Christmas is just around the corner and I’m so excited! This past Friday we officially kicked off the holiday season with a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with friends Marit and Kelvin and my son-in-law (well, it kind of feels that way already!). After a huge turkey dinner, we all cozied up on the couch to watch one of my favorite Christmas movies, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — so, so funny! It was a lovely evening with a highly festive feeling. We even had eggnog and twinkly lights!
There are a lot of cooking plans brewing in my head, and today I want to share one that I tried this morning — my easy cinnamon rolls made with ready-made croissant dough! This recipe saves you a lot of time, so it’s definitely one to keep in mind this busy holiday season. I hope you’ll like them as much as we did!
Easy Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 8 rolls
- a tube of ready-made croissant dough (340g)
- 40g butter (20g melted, 20g softened)
- 50g light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 60g softened cream cheese
- 40g powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180C. Open the tube of dough on a well-floured surface. Cut it in half with a sharp knife and join the two sheets to make on large sheet of approximately 31 x 11 cm. Brush a little of the melted butter over a round Pyrex dish. Brush a little more of melted butter over the dough. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the dough. Roll up the dough into a log, from the small side. Place the rolls in the pan with the seams touching and brush with the rest of the melted butter. Bake for 25 minutes. Make the glaze by whisking the softened butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Spread this over the rolls as soon as they come out of the oven. Delicious!
The last time I visited Bourgogne, I was served a thin, delicately flavored cookie as part of my café gourmand. I was so impressed with the cookie’s crisp, tender crumb and subtle citrus aroma, that I vowed to recreate a similiar cookie once I returned home to the Netherlands. This was not the first time one of my recipes was inspired by something I ate at a restaurant; eating out in France is always a great source of inspiration.
NOTE: Though the cookies are sweet, they pair beautifully with a cheese board.
Makes: Approximately 40 cookies
- 200g sugar
- 200g butter, softened
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- 150g all-purpose flour
- 70g ground almonds
- 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
- zest of 2 small organic oranges
Preheat oven to 180°C, and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar with a handheld mixer or standing mixer. Add the egg and continue beating. Beat in the flour, ground almonds, thyme and orange zest. Take small teaspoonfuls of the dough and form them into fat, little discs. It helps if you do this with moistened hands. Place on the prepared baking sheet about 3 cm apart and bake for 10-12 minutes. Keep on eye on them. The edges should be lightly browned, but not too dark. Carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. The cookies will be quite soft when they come out of the oven but will crisp while cooling.
Autumn has really hit hard this past week, and although I am not a fan of rain, there is a certain beauty in intensely hued trees towering into dark skies. It is no longer raining today, but misty. The vivid yellows on the leaves of my cherry tree and the dusty pinks in my hydrangeas keep everything from looking all too gloomy. Nature always provides a perfect balance.
I harvested the last of my apples yesterday — a harvest which has been very generous. My tree has not only provided plenty of snack opportunities, but everything I’ve baked since early September has included freshly-picked apples. Like my apple muffins with confiture de lait, my apple-pecan bundt cakes with brown sugar-cinnamon glaze, the caramelized apple cake inspired by a Julie Andrieu recipe, and my Frenchified Dutch apple pie. Yesterday it was time to make a crumble, one of the easiest fruit recipes ever. What I love about this recipe is that it is relatively easy on the waistline (a good thing after last night’s meatloaf dinner!), and it calls for simple ingredients. I always like to serve my crumbles hot out of the oven with a tiny scoop of ice cream. The contrast is absolutely delightful. Here’s my recipe. Have a cozy, autumnal weekend!
- 3 medium apples, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsps flour
- 3 tbsps oatmeal
- 1 tbsp ground almonds
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 1tbsp light brown sugar
- 35g butter
- ice cream (either cinnamon or vanilla), to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C and lightly butter a small, round oven dish of approximately 18cm. Put the apples in the buttered dish. Mix the flour, oatmeal, ground almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and sugar in a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips. Spread the mixture over the apples and bake for 30-35 minutes. Serve hot with a scoop of ice cream.
This is a rustic kind of cake. Dense and buttery, it’s the type of cake that you serve on a Saturday afternoon when the leaves are golden yellow and red. You can eat it cold, but if you opt for warm, I strongly suggest you serve it with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream.
I can’t take all the credit for this one as it was made after being inspired by a recipe in Julie Andrieu’s book, Les Carnets de Julie. It’s a recipe handed down from a French granny, so you know it’s going to be good. Here’s my version:
Caramelized Apple Cake
- 110g flour
- 110g sugar
- 60g butter, softened
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 40g ground almonds
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into sections
- 100g butter
- 100g light brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 200C and butter an oval 10 1/2 x 8 inch dish. Using a standing mixer, mix the flour, sugar, softened butter, baking powder, ground almonds and egg. Once the dough comes together, take it out of the bowl and spread it over the buttered dish using your fingers. Top with the apples, pressing them into the dough. Bake the cake for 20 minutes. Shortly before the end of the cooking time, put the 100g butter and the light brown sugar in a small saucepan and allow the butter to melt while whisking. Once the mixture is smooth, it is ready. Take the cake out of the oven and pour the caramel sauce over it. Bake for an additional 12-15 minutes. You can serve the cake cold, or warm with a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.