Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

Flour. Yeast. Cinnamon. Put those 3 words together along with some other ingredients and you have my mouth salivating. I am just love warm, yeasty, cinnamon bread. Cinnamon rolls have always been a fave of mine. I was very happy when my wife decided she wanted to try the Pionner Woman’s Pull Apart Cinnamon Bread a couple mornings ago. In this case I sat on the sidelines while she prepared this wonderful bread. I thought I would interview her to tell us all about the recipe.

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

Why did you want to make this recipe? Traditionally my mother would make a delicious cinnamon sugar sticky rolls (dough balls rolled in butter and cinnamon sugar and then baked in a round pan) for Christmas morning every year when I was a child. I wanted to make something similar to capture those flavors for my children to enjoy. I also have loved every single recipe of Ree’s that we’ve tried, so I had good faith that this one would be a winner. The maple glaze seemed interesting, read below for how I felt about that!

Tell us more about the process you used? Ree mixes her dough by hand in the same pot she uses to warm the wet ingredients. I decided to use my stand mixer with dough hook. That choice saved my arms, and I had more confidence that the ingredients would be well incorporated. I warmed the wet ingredients in a saucepan and then transferred them to my mixer bowl and proceeded to use the mixer to add in the flour for the first and second additions. I followed the recipe as it is written, except for the last addition of flour I had to add another cup of flour to get the consistency I was looking for. The dough was still very soft and sticky, but easy to roll out. When stacking the squares into the loaf pan I was a little worried that they wouldn’t look “pretty” when finished because they were slumping down, but they rose in the oven perfectly.

What was your biggest challenge? The biggest challenge was stacking up the strips of dough, since they were very soft. But with a little help from my extra wide fish turner I was able to get them lifted and stacked. It was also unclear in the recipe if it was going to make 2 loaves or 1, but it turned out to make 2 loaves perfectly.

What did you like about this bread? My favorite part about this bread is the maple glaze. I could just eat that by itself with a spoon…(well, I might have done that!) I would recommend a double batch of the glaze, to make sure every nook and cranny gets covered. Believe me, you won’t regret it! I love the addition of salt in the glaze, it gives it a salted caramel type of flavor, one of my favorite! The bread itself was soft and buttery, and the little crusty bits that caramelized between the slices were just like my mom’s sticky rolls. It brought me a little closer to home when I miss her the most, at Christmastime.

Is there anything you would improve or do differently next time? I think next time I would cut the recipe in half. One loaf was enough for our family of 5 to have their fill for breakfast, and the leftovers were not gooey and soft like the first loaf was. I’d like to try making the double batch dough and freezing or refrigerating half of it to see if it would work that way. Fresh is best with pastry, always.

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

Thank you Donna! The best part of the bread was the maple glaze for sure. I cleaned off the little spatula you see in the photos myself! The leftover bread left a lot to be desired, which I did of expected, but was hoping for the best. I did thoroughly enjoy it hot out of the oven.


Pumpkin Cornbread

My wife found this pumpkin recipe while cruising around Pinterest earlier this fall. We love cornbread, and we love pumpkin, so combining the two was absolute genius. The recipe comes from the blog, Sugarcrafter, which is focused on baking and canning. Before we get to the recipe, let me go through a few things that are important for me when making this cornbread.

1. I use stone ground cornmeal from Bob’s Red Mill. It has the best flavor of any cornmeal I have ever had and is completely worth the extra money (compared to the cheap store brands).

2. With the strong flavors of pumpkin, molasses, and the spices, I felt this was the perfect time to mix in some wheat flour as I think the wheat flavor would play nicely. For the wheat flour I used Prairie Gold White Whole Wheat flour from Wheat Montana that you can pick up at Walmart or pick at at Wheat Montana’s website. I like it because it’s verified non-GMO and comes in an awesome resealable bag.

3. I used fresh homemade pumpkin puree. Check my post on how to make it.

4. For the nutmeg, I use whole nutmeg that I grate with a Microplane Zester. It has much better flavor than the pre-ground stuff.

The flavor of the cornbread was unique in a good way. Never had cornbread like this. Would make a great addition to the Thanksgiving table as a way to incorporate pumpkin and an easier to make alternatives to homemade rolls. The middle pieces were the best as they were the most moist. The outside pieces were drier, but still good. This would make an excellent addition to a cornbread stuffing.

Pumpkin Cornbread
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • ¼ cup mild cooking oil (such as sunflower or grapeseed)
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease up a 8 x 8 baking dish.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, brown sugar, and spices) in a mixing bowl.
  3. In another bowl, combine whisk the eggs. Mix in the oil, pumpkin puree, and molasses.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients. Mix to just combine, don't over-mix and don't worry if there are lumps they will work out when baked.
  5. Pour into the baking dish and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow 5 minutes to cool for 5 minutes before removing.



Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

When faced with a bunch of fresh rhubarb and some strawberries picked by my very own hands, I didn’t want to go the pie route. Anyone can make a pie or it’s close relatives the cobbler and the crisp. There is nothing wrong with that, especially when both ingredients are in season at the same time. I wanted to be different and try something new. So I thought a muffin. Why not? It’s portable and fun and the kids love muffins.

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

Trying to find a recipe to give a whirl I did a lot of searching. I didn’t really find a recipe that I liked it it’s entirety. I liked the muffin recipe from the blog, A Pretty Life. The recipes uses Greek yogurt or sour cream (that is what I used). The crumble topping was made of pecans, which I don’t like, which lead me to search out a different topping recipe. The one I chose was from the blog, The Faux Martha. This topping contained both AP and whole wheat flour as some maple syrup and spices – right up my alley.

These muffins may be the best muffins I ever made. The muffins were moist. The crumble topping was very flavorful – it made each bite that much better. The amount of fruit inside was spot on. The tartness of the rhubarb played really well and it was nicely cooked. I can’t say enough good things about these muffins. I will be making these every strawberry season from now on!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Muffins
Crumble topping
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
For the muffin batter
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream)
  • ¼ cup mild cooking oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1⅓ cups flour
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup diced rhubarb & strawberries combined
To make the topping
  1. Combine the flours, sugar, spices, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add in the melted butter and maple syrup.
  3. Mix until the crumble forms and set aside.
To make the muffins
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt) in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients (oil, yogurt, and egg).
  4. Pour the wet ingredients on to the dry ingredients, then add the strawberries & rhubarb.
  5. Mix to just bring the batter together. Don't not over mix the batter. If there are a few lumps don't worry about it, they will work themselves out.
  6. Place 12 muffin liners into your muffin pan. Fill each one about ⅔rds the way up.
  7. Evenly distribute the crumble topping onto each muffin.
  8. Bake for about 20 to 25 mintues, until golden brown on top and cooked all the way through. Remove from pan as soon as you can handle them.



Red White Blue Sweet Jam Rolls

Happy Independence Day! Today is all about the red, white, and blue. I wanted to have a nice food photo of something with those iconic colors that hopefully will make the rounds on Pinterest today (thanks for stopping by, Pinners!). I need a blue food. Of course blueberries came to mind. What could be more American? Blueberries are native to our land. They were growing here back on the fateful day in 1776. Although they do turn more purple when cooked, it’s close enough. For something red, why not strawberries, especially considering I have a batch of strawberry jam made from fresh Michigan berries. And what’s my favorite baked treat – the cinnamon roll. Only today to celebrate this great day in American history, I am going to replace the cinnamon sugar filling with some homemade jam.

This recipe is enough for 18 rolls. I put 12 of them in my largest glass baking dish, alternating between strawberry and blueberry filled. The other 6 I used in a round cake pan. For those I filled with some pluot jam I made but you can use more strawberry or blueberry. Raspberry or cherry jam would also fit into the Fourth of July color scheme.

Red, White, & Blue Sweet Jam Rolls
For the dough
  • 2 cups very warm water (not too warm to burn your hand though)
  • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • ⅔ cup instant nonfat dry milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 4 to 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
For the filing
  • 2 cups combined of strawberry, raspberry, or blueberry jam
For the icing
  • juice of 1 half lemon
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • water for thinning
  1. Start by combining the warm water and the yeast. Give the yeast about 5 minutes to proof. You should easily be able to smell the yeast.
  2. Add the dry milk, sugar, and salt.
  3. Then add the butter and egg. Fully incorporated.
  4. Then add the flour about a cup at a time until you have a soft dough that isn't too sticky.
  5. Knead the dough either by hand or with a stand mixer.
  6. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size. Finding the warmest spot in your kitchen to place your dough will give you the quickest results.
  7. Now cut the dough into three equal pieces. I like to do this with a bench or pastry scrapper.
  8. Roll each piece of dough into a rectangle.
  9. Spread the 1 type of jam out, leaving some room around the edges. You don't need to go super thick.
  10. Then roll the dough up tightly forming a log. Cut the log into 6 equal pieces. Repeat with the other 2 pieces of dough, using a different jam in each dough or the same one twice. I estimate about 2 cups of jam will be needed. I didn't actually measure it out when I made them.
  11. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place the rolls into a baking dish that you have sprayed with a bit of oil.
  12. Allow the rolls about 20-30 minutes to rise before baking them. Bake time is about 15-20 minutes. The edges should turn brown and sound hollow if you tap on them.
To make the icing
  1. Mix the lemon juice with the powdered sugar. Slowly add water until you get the desired consistency.



Giada Blueberry Corn Muffins

We love our corn muffins in this household. I have made them countless times. That doesn’t mean I am above trying out other recipes. On a recent episode of Food Network’s “Giada at Home”, Giada shared a couple different corn muffin recipes. I was excited to give them a try. This past Sunday morning with no cereal in the pantry it was the perfect opportunity to bust out this corn muffin recipe. Below you will find my notes from this recipe. You can print the recipe of at Food Network’s website.

Giada Blueberry Corn Muffins

1. I followed the recipe down to the letter with the excpetion of using fresh blueberries instead of frozen.

2. One key to keep the blueberries mixed throughout the muffin is to mix them with a little bit of flour. I was planning on doing this anyway but I am glad she mentions this. I also put some blueberries directly on top before baking. I wanted to make sure the blueberries were front and center for my pictures.

3. I used Bob’s Red Mill Fine Grind Cornmeal. Their corn meal are stone ground and have amazing flavor. I recommend finding a stone ground cornmeal and to not just cheap out on the corn meal in this recipe.

Giada Blueberry Corn Muffins

4. The amount of muffins this recipe makes it really more than 12. As you can see in the above pictures the muffins are overflowing. You probably really could get 13 or 14 muffins out of the batter, but who has a 13 cup muffin pan!

5. Giada said baking time was 20 to 25 minutes. I baked mine for 20 minutes.

Giada Blueberry Corn Muffins

These were pretty good muffins. They were very moist, which Giada keep repeating during the show. There were some things I would change. I think they needed a bit more salt, maybe a 1/4 teaspoon more. I also missed the honey I usually have in my corn muffins. I think next time I make corn muffins I will use my old recipe with the addition of blueberries. By no means is Giada’s recipe a disappointment, my family still gobbled them up.


Grilled Pizza

It is true? Does everything taste better grilled? I don’t know yet as I have not grilled everything. But what I have thrown over the charcoal has tasted better. Particularly an American favorite – pizza. A couple years ago I watched Alton Brown make pizza on the grill during the final season of Good Eats. At the time I sadly did not own a grill. That is no longer the case. I followed his instructions last year and the results were wonderful. I didn’t know what to expect of the crust, would it be too flat for my liking? The crust is just about as perfect as crust can turn out. It is still chewy but it has that wonderful grilled flavor that knows your taste buds into a coma!

Alton Brown’s Recipe | Print the recipe

The main thing I took from Alton Brown’s recipe is the dough. I didn’t try his Date and prosciutto pizza as that sounds awful to me, and I didn’t quite follow this Margherita pizza – I made my own. The dough itself is wonderful. The dough makes 3 small to medium pizzas depending on your definition of small and medium. I think keeping the pizza a reasonable size is a good idea considering you don’t want the pizza to be raw in the middle and burned on the bottom. A couple notes below about working with his dough.

Pizza Grill Marks

1. I used honey instead of malted barley syrup. This substitution worked out perfectly fine.

2. I had to add more flour when making the dough. My dough ball wasn’t really coming together so I add a little more flour at a time until the dough starting forming a ball.

3. The one hour rising time was perfect. The dough has doubled.

4. When you get to the second rise start getting your toppings ready and the grill fired up.

5. Each side of the pizza took about the 3-4 minutes Alton called for. The challenge is too make sure your coals if using charcoal are spread even so that you can have even heating.

Again this dough is out of this world amazing! You can use whatever homemade dough recipe you like. Just remember you want this pizza to be no more than a medium size so if your recipe normally makes a large consider cutting the dough in half. Here is how I made my Pepperoni Grilled Pizza.

Grilled Pepperoni Pizza


Grilled Pepperoni Pizza
Cuisine: Italian-American
  • 1 recipe pizza dough divided into 3 small to medium pizzas
  • 20-30 slices pepperoni
  • 1 lb freshly grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1½ cups tomato sauce (homemade if possible)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
  • olive oil for brushing on the dough
  1. Divide your pizza dough into 3 pizzas. Roll them into a ball. Cover the dough with a towel and allow it 45 minutes to rise.
  2. Fire up the grill!
  3. Roll out each dough out into a circle. Place on a floured pizza peel or floured cutting board.
  4. Brush with oil. Place the dough flat onto the grill. Close the gril. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until grill marks have formed on the bottom of the dough. Brush the top of the dough with oil and flip over.
  5. Work fast adding the ladle your sauce on top, add the cheese, herbs, and pepperoni. Close the grill as soon as your done. Allow to cook for another 2-4 minutes until the cheese has melted and the bottom has grill marks. Repeat steps for the remaining pizzas.



Parsnip Muffins

The struggle of many a parent. A kid who won’t eat her vegetables. I have a major battle with my 2-year old daughter who doesn’t want to eat any vegetables. We struggle to even get her to eat corn, which seems to be the kid’s vegetable of choice. We have to think of unique ways to get the nutrients of veggies into her. On one of the later episodes of Alton Brown’s Good Eats, we does a show on how to hide parsnips in a variety of dishes. I have been looking to try out his parsnip muffin recipe for a while and finally got to it this week. Visit Food Network’s website to print out the recipe. You will find my notes from this recipe below.

1. The recipe calls for almonds on top. Not a fan, so I left them out.

2. The recipe also calls for 10 ounces of grated parsnips. When I got done grating them, I only had 9oz, so I had to use 1oz of grated carrot. I don’t think this took away from the parsnip flavor in the muffins.

3. It is important that you use freshly grated nutmeg. The flavor is so much better than something that has been already grounded and been sitting in a container for who knows who long. I like to grate my nutmeg with a Microplane Grater. It’s a very useful tool that comes in a handy a ton in the kitchen.

4. When selecting parsnips, try to pick ones that aren’t huge clubs you could knock someone out with. I believe the smaller ones taste better and are less woody. It might be harder to grate but worth your effort.

5. Make sure you spray the muffin tin while or these suckers will stick.

6. Alton says baking time is about 20-25 minutes. I clocked in right in the middle of that with 22 minutes.

It took me a while to get around to this recipe but it was worth the wait. The flavor of the parsnip really stood out – the licorice/anise flavor along with the spice that nutmeg provided was a home run. The muffins were moist too. I would take these any day over a carrot muffin, I do love my carrots. My 2-year old devoured one. Little did she know that she just got some veggies in her system!


This year I am starting a new tradition in our house – making hot cross buns for Good Friday. I wrote early about why we eat them on Good Friday (check out that post) and now I am going to share with you the recipe I used. I choose Food Network story and blog queen – the Pioneer Woman – Ree Drummond’s recipe for hot cross buns. Her blog laid out really well the whole process. Althought I did vary from the recipe/procedure a bit which I will get into below. To print out the recipe, visit the Pioneer Woman’s website.

1. When making hot cross buns or other sweet breads like Challah, a sponge method is used. This is where you create a dough and save some of the ingredients including additional flour for after the 1st rise. The sugar is dissolved in milk and oil, then the most of the flour is added.

2. After a 1 hour rise, I added in the rest of the dough ingredients. The dough itself did rise but not necessarily doubling in volume like you see with most standard bun or roll recipes.

3. For the cinnamon sugar, I also added some freshly grated nutmeg and allspice. About 1/4 teaspoon of each.

4. Instead of going raisins I instead added a Dried Cherry Berry Blend (Montmorency Cherries, Cranberries & Blueberries). I think those fruits just taste better than raisins plus I liked the idea of going with multiple types of fruit to get the buns more depth of flavor.

5. Getting the spiced sugar and dried fruit into the dough is pretty easy. You employ a 3-fold method. Sprinkle on sugar and dried fruit, fold, repeat, fold, repeat, and fold to finish it up. It’s a really great way to make sure that everything is evenly distributed.

6. Another thing I did differently than Ree is that I placed my rolls into 9 inch round cake pans. I don’t like the sheet pan idea as this allows room for the rolls to spread out. I want them to rise up more than spread out, so if they are in a tight space they will be forced up. This is the same thing I do whenever I bake any kind of dinner roll.

7. For the icing Ree mixes in an egg white. I decided to forgo this step as I didn’t want my icing to be too hard, I like it on the softer side.

The Verdict
Wow, these were amazing. The buns were soft and moist. The spices were a delight for the tongue. The best part was my decision to add the dried cherries, cranberries, and blueberries. Both the cherries and cranberries provided a bit of tartness that was such a nice treat in the sweet dough and the icing.


What Can I Make with Leftover Corned Beef Besides Hash?
This year I decided to cook my corned beef and cabbage a week before St. Patrick’s Day, so I could come up with some leftover recipes for my readers. I wanted something unique. Hash is good and all (I will be covering that later this week). I looked at some possible ideas online. The one that inspired me the most was pizza. It would be easy to throw my leftovers as topping onto a pizza – creating a hand held corned beef meal.

The next thing I had to address before I could put this pizza together was the sauce. Tomato sauce didn’t seem like the right choice. I remember Giade de Laurentitis making a Béchamel sauce for a meatball pizza. A Bechamel is a simple white sauce made with flour, butter, milk, and some seasonings. Since I didn’t plan on adding cheese to this pizza, a nice Bechamel seemed just right. Yes I said I made a pizza without cheese. I know it sounds sacrilegious.  If you must have some cheese you can also grate on some Parmesan at the end. To spice up the Bechamel I added some garlic, nutmeg, and white pepper. The nutmeg adds a surprise bite of spice that will leave people wondering what that is. I like white pepper in this case so I don’t have little flecks of black in my creamy white sauce.

For the pizza dough I used a recipe by Paula Dean that makes enough dough for two pizzas. I made a traditional pepperoni pizza for the kids since I didn’t think they would go for my “crazy” pizza.

Corned Beef & Cabbage Pizza
  • Your favorite pizza dough recipe
  • Leftover corned beef and cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  1. Melt the butter in a non-stick pan over medium high heat.
  2. Mix in the flour and cook for about 1 minute
  3. Add the milk, nutmeg, white pepper, salt, and garlic.
  4. Stir until the mixture has become the consistency of tomato sauce
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Spread the sauce onto your dough. Add your corned beef and cabbage.
  7. Set your oven to the highest temperature it will go without burning your house down (500 degrees to me).
  8. Bake until the crust has browned around the edges. About 15 minutes in my oven.
  9. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing.



The first biscuits that I ever made were Alton Brown’s original biscuits from an early episode of Good Eats starring his late grandmother. That is a good classic recipe that turns out a good biscuit. But what I like about Alton Brown is that he doesn’t just rest on his laurels. I believe in always striving to improve my recipes. I think some of the best recipes I have are ones that I worked on over years, changing little things here and there. Alton has done that now with his biscuits. On an episode of the Best Thing I Ever Made, Alton pulls out his current, best biscuit recipe. This one uses a mix of all-purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour (there is the healthier part!). It also opts for lard instead of butter or shortening. The lard will help make for a flakier biscuit.

Check out Food Network’s website to print out the recipe. You can watch a video of Alton making the biscuits. Here are my notes from my experience with this recipe

1. The first time I made these they didn’t turn out that well. I saw the episode but didn’t make the biscuits for a while. Then I just looked at the ingredients and went to work. I missed a couple steps when I did this – such as folding the dough and placing the biscuits in a round cake pan. I put them on a half sheet pan. Big mistake. They need to be right next to each other to rise the best or they just end up spreading horizontally when they should be vertically.

2. I was out of buttermilk when I made these the second time. So I used Alton’s substitute of mixing 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice with 1 cup of milk. That worked out fine.

3. I came out with 10 biscuits total, after re-rolling out the dough. I had to squeeze them in to fit them into my 9 inch round cake pan. The one he used in the video had a lot higher sides than mine.

4. I bake mine for around 21 to 22 minutes – were golden brown on top. As Alton recommend make sure you wait at least 10 minutes, so they don’t turn out gummy inside.

Alton has definitely improved his biscuit recipe. These have more flavor than the original and a better texture. Kudos for him not resting on his laurels. It also gave me a reason to bring out my honey collection as there is no better use for honey than biscuits.

Eric Profile Transparent Background


I'm Eric. I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my wife, 3 kids, and a flock of ducks. I love grocery shopping, trying new fruits, farmer's market, and traveling.

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