Sweet Potato Rosemary Rolls

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Just so everyone knows, yams are what everyone calls sweet potatoes. Sweet potato fries? Not to rock your world or anything, but those are really YAM fries. Pretty much the only food item that is actually made from sweet potatoes is Sweet Potato Pie. But in the spirit of going along with the “it crowd” we will heretofore refer to yams as sweet potatoes. These are my absolute favorite vegetable and when that this recipe had “sweet potatoes” (sorry, I’m done now) as one of the main ingredients, I jumped at the chance to try making them. Bonus points for the rosemary, too! These are super soft and tender and rich in flavor. They are new favorites for sure.

For Rolls

  • 1/2 cup Water, Between 102-110 Degrees
  • 1/4 cup Milk, Between 102-110 Degrees
  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) Yeast
  • 1 tsp plus 1/3 cup Sugar, divided
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 6 Tbsp Butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 tsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
  • 1 cup pureed Sweet Potato (I just mashed one whole large sweet potato)
  • 4 1/2-5 cups All Purpose Flour, more depending on moisture of dough

For Honey Butter Topping

  • 1/8 cup Butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • Sea Salt
  • Additional minced Rosemary

Directions:

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine milk and water. Heat in microwave until the temperature reaches between 102-110 Degrees. Stir in 1 tsp sugar to the mixture, and add in yeast. Gently mix yeast, and set aside to proof. About five minutes.

With a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment, add in remaining ingredients, and begin to mix until combined. Slowly pour in the yeast mixture, and allow to incorporated. Mix until the ingredients are smooth and dough like, and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, but still sticks to the bottom.

Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough until it becomes a smooth, uniform ball. Place into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size.

Roll dough out onto lightly floured surface and cut into 20 equal pieces. Roll the dough into small balls, and place seam side down in a greased and parchment lined 13x9inch baking dish. Cover and let the dough rise, another 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown on top, and reach 200 degrees when tested with a thermometer.

In a small dish, mix together 1/4 cup room temperature butter, and 2 tablespoons honey until smooth. Brush tops of baked rolls with mixture, sprinkle sea salt and additional minced rosemary on top. Consume immediately.

Recipe slightly adapted from Country Cleaver.

Momma May’s Carrot Cake

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Momma May’s Carrot Cake by twocarolines.com

The Easter Bunny came and went, but we are remembering him fondly today with this outstanding carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and chopped walnuts.  I get mad at carrot cakes that are jam packed full of raisins, nuts and pineapples, those are all good things that have no place in my cake!  I am a carrot cake purist, I want a full rich cake with strong carrot flavor and texture, and a hearty portion of slightly tart cream cheese frosting to set it all off.  What’s most magical about this cake is how the carrots start to caramelize in places and you get little crunchy, chewy sweet bits of carrot with a perfectly seasoned cake keeping it all together for a truly unforgettable cake experience.  I love it with fresh chopped walnuts on top of the frosting, for some reason they taste way better to me on top of the cake than they do in the cake.  My Mom usually makes this in a 9×13 pyrex, in which case you bake it for about 50-55 minutes.  I made it into an layer cake for dramatic effect, but suit yourself, it’s incredibly delicious either way!

For the Cake:
1 1/4 vegetable oil or coconut oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 generous cups finely grated carrots

For the Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese (two 8 oz bars) room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup butter (2 sticks) room temperature
2 pounds powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1 cup walnuts (more or less as you desire)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease (I also parchment line) two 9 inch round cake pans.  If you haven’t yet get out your butter and cream cheese to get them to room temperature for the frosting.
  2. Blend oil and sugars until really well combined.  Beat in eggs two at a time until totally incorporated.  Whisk together your dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Sift in dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Add carrots and give is a good mix so they are evenly distributed but don’t over-mix.
  3. Pour into your pans trying to keep them as even as possible.  Bake for 28-35 minutes rotating once.  Pay attention to doneness more than bake times.  Cakes should be raised, pulling slightly from the sides and a toothpick in the middle should come out clean.  Let cool in the pans for 10 or so minutes before turning out on to a rack to cool completely.
  4. For the frosting, beat your room temp cream cheese and butter until nicely combined.  Add vanilla, then start to add your powdered sugar scraping down completely a few times to make sure your frosting doesn’t have any dry spots.  I found I like the consistency better with a tablespoon or so of milk, but that’s optional.  Use as much sugar or milk as is needed to reach a nice sturdy frosting that can hold up in a layer cake – thick, but still spreadable.
  5. Put first cake layer down on your cake board or plate then spread a generous layer of frosting on the top.  Try to only touch your frosting tool to the frosting and never to the cake to avoid pulling up crumbs.  Another tip is to use more frosting than you think you need – really pile it on, you can always take it off as you frost your cake, but if you’re needing to add more it isn’t as easy to work with.  Once you have a solid 1/2 inch plus layer on your bottom cake put your next cake on top and pile frosting high then work it over the top and sides with a knife or frosting tool.  I love this offset frosting spatula from Ateco.  Turn your cake as you frost to evenly distribute your frosting, you will probably have some left over for your next batch of cupcakes or to decorate cookies with.
  6. Chop walnuts and carefully press them into the top of your cake.  Keep at room temperature and enjoy!

 

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Walnuts by twocarolines.com

 

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

 

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The above title is a list of a few of my favorite things and they taste way better than raindrops on roses. (Confession, I’ve never seen that whole movie—don’t freak out on me!) If you are still reading, congratulations, you are about to try one of the best recipes I’ve ever cobbled together. I’ve tweaked this recipe quite a bit over the years with suggestions from my sisters who have also made it and it’s definitely near the very top of the King Family favorites arsenal. This cake is moist deluxe and so flavorful and just a little bit rich. It may have even been referred to as Hype Cake before. So, get ready and be prepared to get some hype people and devour this cake!

For the cake:
4 very ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup peanut butter (use creamy or crunchy according to texture preference)
2 cups chocolate chips

For the topping:
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Butter a 9×13 square pan. In a medium mixing bowl, mash the bananas well with a fork or potato masher. Add the eggs and vanilla, and stir well to combine. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon—then add to the banana mixture. Add the peanut butter and when that is combined, add the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon and granulated sugar. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the batter in the pan, then sprinkle brown sugar over the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

-CK 1.0

Banana Cake with Caramel Pecan Sauce

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Banana Cake with Caramel Pecan Sauce by twocarolines.com

If only there were a way to describe the incredible flavor of this cake that would do justice to what a taste sensation it is.  Light, bouncy, incredible texture with all that banana flavor being enhanced by beautiful caramel and salty sweet pecans.  It’s very exciting when I find a cake this delicious that I’ve never made before, and this one is going into my small elite group of regulars for sure.  I fell deep in love with it as did all who were lucky enough to get a slice.  The original recipe had the topping baked in, but it said that what wasn’t served warm the caramel topping got super hard and there’s no way my little family could eat all of that cake when it’s still warm so I made my own topping that I added to each slice and it was seriously outstanding.  It’s rare that I enjoy a cake this much that has nothing to do with chocolate, I am counting the days until I make it again.  -CK 2.0

For the Cake:

1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 to 3 large)
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon dark rum (I didn’t have rum so I used a teaspoon rum extract)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Caramel:

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt

Trader Joe’s Candied Pecans  – If you don’t have these you can toast some raw pecans or make your own glazed pecans.  But I found the TJ’s one’s to be the perfect compliment.

  1. To make the cake – Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift first 4 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then mashed bananas, sour cream, rum or rum extract, and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients in 2 additions just until combined. Spoon batter into pan.
  2. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool 15 minutes.
  3. For the Caramel whisk together sugar and water in a medium (heavy bottom) saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until sugar is just dissolved.  Add butter and bring to a slow boil without stirring.  Continue cooking over medium heat until the mixture turns a deep golden brown, almost copper (DO NOT STIR).  Remove from heat and immediately but slowly add the heavy cream.  Be careful as your caramel will bubble and steam.  Add salt.  Whisk the final mixture together well and set aside to cool – it will get thicker as it cools.
  4. To serve the cake chop up some pecans and put them in with the caramel then pour this over your cake as generously as you please.  It’s extra delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  My kids ate it with no caramel or pecans or even utensils – they were absolutely crazy about it.  Store wrapped up at room temperature.

 

Banana cake adapted from Smitten Kitchen 2016 and Caramel adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie book  2013

Maple Lime Custard Pie

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Maple Lime Custard Pie by twocarolines.com

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!  No better way to celebrate than with Maple Lime Custard Pie.  My neighbor brought me a huge basket of limes from her tree so I started pouring through my books and this beauty called to me.  I was concerned that the maple would make it too sweet but with the sour limes, 2 kinds of creams and bright zest, the balance is mouth watering perfection!  Nothing bums me out more than a lemon or lime pie that doesn’t hit a strong sour note, and this one is just right.  If you feel like it have some fun with the crust, pat in the pan crusts love to be messed with.  This recipe calls for a “pecan biscotti crust” and I didn’t have biscotti’s so I made my own crust using biscoff’s (also known as speculoos) and graham crackers.  You can throw in a handful of nuts, coconut, oats, or warm spices like cardamom or nutmeg.  If that freaks you out just follow the recipe below, I’m certain you’ll love it.  I opted not to use food dye, but if you want to amp up your green it would only take a few drops!

Biscoff Graham Cracker Crust:

Around 6-7 graham crackers and about 12-15 biscoff’s – enough to make 1 1/2 cups crumbs (you can go all biscoff or all graham cracker too – just get to about 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter melted

Lime Custard Pie:

1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
finely grated zest of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes)
1 cup maple syrup (preferably Grade B which I buy at Trader Joe’s – it’s the best tasting)
1/4 cup heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 375. To make the crust, put your graham crackers and biscoff cookies into a food processor and mix them until totally crushed and well blended.  Then add the sugar and salt while your processor is on low and pour the butter in slowly.  Once it’s all combined turn out into your pie pan and press into the pan being sure you get it fairly even and up to the very top.  Bake for about 7 minutes until it just starts to brown.  Let cool while you prepare your filling.
  2. Set oven at 325.  For the pie, combine the sour cream, sugar, lime zest, and salt in a large bowl and mix well.  Beat in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add the lime juice, maple syrup, and heavy cream, and mix until well combined.
  3. Carefully pour the filling into the pie shell; to avoid disturbing the crumb crust, slow the stream by pouring it over a rubber scraper and let the filling dribble into the pan.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes, rotating 180 degrees when the edges start to set, about 30 minutes in.  The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid, but still wobbly.  If you over-bake the custard can separate.  Allow to cool a solid 2-3 hours before serving.  The pie keeps great in a fridge for a good 3 days or so.

Recipe adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book 2013

 

 

Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie Copycat

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Recently I was asked by a friend for recommendations of what to eat in New York, and without hesitation, I told him Levain Bakery. Their cookies are the stuff of dreams and legends. I was so jealous and overwhelmed with an insatiable desire to consume these magical cookies, so I scoured the internet for recipes. I found a bunch of copycat recipes, but it seemed like the biggest difference between these and any other normal cookie recipe were due to the addition of corn starch, using cold butter, their size and refrigerating the dough. I found one that seemed to have most of these factors and used that for my testing. I think these turned out so good! They may not be exactly the same, but they are legit and definitely should be tried and tested by us all. Make sure to eat these fresh out of the oven, because that is when their warm and melty goodness will make your dreams come true!

  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon for mixing with chocolate chips and walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

 

In a large bowl, combine 3 ¼ cups flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter, white and brown sugars. Mix until well combined and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated. With the mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.

In a small bowl, combine chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon flour, tossing to coat. Mix the chocolate chips into the cookie dough with your hands for even distribution.

TwoCarolines_LevainCookies2.JPGLine two baking sheets with baking paper or a Silpat. Divide cookie dough into 10 portions about 4 ounces each (I weighed each and every one. They seem insanely huge, but that’s the idea!). Shape cookies into rough mounds and refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cookies are light golden brown and just barely cooked in the middle (mine went the full 20 minutes).

Recipe slightly adapted from Citycookin.

Pro-tip: Freeze the dough for another 20 or so minutes after refrigerating for extra gooey on the insides cookies.

-CK 1.0

Pi Day 3.14.16

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Birds eyes pies by twocarolines.com

Which of these impossibly delicious pies are you going to make in the name of math on 3/14? Our blog contains recipes for all of the above and more! Search the blog for a favorite pie by name or just click the “pie” category  on the right hand column and scroll until you find exactly what your in the mood for.  I baked 3 today so expect to see more pies popping up soon! -CK 2.0