Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread

Do you know what today is? Friday, September 23rd, yes, but more importantly, the first day of fall! There might not be any leaves changing color or a crisp in the air, but I can still enjoy one of my favorite parts of fall. Pumpkin.

I can never wait for the official start of fall to bake with pumpkin and this year was no exception. I’ve already made my favorite pumpkin blondies and last weekend I whipped up something special to share with all on this special day. And oh man am I excited to share it with you. The light yeasted dough reminds me of a doughnut and the warmth from the rum glaze just screams fall. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Do you love pumpkin in baked goods?? Here’s some more!
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Butterscotch and Pecan Pumpkin Cookies
Pumpkin Praline Cake
Pumpkin Quick Bread


What happens when your photo shoot starts to take too long!

Soft Pretzel Bites

I don’t think anyone will be more excited about this post than my dad. You see, last year, while I was living with my parents waiting to move to California, I made these pretzels to take to a friends house for some serious football watching. My dad had been telling me he wanted to learn how to bake bread and when he saw (and tasted) these he immediately said, “When can you teach me how to make these?!” I think he managed to wait 2 days before demanding to give them a try. Since that day he mentions “making pretzels” anytime we talk about food or cooking (which if you know me, you know happens often). And I know he was jealous when my sister and I told him we made them for Bayday during her visit.

When I taught my dad, I twisted the pretzels into sticks, but for Bayday Emilie and I cut them into bite size pieces that are perfect for snacking. I don’t know if that was a good idea or bad idea. These pretzels are already addicting, but when you can just pop one in your mouth any time you think about/see/smell them, you’re in trouble. They’re just that good. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!! (And as a bonus I’m including my recipe for Super Easy Beer Cheese, a-maz-ing with the preztels)

Soft Pretzel Bites

(Adapted from Allrecipes.com)


4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
2 egg whites
2 Tbsp butter, melted that has been cooled
Kosher salt, for topping
Parchment paper and cooking spray


In a measuring cup dissolve the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Set aside. (Mixture should become foamy, if it doesn’t your yeast may be bad or your water too hot)

In the bowl of a standing mixture fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, sugars, and salt on low speed. Turn off the mixer and pour the water/yeast mixture and melted butter into the bowl. Turn the mixer on and knead for 6-8 minutes until the dough is smooth. If the dough is too dry you can add extra water, a tablespoon at a time.

Lightly oil a large bowl. Remove the dough from the mixer and shape into a ball. Place the dough ball in the bowl, cover with a clean towel, and allow to rise for one hour (*or until double in size).

Towards the end of rising, preheat oven to 450 degrees and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper and cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the hot water and baking soda. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites and melted butter.

After the dough has risen, punch down the dough and then knead with hands for one minute. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into 12 even portions. Now you can pick your shape. For pretzel bites roll each portion into a snake then cut the snake into bite size pieces, about 1 1/2 inches in width.

Dip the pieces in the baking soda water and place on the baking sheet (sometimes I dab the pretzels with a paper towel if they seem too wet). Brush each pretzel bite with egg whites/melted butter then sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake for 7-8 minutes, until browned.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

*I always let my dough rise in the (off) oven with the light on.

Beer Cheese Dip

(Sunny Side Up original)


6 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup good quality beer
1 Tbsp horseradish
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2-3/4 cups cheddar cheese, grated


Microwave cream cheese for 30-45 seconds until very soft. Stir in the beer, horseradish, and garlic powder. Microwave again for 30-45 seconds. Add the grated cheese and stir until smooth, microwaving again if necessary.


Cinnamon Rolls


I think I have found the last Cinnamon Roll recipe I will ever need to try. I’ve been searching for a long time and I’ve tried several. In fact I posted a recipe on this blog not too long ago. But this recipe is exceptional. The dough was an absolute dream, smooth, sturdy, and elastic. I was worried at first because the dough seemed sticky, but I’m quickly learning that usually when I think a dough is too sticky to start it’s perfect after a good long first rise. A long rise may seem daunting, but think of all things you can do during that time. While waiting for this particular batch to rise I went shopping and had a slice of pizza at my new favorite pizza place, Hoboken (if I’m not going to make my own pizza at home, this is where I want to go!!). See how productive that time can be?

The other upside of this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time. I made these on Wednesday evening and froze them, Saturday night I set them out on the counter to defrost and rise. Makes me want to keep a batch in my freezer at all times, just for the those days when I need a cinnamon roll.

But the best part about these rolls is the final product. The roll itself is as close to perfect as the world will allow you to get. Texture, flavor, sweet to spicy ratio, it all gets a 10 in my book.

Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls
(Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, originally from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Handbook)

3/4 cup buttermilk, warm (you can warm this in the microwave at 50% power for 1 minute)
6 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
4 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt

1 stick (8 oz) butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Disclaimer – I’ve never followed a strict recipe when it comes to cream cheese frosting. I start with cream cheese and butter and I add sugar and other flavors to match whatever I am making the frosting for. Sometimes I add brown sugar sometimes I don’t. For these rolls this is flavor combination I came up with and I thought it went perfectly with the rolls. I taste along the way and work until I like the flavor and consistency. Please use this ingredient list as a guide and create your own perfect frosting.
1/2 Block (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp buttermilk
1-2 cups confectioners sugar (depending on how runny/stiff you like your frosting)
1/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla

In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the warmed buttermilk and butter. In the bowl of a standing mixer (fitted with a dough hook), combine 4 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt. With the mixer still running on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and eggs. Run for 2 minutes until well combined, then increase the speed to medium and allow to knead for 10-15 minutes. If after a few minutes the dough continues to stick to the sides of the bowl add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, just until it stops sticking. The dough will still feel slightly sticky to the touch.

Remove the dough from the bowl and set aside on a lightly floured surface. Wipe out, then spray the mixing bowl with cooking spray, or rub lightly with oil, return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours in a draft free warm place (I turn the light on in my oven and keep it in there with the door closed).

When the dough has doubled in size remove from the bowl and place on a clean floured surface. Knead with hands for 2-3 minutes and then allow to rest for 2 minutes (during this short rest combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl). After the short rest shape the dough into a rectangle then roll out to approximately 16 inches by 12 inches.

Spread the softened butter on the dough leaving 1/2 inch border all around. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the butter and use hands to lightly press the sugar into the butter.

Beginning with the edge closest to you, roll the dough into a tight log. Once rolled, even out the log by pulling gently and patting in the edges.

Cut 1/2-1 inch off of each side of the log to even the ends. Then cut the log in half with a serrated knife. Cut each half into thirds and then each third in half, so you end up with 12 even rolls. (In the illustration below, red, then orange, then green)

Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by placing a sheet of fitted parchment paper in the bottom of dish and spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Place rolls in pan, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour. This is also the point where you can freeze the rolls. Just be sure to cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes, until the rolls are lightly golden on top and cooked through but not overly browned.

For the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and buttermilk. Starting with a slow spead, add the brown sugar, confectioners sugar, and salt, and beat until well combined. Stir in the vanilla.

Add the frosting to the rolls while they are still warm so the gooey goodness starts to absorb into the rolls.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

A few weeks ago I replaced my bread pan (I left the old one in Ohio because it had seen better days). You might remember that I used my new bread pan to make a really yummy vegetable lasagna. Vegetable lasagna is really delicious, but I bought the pan because I really want to start making my own bread. It’s not difficult and most of the time spent making it is hands off. I also see it as a major bonus that I know exactly what is going into my bread.

I’ve been keeping my eye out online for a good recipe that would work for my morning toast (my #1 use for bread) and the occasional sandwich I make for lunch. I saw this beautiful bread on Pennies on a Platter and it sounded like it would be a good fit. It turned out to be just what I was looking for. A flavorful bread that can stand on it’s own with a little butter but is also complimented by a little cinnamon sugar or honey. I ate so much toast this week that I didn’t try it as a sandwich bread but it feels and tastes like it would hold up well. My parents are visiting this weekend and my dad found it and has had probably 5 slices in two days. Big hit!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread
(Adapted from Pennies on a Platter)

1 cup water
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons molasses
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1 cup rolled oats
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tablespoon salt
Additional oats for topping the loaf (optional)

Prepare a 9×5 loaf pan by lightly buttering or spraying with non-stick spray.

In a microwave safe measuring cup, heat the milk and water till lukewarm, about 115˚F. Combine the water, milk, honey and molasses in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let proof for 5 minutes, should look foamy if the yeast is good.

When the yeast has proofed, add the flours, oats, melted butter and salt to the bowl. Mix for 6 minutes on medium speed. The dough should climb the dough hook and slap around the sides of the bowl without sticking. If the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl add a more flour a tablespoon at a time, if it seems like the dough isn’t coming together (too dry) do the same thing with a tablespoon of water.

Cover the mixing bowl with a clean towel and place in a warm, dry place (an oven with the light turned on is a great place) and let rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size. If you poke the dough and the poke stays then you know it’s ready.

To shape the loaf, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 1 or 2 minutes and then let it relax for a minute. Shape the dough into a flat square. Fold one side of the dough into middle, then fold the other side to meet it in the middle. Pinch the seam then roll the dough back and forth a little to form a log. Transfer the dough to the bread pan, seam side down.

Cover the loaf with a towel and let rise for another hour. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. After the dough has risen lightly mist with water and sprinkle additional oats on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the crust is brown and when you tap on the loaf it sounds hollow. Allow the loaf to cool on a wire rack . Remove from pan when completely cool.