Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Syrup Glaze

Sunday, October 11, 2015

October. Campfires. Mountain weekends. Foliage in shades from chestnut to fiery. Pumpkin.  Maple syrup. Hot Chocolate. Spiced cider. Flannel.

Here's a recipe that will carry you right through the season with all your favorite flavors baked into the goodness of something you can grab on the run, or enjoy over a leisurely cuppa or while sitting around the fire.  Thanks to  Eva Kosmas Flores for the recipe!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

1/2 cup warm whole milk
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup pumpkin, pureed
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Cinnamon Filling

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Maple Glaze

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon maple extract

For the pumpkin rolls, stir the yeast into the lukewarm milk in a small bowl. Allow the mixture to rest at room temperature for five minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, pumpkin, butter, sugars, eggs, salt, spices and milk mixture at medium low speed until a rough dough forms. Knead the dough by hand or with the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer until smooth and cohesive. Place the dough in a clean and lightly-greased bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise at room temperature out of direct sunlight until doubled in size, about one hour.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. For the cinnamon filling, spread the softened butter across the top of the dough, and then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over it.  Starting at one end, roll the dough like a jelly roll.

Cut into one-inch slices and place into well-greased muffin cups in a muffin tin.  Cover with a cloth and allow to rise at room temperature our of direct sunlight until the rolls are puffy, about 30 minutes to an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the cloth, and bake the rolls until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow them to cool for about 20 minutes.

While the rolls are cooking, make the maple glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, maple syrup and maple extract until smooth. Drizzle glaze over the top of the cooled rolls.  Serve any leftover glaze alongside the rolls for dipping.

Slow-Cooked Applebutter

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Arkansas Black, a variety developed in the 19th century and perfect for cooking.
One of my favorite memories from going to my grandmother's house as a child was eating applebutter toast in her kitchen. I would place several slices of Wonder bread into her little vintage toaster and watch it slide down ever so gently, only to reappear a minute later, all golden and lovely. Then I'd dip a spoon into the applebutter jar and slather the toast with that spicy, sweet concoction.  I can still feel the wood on the base of the pedestal table where my bare feet would rest as I happily munched on slice after slice, lost in my daydreams while the grown-ups chatted in the living room.

Here's an easy and delicious recipe for homemade applebutter - so yummy, you'll never want to buy any from the store again.

Slow-Cooked Applebutter

Fill a crockpot with apples, quartered and cored (do not peel).

Add these ingredients:

3 cups of white or raw sugar (or you can use some sugar and some maple syrup)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Cook for three hours on high, then stir. Cook nine more hours on low.  Do not remove lid while cooking the last nine hours.

Put in blender and process by turning on and off, one second at a time (pulsing 3 - 4 times) until smooth consistency.  Yields 3 - 4 pints.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Banana Bread

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pumpkin Cheesecake Banana Bread
Fall has arrived with the first official sighting of leaves turning color and something pumpkin on the table.  I stumbled across this recipe last night when I had my heart set on baking a Flourless Chocolate Torte, only to discover I had no more chocolate left in the pantry (gasp!).  While not the chocolate I was craving, this certainly satisfied my desire for something sweet.  And it was pretty good for breakfast, too.  I have ideas for tweaking the recipe but who knows when I will get around to it, so here you go, the original version, from Trish at 
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
Cheesecake Filling
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside. I use the nonstick cooking spray with flour in it.
  2. Combine bananas and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat until combined. Beat in pumpkin, egg, butter, and vanilla until well combined.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and stir into the wet ingredients until just combined.
  4. Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Evenly spread the batter to the edges of the pan. Set aside.
Cheesecake Filling
  1. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in the flour and continue beating until no lumps remain.
  2. Spread the cheesecake filling carefully over the contents in the loaf pan making sure it's as even as possible.
  3. Spread the remaining half of the pumpkin-banana mixture over the top of the cheesecake filling. Make sure to smooth the top and make it nice and even.
  4. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

Metal Head - A Cutting Edge Mixed-Media Designer

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Matt Jones: designer, builder, metalworker.
When Matt Jones walked through the door of his house and nervously told his wife, “Amber, I quit my job,” she calmly replied, “It’s OK, we’ll work it out.”
That was three years ago. Today, Jones and his company, Knack Fab, have become wildly successful in the world of high-end custom furniture, earning national praise for their creative designs and built-to-last quality.
Formerly a shop foreman for a large furniture company in High Point, Jones left the business when he felt the company’s goals were diverging from his own. Within a few months, his phone was ringing with requests from former clients who missed his designs and wanted him to build something for them. Thus, Knack Fab was born. “The business just kind of started itself,” he says.
Jones’ designs are now sought by designers, upscale restaurants, and a dedicated clientele intrigued by his modern style of mixed-media furniture crafted out of wood, metal, leather, glass, and concrete. His designs have been featured in publications such as Architectural Digest, The Atlantan, Food and Wine, and Modern Luxury.

Jones’ career in metal began forming at age 13 when he met David Icenhour of DLI Services, who later became his mentor, and saw welding for the first time. His interest was piqued, and he began working at Icenhour’s shop after school. From there, he learned the skills that would launch his own career—first in industrial design with John Deere and later in furniture design.

When asked how he created a niche for himself in the competitive furniture industry, Jones modestly replies, “I really don’t know anything about furniture. I just like to make things.”
He adds that a trip to Scotland influenced him to take his career into furniture design with a specialty in restaurant furniture. His passion for bench-made American goods and his commitment to excellence have landed him jobs with upscale restaurants in Atlanta and New York City, where he designs and builds everything from light fixtures to bar stools to tables.

Customers are happy to spread the word about this trendy young designer who, in addition to metalwork, is also a published photographer and custom-car builder. He credits several things for launching him from starving artist to burgeoning success. The first, he says, was remaining true to his values. “If you want to be an artist, you have to be who you are. You’ll never have the impact you want to have if you try to conform to other people’s ideals.” 

The second is his wife, Amber, who encouraged him when he was tempted to give up Knack Fab two years ago. “None of this would have happened without Amber. She is the most supportive person in the world.” 

He also emphasizes the importance of giving to humanitarian causes. Jones and his staff give 5 percent of gross sales each year to a local nonprofit, Hydrating Humanity, to dig wells in African villages. Because of their generosity, more than 700 people a day are able to drink clean water from wells funded by his company. As Jones notes on his website, Knack Fab was founded with one real goal in mind: To make a difference.

“We are not trying to build a company to better our own way of life or build an empire,” he states. “We are just fulfilling our passion by doing what we love and trying to make the world a better place.”

By Naomi Gingerich, as published in Winston Salem Monthly Magazine, October 2015.
Photography by Joshua Ruffner.

From Singapore with Love

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hazel Seah grew up in Singapore, the bustling commerce center of Asia's southernmost tip with parents whose love and nurturing carried her through young, formative years with their philosophy of "a family that eats together, stays together." In reflection, she says, "Good food was always on the table, food that nourished our souls, lifted our spirits, carried us through exams, in sickness and in health.  We used every excuse to celebrate, to come together and have a meal.  Food was the central vein to our family togetherness."

Hazel didn't realize how much home-cooked food was a meaningful part of her life until years later, after traveling in various places and living in obscure parts of Israel and the UK where fresh markets and wholesome meals were not always accessible.  She began to crave the taste of her country's cuisine, and most of all the food she had enjoyed as a child.  Thankfully, her parents came to her rescue and soon care packages with Asian herbs and spices arrived, along with letters and hand-written recipes of her favorite dishes.  This began her cooking journey, and now she has come home to the city where her childhood memories of food and family go hand in hand.

These days, you can find Hazel in the kitchen of her suburban home or in the beautiful garden where she grows some of her food.  She enjoys moments spent with her parents whenever time permits, and says, "Some of my favorite pastimes include learning how to bake a loaf of artisan bread from my dad, who at 70, shows no sign of slowing down in the kitchen.  His thirst and quest for perfection in all the dishes he creates is a constant inspiration to me.  Mom and I share a different kind of kitchen bond.  We gossip and catch up on all things under the sun while she teaches me how to braise a Teochew style duck, how to nail that Oxtail Stew or how my grandmother's cucumber pickle is the best condiment ever to her traditional pork knuckle braise."  

And she carries on the tradition of her parent's mantra by coming together with those she loves, sitting around a hearty dining table to share food and celebrate life.

"Learning to cook Mama's dishes is nothing short of an intriguing journey and an exercise in patience."


Though an accomplished cook now, Hazel says it wasn't so long ago that she "struggled through burnt spice pastes, overcooked roast and under-cooked pork chops."

In the kitchen with her father, the man who so inspires her with his cooking and enthusiasm for life. His hands, though strong and manly, have a gift for creating beauty in the kitchen, whether kneading bread or creating delicate tofu pouches.

Early morning market shopping with her mother from vendors she has been patronizing since a child.

The making of vanilla and Meyer lemon scones.

Roasted banana, cinnamon and chocolate cake - a combination of lovely flavors to carry Hazel through early mornings (she gets up at 4 AM), along with a cup of strong, black coffee.

The perfect thing for a Friday: pink grapefruit and thyme cake with a sugary glaze paired with a cup of fragrant rose tea.

Tsubushi-an Brioche  Buns stuffed with a bean paste and sprinkled with sesame seeds - a favorite in all local bakeries around Singapore.

There are some days that just require chocolate chip cookies, right?

General Tso's Chicken, Taiwanese style.

"Savory oatmeal cooked in chicken stock and with buttery hickory smoked Gouda folded through, topped with onions, mushrooms and radishes roasted till sweet and caramelized with some lemon thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper."  

"This is one of the many scrumptious home-style Chinese dishes I crave - dishes that bring back comforting memories of after school dinners, the warmth of home, my mother's love. Learning to cook Mamma's dishes is nothing short of an intriguing journey and an exercise in patience. Her recipes, like many other accomplished Asian cooks are just the merest guidelines...seasoned with a big pinch of intuition."

Spicy Chicken Madras, even better the second day.

Pandan leaves, pearl and Chinese barley, apricot kernels, dried honey figs, gingko nuts, dried longans, snow fungus and Asian pear - her mother's potion for a sore throat.  (Recipe below)


Pandan Barley, Snow Fungus & Asian Pear

Recipe for Pandan Barley, SnowFungus & Asian Pear Dessert

2 x Bunches of Pandan, washed & knotted
1/2 cup Pearl Barley, rinsed
1/2 cup China Barley, rinsed
8 Dried Honey Figs
1/4 cup Dried Longans
1/4 cup Apricot Kernels
1/4 cup Gingko Nuts
1 x Palm Sized Snow Fungus 
1 x Asian Pear, skinned and cubed
Rock Sugar to Taste

Split gingko nuts in half to remove the bitter center. Soak the snow fungus in a bowl of water briefly till rehydrated. Trim the hard bits away and give it a good wash to clean. Cut the snow fungus into smaller bite size pieces and set aside.

To a large heavy bottom pot, filled with 4.5 litres of water, add pandan leaves, pearl barley, china barley and dried honey figs. Bring to boil and on medium heat, keep simmering for about 30-45mins or until the barley grains have softened.

Add dried longans, apricot kernels and gingko nuts, continue to boil for a further 15-20mins, add white fungus and asian snow pear, boil for another 15-20mins, add rock sugar to taste. Remove from heat.

This sweet dessert soup can be enjoyed warm or chilled in the fridge for a refreshing treat. 

Note: You can continue to simmer the soup further until the snow fungus is soft and gelatinous but I prefer it crunchy with some bite to it.

Thai Basil Pesto

Thai Basil Pesto

3 cups of Thai Basil Leaves
40 gm Roasted Peanuts
3 Garlic Cloves
2 tsp Red Chili Flakes
2 tsp Coconut Sugar

Juice of a medium Lime
1 tbsp Fish Sauce
20 ml Dark Sesame Oil
20 ml Peanut Oil

Adjust seasoning and heat of the chilies to taste.

Whizz all the above ingredients in a food processor and blend until a smooth paste is achieved. Store in an airtight glass container covered with a little more peanut oil. 

Keep refrigerated until required. Delicious served with bbq meats, pasta, rice noodles, roasted vegetables, salads and soups.

Maple, Cinnamon & Cardamom Granola
Maple Cinnamon & Cardamom Granola

100 gm Rolled Oats
100 gm Barley Oats
80 gm Rye Oats
100 gm Almonds
100 gm Pistachios
100 gm Walnuts
50 gm Pumpkin Seeds
50 gm Sunflower Seeds
50 gm Chia Seeds

1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup
2 tbsp Neutral Veg Oil
1 tsp Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Cardamom
1 tsp Sea Salt

100 gm Dried Blueberries
100 gm Dried Cranberries
100 gm Dried Golden Raisins

Into a large mixing bowl, add oats, nuts and seeds and give it a good mix.

Into a small jug, add maple syrup, oil, vanilla, ground spices and salt. Using a spatula, give it a good mix until combined. Pour the sweetened mix into the oats, nuts and seeds and give it a good stir until evenly coated.

Evenly spread the mix onto a lined baking tray and stick it into a cold oven. Crank the heat to 150 degrees C and bake the granola for 30-35 minutes until fragrant and golden, stirring every ten minutes until done.

Let the granola mix cool down completely before adding the dried fruits. Transfer to airtight mason jars for storage.

All photos courtesy of Hazel Seah and used with permission. You can follow Hazel on Instagram:  @beurrenoisette_