Tag Archives: breakfast

Sweet Sticky Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

**This gem is a re-run from earlier this year, but as the Autumn air crisps up, I found it appropriate to re-post. I am in Los Angeles shooting a movie so will be doing some re-posts here till I have a second to shoot some new content.**

When I was a kid, we’d make the drive from Alvin to the ranch in Johnson City, TX, in the big grey Buick LeSabre, and we always got there without mom and dad murdering us. This bakery is one of the institutions I credit with allowing me to be alive today to write this article for you.

The Bon Ton Bakery, now known as Weikel’s Bakery (www.weikels.com) located on Highway 71 in LaGrange, TX, was a usual stop on our road trip. Yes, that LaGrange, TX. The one with the infamous chicken ranch brothel. We never stopped there.

But we DID often stop to empty our bladder and fill up our belly at the bakery. They particularly specialized in a Texas treat derived from German and Czech traditions called kolaches. That’s another post. But they also had fantastic cinnamon rolls.

Being a little porker, I always appreciated a sweet roll. Even as an adult, it’s a weakness I still possess. Mind you, not any sweet roll will do.

So, I have spent a few years developing this one: the one that cries out to be eaten as soon as it is cooled down enough not to hurt you. With much fanfare I present The Gentleman Caller’s Sweet Sticky Cinnamon Roll with Maple Cream Cheese Icing.

Diametrically opposed fat sources.

What you need:

  • Half recipe of The Gentleman’s Sweet Roll Dough*
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup vanilla bean sugar**
  • 3-4 Tablespoons grated cinnamon
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • Cream Cheese Maple Icing

*A full recipe will make two pans of cinnamon rolls.

**Vanilla bean sugar: in a jar or container, store a few cups of white sugar with a vanilla bean. Measure your 2/3 cup of sugar when ready to use and add vanilla bean caviar to your liking.

“Exquisite dough, and fortunately Jill got me this beautiful dough cutter for Christmas.This is very straightforward, especially if you watched the video.

Roll the dough out to approximately 16″ x 22”.

The Gentleman Caller’s Sweet Sticky Cinnamon Rolls

Smear that barely softened butter on that dough. After that, grate all the cinnamon. Yes, grate it.

Throw brown sugar and vanilla sugar all over it.

This is round one… Keep spreading. Not nearly enough.

Make a thick layer of sugar and spice, then roll that dough lengthwise.  Be careful initially, it’s tender. But the further you get, the easier it is.

It’s time to cut the log into pieces.

These are just risen, and so demure.

Allow to rise again for an hour. Then brush with butter (actual butter).

Bake them for 12 minutes initially. Check them. Do not overcook them. 14 minutes is probably your number, but watch.

I am so careful about instructions sometimes because I know what you’ve done to get to this place. I am never offering you a Pinterest fail.

It’s time to ICE.

The Gentleman Caller’s Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Writers usually don’t tell stories about icing, but I am.

My family members love icing like they love meat, Christmas and possibly their kids.

This sort of loose cream cheese frostings sinks down into a cinnamon roll, but not too deep. I do not enjoy a cinnamon roll with no icing bleed-down into the roll itself.

I recommend that you ice when the rolls are warm, as the video states.

What you need (to ice 1 pan of rolls, double for 2):

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons good maple syrup (If you use Mrs. Butterworth’s and that’s your jam, don’t tell me. Just send me pics.)
  • A whisper (one squeeze) of lemon juice
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

In the bowl of a mixer, marry the butter and cream cheese. Beat them until they are well combined and almost fluffy. Add the vanilla, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Make sure the mixture is combined. You’ll likely need to use your rubber spatula and stir it together.

Once that is combined, incrementally add the confectioners sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.

*A hint – I grated a whisper of orange rind into this. My maple syrup wasn’t as robust as I wanted, so I grated some orange rind. Even with a robust maple flavor, you can’t go wrong with this.

Continue to blend that at a high speed until it’s like sinuous pancake batter. Thick.

Once it reaches that consistency, spoon the icing into a ziploc bag. Work it into a corner. Snip the edge of the corner on the diagonal and let the frosting go.

Spew it onto the rolls at your discretion.

Allow to sit briefly, then eat!

Trust me, these are evil. And thank you.

xo,

The Gentleman Caller

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Balsamic Pineapple Salad – More acid than a 60’s flashback (video)

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Now that Trip of Love has closed (sadly) and I am taking a tiny break, the weekend is for brunch. Hell, any time is for brunch. Who doesn’t get down with brunch fare?

Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits; number two behind cherry. Even though it is a huge pain in the ass to cut up and leaves little black things that resemble mouse shit on your cutting board, that sweet tart acidy flesh makes everything ok.

I didn’t want to serve a block of straight up pineapple today, so I set the wheels in motion.

Here’s what I ended up with.

What you’ll need:

pineapple1

  • one ripe pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup(ish) fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp citric acid
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar **see note at the end
  • at least 5 sprigs of fresh mint

Spread the blueberries on the bottom of a small saucepan; cover in honey. Add juuust enough water to cover (appx 1/3 cup). Crank up the heat. When a simmer is achieved, reduce heat and allow to cook.

pineapple2

Here come the knife skills: peel the pineapple, core it, try not to eat it. Good luck. I like my pieces cut into 1/4 inch slices with about an inch of width. Sprinkle the citric acid on the chopped pineapple. By the time you finish that, the blueberries should be cooked. Mash them with a fork. Allow them to continue to reduce. If it looks dry, add a splash more water. You do not want it to be watery. You want it to be syrupy. A good test is seeing if it just coats the back of a spoon.

Once achieved, take the blueberries off the heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons of balsamic.

Most likely there is some syrup residue on the sides of your sauce pan. We want that. Put the pineapple into the sauce pan and let it get all that syrupy syrup all over it.

Chop your mint pretty finely. Toss it in.

Put this all in a bowl or serving dish and allow it to cool before serving.

pineapple3

Just a hint: if you aren’t serving cheesy eggs, grab some chèvre, put it down on your serving plate and put this all over the top. Heaven.

Can you believe this is good for you? Shhh, I never said that.

Bye for now.

The Gentleman Caller

**Balsamic vinegar comes in a multitude of varieties. This recipe doesn’t call for a tart screw top bottle variety. The bottle should be well aged and have a cork. It doesn’t need to be super expensive, but it should be corked.

Pairings: works beautifully with Italian Brunch Pudding.

 

 

The Italian Brunch Pudding, aka How to Make Your Sleepover Guest Think You Have All Your S*** Together

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

I hesitate to give you this information because it is so powerful. If you want to go from engorged to engaged, this is the way to do it. Now is your chance to turn back, because once you have this information you can’t un-learn it.

It’s the sleepover strata, the Italian Brunch Pudding.

Sleeping over with someone is a thing. No toothbrushes. Did I sleep in my contacts? You know what I mean. If you have an inkling it might happen and you do a  little pre-production, you can FULLY entrap your prey with this little trick.

Take these steps a day or two before and have it set up in your fridge. Here we go.

What you’ll need:

strata

  • 8 eggs
  • 2 challah rolls / half an old french loaf / old bread (the diner by me gives away challah rolls and I never eat them)
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 5 stalks of rapini
  • 3/4 cup cheese (I used a pecorino with a  red chili pepper coating. Go with something nutty like a good parm; gruyere would be nice as well)**see note at the bottom
  • fresh chopped flat leaf parsley (couple of tablespoons)
  • fresh chopped marjoram (to taste, a couple of tablespoons)
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp salt (adjust if your cheese is really salty)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

strata2

Steam the rapini for 60-120 seconds depending on how thick the stalks are. Do not overcook it. During those two minutes cube your bread in 1 inch by 1 inch squares.

strata3

Grate the cheese. Chop the rapini.

strata4

Assemble in layers in a square baking dish. I used a disposable because, well, sometimes I am lazy and these are recyclable. Butter the pan, put a layer of bread, spread some rapini, parsley, marjoram around, add some cheese. Continue till the baking dish is full/level. This should work out pretty exactly.

Combine the eggs, half and half, salt, pepper, onion powder and nutmeg and whisk to break up the eggs. Carefully pour the liquid evenly over the bread mixture. I say carefully because if you go too fast the eggs will slop out. I assure you this did NOT happen to me.

strata8

Here’s where the trickery begins: cover it with foil and stick it in the fridge. For as long as you want.

Now when you wake up in the morning to peewee, take it out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While your guest is showering, put it in the oven covered for 25 minutes. Take off the foil, and while you enjoy your coffee, bake it for another 25 minutes. Then BAM, present a fully cooked breakfast. Just like that, you tricky bitch.

strata9 strata10

KelKel helped me eat it on this particular morning.

strata11

Trust me – you are getting afternoon delight.

strata12

If you don’t hurt yourself. Bye for now.

The Gentleman Caller

THE ITALIAN BRUNCH PUDDING, AKA HOW TO MAKE YOUR SLEEPOVER GUEST THINK YOU HAVE ALL YOUR S*** TOGETHER

Pairing: this pairs delightfully with Balsamic Pineapple Salad.

**I got my very special cheese – Red Pepper Coated Pecorino – at Calandra Cheese in the Bronx. 2314 Arthur Avenue. This store will exceed all your cheese dreams and the guys hand you samples like you’re at Costco on a Saturday. If you don’t use red pepper coated pecorino, add some chili flakes for a little heat.7909971862_7e3bd78274_z