Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Paula Deen, don't do me dirty.

I've been into comfort foods lately and who does comfort foods better than Paula Deen? No one is the correct answer. The woman uses real butter and sugar without apologizing. Why should she? Everything she makes always tastes great, right?

We took a family trip out to County Line Apple Orchard in Hobart, Ind. I love this place. It is super cute, the kids love it and the apples are so good. They are at the right height for picking, even for the smallest of kids and watching the kids munching away right there in the orchard is just the best. I think everyone who has ever been apple picking starts out by saying "We aren't going to get too many." We all know what happens to best laid plans. Another year of going to the orchard, not to pick too many, and we have come home with a HUGE amount of apples.
Little picking machines. Even munchkins can
reach the apples!

Wondering what the H-E-double hockey sticks (GO HAWKS) we are going to do with all of these apples I turned to my trusty internet. I know, I know, I need an intervention, but come on already, if you don't know what to do, Google it. I made my way over to www.pauladeen.com when I came across a lovely little recipe for Apple Cinnamon Cupcakes. First thought, my God, that would be good with a cup of coffee or after dinner for dessert or maybe just for a snack or you know, anytime at all.

Since I was already on her site, I remember my friend Stacey telling me just how delicious the Ultimate Lady's Cheesy Mac and Cheese was on Paula Deen's site, so I made my way to that too and thought, let's do this! I was on a mission. A mission from, butter, sugar, more butter and cheese. Sounds like heaven right? Well, you might have a grabber after eating this, but still it's heaven.

I started with the cupcakes because the dough is the kind that has to rise with yeast and they sounded time intensive, but it was PAULA DEEN, so I made an exception.

This is what I did:
For the Roll
2 cups 2%milk
1Tbs dry active yeast
1/3 cup white sugar
2tsp salt
6 1/2 cups flour, divided
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temp

Warm the milk to about 110 degrees in the microwave and in a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar into the milk. Give it a few stirs and let it sit for a few minutes. Add the salt and 2 cups of flour and beat for 2 minutes. Then beat in eggs and butter and stir in remaining flour a half cup at a time. (Don't loose count, I did, but it was ok.)

Once everything is in and mixed well, you should have a sticky dough ball. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed until elastic, about 5 minutes, adding a little flour until not sticky to the touch.

Put the dough back into a bowl and cover with a towel in a warm place for about 40 minutes until it has doubled in size. Then roll it out onto a floured surface into the shape of a rectangle about 1/4" thick. Now, this is where I started, just started getting nervous because this was one whopping piece of dough. Oh, Paula!

1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 TBS cinnamon
1 cup loosely chopped pecans
2 cups finely chopped tart apples(like golden delicious or granny smiths) Next time I would use more apples.

Take half of the melted butter and brush it over the top of the dough. The whole thing should be a glistening slab of rectangle shaped dough. Then mix both sugars, cinnamon, pecans and apples in a bowl and then spread this over the dough leaving an 1" empty around all edges.

This is where it gets tricky. You now have to roll this monstrosity along the LONG side into a huge log of sugary goodness. Paula, what the heck? This is enormous! How in the world is this EVER going to fit into cupcake tins. There is no way. NO WAY. Paula, I love you and all, but I am starting to think. Paula don't do me dirty.

Ok, you have this huge log of dough and you are supposed to slice it 27 times and stuff these slices into cupcake tins. Sorry everyone, I never thought I would say this, but Paula was wrong on this one. Quick thinking, quick thinking, quick thinking...Cinnamon ROLLS! YES! ROLLS!
Yeah, there was no way those were fitting into
cupcake tins. Kinda like me into skinny jeans.

I get out my glass pie dishes and I spray them so nothing sticks and start cutting and placing all of these rolls into the dishes. There we go. Crisis averted, Paula you are still on my good list. Now cover these with a towel and let them sit for another 40. Yes, time intensive, but still hopeful for a good turn out. Paula, don't do me dirty.

40 minutes later, brush the tops with the remaining melted butter and bake. Now if these were cupcakes it says 20 minutes. Nope, these are rolls all packed together. It took about 40 minutes at 350, I think. I ended up even having to cover the edges with foil because they were browning to fast and the center wasn't done. Paula, don't do me dirty was just repeating over and over in my head by this point.

Beep beep beep, the sound of my timer. Finally, done. Now for the glaze.
The finished product. OMG, give me a fork.
1 cup of powdered sugar and 2 TBS PLUS 1 tsp of apple cider. Mix this all up and it will be a yummy glaze to top off the cinnamon rolls. Drizzle away. Yummy.

I must have been feeling a little nutty by this time or maybe I wanted to see how this other Paula recipe was going to turn out, Paula don't do me dirty, but I thought let's do this Mac and Cheese.

This is what I did:
2 cups dried elbow mac
1/3 cup of grated cheeses, swiss, jack, colby, munster, gouda. So, I couldn't find all of these grated, I had to do it myself.
1/2 cup sour cream
4TBS butter in pieces
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cup milk
non-stick spray
Cook pasta al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and place into a large bowl. While pasta is hot, add all of the cheeses and stir. In a separate bowl, whisk sour cream, butter, eggs, salt, pepper and milk. Add this to the mac. Spray the 13x9 casserole dish and pour everything in. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes until bubbly, top with more cheese.

CHEESE makes everything better.
After my cinnamon rolls, all I could think is, this better be good. Paula, don't do me dirty. My motto is cheese makes everything better and in this instance, it was better. So better. So, so better. This mac and cheese is really really good. We had it with jumbo hot dogs and chips. It was perfect. We had cinnamon apple rolls for dessert and YES, they too were delicious. I came, I made and modified and it was a success.
Oh, my, yummy.

Thank you Paula Deen for being the queen of all things good.