Make Monday: good coffee

7th February 2011

I’m a total coffee snob. I drink it black, so that usually means I can taste all of its imperfections. If its burnt, old, ect.

Heres some tips on how to make a perfect cup of coffee.

Grind:

  • Should be fine enough to allow water to pass through coffee grounds without overflow.
  • If you’re able to access a proper coffee shop, just ask them to ground it for whatever coffee chachkaa you use. (meletia cup, drip, french press, ect)

Measure:

  • Start with two level tablespoons for every 6 oz cup; adjust to your taste

Water:

  • Water should be sweet, without excessive minerals or salt. Use spring water, if you’re not sure.

Temperature:

  • 190 Fahrenheit
  • The water should never be brought to a boil, because it’ll burn the coffee.

Storing:

  • Good coffee will stay fresh for 2 weeks if kept air tight and away from moisture condensation.
  • Those waxy paper bags with the twist tie on top, that the coffee usually comes in? yeah. those work just dandy just as long as you squeeze out all excess air. and tightly close it.

Perfect Cinnamon Buns

24th January 2011

I had a friend whos mom, would place them in a pie tin and they would expand. Being what I thought cinnamon buns should be, this was illusive concept to me. I only ate them once and have been trying to find ones that compare, ever since.

Heres what ruins anything that has ever come close to those homemade cinnamon buns that I have spent a lifetime dreaming about:

  • the weak cinnamon to bun ratio
  • not enough frosting
  • raisins. gross. Why do people find the need to add pruned grapes to something so perfect?

I realized that in order to do something right, I would just have to do it myself. Baking with yeast is still pretty new to me, so I was a bit scared of it. My baker dad informed me that yeast and humans live comfortably in the same temperatures:

  • If you add yeast to something that is about the same temperature as a warm bathtub, it’ll flourish.
  • If you add it to a liquid that is too hot, you’ll kill it.
  • If you add it to something cold, it’ll hold out on expanding until the temperature is warm enough or it’ll just take longer.

With this, I began skimming through cinnamon bun recipes, plucking what I liked about each one to concoct my idea of the perfect cinnamon bun.

It was so good, that my appetite almost didn’t give me time to take a good photo of the final product.

What you need for the dough:

  • 1 package (0.25 oz.) yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup milk, warmed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4-4 1/2 cups flour

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter

For the Icing:

  • 1/2 package cream cheese, very soft
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla (I really love vanilla, though)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

start by warming up the milk

warm the milk on the lowest possible flame. My goal was to get it the milk to “bath water for a baby” warm.

Put the warm milk into your mixing bowl and add the packet of yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then stir together.

add 1/2 cup of sugar, 1tsp salt, vanilla, 2 eggs, and 6 tbs of butter. (fittingly, I made this treat onPaula Deens birthday)

and stir it all together.

stir in flour

I did it one cup at a time until it made a dough that was thick enough to kneed together (about 4 1/2 cups)

flour a surface, and kneed the dough until its smooth (I did it for about 5 minutes)

Lightly grease a bowl, place the ball of dough into it, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit in a warm place until it raises to twice its size. (The time it takes for it to rise depends on the temp of its surroundings. I put mine into the unheated oven because its still much warmer than my unheated apartment. About 2 hours later, the dough was huuuuuuge!)

While you wait, you can mix together the fixin’s for the filling.

Put the dough onto a floured surface, and roll it into a large rectangle.

spread on 2 tablespoons of butter

add the brown sugar mixture

roll it up

and cut about every 2 inches 

butter up a pie tin (or two, in my case) or a baking dish and place the cinnamon rolls in it until the expand into the pan (about 40 minutes)

while waiting to them to look as squished as they do in the photo above, preheat your oven to 350. Pop them into the oven for about 30 minutes

or until they start getting brown on top.

beat together all of your frosting ingredients. Adding the sugar last and in small increments until you reach the amount of sweetness you want from it.

smoother your hot sweet buns (get your mind out of the gutter!)

Eat them until you fall into a sugar coma.

I suggest only serving them fresh. I got 9 buns out of this recipe and tried saving 4 (unfrosted) ones overnight, but by the next morning the bread pretty much absorbed the cinnamon swirl. Which was fine by me, since the bread aloe is AMAZING.I think I’ll make a loaf of it for french toast, next time.

all photos and illustrations were done by me

Chloe Rice


ohJoy!

20th January 2011

Puppy distractions

friendship distractions

getting ‘shotgun’ when it really makes a diffrence

seeing situations from a different perspective

teaching Charlie an awesome new trick!

sewing my finger into the sewing machine….

because it resulted in the purchase of these adorable bandaids!!!

leaving slightly comical/ passive aggressive notes

having people in my life who will put on my clothes, and those who will take a train out of their way just to make me smile.

getting exercise by being ridiculous

when a row of photos I’ve taken come up in a row on Facebook.

honorable mentions:

  • Being stopped at the metal detector at the passport office, for a bottle of hot sauce in my purse. “Boss, is this considered a drink?” “Only if she’s Jamaican.”
  • re-watching The Smoking Room
  • getting cut off in a lunch line by a guy who insisted on buying my meal.
  • rearranging my office space
  • finally finding a way to stream I Love Lucy episodes
  • catching one of those old trains with the orange seats
  • pizza with bacon and eggs on it, from Robertas
  • spelling things out phonetically with a phone operator. “V as in Vagina” “….ok, that was V as in Victory, correct?”
  • teasing my hair up
  • jumping jacks
  • baking almost every day
  • prematurely digging out my summer clothes for my trip to Thailand, next month

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