Recipe: Bread Machine Clone of a Cinnabon

Clone of a Cinnabon; you can add frosting or eat them plain.

Clone of a Cinnabon; you can add frosting or eat them plain.

I’ve been making this recipe for a long, long time. I used to sell it, made-to-order, around the holidays. It makes the house smell great and I always got fabulous feedback…even from my girlfriend who bought a batch to take up to a family brunch 2 hours away…appearently, they were still warm, gooey and addictive even after a few hours in a car. You can’t really say that for the real Cinnabons, can you?

Logan,3, taste-testing the flour for the cinnamon rolls. I tried to tell him it didn't taste like sugar, but he wanted to findout for himself.

Logan,3, taste-testing the flour for the cinnamon rolls. I tried to tell him it didn’t taste like sugar, but he wanted to findout for himself.

Like every food on here, Cinnamon Rolls are special to me. My mom used to make them every Christmas Morning. My eldest cousin, Jennifer, and I used to split a Cinnabon at the mall and talk about boys and life; she is five years older than me and was always–ALWAYS–the cool person I wanted to be. So if Jennifer liked Cinnabons, then I knew I should, too.

…and even now as an adult, I still do. But I think it is cooler to make them myself. ūüôā

Special Equipment: you will need a bread machine, rolling pin, a pastry brush, and  some type of large baking dish with sides.

This recipe comes from


  • 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup margarine, melted
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
  2. After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Recipe: Nana’s Chocolate Cake

My Nana's Chocolate Cake. This image was taken at a photo shoot in my house for a magazine article I was writing about the cake in 2008.

My Nana’s Chocolate Cake. This image was taken at a photo shoot in my house for a magazine article I wrote¬† in 2008. You can see that liquid layer of fudge, trapped between the cake and the hardened topping. Yum.

Nana was my best friend as a little kid.

She was my Dad’s mom and I was her oldest grandchild, born four days before her 50th birthday.

She told everyone I was her birthday present; she told a lot of stories that made the world seem to be a nicer place like that. That the world was just waiting to make you happy with a coincidence, a surprise, a sunny day and a laugh.

When Nana moved up to Tracyton, Wash., she named her small piece of land, just like they name plantations down south and ranches¬† in the Midwest and hotels in the big cities. At the start of Nana’s driveway is a custom wooden sign with a seagull on top. I reads “Little Carolina”.

Nana’s a Southern Lady, in every way, having grown up on a tobacco plantation in South Carolina.¬† Sundays were all about brunch; uncles and aunts and cousins and friends and boyfriends and neighbors would drop in, have a drink of coffee and a few too many helpings of eggs fried in bacon grease.

The dogs would have steak. In their dog dishes. Which were silver. Or silver-looking. It didn’t really matter. It was all about appearance anyway. Well, appearance and taste.

The woman can cook. And bake. And make anything you could ever want.

Nana's Chocolate Cake at the Feb. 2008 photo shoot. I sent most of the cake home with the photographer to give to his family.

Nana’s Chocolate Cake at the Feb. 2008 photo shoot.

And being Southern, almost everything was a reason to celebrate with Nana; almost everything was a reason to prepare and consume fabulous food. Including the first day of school.

The First Day of School Tea was an annual thing that started with me and grew to include my cousins as they started school, too. After the first day of school I would walk over to Nana’s house for tea and this amazing cake. We’d talk about my new teacher, my new classroom, my new friends. We’d talk about what I might learn that year, what I wanted to be when I grew up, how much I was growing and how I’d be an adult soon.

The tea party with Nana was my favorite part of the first day of school. And this cake was my favorite part of that tea.

Many years later, after my grandfather died and my Nana needed surgery, I realized that if I was ever going to have that cake again I’d have to get the recipe. The trouble was, there wasn’t one.

Nana called it a “dump cake” because she just dumped whatever looked good in to it. That was the way her mother had taught her to do it. Bake by taste, not by numbers.

The magazine layout in Southern Idaho Living March 2008 with Nana's Chocolate Cake

The magazine layout in Southern Idaho Living March 2008 with Nana’s Chocolate Cake

No one could have been less amused about this than my father, who I’d asked to get the recipe for me. My Dad has always had secretaries, always had underlings to delegate work to. He hasn’t had to write something down himself in a long, long time. But for me and his mom, he wrote this down.

It took Dad the good part of an entire day to do it. He went to her house and watched her make the cake, measuring out everything she did as she did it. In the hand-written recipe he had his secretary fax me later, you can tell it was a very casual, top-of-the-head kind of recipe because most of the instructions are in the wrong order; he just wrote them down as she said them, then added additional ones as she said, “oh, well before that…”

The hand-written recipe is probably messier than the kitchen in which the cake was made. But it didn’t stay that way for long. In January 2008 the local gourmet shop I adore so much, Rudy’s, suggested me as a writer to a magazine editor looking for a cooking article.

So I made this, Nana’s Chocolate Cake, and wrote about it. On a computer. I took that messy, top-of-head organization of this dearly loved childhood memory and food and finally wrote it down in something other than chicken-scratch.

The magazine’s publisher came out to my house on a very stormy winter night to do the photo shoot, making my cake look like Martha Stewart herself had done it. Everyone should have the chance to have a favorite family recipe photographed like that. It is like a high end family portrait. But of the family’s favorite food.

Before and after this article, I made this cake for bake sales; I helped to send my students to NYC for a journalism conference by baking this cake repeatedly. This cake alone paid for one student’s entire trip, and helped offset the costs of seven others.¬† I don’t know a lot of recipes–or cakes–that can do that.

But Nana says the cake has a heritage of earning lots of money at bake sales; according to Nana, her mother, Nelle, used to make it for the fire department and church bake sales. I’m glad to continue the tradition of making life sweeter with a sweet little dessert.

Nana’s Chocolate Cake:¬†

Me on the first day of kindergarten, talking to Nana before coming over for the First Day of School Tea to eat this cake.

Me on the first day of kindergarten, talking to Nana before coming over for the First Day of School Tea to eat this cake.


1 c water

2 cubes butter

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

3 tablespoons cocoa

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350

grease a cookie sheet with raised edges at least 1.5 inches tall. In medium saucepan, boil water, add butter, when melted add sugar. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add flour, cocoa, stir; add eggs and beat. Combine milk and soda, let sit a few moments, add to to mixture. Stir. Add vanilla. Stir. Dump mix in to pan. Bake 25 minutes. While baking, make frosting:

INGREDIENTS for Frosting:

5 Tbsp cream or half and half

1 box powdered sugar (I assume this is a standard box–6 cups? 8 cups? I don’t know for sure…just work in as much powdered sugar as you can get in)

1 cube butter

1 tsp vanilla

3 1/2 Tbsp cocoa

Using the same saucepan, on medium heat melt butter. Add cream, cocoa, sugar, stir. Add vanilla. Frost cake by pouring this on when cake is still hot–ideally within a minute of it coming out of the oven.

I suggest starting on the frosting when you have about 10 minutes to go on the cake in the oven…

My Nana's Chocolate Cake recipe, as it appeared in Southern Idaho Living.

My Nana’s Chocolate Cake recipe, as it appeared in Southern Idaho Living.

Recipes: Krumkake 2 ways

Krumkake may sound funny, but it tastes awesome.

Krumkake may sound funny, but it tastes awesome.

My husband likes to taunt me with the sound of this Norsk dessert.

“KaKa” he says; like in the begining of the Selena movie when Selena lets the pet chicken in the house and the Mom is mad because there is now “KaKa” all over the walls. (watch this clip; at the 1:25 mark)

“KROOOOOOM ka-ka” I say, as if that makes it better.

It doesn’t.

“CRUMB-kaka” I say, as if altering the oooh to an ahhh will improve the sound.

It doesn’t.

I try to explain that they are a lot like homemade waffle cones–almost exactly–but that doesn’t help, either. Waffle Cones sound better than Kaka.

In fact, there is no way to get past the funny name that comes with so many Northern European sweets and treats (Ebelskivers, Stroopwafels, Lefse, Fattigmann…) until you’ve been lucky enough to eat them.

I was lucky enough as a kid to have Krumkake, lefse, rosettes–all of it–on a fairly regular basis. As the Queen of the Sons of Norway lodge, I was always around for celebrations like May 17th and Santa Lucia in the winter. For the 10 years before getting my crown, I gobbled up the treats at heritage camp, folk dancing performances and when my Grandma bought them at fundraisers at the lodge.

Since we aren’t Scandinavian, and this was well before the time of the internet and, we didn’t know how to make these goodies. Most families had pizzelle irons, lefse sticks and rosette molds that had been handed down to them by their grandparents; we weren’t so lucky.

So now that I’m an adult, and I have the internet, I spend entirely too much time looking–searching–for perfect recipes and equipment for my edible childhood memories. Krumkake is one of those memories.

Special Equipment: you will need a Pizzelle/Krumkake iron and a cone for rolling the waffles around.

A simplified version of krumkake was found at


  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Beat egg. Add sugar and vanilla and mix well. Add whipping cream. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth.
  2. When krumkake iron is hot, put 1 teaspoon of batter on the iron and bake until light brown. Roll on stick immediately when krumkake is still hot.
  3. OPTIONAL: you can fill the krumkake with cream before serving, or dip half of it in melted chocolate. Or just dust with powdered sugar, like a normal person.

A more traditional take on Krumkake, from



3 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (melted and cooled)
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cardamom


Pre-heat Krumkake iron (medium-high heat, let both sides warm).

Beat eggs and sugar together until blended and fluffy. Mix in rest of ingredients until well-combined. Pour a generous tablespoon of batter onto the iron. Close the iron and flip over until both sides are very lightly browned (about 30-45 seconds per side, depending on your stove).

When done, open the iron and place the rolling cone on one edge, wrapping Krumkake along the cone until it’s complete. Set rolling cone aside to cool while you cook the next one.

Once cool, pile Krumkake pastries on a plate and serve any way you like. Traditionally they were served with whipped cream or fruit inside. Tonight we served them as accompaniments to vanilla bean ice cream, drizzled with chocolate-Bailey’s sauce.

Recipe: Stroopwaffels (or Stroopwafels) English:”syrup waffles”

Stroopwaffels: worse for you than your normal waffles.

Stroopwaffels: worse for you than your normal waffles.

Stroopwaffels are a Dutch food that I had to look up on Wikipedia. Then I realized I’d seen them¬† back at the Sons of Norway as a kid, and later at Ikea and Trader Joes. The treats have even been spotted as far away as a Starbucks in Japan.

Not that a Starbucks in Japan is where I’d want to try this for the first time…In the Netherlands, they are so popular and common, they can be purchased on the street as a snack in Holland.

Like so many Northern-European breakfast sweets (I’m thinking Ebelskivers and Lefse), Stroopwaffels do require special equipment; namely: a Pizzelle Iron Waffle Maker.

The sweets also go by the name “Caramel Wafer Cookies” and “Dutch Moon Cookies” and “Syrup Waffles” in the states. They can be dipped in chocolate, rolled in coconut or sprinkles, covered in powdered sugar–nearly anything. The filling can also be changed to include nuts or other flavors.

Really, the idea of a Stroopwafel is just a starting point. Improvise and make it your own. Just make sure you heat them up the traditional way: on top of a mug of coffee, tea or cocoa.

Stroopwafels–like so many perfect foods- (nachos, chocolate chip cookies, pizza…)-originated by mixing leftovers. Today, however, there are actual recipes you can follow to make them.

This recipe comes from and is very highly rated.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons dark corn syrup


  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
  2. Cut 1cup of the butter into the flour. Mix in the sugar, eggs and yeast mixture. Mix well and set aside to rise for 30 to 60 minutes.
  3. Roll dough into balls and bake in a pizelle iron.
  4. To Make Filling: In a saucepan boil the brown sugar, 1 cup of the butter, cinnamon and dark corn syrup until it reaches the soft ball stage (234-240 degrees F 112 -115 degrees C).
  5. Split waffles in half and spread cut sides with the warm filling. Then put the halves back together.

Recipe: Buckeyes

Not to be confused with the nuts--which I'm sure are also delicious and much better for you--Buckeye Cookies are a divine no-bake option.

Not to be confused with the nuts–which I’m sure are also delicious and much better for you–Buckeye Cookies are a divine no-bake option.

I’d never even heard of these until I spent my first Christmas in Virginia.

My husband’s friend’s wife (who has the same name as me… strange, right?) made a batch of these and a batch of every other kind of cookie she has ever come across, I think, for the Holidays.

They were kind enough to invite us to crash their big, formal, family Christmas dinner since we don’t have any family in the time zone.

The inside of the buckeye is misleading; it is so much more than peanut butter. It is a gateway to heaven (and diet hell).

The inside of the buckeye is misleading; it is so much more than peanut butter. It is a gateway to heaven (and diet hell). Click image for Wake&Bake’s take on this yummy no-bake cookie.

These round little cookies, however, I couldn’t stop eating. They are deceiving: so small, yet so much taste.¬† So I dug around for them on the platter and asked about them so I could make them myself. She said they are a “midwest” thing. So is Custard, it turns out, and I REALLY, REALLY like that. So I think I might like the midwest a lot by the tastes of it. Hmm.

**To Make Dairy-Free: swap the chocolate chips for Enjoy Life Chocolate chips or chunks


  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips**


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. The dough will look dry. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet.
  2. Press a toothpick into the top of each ball (to be used later as the handle for dipping) and chill in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until smooth.
  4. Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate holding onto the toothpick. Leave a small portion of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like Buckeyes. Put back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until serving.

FYI”I’ve made this recipe several times and everyone loves them! I use 4 cups confectioner’s sugar and 2 cups peanut butter. A few other techniques that have helped: chill the peanut butter mixture in the fridge 30 minutes before making the balls – this will help make a smoother, rounder buckeye. Also, melt more chocolate than the recipe calls for so you have a good pool of chocolate to dip the ball into (you’ll throw chocolate away, but it will make the product look better).”

Recipe: No Bake Cookies (cocoa, peanut butter and oats version)

No Bake Cookies are a great way to use that costco-size
container of oats you bought...I'm just sayin'.

No Bake Cookies are a great way to use that
costco-size container of oats you bought...I'm just

For more No Bake Cookie
recipes, click these links: Chocolate
Coconut Haystacks,

Rum Balls,
Ruth Bars,
Oat Bars…
When most kids skip
school, they go somewhere awesome. Or at least somewhere they wont
get caught. When I skipped school in 3rd grade, I went directly
home. …I’ve always been a nerd like that… I’d waited until
recess to make my break for it, and I had pretended like I was
going to the bathroom. Instead, once I got to the building, I made
a run for it down the hill and across the street, disapearing into
the woods that lined our driveway. I lived across the street; it
was easy to do. When I got home, my mom was making No Bake Cookies.
She was surprised to see me, but very calm about it. She let me
have a cookie before telling me I had to get back before class
started again or I couldn’t have any more after school. So I ran
back to school, got there just in time to line up for class right
after recess. No one ever knew what I’d done or where I’d been,
except for my mom and me. And I ate many No Bake Cookies when I got
home again. This recipe, like so many, comes from
. But while looking for the recipe, I noticed something:
there are A LOT of no-bake cookies out there. There are Haystacks,
Rice Crispie Treats, Buckeyes and a million others. So I will be
adding a category and updating it with no-bake recipes as I
discover them. INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4
    tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup
    crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 cups quick-cooking
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I usually go
    for a whole tablespoon–or two)

DIRECTIONS: In a medium
saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil,
and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut
butter, oats, and vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let
cool until hardened. FYI, “Tasty no-bake cookies made with oatmeal,
peanut butter and cocoa. Start timing when mixture reaches a full
rolling boil; this is the trick to successful cookies. If you boil
too long the cookies will be dry and crumbly. If you don’t boil
long enough, the cookies won’t form properly.” A slightly
different take
on this yummy cookie with a little more
sugar and a tad bit of salt: INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup
    unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats


  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the
    sugar, cocoa, milk and margarine. Bring to a boil, stirring
    occasionally. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in
    the vanilla, salt, peanut butter and oats.
  2. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow cookies to cool
    for at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container.

Recipes: Dutch Babies. They’re better than they sound.

Dutch Babies taste much better than they sound.

Dutch Babies taste much better than they sound.

I had no idea what the hell these were until two years ago.

Like Euthanasia and 1999, I had long misheard and, consequently, massively misunderstood the term.

As a child forced to listen to NPR, I couldn’t understand why some people were so against the Youth In Asia that they would have protests and condemn their existence as a direct violation of “God’s will.” The Youth In Asia must be some really, really bad kids, I thought. I mean, you don’t hear about the Youth in Europe or the Youth in Africa nearly as much as the Youth In Asia…they must be some real hard-core bad asses, those Asian youth…

Similarly, while I understood $19.99 to generally be affordable and a good price for, say, a dinner out, it was hardly worth partying for. Party like its $19.99? Really?

Delicious food with an odd name…this is the Dutch Baby we made April 23, 2011.

So why, then, would people want to eat Dutch Babies?

I swear I am a natural brunette and not blonde; I was just home-schooled.

Two decades after re-entering society and attending public high school, I still don’t really get the name of the pop-over pancakes, but I’m willing to give them a try. Plus, Dutch Babies are from Seattle, originating at the little, now closed, Manca’s Cafe. As we already know anything that originates from Seattle must be good.We brought the world Nordstrom, Starbucks, Grunge, and Sir Mix-A-Lot.

Well, OK. Maybe not everything that originates in Seattle is good. But Dutch Babies help up the average.

So here is a good recipe I found at my favorite recipe website,  Which is really similar (nearly identical) to a recipe my girlfriend, Monica, uses for something called Davide Eyre Pancakes.

Both recipes produce really, really good eats. Monica serves hers with marmalade, which is an idea I’m now going to steal.

These pastries may not be as cute as babies dressed in Dutch costumes, but I think they probably taste better.

To Make Dairy-Free: replace butter with coconut oil or Earth Balance (other margarines may contain dairy proteins) and replace the milk with So Delicious Coconut Milk (original or vanilla)

Dutch Babies--yet another way to use that Costco bag of frozen blueberries. Click link for another take on this breakfast food.

Dutch Babies–yet another way to use that Costco bag of frozen blueberries. Click link for another take on this breakfast food.



  1. Place a 10 inch cast iron skillet inside oven and preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until light. Add milk and stir. Gradually whisk in flour, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Remove skillet from oven and reduce oven heat to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt butter in hot skillet so that inside of skillet is completely coated with butter. Pour all the batter in the skillet and return skillet to oven.
  4. Bake until puffed and lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Remove promptly and sprinkle with powdered sugar.