Wednesday, February 16, 2011

musical men part 1 : the guitarist | nappanee photographer

my house is full of musical men... uh... boys.

both of the guys are in their 4th year of piano lessons & this winter we got the big boy a guitar for christmas.

now, he didn't particularly want a guitar for christmas, but sometimes mom has a vision and children need a little fire lit beneath them.

the guitar is totally new territory for me.

i can safely say i know nothing about guitar.

so i called up uncle brad (who's been playing "for forty years") and asked if he could help get the boy going.

i had no idea how different guitar would be from other musical instruments (my experience being with the piano & clarinet).

i had no idea that pain & calluses were involved!

but i think it's safe to say that the boy is enjoying his lessons & getting to know a lot about his uncle brad all at the same time

so now we have a guitarist in the house & i can't wait to see where he goes with it!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

cinnamon rolls | nappanee photographer

i ask you this: can one exist on cinnamon rolls alone?
this is something i've been pondering lately.
not really, of course☺

before christmas, i started experimenting with cinnamon rolls.
i've been baking practically all my life, but i've never come across a cinnamon roll recipe that i though was awesome enough to jot down in "the book". (my favorites gathered over the years)

so i picked a random recipe and tried it out.

my apologies to those who endured that first batch.

they were dull.
they were dry.
not to mention overcooked.
and their filling was crystalized in the bottom of the pan.

i do not do flops well. at all.
so i was on a mission... the search was on for a good cinnamon roll recipe.

i found this one.
and i scanned through the reviews for those secret tips that make all the difference.

i made several dozen of these for christmas gifts.
last week i made some more.

fresh out of the oven... come to mama...

the frosting is not perfect yet... i like carmel, but i 'm still working on getting the consistency right...

i'll admit i had a bite before realizing that i needed one more photo...

my frosting recipe:

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

combine butter, brown sugar & milk in small saucepan, heat to boiling for 1 minute stirring constantly, add powdered sugar & vanilla to consistency. pour/spread on rolls while warm.

things i've learned from baking cinnamon rolls:

1. even though this recipe calls for it, you don't need a bread maker. i have one but i'm too lazy to get it out and i like my bread better when it's made the old fashioned way. just mix your ingredients like any other bread recipe, then knead the dough with mixer & dough hook as instructed or knead by hand for several minutes.

2. use bread flour instead of regular all purpose. it will make a difference & you won't look back.

3. i use white sugar instead of brown sugar in my filling. it seems to make a difference in what happens after cooking. it doesn't run down into the bottom of the pan, and the rolls come out of the pan perfectly.

4. don't skimp on the filling ingredients. pour that stuff on and when it looks like you've probably put on a little too much, sprinkle on a little more. you will not regret it.

5. if you can't raise them and bake them right away, raise your dough, roll it out, add the filling, cut out the rolls, put them in the pans and put them in the fridge overnight. all you need to do in the morning is put them in a cold oven and bake. you may raise them a bit before chilling but it's not necessary. they'll be fine☺

6. don't over-bake. my oven tends to get the corners a little toastier than anywere else. that irritates me. and my jpegs above are a little bit warmer here than the real thing was, so don't let them fool you. if the centers of the rolls are a little soft, they're probably just right.

so... if you're looking for something to do... try your hand at cinnamon rolls. and enjoy!

Template by - background image by elmer.0