soon as I started braiding the dough I went “OMG! It’s like a giant cream cheese danish from Starbucks!” And it totally was. My only complaint was that I let the dough rise too much before adding the filling. Next time I won’t skimp on the lovely raisin studded cream cheese.

Pasca (Romanian Easter Cake)
Ingredients
For the dough:
  • 1 cup milk warm
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 4 to 5 cups flour
For the filling:
  • 1 8 ounce brick of cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup raisins
For the egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine milk and yeast. Allow to sit until foamy. Using a wooden spoon stir in eggs, sugar, butter, oil, salt, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Add in flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. It should be soft but not sticky. Put down on a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Spray another large bowl with oil and place ball of dough in, turning to coat in oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.
  2. When dough has risen, divide into 2 equal pieces. Lightly spray a 9 inch springform pan with oil. Take one of the dough pieces and roll it out to fit in the springform. (I found it easiest to put the dough in the pan and use my fingertips to spread the dough, like you would with focaccia). With the other half of the dough, divide it into 3 equal pieces. Roll those pieces out into long thin ropes and braid them all together. Once it’s braided, gently move it to the springform, braiding the end together. Allow to rise just high enough for you to put filling in, 30 - 45 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 400.
  4. To make filling, beat cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla together until the cream cheese is smooth. Fold in raisins. Gently spoon into the bread.
  5. Whisk together egg and water. Brush the mixture over the top of the braided bread. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes or until deeply brown and it sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan shortly after and allow to cool on a wire rack.


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Easter’s fast approaching so I wanted to get some fun dessert ideas up for anyone who’s needing them.

I love, love, love these coconut cupcakes. Toasted coconut is one of my favorite cupcake decorations and to turn it into a nest with Cadbury eggs in it? Perfection. You don’t have to use Cadbury eggs though – the malted milk ball ones are great or even the little egg-shaped gum.

I went ahead and did a coconut cupcake but I think the toasted coconut tastes great with a plain vanilla cake too. The frosting is coconutless but it’s flavored with almond and vanilla and goes amazingly with the toasted coconut up top.

Coconut Cupcakes
Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
  • 3/4 pound 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
For the frosting:
  • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3/4 pound 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar sifted
For the toasted coconut:
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
  4. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.
  6. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle toasted coconut (below) on top. Top with egg-shaped candy of choice.
To make toasted cupcake:
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Spread coconut onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes. Towards the end watch carefully because it will go from golden to burnt very quickly.


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