Cinnamon Butter Braids

I know others like to count the number of days until Christmas, but to me, the much more relevant number is the number of weekends until Christmas.  Just to freak you out a bit, that number is only EIGHT!  (I know you don’t believe me, so go ahead and pull up your calendar right now to count for yourself…..I told you!)
DSC_0023With “The Holidays” knocking on my stress level already, I’ve begun trying out a few new recipes to see if they are good enough to make the cut for either our Thanksgiving or Christmas feasts.  Yes, the food for these two events is that important that I will take recipes for a test drive.  You see personally, except for sleeping, there isn’t anything I enjoy doing more than eating!
DSC_0007This Cinnamon Butter Braid recipe is everything I had hoped it would be!  I am quite particular when it comes to sweet breads because most of them are really dry and quite bland.  Not the case at all with this champion!  She (yes, breads are female) is tender, moist, buttery and overflowing with a thick cinnamon filling.  No way would I allow any skimping when it comes to the best part.

DSC_0010The dough for this recipe was from Southern Living, but I created the filling….then doubled it, just to be safe.  Again, there is no such thing as too much filling!  I think I might just stencil those words on the walls of my kitchen…..

Cinnamon Butter Braid

Cinnamon Butter Braids

Yield: 4 - 12" braids

Ingredients

    Dough
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 packages yeast
  • 1/2 C warm water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 C flour
  • Filling
  • 3/4 C butter, melted
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 9 Tb flour
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • Glaze
  • 2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 Tb milk

Instructions

  1. In a glass bowl, add the sour cream, sugar, butter and salt. Microwave on high until the butter melts, about 45 seconds, and mix together.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the water and yeast, then let sit for 5 minutes. Add the sour cream mixture, along with the remainder of the dough ingredients and mix well until a soft dough forms. Cover and chill for 8 hours. While it chills, mix together the filling ingredients in a medium bowl.
  3. Divide dough into four equal pieces and roll each portion into about the size of a sheet of paper (8.5 x 11"). Down the center of each piece, spread 1/4th of the filling mixture. Cut about 12 slices down each side of the filling mixture, then starting at the top, criss cross the pieces over each other. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet, cover and allow to rise for about an hour.
  4. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Drizzle warm braids with powdered sugar glaze and serve.
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Italian Chicken Bake

Last Saturday at 3:30 in the morning, I received the following text from my oldest son, who is in his freshman year at BYU:

“Hey Mom!  We got bored and decided to dye my hair.”

IMG_1164Well….a million possible responses ran through my head at that ridiculous hour, but I did the wise thing by rolling over, muttering “just perfect” under my breath, and going back to sleep.  If he wasn’t 1200 miles away, I would have smacked him up side that red head.

I finally responded to his text the next morning, after I had attended church.  I wanted to be in the proper Christian mind-frame :)

Italian Chicken Bake

My newly styled son would have despised this chicken as much as I despise his hair.  You see, my favorite BYU student can not stand artichokes, so I guess that gives us a second good reason for him to be 1200 miles away from home this week :)

All the rest of the Jones family (with their normal colored hair), thoroughly loved my latest chicken bake creation!  It is so flavorful and makes a fab pan sauce that you can serve over pasta or rice.  I love that there are a TON of great Italian goodies in the dish, along with the moist and tender chicken.  No skimping on the extras in this recipe!

For the full recipe and instructions, click here to check out my guest post over on Made From Pinterest!

I have some other killer chicken bakes so if this Italian Chicken Bake is right up your alley, be sure to click on the pictures below to see some of my other favorites!

DSC_0003Parmesan Chicken Bake 

picCheesy Spinach Mushroom Chicken Bake

DSC_0005Basil Artichoke Chicken Bake



Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks

As a momma to six kiddos, I am sharing my tips, recipes and anecdotes related to bringing out every kid’s culinary potential.

Click HERE to see all the posts in this series!

Kids in the Kitchen

Over the weekend, my oldest daughter and I had a very intense phone conversation about our favorite part of any Italian restaurant:  the bread.  However, we also agreed that we always feel guilty asking for more of it!  By the end of our chat, we decided that there is no shame in wanting endless amounts of hot bread so we should be bold and tell our servers to “Just keep that bread coming all night long!”
Garlic Parmesan BreadsticksAfter our very important discussion about a very tenuous social issue, I was in the mood to make some breadsticks :)  Since making breadsticks is just like playing with play dough, I enlisted my 10 year old to be the official breadstick roller-outer.  (She can use that official job title one day when she has to create her first resume….)

DSC_0035We used my famous French Bread dough to make these breadsticks and it worked perfectly.  They were soft and tender, and my high school son declared them to be “the best thing ever.”  While I am sure they were outstanding, that is the phrase he uses anytime he is starving.  Which means all the time :)

Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks

Yield: 32 - 6" breadsticks

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Prepare the bread dough as instructed and allow it to rise once before forming it into the sticks. To form them into sticks, take a golf ball sized piece of dough and roll it into a 6" log. Place it on a lightly greased cookie sheet and continue with the rest of the dough. Once all the breadsticks are formed, cover them with a towel and allow them to rise until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake the breadsticks for 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown. As soon as they are finished baking, slather them in the melted butter and sprinkle them with some garlic powder and parmesan cheese. Serve hot!
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Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

A big Welcome Back to Tracy from Made From Pinterest, who is guest posting today with this amazing cookie recipe!

My husband and I have several favorite restaurants. But we love one restaurant more than the others, Red Robin. We eat there so often that our kids have nicknamed it the “Rut”. We both love their endless fries, my husband loves their California Chicken Sandwich and I think they make the best shakes around. When it’s time to go out to dinner we talk and debate about going to one the other restaurants on our list, about 50% of the time we end up eating at the “Rut”.

Apple Caramel Cookies - There is a secret ingredient that gives these moist cookies their sweet tangy apple flavor! Stuffed with caramel, topped with walnuts and drizzled with a little more caramel. Best fall cookies EVER!We have the same routine with homemade cookies, we have a few favorites, but we love one recipe the most. My tried and true Righteous Chocolate Chip Cookies. We talk about making one of the other recipes and then we end up making my Righteous Chocolate Chip Cookies 50% of the time, we are in a cookie “Rut”!

Apple Caramel Cookies - There is a secret ingredient that gives these moist cookies their sweet tangy apple flavor! Stuffed with caramel, topped with walnuts and drizzled with a little more caramel. Best fall cookies EVER!

Then I found this Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookie recipe from Michael Wurm at Inspired by Charm. It just so happens that I ADORE caramel, so I decided to try this recipe to get us to get out of our cookie rut.

The original recipe doesn’t call for walnuts with caramel drizzled over them. It’s my special touch, I told you I love caramel!

Apple Caramel Cookies - There is a secret ingredient that gives these moist cookies their sweet tangy apple flavor! Stuffed with caramel, topped with walnuts and drizzled with a little more caramel. Best fall cookies EVER!

The recipe does call for all 10 packets from a 1 7.4 oz. box Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink Mix. We found this made the apple flavor a little too strong for our tastes. Next time I make these I’m only going to add 5 or 6 packets of the spiced cider, these delightful cookies have definitely made onto our “family fav cookie list”.

Made From Pinterest - Three sisters, three states. Keeping our families close one pin at a time!

Tracy-(The-Middle-Sister)-Pepita

Spiced Caramel Apple Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 7.4 oz. box Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 14 oz. bag Kraft Caramels

Instructions

  1. Use a medium bowl to whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside for later.
  2. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to mix butter, sugar, brown sugar, and all ten packs of apple cider continue mixing until fluffy. About two three minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl beat eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla to the butter mixture.
  4. On a low speed add flour mixture in three portions, mixing each just until incorporated.
  5. Refrigerating the cookie dough for 1 hour will make forming the dough into balls easier, it is not required but recommended.
  6. Take an unwrapped caramel and place it into 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough that has been rolled into a ball. Seal the cookie dough all around the caramel square, flatten slightly and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
  7. Bake in over at 350 degrees F for 12-14 minutes, be careful not to over bake. Remove from oven as soon as you notice the cookies start to brown along the edges. The bottom of these cookies burn easily.
  8. Slide the parchment paper and cookies off the cookie sheet directly onto your counter. Allow cookies to partially cool on parchment paper. Twist cookies off the parchment paper and allow them to finish cooling upside down,
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