Z’Tejas Style Cornbread

I still remember the first time I ate at Z’Tejas in Salt Lake City. I still remember the cornbread. It came to the table in a cute mini cast iron skillet–fresh from the oven. Absolutely melted in my mouth. If any of you out West find yourself near one of their restaurants, I highly recommend you pay a visit. We’ve tried several things on the menu and have never been disappointed.

You can imagine my delight when I found that Melanie over at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe had published a copycat recipe.

I usually put about half the batter into a cast iron skillet and the rest of the batter into a muffin tin (makes at least 12 muffins). You can freeze the muffins and pull them out when you need them for another meal.

Z’Tejas Style Cornbread
from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

1 1/2 cup corn meal
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup creamed corn
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, whisk yogurt, buttermilk, eggs and butter together. Add the creamed corn and frozen corn.

Pour into a greased 9X13 pan or use a buttered cast iron skillet and fill the skillet 1/2 full (if using a skillet you will have leftover batter so go ahead and make some cornbread muffins or a smaller pan of bread).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes for a 9×13 or 8-inch skillet or 26 minutes for a 10-inch skillet or 15-20 minutes for muffins. (Verify it is thoroughly cooked by inserting a toothpick. If it is done, the toothpick should come out clean).

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Butter Crescent Rolls

This is probably my most requested recipe. In fact, that’s why I’m posting this now. It’s been in my “drafts” for months and months–with good intentions to post it. Anyhow, just got another request for the recipe, so here it is…FINALLY!

These are my never fail, go to rolls! Very easy. Very yummy. Always a hit! In fact whenever I’m in UT visiting family there, my cute nephews always ask me to make them some of “Aunt Julee’s Rolls.” Can’t say no to that! My nieces and nephews even like to help spread the butter, roll up the crescents, and butter the tops. Great memories!

These are the rolls my mom always made when I was growing up. The recipe comes from a cookbook that was published by a family friend nearly 30 years ago. I have so many memories tied to food that was prepared out of this cookbook. It is autographed by Ms. Julia, well-worn and much-used. I wish I could get a copy of my own. Perhaps one day, Mom will get tired of using it and pass it on to me. I’m not going to hold my breath, though. I might have more luck just “accidentally” packing it with my stuff as I load up the car tonight to return home.

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Butter Crescent Rolls
from Julia’s Favorite Recipes by Julia Read Clark, p. 42

1 package or 1 T yeast
1 c warm water
1/2 c sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, melted
4-1/2 c all-purpose flour
about 1/4 c butter, melted (for spreading on rolled out dough and on top of the rolled crescents)

Dissolve yeast in warm water. (If desired, add sugar at this point and proof the yeast; otherwise add sugar later).

Melt butter & add to yeast. Also add sugar, eggs & salt. Combine well.

Gradually add flour, mixing well after each addition. (I normally start by adding 2 cups of flour and then adding 1/2 c – 1 c in the subsequent additions). Be careful to not add too much flour, which will result in drier bread.

Cover with clean, damp cloth and let rise until doubled in size (about 4 hours). Punch down and allow dough to rise again, doubling in size.

Cut the dough in half and knead each half. Roll out each half into a large circle. Brush the rolled out dough with melted butter. Using a knife, slice the dough into 4 equal parts. Continue slicing until there are 16 “slices.”

Roll each “slice,” starting with the widest end. Place the rolls on an ungreased baking sheet with the thin end of the roll on the bottom.

Brush tops with remaining butter. Allow rolls to rise on the baking sheet for 1/2 hour – 1 hour before baking.

Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes til golden brown.

Yield: 32 rolls

Note: Recipe can easily be doubled.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

I heart cinnamon rolls.

For years, I’ve believed that the only acceptable frosting for a big, fat, ooey, gooey cinnamon roll is cream cheese frosting. I believe that cream cheese frosting should be given its own food group.

It is with that paradigm that I approached this recipe. I couldn’t believe that anything could even come close to my beloved cream cheese frosting. I was willing to be open minded (somewhat) and give it a go, though.

This maple frosting is something special! And while it certainly hasn’t unseated my cream cheese frosting from top billing, it is a very yummy alternative and a scrumptious runner up.

I love the roll dough–it has an incredible texture and must be tried to believe.

The recipe makes so many cinnamon rolls that I was able to give some of my extra tins away as Christmas gifts. They looked so pretty, wrapped in cellophane and sealed with a festive ribbon.

For those of you, like me, who don’t own a coffee maker, you can either buy a cup of coffee from a nearby coffee shop or you can place some of the coffee grounds into a tea infuser. Boil some water and place the tea infuser into the hot water for several minutes. My Grandma M endorses Folger’s Classic Roast, so that’s what I used for this. Worked great!

In the end, I ended up making three recipes of the frosting. Apparently, I like lots of frosting!

Also, I wasn’t able to figure out how to accommodate the amount of butter Pioneer Woman demanded be used inside the cinnamon roll filling. Even when I halved the amount of butter, I still had trouble keeping the butter from escaping when I tried to roll up the dough. They were still yummy–even without the extra butter.

Tip: A roommate in college from my Freshman year taught me to use dental floss to slice cinnamon rolls (as opposed to using a knife). I still use this technique and believe it works better than anything else. To use dental floss, use about 18 inches of floss. Slide the mid-point of the floss under the ready-to-slice, rolled-up dough. Lift the two opposite ends, and bring the ends together. Have the ends move past each other in opposite directions until the string slices through the dough. Repeat until all the rolls have been sliced.

I hope that makes sense.

For any goop that escapes while you’re rolling or slicing, just scoop it up with your sliced, uncooked rolls before placing them in the baking dish.

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Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting
Modified from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Yield: 7 disposable, round cake or pie tins full of cinnamon rolls (about 6-8 rolls per pan)

Roll Ingredients & Instructions
1 quart whole milk
1 c vegetable oil
1 c sugar
2 pkgs or 2 T active dry yeast
8 + 1 c all-purpose flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 scant tsp baking soda
1 heaping T salt
1 1/2 – 2 c butter, melted
2 c sugar
generous sprinkling of cinnamon

Mix the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a pan. “Scald” the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, add yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour. Punch down.

Add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and the salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it–overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it, and if it starts to splurge out of the pan, just punch it down).

Melt 7 T of butter, and distribute 1 T into each of the seven round tins.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle counter or table surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and knead into a rough rectangle. Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 3/4 c – 1 c melted butter over the dough. Next, sprinkle 1 c of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Starting at the edge furthest from you, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go–being careful to prevent any escape of the butter/sugar/cinnamon mix. After the rolling is complete, pinch the seam to the roll to seal it.

Cut the rolls approximately 3/4 to 1 inch thick and lay them in the buttered pans. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough.

Let the rolls rise for 20-30 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Maple Frosting Ingredients & Instructions
4 c powdered sugar
2 tsp maple flavoring (Note: I used Mapeline flavoring instead)
1/2 c milk
1/4 c butter, melted
1/4 c brewed coffee (Note: Per my grandma’s recommendation, I used Folger’s Classic Roast)
1/8 tsp salt

Mix together all ingredients and stir well until smooth. Frosting should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy, and don’t skimp on the frosting!

Pumpkin Gingerbread

This is another Fall favorite in our home. My SIL, Becky, shared this recipe with our family a couple years ago, and I’ve made lots of loaves ever since. Becky and others in the family like to add chocolate chips, which is yummy, but I prefer if plain.

P.S. The baked loaves freeze well.

Confession: I’ve been known to eat an entire loaf by myself. I’m not ashamed!

pumpkin-gingerbread

Pumpkin Gingerbread
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Chocolate chips (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves.
  3. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.