Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In Praise of Pamela

Have you discovered Pamela's baking mixes?


I am, of course, a huge fan of baking from scratch. I love balancing flavors and textures, putting just the right amount of dark cocoa in with the perfect measure of coconut to make something rich and lovely and amazing that makes people say, "Really? This is gluten-free?"

But let's face it: most of us work full-time. Either we work full-time in the business world, or we work full-time taking care of kiddos, or we work extra full-time doing both. Often baking from gluten-free scratch just isn't practical.

This is why I sing the praises of Pamela's mixes. They. Are. Amazing.

Their brownie mix is tasty, their chocolate chip cookie mix is the best that I've had, and their chocolate cake is light, fluffy, and utterly addictive.

Yet it's Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix, along with Pamela's Bread Mix that really make my heart happy. Why? Because you can use them to cook about a million different things. Pizza crust. Cinnamon rolls. Coffee cake. Pesto dinner rolls. Deep chocolate-y brownies. Fresh ravioli, for crying out loud.

You can find the whole Pamela's online recipe vault here.

Sadly, Pamela's prepackaged products are not so good. The cookies are generally really dry, and kinda remind me of the hard tack we used to have to eat when I did short backpacking trips in junior high. It sounds good when you're really hungry, but in reality it's pretty icky. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

Nevertheless, Pamela's baking mixes are still first-rate. Like, write home to your momma first rate. Fo' real.

I made Pamela's cinnamon rolls about two weeks ago. My husband and I scarfed them down in a matter of days. I made them again at the end of the week. We scarfed them again. Once I let on to my husband how much butter (a whole heckuva lot) was in them, we agreed that I could only make them once a month. It's little protection against the addiction that is these cinnamon rolls.

Are you intrigued yet? Are you running out the door to buy yourself some Pamela's? If not, check this out:


Not the prettiest cinnamon rolls in the world, but trust me, they taste like pastries from heaven.

Below is my modification of Pamela's "Cinnamon Swirls" recipe. Yum, yum, yum.

Pamela's Ridiculously Tasty and Cinnamon-y Cinnamon Rolls
Dough:
1 bag (3-1/2 cups) Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix
yeast (enclosed packet)
 2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup warm water, divided
1 teaspoon sugar

Filling:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup pecans, chopped (optional) 

Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
3 T. water

Dissolve yeast with 1/2 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let stand for about 5 minutes until foamy.

With a wire whisk in a stand mixer, cream butter. Reserving the 1/4 cup of bread mix set aside for rolling, add the bread mix to the butter. Mix to combine on low. Add dissolved yeast and continue mixing. Add remaining warm water 1 tablespoon at a time just until dough starts to come together. Lightly flour a sheet of parchment paper with some of the reserved bread mix. Place dough on the parchment, sprinkle lightly with left over mix and cover with second sheet of parchment. Roll dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch in a rectangle shape. Remove top parchment paper. 

To make the filling, cream butter with sugars and cinnamon. Spread or distribute filling evenly on the rolled out dough. Spread nuts (if using) evenly over filling and press down with fingertips. 

Starting with the longest edge of the dough, peel dough off paper and roll to form a log. Pinch edge of dough closed to form a cylinder. 

Lightly oil an eight-inch round cake pan. Use a sharp knife to slice log into individual pieces, each about 1-1/2 to 2-inches wide (you should end up with 7-9 rolls). Lay pieces in pan with the swirls showing. 

Allow dough to rise for 75 minutes at room temperature. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until golden brown. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes.

Glaze hot swirls with icing. Devour them all. Repeat! :)

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