Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream

I’m going to blow your mind today!

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

If you’ve never heard of or yet gotten to experience the magic of candy cap mushrooms, that is. I have to admit, it’s taken me quite a while to figure out how I wanted to showcase these little gems here on the blog, but now that I have this recipe for Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream under my wing, I’ll never think twice!


Yes, we’re talking about MUSHROOMS here, and mushrooms that shine their brightest when used in sweet, rather than savory, dishes. Don’t be scared. These things seriously taste like maple syrup. No joke. Which is why I naturally decided to add them to syrup’s ultimate breakfast vehicle – Belgian waffles!

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

I had heard some buzz about these magical candy caps around the interwebs last year, but I hadn’t really had the opportunity (or motivation) to track some down and try my hand at cooking/baking with them. But my whole outlook changed when my friend and fellow blogger Hana-Lee and I headed up to Napa at the end of last year, and had none other than CANDY CAP CHURROS for breakfast at Sam’s Social Club one morning. We both took one bite and immediately fell in love. The little flecks of candy cap mushrooms that you could barely see speckled throughout the churro dough added such an intense, delicious maple-y flavor, I really couldn’t believe that something so small could have such a big impact on the taste buds. Pretty amazing.

So, I finally had the extra motivation I felt I had been waiting for to give these candy cap mushrooms a shot in my own kitchen, now all I had left to do was track some of these bad boys down. I found a rather large pack of candy cap mushrooms on Amazon (my usual go-to for any slightly “out there” food products that I don’t feel like going on a wild goose chase to find locally) but was still a bit hesitant to make such a big purchase when I had never even cooked with these things before (although I am happy to say that, after the success of these Candy Cap Waffles, I would easily make that investment so I could have them for breakfast every weekend morning from here to eternity.)

It wasn’t until the hubs and I took another trip up to Napa a couple of months later and visited the new Culinary Institute of America site at Copia that I truly discovered what I knew I had been looking for to embark on my candy cap mushroom culinary journey: candy cap sugar!!! That’s right, the cute little store at the CIA was selling sugar that was already infused with small flecks of dried candy cap mushrooms. It started perfuming our car with that heavenly scent of maple syrup as soon as we started driving north to our accommodations for the night. I couldn’t wait to get back in the kitchen and use it!

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

But if you can’t find any candy cap sugar in your neck of the woods (or don’t feel like ordering it here), have no fear, you can easily make your own! Simply get your hands on some dried candy cap mushrooms (like these ones you can get on Amazon) and mix them with ohhhh, about ½ cup to a cup of sugar in an airtight container. Let the ingredients sit and get to know each other for a day or so and you’ll be ready to whip up some Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream just in time for the weekend.

And after some brainstorming and messaging back and forth with some other culinarily adventurous friends, I settled upon these Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream. I’m so glad I did. To be fair, this recipe is nearly identical to a Belgian waffle recipe my mom passed down to me at my cooking-themed bridal shower last year, and yet another thing that has been on my “to-make” list for way too long. I mean, we even got the fancy shmancy Belgian waffle maker to go with it!

It’s not a quick-and-easy recipe, yet it’s not difficult, more just a little time consuming. This is mostly due to the fact that you separate the egg yolks and whites and fold in the stiffened whites at the very end of the batter-making process to yield an incredibly light yet moist flavor. That being said, if you find yourself up early one morning or able to tide the troops over with some fresh fruit or cartoons for a later breakfast, this recipe is TOTALLY worth it.

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

The only change I made to my mom’s recipe to make these Candy Cap Waffles was subbing in the candy cap sugar for the regular amount of sugar called for. It’s only two tablespoons, but that’s all you need to really make that signature maple flavor pop (and make your house smell like breakfast for a good couple of days.)

Oh, and then there are the sautéed maple apples and fresh whipped cream, which you probably shouldn’t skip out on. You see, I figured that since the waffles would already taste like maple syrup, they might need a little more of a three-dimensional topping than just MORE maple syrup. To me, there’s hardly anything better than warm, cinnamon-y sautéed apples gracing the top of a baked breakfast item, so that was an easy solution for me. And whipped cream, well, you’ve just got to!

Once you have the batter made, you’ll be turning out waffles as quickly as your waffle maker’s light turns from red to green. If you’re cooking for a crowd and want to serve everyone at once (including yourself,) simply preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and throw the waffles in, right onto the oven rack, to stay warm while you cook the rest. Be sure not to place them on a baking sheet or paper towel, as this will make them soggy, and no one wants a soggy waffle!

I might also take this opportunity to mention that, conveniently, there is a very special holiday coming up this weekend that perfectly warrants a big batch of these. I mean, what mom wouldn’t want a heaping plate of Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream placed in front of her on Mother’s Day morning?

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Belgian waffles get an elevated twist with the addition of candy cap mushroom-laden sugar, sauteed maple apples and homemade whipped cream.

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 4 waffles
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the waffles:
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons candy cap sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3 eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the apples:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 Fuji apples, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
For the whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. First, make the waffle batter. In a large bowl, sift together both flours, the sugar, the baking powder and the baking soda. Set aside.

  2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg yolks, butter and vanilla.

  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently until a lumpy batter forms.

  4. In a separate, small mixing bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until no streaks remain. Let batter sit while you make the sautéed apples and whipped cream.

  5. To make the apples: melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the apple slices, cinnamon and maple syrup and saute until the apples are crisp tender, approximately 8-10 minutes. Turn heat to low and set aside.

  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a clean hand mixer) combine the whipping cream and vanilla extract. Beat on high until a whipped cream forms. Place in refrigerator while you are making your waffles.

  7. Scoop approximately ¾ cups of the batter (depending on the size of your waffle maker) onto a preheated waffle iron and cook according to the iron’s directions. 

  8. If you’d like to serve everyone at once, place waffles directly onto the rack of a 200 degree preheated oven to keep warm while you make more. Remove right before serving. 

Recipe Notes
  • You can purchase the same candy cap sugar that I used here.
  • If you'd like to make your own candy cap sugar, simply purchase candy cap mushrooms from Amazon here, dice them up finely and add them to regular granulated sugar. Let sit for at least a day before using.

Candy Cap Waffles with Sauteed Maple Apples and Whipped Cream | CaliGirlCooking.com

Banana Bran Muffins

Who’s ready for some wholesomeness in their life??

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

I sure am! Well, in about two days when we’re back from our Italy vacation, that is. At which point I completely intend to fill our kitchen with healthy(-ish) dishes with good-for-you ingredients, like these Banana Bran Muffins!


Okay, to be fair, these muffins do have lots of wholesome ingredients, but I’d be lying if I said they were completely healthy. Sure, they still have sugar, white flour and eggs, but they also have not one but TWO types of bran cereal and bananas, so there’s our balance right there. And let me tell you, if you’re looking for a little more roughage (aka fiber) in your diet, Banana Bran Muffins are the answer!

Before I get to these muffins, though, let me fill you in a little bit on what we’ve been up to on our trip since my last post on Friday! On Saturday morning we caught the train to Venice, which was a pretty cool adventure all in itself. The train systems in Europe always amaze me because they are so sophisticated and make going from one city (or country!) to another sooooo easy. The US sure has a lot to learn from them.

Once we arrived in Venice, we caught a private water taxi to our charming AirBnB just south of the famous St. Mark’s Square. We’ve basically been eating our way through Venice ever since and I can’t wait to write all about it in a Travel Diaries post for you when we get back! We head home tomorrow and, although I’m sad to see such an amazing adventure with so many people I love come to an end, I am looking forward to getting back into a healthier eating routine after all of this indulgence! I’m thinking these Banana Bran Muffins will be the perfect segue to gently ease myself back into the groove.

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

So, I told you a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been really enjoying resurrecting old family recipes and posting them here on the blog so that they exist forever and ever (I hope!) I made my Mom’s Peanut Butter Chicken a little while back, the perfect comfort food dish, and just the other week I shared my Dad’s tried and true recipe for Hot Cross Buns.

These Banana Bran Muffins are actually my take on a recipe from my husband’s side of the family. It’s one he’s brought up over and over again whenever we talk about family recipes we want to try and make for each other, and so the last time we were at his parents’ house this recipe card was one of the ones we snapped a photo of from his mom’s overflowing handwritten recipes box.

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

The first thing I have to say about this recipe is: Don’t be scared by the very large amounts of ingredients (three cups of sugar??? Five cups of flour??) That’s because this recipe makes a HUGE yield…we’re talking three dozen muffins, so just be sure you have a couple of really large mixing bowls to make your batter!

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

And the great news is, once you make the batter, you can either keep it in the refrigerator for up to six weeks (can you believe it?) OR you can bake off all of the muffins (as I did) and freeze them in batches for future consumption. Up to you!

The main (really only) change I made to my mother-in-law’s original Bran Muffin recipe was adding mashed banana in place of the ½ cup of shortening called for. I figured this would help make the muffins a leeeetle bit healthier and it certainly made them nice and moist! Of course, after I’d made them, my husband informed me that his mom would sometimes sub in applesauce for the shortening, so there’s another option as well!

Oh, and if you’re not sure where to find both types of bran cereal, just hit up your local Trader Joe’s! Here’s a picture of both types mixed together below ↓

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

Basically, these Banana Bran Muffins don’t take any longer than regular muffins to make, and once you do make them you’ll have enough to last you at least a month or two. If that doesn’t sound like the perfect semi-healthy baked good to you, I don’t know what will.

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

And with that, I’m signing off for the day and off to explore more of the magical city of Venice! Be sure to follow along on my Insta stories for all the fun! Xo

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Banana Bran Muffins
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

These easy-to-make muffins are incredibly delicious and full of plenty of wholesome ingredients like bran cereal and ripe banana. 

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 3 dozen
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole bran cereal
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 banana)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 5 cups flour, sifted
  • 4 cups bran flakes
  • 5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare as many cupcake tins as you have (ultimately you will need three dozen, but you can always reuse the pans) by either spraying them with nonstick cooking spray or lining with cupcake liners.

  2. In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over whole bran cereal. Let stand while you prep the wet ingredients.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, banana, eggs and buttermilk. Add the whole bran that you’ve been soaking in the hot water. 

  4. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the flour, bran flakes, baking soda and salt. Stir in the wet ingredients and continue to stir until no lumps of flour can be seen. The batter will be very thick and will thicken even more as it stands.

  5. Scoop batter into cupcake pans and bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove and let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

You can bake off all of these muffins at once and freeze them in batches, or you can keep the batter covered in the refrigerator for up to six weeks to bake off when needed.

Banana Bran Muffins | CaliGirlCooking.com

Hot Cross Buns

Buns for dayzzzzzz.

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

I told you this week was going to be all about the Easter prep, and today I’m definitely not going to disappoint with these Hot Cross Buns. This is yet another family recipe that I’ve successfully transcribed from my Dad’s improvisational ways, and let me tell you, I’m so glad I’ll now have this recipe in my back pocket whenever springtime rolls around.


I’m not really an expert on Hot Cross Buns, except for the fact that they’re incredibly hard to find good store- or bakery-bought versions of. When I lived at home (or would come home to visit for Easter when I lived away) we went through way too many years wasting our time trying to find “just the right” version at one of our local bakeries or grocery stores. Problem was, they were never as good as we imagined, or as we imagined we could make them. Leave it to my Dad to solve that problem, and solve it he did.

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

What I love about Hot Cross Buns is that there are so many iterations of them. You can spice the dough (as I do in this recipe) or leave it really basic and buttery. You can add in the classic fruit cake mix to liven things up a bit, or you can leave it simpler with raisins studding the dough, or nothing at all. For the icing, you can tint it the classic yellow hue with food coloring or simply allow the sweet topping to take on whatever natural color it gets from your icing ingredients. Long story short, just about any person out there can find a Hot Cross Bun recipe that they want to make over and over again, year after year.

For my own sake, I hope you find this recipe for Hot Cross Buns so enjoyable that they become an annual tradition in your household. After all, there’s nothing like a warm, buttery, icing-topped carb-bomb to start your Easter morning off right 😉

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

In fact, I may need to pack a few of these in Ziplocs for our ride to the airport on Sunday. If we can’t have our usual Easter meals and festivities due to travel, we might as well get our Easter treats in wherever we can!

I’m not going to sugar-coat it (haha, you see what I did there?) but these buns do take a little bit of time to make, definitely not for their difficulty level, but simply because they go through the standard double rise you do with most yeast breads. That being said, a little bit of planning goes a long way, and I can guarantee that once you practice the recipe one time through, it will get easier and easier every time.

I speak from experience since I had a little blonde moment the first time I made these and forgot to add the butter to the dough. Good news was, the Hot Cross Buns turned out to be gorgeous-looking. Bad news was, they were suuuuppper dry and didn’t taste nearly as good as they looked. And because I hate wasting any food, I simply proceeded to load up that first batch of Hot Cross Buns with butter every time I wanted to eat one, and I probably ended up consuming way more butter than I would have if I had just included in the recipe in the first place. Hey, we all learn from our silly mistakes!

I’m happy to report that no silly mistakes were made the second time I gave this recipe a whirl, and I was able to whip up perfectly composed Hot Cross Buns in almost no time flat.

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

What I love about these Hot Cross Buns is that, once you get through the whole double rise process, you bake them off and they’re ready to devour in just 15 minutes (well, 25 minutes if you allow time to cool and frost them.) That means that you don’t have to wait too long to enjoy after their magnificent smell starts wafting through the house!

Although I personally didn’t try it, I’d bet you could easily adapt this recipe to make the second rise an overnight one. That way, all you need to do in the morning before breakfast is pull the buns out of the refrigerator, give them their little crosses and egg wash, and pop them in the oven. I may try this the next time I give these a whirl (undoubtedly in the very near future) but if you try it in the meantime, let me know how it goes!

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m signing off to go get myself a bit more organized for our trip, but Happy Humpday! You deserve to celebrate with some Hot Cross Buns 🙂

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Hot Cross Buns
Prep Time
2 hr 10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
2 hr 25 mins
 

A family recipe for this classic springtime baked good - a buttery dough studded with plump raisins, topped with the perfect touch of icing.

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 1 dozen
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the buns:
  • 1 packet active-dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk, warmed to "bathtub temperature" (I heated mine up for 30 seconds in the microwave and it turned out perfect)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/3 cups flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup raisins (or fruit cake mix, if you prefer)
  • 1 egg white
For the icing:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Combine the yeast and warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.

  2. Add sugar, eggs, butter and salt to the yeast mixture and beat to combine. You may want to use a whisk for a few seconds to break up the egg yolks since the dough hook doesn’t do a great job of it.

  3. In a small mixing bowl, sift together 1 cup of the flour and the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add this to the mixture in the stand mixer along with the raisins and beat on medium-low until flour is well-incorporated.

  4. Scrape down the sides of the stand mixer and add additional 1 1/3 cups flour. Once again turn the mixer on medium-low and mix until a sticky dough forms. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with a damp hand towel, and place in a warm place to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size. 

  5. Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. You may also need to coat your hands with a bit of flour to keep the dough from sticking to them. Cover the dough once it’s turned out and let it rest for 10 minutes.

  6. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover and let rise for another hour.

  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using kitchen shears, cut a cross in the center of each bun, then brush with egg white. Place in oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the tops of the buns have turned golden and bread sounds fairly hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and let cool.

  8. While buns are cooling, prepare the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all of the icing ingredients. Transfer to a piping bag (or Ziploc) and then snip off the tip. Using the crosses you cut into your buns before baking as a guide, make a cross on each bun. Enjoy as soon as possible!

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze

Who doesn’t need cinnamon rolls on a Monday?

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

I know I sure do! Especially when they’re loaded with banana, chocolate and walnuts like these Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze. I don’t even think that these need further discussion, but a discussion we will have.


As I mentioned in my post for these Pumpkin Praline Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting, I owe my deep love for all flavors of homemade cinnamon rolls to my Dad. Over the past couple of years, good ol’ Dad has been dreaming up different combos like Caramel Apple, Blueberry, Chocolate Chip, you name it, and if we’re lucky he’ll have some baking away in the oven for breakfast whenever we go up home to visit.

Two weekends ago, we were up there helping my sister move into her new house, and my parents decided to throw a little brunch to celebrate my birthday the next morning. Sure enough, Dad was in the kitchen the night before the brunch whipping up the above-mentioned Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls, and I decided it was high time for me to feature another cinnamon roll flavor on this here blog using his trusty recipe.

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

On this same trip, Dad and I were chatting over our coffee one early morning (as we usually do since we’re the only early-risers in the family) and he brought up the fact that it had been a while since he made his banana chocolate chip pancakes – another breakfast specialty of his. It got the gears turning in my mind and I figured, why not combine the two? Cinnamon rolls, banana, chocolate chip….all in buttery, flaky bread form? Yes, please!

Of course I couldn’t stop there, and I decided to go ahead and add toasted walnuts to the mix. I mean, who doesn’t want their breakfast to taste like the best Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor around? Oh, and the glaze….yes, I trashed that up too and made it a rich, ganache-like chocolate…

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m proud to say that these Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze turned into not one, but two pans of delicious, indulgent, chocolate-y breakfast pastries, half of which are living in our freezer right now so we don’t eat them all in one sitting. Plus, I love having a freezer full of baked goods for any last minute house guests or mornings where we just don’t feel like cooking!

You’ll notice that the base for these Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls is very similar to my Pumpkin Praline Cinnamon Roll recipe. That’s the beauty of cinnamon rolls! Once you get the basic formula down, you can swap different ingredients in and out to make alllll of the flavors.

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

You’ll also notice that there is (once again) a very long prep time. Don’t be discouraged by this! The hands-on time is really quite minimal, the dough just requires an overnight rise in the refrigerator. All the better if you want an easy breakfast that’s ready to just pop in the oven in the morning (and fill your house with the most heavenly aroma at the same time!)

The dough for our Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze is brought together using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, and is then rolled out into a rectangle over a large floured surface.  This is where our banana will live, mixed into the buttery dough just like you would when making banana bread.

The next step is the delicious, ooey gooey filling. The rolled out dough gets a light brushing of butter, and then a heavy dusting of ground cinnamon. We sprinkle our mini chocolate chips and toasted walnuts over that, and then we’re ready to rock-and-roll!

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

That’s right, time to roll up the dough into a long, tight log. I failed a bit at the “tight” part, but was able to make it work by using a rubber spatula to scrape the dough off of my marble slab (it can get a bit sticky) and guide it onto the rest of the roll.

The rolling is literally the hardest part (besides waiting for the cinnamon rolls to rise!) and once you’re done with that just slice it up and tuck the spirals into a couple of baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Wrap them up and stick ‘em in the fridge overnight, and in the morning you’re just 45 minutes away from incredibly mouth-watering Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze!

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

I like to let the cinnamon rolls have a little bit of a warm rise in the morning, and to do this I just turn the oven on to 250 degrees for about 5 minutes, then turn it off and put the rolls in for 10-15 minutes. After they’ve had some time to rise, I take the rolls out to, set them on top of the oven, and preheat the oven to the baking temp of 350 degrees. Once the oven is preheated, stick in the cinnamon rolls and in 30 minutes your house will smell like your favorite bakery – promise.

You can mix up the chocolate glaze while the cinnamon rolls are cooling, and either pour the glaze all over the cinnamon rolls in the pan, or leave the glaze in a bowl on the side and spoon it over each of the cinnamon rolls as they’re being served. (Although, if you wait to scoop the glaze on after you take the rolls out of the pan, you’ll have a lot more surface area for it too ooze all over…just sayin’.)

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

And that’s it! Really, as long as you’re cool with popping the rolls in the refrigerator overnight to rise, this recipe comes together in a snap and with very minimal effort. I mean, we’re talking weekday breakfast status right here. So what are you waiting for?

Chunky Monkey Cinamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze

These are not your average cinnamon rolls with flavors of banana, chocolate and walnuts. Just like your favorite ice cream flavor! 

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 18 cinnamon rolls
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the dough:
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 large, ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4-5 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
For the glaze:
  • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
Instructions
  1. First, make the dough. Combine yeast and lukewarm water in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Add butter, sugars, salt, eggs and banana and stir (using the dough hook) to combine. Gradually begin adding in the flour, one cup at a time, stirring well after each addition, but not over-stirring (you just barely want all the flour incorporated in the dough before adding more.)

  2. Keep adding the flour until the dough can be removed from the mixer without sticking too much. It will be a little sticky, but feel free to put more flour on your hands to help you get it out of the mixer and onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough lightly on the floured surface, adding light dustings of flour as needed, until you feel you can roll the dough out into a large rectangle.

  3. Using a rolling pin (or pizza roller), roll the dough into a rectangle that’s large enough for the dough to be about ¾ of an inch to an inch thick. You’ll want one of the long sides of the rectangle closest to where you are standing.

  4. Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter over the dough, then sprinkle on the cinnamon, followed by the walnuts and chocolate chips. 

  5. Starting at the long side of the rectangle that’s closest to you, begin rolling up the dough into one long log. Do this slowly and carefully, using a rubber spatula and more flour to guide the dough as needed. Pinch the ends into the dough to prevent the log from falling apart.

  6. Using a sharp knife, slice the log of dough into 1 ½ - 2-inch pieces. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, and place each roll snugly side-by-side. If you have extra rolls that you can’t fit in the pan, place them in another, smaller baking dish coated with cooking spray, such as a loaf pan.

  7. Cover rolls with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.

  8. In the morning, take the cinnamon rolls out of the refrigerator and uncover. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit for just 5 minutes, then turn it off. Add the cinnamon rolls to the warm oven for about 15 minutes to go through a second rise, then remove the rolls and turn the oven heat up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  9. Return the cinnamon rolls to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let cool slightly while you make the glaze. 

  10. In a medium bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add the melted butter and milk and whisk until a thick glaze forms. Spoon the glaze over the cinnamon rolls before serving.

Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

 

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch!

**Author’s Note: You may notice that this girl-powered post is coming to you a day later than my usual weekly posting schedule. We had originally planned to post our Spring Fling Brunch on Wednesday, March 8, but then discovered that many of the ladies in our lives (coworkers, friends, family, etc.) were participating in A Day Without a Woman. After some deliberation, we decided to postpone our posts until Thursday to show our support for all females and gender-oppressed individuals. As always, I so appreciate your support for me and so many of my fellow bloggers and lady entrepreneurs. I hope you enjoy reading about our brunch just as much as we enjoyed throwing it!

I told you this was going to be a fun week!

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com


I am so excited for today’s post because it has been a long time coming. I’ve mentioned it before, but I truly feel so fortunate to have met so many amazing lady entrepreneurs IRL in my small little community of Santa Barbara. I’ve met fellow bloggers, freelancers, small-business owners, you name it. I’ve enjoyed interacting with every single person I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with, and have learned so much by having this diverse sounding board to bounce ideas off of, ask for advice, etc.

Way back in November, my fellow blogging babes, Hana-Lee from Wander and Wine and Becky from Baking the Goods, and I started throwing around the idea of a collaboration brunch. We all have such unique niches when it comes to our blogs (Hana-Lee focuses on wine and travel, while Becky’s the baker and I’m the cook with a side of mixology) that we thought it would be a great opportunity to play off of each other’s strengths and introduce our readers to all of the fantastic things everyone is doing in their own little corner of the Interwebs.

Well, after much rescheduling and the craziness of the holidays, we were finally able to pull it off. The result was a super fun and festive Spring Fling Brunch we held on a beautifully sunny day last week. I whipped up this hearty Breakfast Panzanella, while Becky brought a stunning Ricotta, Potato & Spring Pea Galette and, of course, Hana-Lee brought the wine. We were also able to get some of our other local lady entrepreneurs involved – Vanessa from Garibaldi Goods provided her over-the-top delicious homemade bread (and some jam, of course!), Amy from Bright Inc. provided the beautiful flower arrangements, and Alison from Sugar Cat Studio whipped up some brunch-themed cupcakes. Be sure to check out all of their blogs/websites/businesses because they are all amazing and work their little tushes off to turn out some amazing products. So fun!

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let me just tell you, starting the photo shoot for this brunch at 12pm was pure torture. We did so in order to capture the best lighting, but by the end of our almost two-hour shoot, all of our stomachs were audibly growling because all of the food looked (and smelled) so good! Don’t worry, we were sure to taste everything afterwards because, you know, quality control.

When we decided to give our brunch a spring theme, my mind immediately turned to creating a dish that was full of incredibly fresh ingredients (hello, warmer weather) yet hearty enough to not shock our systems too much after a season of all of those comforting winter foods. I knew a Breakfast Panzanella would go perfectly with the Spring Fling theme and set about making a version loaded with two of my favorite breakfast items – bacon and eggs, of course!

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m sure you’ve had (or at least heard of) the classic version of panzanella before, which generally consists of cubes of crusty bread, fresh basil and tomatoes, and some sort of dressing involving olive oil, vinegar, shallots and capers. For my Breakfast Panzanella, I omitted the capers in the dressing (I’m not the hugest fan) and of course added bacon and eggs, plus some fresh mozzarella, because CHEESE.

What resulted was a perfectly balanced salad – the basil and tomatoes are a reminder that warmer weather is just around the corner, while the crusty bread gives the dish that hominess we still crave during this transition between the seasons. This Breakfast Panzanella is also loaded with protein from the eggs, bacon and mozzarella, so it will fill you up and give you a nice solid base for all of that wine you’ll be drinking.

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

This salad also comes together in almost no time at all. You can toast the bread cubes and cook the bacon the night before, which means you’ll be able to sleep in approximately 15 minutes more before you have to roll out of bed to scramble up some eggs and whisk together the dressing. What’s left after that is simply tossing everything together in one big bowl and garnishing with some fresh basil! If this Breakfast Panzanella isn’t the perfect brunch dish, I don’t know what is.

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

My recommendation to you? Call up some of your girlfriends STAT and set a date for a Spring Fling Brunch of your own. Then head on over to my gal pals’ blog posts for all of the other deets you’ll need to make it a smashing success.

For the recipe for Becky’s Ricotta, Potato & Spring Pea Galette, head on over to Baking the Goods.

For all of Hana-Lee’s wine recommendations and pairing notes, head on over to Wander and Wine.

And be sure to check out all of the other ladies’ sites as well for further inspiration!

Bright Inc. for all of your floral inspiration,

Sugar Cat Studio to grab some tasty cupcake mixes,

and Garibaldi Goods for small-batch artisan foods from local California producers.

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Breakfast Panzanella
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

The classic Italian bread salad gets a morning makeover with the addition of bacon and eggs. The perfect dish for a spring-themed brunch!

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 4 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the salad:
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 6-8 basil leaves, plus 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 5 cups cubed crusty sourdough (about 1/2 of a large loaf)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 8 ounces ciliegine (baby mozzarella balls)
  • 3 eggs, scrambled
For the vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once bacon is cooked, remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Do not dispose of the bacon grease in the pan!

  2. Add 6-8 basil leaves to the saute pan with the bacon grease in it (still on medium heat) and then add the bread cubes. Toast, tossing to coat, until all of the cubes are golden brown. If the cubes seem dry, drizzle on a little olive oil as they continue to toast. You may notice that the basil gets crispy and crumbly as it cooks along with the bread, this is okay! The little bits of basil will add some additional flavor to the salad once it’s done. Once the bread cubes are nice and toasted, spread out on some parchment paper to dry out and cool completely.

  3. Next, mix up the vinaigrette. Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients by shaking in a Mason jar or whisking vigorously in a small bowl. Set aside.

  4. Place the cooled bread cubes in a large bowl. Chop up the now cooled bacon and add it to the bowl as well, along with the ½ cup of chopped fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, ciliegine and scrambled eggs. 

  5. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat evenly. Garnish with additional chopped basil, if desired.