Pharm Fresh

The foodie alter-ego of a pharmacy student

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Icing November 19, 2009

Filed under: bread,breakfast — pharmfresh @ 10:38 pm
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Wow, I’m already up to four posts so far this month!  I’m pretty proud of myself.  I think it’s because these last few weeks have been really stressful, and when I get stressed I cook.  Usually something involving chocolate.  This time I was working on studying for a pharmacokinetics exam, but was having trouble sitting still and concentrating for any great length of time.  This recipe actually worked out perfectly for that, because it has lots of wait time.  So I could work on it for a few minutes, then study while the dough rose, take a break and do the next step, and then study while I was waiting through the next rise period and baking.  Not only did I get some super cinnamon rolls out of it, but I think I did pretty well on the exam, too!

These turned out really well.  I don’t usually make cinnamon rolls because they’re pretty labor-intensive, but this recipe wasn’t actually too bad.  Like I mentioned before, there’s definitely a bit of wait time involved, but if you’ve got a whole afternoon to yourself and something to occupy you while you’re waiting, it works out perfectly.  I really like the caramel icing on these.  Usually I go for a cream cheese icing for my cinnamon rolls, but this was surprisingly different and delicious and went really well with the pumpkin flavor.  These would be perfect for breakfast on Thanksgiving or Christmas day!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Icing

Adapted from: Recipe Girl

Makes: 12 rolls

For the rolls:

1/3 c. milk

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 c. canned pumpkin

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 package rapid rise yeast

2 c. all-purpose flour

Pinch of cinnamon and cloves (optional)

For the filling:

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 tbsp. melted butter

For the caramel icing:

1/4 c. (4 tbsp.) butter

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Pinch of salt

1/2 – 3/4 c. powdered sugar

1) In a small saucepan, heat butter and milk until warm, but not boiling, stirring constantly.  Set aside.

2) In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar and salt.  Add milk mixture and stir until smooth and well-mixed.  Beat in the egg and yeast.

3) Add 1 cup of flour to the pumpkin mixture.  Beat with an electric mixer for 5 minutes on low speed.  Add the remaining flour and optional spices and mix well.  The dough should be very soft.

4) Transfer the dough into a greased bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

5)  After dough has risen, punch the dough down and turn out onto a floured surface.  Knead 4-5 times to form a smooth dough, adding only enough extra flour to make the dough manageable.

6) On a well floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12×10 inch rectangle.

7) In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling.  Brush the dough rectangle with the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over it.

8) Beginning with one of the long sides of the dough, roll up jelly-roll style and pinch the seam to seal.  With a sharp knife, cut the roll into twelve 1-inch slices.  Place rolls cut side up in a greased 9 inch square baking pan.

9) Bake rolls at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let cool for 10 minutes.

10)  For the icing, melt butter in a small saucepan.  Add the brown sugar and milk and mix until smooth.  Cook over medium-low heat for one minute, then take off the heat and stir in vanilla, salt and powdered sugar.  If necessary, add more powdered sugar to reach the desired consistency.

11) Drizzle icing over rolls.


Moist Pumpkin Bread September 15, 2009

Filed under: bread,dessert,fruit,snacks — pharmfresh @ 3:57 pm
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I don’t know about everywhere else in the world, but for the past few weeks here, it has been HOT. Like, mid to high 80’s. I know that sounds really wimpy, but hey, it’s Michigan! And northern Michigan, at that! We had a really mild summer here, so for it to get this warm while I’m already back in school is really weird. I am definitely more of a fall girl. I love the cooling temperatures, the turning leaves, bringing out the sweatshirts and jeans and most especially, fall foods.

We’ve made this bread every single year around Thanksgiving and Christmas time for years. It’s one of my most favorite fall treats. It’s very easy to make, uses mostly ingredients you probably already have on hand, and it makes the entire house smell fabulously autumnal while baking. You can’t get any better than that!

Feel free to play around with the amount of spices in the recipe.  The original recipe called for only a teaspoon each of cinnamon and cloves, but I found that it wasn’t spicy enough for me.  I like to add a little bit of nutmeg, ginger and allspice as well.  Play around with it a little and if it doesn’t have enough flavor the first time, try putting in more next time!


Moist Pumpkin Bread

Makes: 2 loaves

Source: my mom!

2/3 c. shortening

2 c. granulated sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. pumpkin puree

2/3 c. water

2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground allspice (optional)

3 1/3 c. flour

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two loaf pans.

2) In a large bowl, cream the shortening and sugar until combined.

3) Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

4) Stir in water and pumpkin puree, then add baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.  Mix until completely combined.

5) Stir in flour, mixing until smooth.

6) Bake for one hour, until a knife inserted in the middle of the loaves comes out clean.


Chocolate Banana Bread March 1, 2009

Filed under: bread,chocolate,fruit — pharmfresh @ 7:55 pm
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I am a sucker for a good banana bread.  Take me to a bake sale, and if there’s a loaf sitting there looking moist and pretty, I’ll buy it.  I am also a HUGE chocoholic.  So much so that I have a chocolate stash in the top drawer of my nightstand (but shhhh!  It’s a secret!).  I love putting chocolate chips in my banana bread (if you haven’t ever tried that, give it a shot…it brings banana bread to a whole new level!), so when I saw a recipe on Joy the Baker’s blog for a chocolate banana bread with chocolate chips, I thought to myself, “this is genius!  Why didn’t I think of this before?!”  Luck was on my side, as I had all of the ingredients already in the house, including two very ripe bananas just begging to be used.

(Also, if you have never seen Joy the Baker’s blog, make sure to check it out!  She does amazing things in the kitchen, and her pictures are always gorgeous.)

The bread turned out fantastically, and will definitely be added to my ever-growing list of things to DEFINITELY make again.  I adapted the recipe just a bit — I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and upped the amount of chocolate chips (I just couldn’t resist!).  As you can see from the picture, it has a very crumbly texture which makes it very difficult to cut nice slices, but the taste is so amazing that I don’t really even care. But even though the texture is crumbly, it still is extremely moist. You get a nice jolt of chocolate, followed by a mellow banana aftertaste.  It’s perfect plain, or if you want to get fancy,  slathered with a bit of salted butter.


Chocolate Banana Bread

Source: Joy the Baker

Makes: 1 loaf

1 stick (8 tbsp.) butter, at room temperature

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 very ripe bananas, mashed

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 c. buttermilk

1 c. mini chocolate chips


1) In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Set aside.  (Note: If you’re wondering why my cocoa powder is two different colors, I ran out of regular unsweetened cocoa powder and had to use 1/4 c. dark cocoa powder)


2) Place the butter and sugars in a large bowl.  Using an electric mixer, beat until well-mixed.


3) Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy.  Then beat in mashed bananas.

img_3326 img_3327

4) Mix in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk.  I did it in 3 installments – about 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/3 of the buttermilk each time.


5) Fold in the chocolate chips.


6)  Spread batter into a greased loaf pan.  Because of the long baking time, Joy suggested placing the loaf pan on top of an insulated cookie sheet, or two cookie sheets stacked on top of each other to keep the bottom of the bread from browning too much.  This worked perfectly for me!

7) Bake at 350 degrees for 70-75 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  If the top of the bread is getting too browned, place some foil over the top after it’s been in the oven for about 30 minutes, and then remove the foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking time.


Onion French Bread February 27, 2009

Filed under: bread — pharmfresh @ 8:23 pm
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I know I’ve said this before, but I really love making bread.  This semester’s schedule is especially conducive to bread-making, which makes me really happy.  I’m done around noon every day, so I have the rest of the day to do whatever.  Usually that’s mostly studying, but the one nice thing about this bread in particular is that there’s really very little hands-on time.  It takes almost 3 hours total to make, but only about 15-20 minutes of actual work.  During the rest of that time, you can do whatever you want.  I usually end up studying, but there are much better things you could do…I suggest a bath (with a glass of wine, of course!)  or maybe a manicure.

This is just a basic french bread recipe with the addition of a packet of onion soup mix.  This gives it a really nice onion taste — not too strong, but enough that you notice it’s there.  The crust came out really well, too.  I usually have problems with the crust softening once the bread cools, but these loaves stayed soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.

There are a few things that I’ve learned after making (and messing up) quite a few loaves of bread.  First, you should always add less flour than you think you need to begin with.  I used to add way too much flour to the dough right at the beginning, not realizing that more is usually added during the kneading process.  I always try to get a dough that feels silky to the touch and is just slightly tacky (not completely dry on the outside) but won’t leave little bits stuck to your hands.  Secondly, it’s always good to knead more, rather than less.  I read somewhere (and of course when I just went to try to find the article again, it’s nowhere to be found) that nothing bad comes from over-kneading, but under-kneading can lead to a very dense and heavy loaf.


Onion French Bread

Makes: 2 baguettes

5 to 5 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 envelope onion soup mix (I used Lipton’s Beefy Onion)

2 pkg. (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast

3 tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. salt

2 c. warm water

2 tbsp. shortening

1)  Combine 2 cups flour, soup mix, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

2) Add the warm water and the shortening.  Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.

3) Add enough remaining flour to form a very soft dough.

4) Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 4-5 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel.

5) Let rise for 1 hour.

6) Place dough back on the floured surface and knead an additional 4-5 times.

7) Divide the dough in half.  Roll each half into a 14×6 inch rectangle.

8) Beginning with one of the longer sides, roll up the dough.  Tuck in each end and pinch all edges to seal.

9) Place each log of dough onto a greased cookie sheet.

10) Cover the cookie sheets with greased plastic wrap and let rise for 30-40 minutes.

11) Make four diagonal cuts across the top of each loaf, abut 1/2 inch deep.

12) Bake loaves at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until outside is nicely browned and hard to the touch.



Coconut Bread August 25, 2008

Filed under: bread,dessert — pharmfresh @ 11:10 pm
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Well, it’s official!  I am officially a resident of Big Rapids, Michigan.  I just moved into my house on Saturday.  Which, by the way, is the reason behind the recent lack in posting.  I’ve been too busy with packing and shopping to do any real cooking.  But now I have my very own kitchen all to myself, which should lead to some fantastic creations!  Moving in wasn’t as bad and complicated as I thought it would be — my dad and I had to come up a day early to let the cable guy in (they, of course, couldn’t come on the day we were planning on being there to move in), and then my mom and boyfriend came the next day with the moving van and a car full of the rest of my stuff.  My parents are so awesome though; they stayed until after midnight to help me get all of my stuff unpacked and settled.  And my dad took me shopping and bought me a TON of groceries.  My kitchen is completely stocked.  It’s so great.

You’ll also probably notice that the pictures from now on are going to be of a slightly lower quality.  Now that I’m not living at home anymore, I don’t have access to my mom’s super fancy expensive camera, and instead have to use my not-so-fancy generic digital camera.  Hopefully this will be rectified by Christmas though, seeing as a fancier camera is on the top of my wishlist.

So to christen my kitchen, I decided to make a recipe that I’ve had bookmarked for quite a while.  I found it on another food blog, and it looked pretty fantastic.  Apparently it’s a recipe from a restaurant in Sydney, Australia called Bills.  The bread doesn’t taste the way I expected it to, but it’s still pretty delicious, and came out perfectly moist with a nice crisp crust on the outside.  It’s doesn’t have a really strong coconut flavor, which is really the only problem I have with it.  I think next time I make it, I will toast the coconut beforehand to try to bring in a little more coconut flavor.  I might also add in some chocolate chips next time, because really, what goes better with coconut than chocolate?  It would be like a Mounds bar in bread form.  Mmmmm, delicious.

Coconut Bread

Source: Baking Bites

Makes 1 loaf

2 eggs

1 1/4 c. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 c. sugar

2 c. shredded sweetened coconut

1/3 c. butter, melted

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.

2) In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.  Set aside.

3) Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Stir in coconut and sugar.

4) Add egg mixture and butter to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Pour into prepared loaf pan.

5) Bake for 1 hour, then cool completely before cutting.


Green Onion Yogurt Bread July 16, 2008

Filed under: bread — pharmfresh @ 8:20 pm
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I really like making bread.  I think it’s a lot of fun to get in there and get your hands dirty (even if I do sometimes forget to take off my rings).  We have a breadmaker at my house, which we use…well, once or twice a year.  But there’s something about mixing everything together yourself and kneading it by hand that always makes the bread taste better in the end.  The only part I hate is waiting for the bread to rise.  I’m really not a patient person, so to wait three or four hours for something to be done enough to eat is maddening, but most of the time worth it.

This past Saturday my mom and I had a mini baking extravaganza.  We had to get up relatively early that morning and vacate the house so that a potential buyer could come through and see it, and when we got back home it was gross and rainy, so my mom said “hey, let’s bake!”  and I, of course, said, “okay!”  We ended up making two different kinds of biscotti, angel food cake, no-bake cookies and this bread.  Everything else was going to get posted on here, but was eaten way to quickly for me to get any pictures.

This bread is pretty delicious.  Mine started out light and fluffy, but got chewier as it cooled – which, really, is the way I like it.  It has a surprisingly nice onion flavor, which I was worried about.  Green onions don’t carry the strongest onion flavor, and I was afraid that it was going to get lost with the tanginess of the yogurt and the yeast, but it carried very well.  And the flavor isn’t overpowering, so you won’t feel like you need to brush your teeth before talking to anyone after you eat a slice.  I think this bread would make a fantastic grilled cheese sandwich, though I haven’t actually tried that yet.

I found that I needed to add almost a cup more flour than the recipe called for, though that may have been because it was so humid outside.  So, if the dough isn’t coming together with the amount of flour called for in the recipe, don’t feel bad about adding a little bit more.  You want to make sure that it hardly sticks to your fingers before you start kneading it.  This bread is also best if eaten slightly warm.   It starts out with a nice crispy crust, but if you store it in a plastic bag like we did, the crust will soften.  I would try wrapping it in foil instead.

Green Onion Yogurt Bread

Source: Baking Bites

Makes: 1 medium loaf

1 1/4 c. warm water (around 110F), divided

2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 c. plain yogurt

3 tsp. salt

3-3 1/2 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. chopped green onions

1) In a large bowl, combine 1/4 c. water with yeast and sugar.  Stir and let stand for 5-10 minutes or until foamy.  Mix in remaining water, yogurt, salt and 2 c. flour until smooth.

2) Mix in onions, followed by the remaining flour 1-2 tbsp. at a time.  Mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, and does not stick to your fingers when touched.

3) Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes.

4) Place dough in an oiled bowl.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

5) Pat dough down and shape into an oblong loaf, about 11-12 inches long.  Place on a floured cookie sheet, cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for about 40 minutes.

6) Slash loaf with 3 or 4 diagonal cuts.

7) Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes, until crust is golden brown.