Category: Holly B’s

Holly B’s Cinnamon Rolls

April 6, 2010

Friends, the clock is ticking.  I am just about 3½ months away from a big birthday.  Big as in huge.  40.

Last July, when I turned 39, I set some goals for myself.  Since I still have a few months to go, I will wait to fill you in on whether all the goals are met.  (Here is a hint – yoga, yay!  Croissants – not so much!).  But now I can cross a big one off my list.

Every single time I go into Holly B’s Bakery I either get a cinnamon roll, or I regret not having gotten a cinnamon roll in addition to whatever delicious item I did get.  If I did one of those free association exercises and you said, “Holly B”, I would no doubt say, “Cinnamon roll”.  You get where I am going with this.  Holly B = cinnamon roll.  And yet, in all years I have owned her cookbook, I have never made them.  I can partly blame it on the fear of finding myself in the house with a dozen or so cinnamon rolls and partly blame it on timing.  You see, this recipe ends with the dreaded words, “Serve still warm from the oven”.  How do you time that?

Now that I have made them, I kick myself for not just diving in sooner.  It is not complicated.  First you make a bread dough which needs to rise for an hour or so.  Then you roll the dough out, do the brushing and sprinkling and the rolling back up.  Then you slice and place on a baking sheet where they rise again for about 30 minutes.  They bake for about 30 and then you eat them.  Why did this sound so daunting?  I wanted to bring these rolls over to a friend’s house for a post egg-hunting brunch.  I made the dough and let it rise about and hour and a half before we left.  I formed the rolls just before we walked out the door and let them finish their rise in her warm kitchen and bake in her oven.  Then we feasted.

Back to that free associate exercise.  If I say “cinnamon roll” and you think “Cinnabon” then I would not advise making these rolls.  They have very little in common with those shopping mall monsters (sorry, I am biased).  Remember, this is a bread recipe (that has a whole cup of whole wheat flour in it) which is rolled out, brushed with butter, sprinkled with two kinds of sugar, a full tablespoon of cinnamon, raisins, and sliced almonds.  There is no icing and I wouldn’t want there to be.  Because the roll itself actually tastes like something other than air, you actually want to taste that part.  The roll is delightfully nutty from the whole wheat flour and the sugars caramelize just so.  I always tell you how I don’t like nuts in my baked goods but I wouldn’t think of leaving those sliced almonds out.  They are delicate and add a wonderful crunch and very subtle flavor.

I wanted to get a picture of me with both boys but the Easter egg hunting was a little too exciting for them to both stand still at the same time.  Separate was the best I got.

One Year Ago:  Marinated Chickpea Salad with Radishes and Cucumber

Holly B’s Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from With Love & Butter
Makes approximately 12 rolls

For the dough:
2 cups warm water
2 tbsp. honey
1 package (2¼ tsp.) quick-rise yeast
2 tbsp. mild tasting oil (DT: I used canola oil)
Scant 4 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tbsp. milk powder
1¾ tsp. salt

For the Rolls:
Flour for dusting work surface
¼ cup (½ a stick) butter, melted
¾ cup raisins
¾ cup sliced almonds
¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon

Make the dough:
Swish together the water, honey, yeast, and oil in a roomy bowl.  Now dump in the flours and lastly the milk powder and the salt.  Mix these dry ingredients gently with your fingers without breaking through to the liquid below.

Now grab a wooden spoon and mix the dough vigorously until it’s just too stiff to continue.  Either knead the dough with floured hands on a lightly floured surface or use a dough hook with a stand mixer.  If the dough feels too wet, add a little more flour.  If it feels too stiff, sprinkle with warm water.  You will want a nice smooth dough – 2-5 minutes of kneading should be fine.  Dust the ball of dough with a little flour.  Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough inside.  Drape with a dishtowel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size.  (This takes about an hour.)

Lay a sheet of parchment paper down on a 10×15-inch baking sheet.

Make the rolls:
Do not punch down the dough, but gently turn it onto a floured surface.  Sprinkle the dough with flour and roll into a rectangle ¼-inch thick and approximately 10 by 25 inches with the short sides top and bottom.  Check the underside of the dough frequently.  Loosen any stuck spots and sprinkle on a little more flour.  Brush the dough with the melted butter, coating well but not leaving puddles.

Combine the raisins, almonds, sugars, and cinnamon.  Distribute the mixture evenly over the buttered surface, pressing down on the edges so the filling won’t fall off when you roll up the dough.

Starting at the short edge nearest you, roll up the dough, tugging gently to achieve a nice, snug long and keeping the edges even.  Turn the log seam downward and use a serrated knife to slice the dough into 10-12 rolls.  Place the rolls snugly in the pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until puffy and doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Before the rolls finish rising, preheat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the center position.  Bake the Cinnamon Rolls for 15 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 15 minutes more.  The rolls should be light gold and no longer doughy inside.  (DT: I think it’s best to check on the insides – mine looked done but were a little doughy.)  Serve still warm from the oven.

Holly B’s Pesto Parmesan Cornbread

February 10, 2010


So what do you serve with chili?  Kind of silly, right?  Kind of like asking, “What do you serve with peanut butter on bread?”  In case you are not catching my drift – cornbread is what you serve with chili.  Oh and beer.  Duh.

The question becomes, which cornbread?  I already have two favorites but I thought it was time to try a third recipe.  If you want very full-flavored cornbread with lots going on, I can whole-heartedly recommend Ina’s version.  It is the one to make for a crowd since you will end up with a ton of it.  But if your appetite is more on the delicate side, I wouldn’t use that recipe.  It’s a meal in and of itself.

I thought I would try Holly B’s recipe and jazz it up by doing the Pesto Parmesan option listed in the book.  The nice thing is that the pesto stays in a small area so I could taste the bread on its own as well to truly asses where it stands in my cornbread book.  The verdict?  Very delicate and cakey.  So much so that as Randy went to take a bite, it basically crumbled right into his chili, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I liked baking it in a pie dish and that each wedge had a little dollop of pesto at its end.  I also liked the Parmesan sprinkled over top.  Maybe I’ll try that with my other favorite version which comes from The Joy of Cooking.  Recipe coming some time soon.


One Year Ago: Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Holly’s Favorite Corn Bread
With Love & Butter
Makes 8 wedges

¾ cup stone ground cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. honey
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
8 tsp. pesto
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the middle of the oven.  Butter a 9- to 10-inch glass pie plate.

Place all the ingredients except the pesto and cheese in a medium bowl and mix, by machine or by hand, until just combined.  Scrape down the bowl once or twice.  Smooth the batter into the pie dish.  Evenly blob 8 teaspoons of pesto around the edge of the batter, so that each wedge of cornbread will show a bit of green at the base.  Scatter the whole dish with the Parmesan.  Bake 15 minutes, rotate the dish, and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more or until the top is light brown and a toothpick comes out easily.  Cut into 8 wedges and serve.

Holly B’s Oatmeal Carmelitas

January 12, 2010


One thing I really hate about winter is the light.  Last year at this time, I was still cooking for my families so if I raced, I could catch a bit of afternoon light and take a decent photo.  These days, I’m never done with cooking dinner until dinnertime at which point it has been dark for hours.  I’ve had to rely on my special light to make photography possible and I sure am tired of the photos all having the same look.  Hence this somewhat different composition today.

Now wait.  Don’t call me a hypocrite.  I know I wrote a post talking about low fat cooking yesterday.  Did you also read that I only do high fat baking?    And boy, this is high fat.  So much so that in the introduction for the recipe, Holly wrote, “This would be a good treat for someone wanting to gain weight.”  Ahem, not really my problem but it’s a nice thought.


As if it wasn’t enough to have a shortbread base with nuts and chocolate chips strewn over the top, a combination of honey and cream is poured over the whole pan which is then baked until golden brown.  The result is similar to an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie but denser and, thanks to the honey, sweeter.  I love honey, so for me the flavor was welcome here.


One Year Ago: Milk Chocolate Layer Cake

Oatmeal Carmelitas
With Love & Butter
18 big bars

1½ cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups flour
2 cups oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1½ cups chocolate chips
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (DT: I used pecans)
1 cup honey
½ cup half-and-half (DT: I used cream)

Preheat oven to 375° with the rack in the center position.  Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Cream the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer.  Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt and combine.  Reserve 1/3 of the dough.  Press the remaining dough evenly into the buttered baking pan.  Bake for 5 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer.  The crust should be barely brown.  Leave the oven on.

Scatter the chocolate chips and walnuts over the hot crust.  Now blob the reserved dough as evenly as you can on top of the chocolate and nuts.

Combine the honey and half-and-half.  Heat in the microwave or on the stove until hot but not boiling.  Pour the honey cream sauce over the dough and bake 15 to 20 minutes.  The bars will be done when they turn a uniformly rich golden color.  Cool and cut.

Holly B’s Rugelach

December 9, 2009


Top three favorite smells coming out of my kitchen.  1) Any kind of brownies.  2) This granola.  3) Onions caramelizing.  And if I can extend the list to four, I would have to include this rugelach.  Jam, cinnamon, nuts, and cream cheese dough all doing magical things in the oven.

Up until today, I had never made a sweet rugelach before.  I have made savory ones as an appetizer (where is that recipe? ) but never the traditional kind.  UPDATE 2010:  I found that recipe and made it again.  Check it out here.


Shauna shared some amazing gluten-free rugelach with me last week and hers were filled with quince paste and bittersweet chocolate.  Hello yum.  Because this was my first time making this recipe, I needed to stick closer to the rules.  Holly calls these Raspberry Rugelach but I did have to bend the rules a bit and make Blackberry Rugelah because blackberry jam is all I have in my house.  A woman named Linda who lives on Lopez Island makes positively transcendent jam so we always stock up every summer.  The fact that Lopez jam lives in these Lopez cookies seems just right.

These little cookies are not the most beautiful things I have ever made but the smell matches the taste.  Delicious.  Buttery, flaky, sweet and spicy.  They are also really fun to make. If you are a person who is afraid of working with dough, this is a great one to start with.  It is very forgiving and does just what you want it to.

You can buy Holly B’s wonderful cookbook by visiting this site.


Raspberry or Blackberry Rugelach

With Love & Butter
Makes 18 small pastries

Definitely keep these little treasures on the small side – they look much better that way.  I have large cookie sheets so I crammed them all onto one pan.  A lot of jam leaked out and I just transferred them immediately to a wire rack to cool.  I didn’t bother with the two fork option described below.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
7 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/3 cup raspberry or blackberry jam
6 tbsp. raisins
6 tbsp. sliced almonds
6 tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the cream cheese and combine until smooth.  Mix in 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar and the vanilla.  Gradually stir in the flour, blending until just combined.

Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap loosely.  Shape the dough into a disk about 6 inches across and 1-inch thick and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.  (DT: I refrigerated mine overnight.)

Preheat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the center position.  Line 1 large or two small baking sheets with parchment paper.

Unwrap the dough and place on a lightly floured surface.  Begin rolling the dough into a circle, keeping both sides lightly floured and free from sticking to th rolling pin and work surface.  Continue rolling the dough into a circle about 18 inches across and 1/8-inch thick.  (DT: Because I seemingly incapable of rolling dough into a circle, I just did the best I could and trimmed the edges to make it circular.)  Brush off the excess flour on both sides of the pastry.  Smear the jam over the dough, right up to the edges of the circle.

Combine the raisins, almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining 6 tablespoons granulated sugar in a small bowl.  Distribute this mixture evenly over the jam.  Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, gently cut the wheel of dough into 18 wedges.

Starting at the wide base of each wedge, roll the dough into a little tube.  It will look like a tiny croissant without the curve.  Place the pastries 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet(s).  One pan at a time, bake 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake 5 to 10 minutes more.  The Rugelach will be done with light golden in color.  Remove the pan from the oven and use 2 forks to relocated each pastry to a clean place on the parchment for cooling.

Cool thoroughly, then dust lightly with powdered sugar if desired.  Store at room temperature for up to 2 days.  Rugelach dough can be frozen for up to 1 month without any adverse effects.

Holly B’s Stollen

December 2, 2009


If you have been following this blog for a while, you may wonder what happened to Holly B’s Tuesdays.  I took a self-imposed hiatus for the craziness of the last two weeks.  I just didn’t think I could pile another cooking or baking responsibility on top of everything else I had going on.  But I am back on track with a new recipe, albeit one I have not tasted.

The wonderful bakery that is Holly B’s is not open during the winter.  Holly packs her family up and they head to the mountains sometime around the end of October and return to Lopez Island and the bakery sometime in the spring.  So I have never tasted her Christmas Stollen or her Gingerbread Men which will be featured here next week.  I have no doubts that they, along with just about everything else she makes, are delicious.  That is why I don’t hesitate to post this recipe even though I have never tasted it or tried to make it before.  I love things that can be kept in the freezer and Holly herself says that she bakes 25 each season and sends them to loved ones.  What else do we need to say?

One Year Ago:  Breton Apple Pie

With Love & Butter
Makes 1 large loaf

It is hard to tell from the photo, but the loaf is about the size and shape of an American football.  Holly says that on Christmas morning she slices the Stollen, wraps it in foil, and heats it in a 325°F oven for 35 minutes.  Do not be intimidated by this recipe.  I put it together and got it in the oven while I was waiting for my 2.75 year old to finish his snack.

3/4 cup whole natural almonds
2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for kneading and shaping the dough
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cardamom
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 cup currants
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
2 tbsp. rum
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F with the rack in the center position.  Line a cookie sheet with baking parchment or grease lightly.

Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until finely chopped.  Set aside.  Replace the food processor bowl without washing.

Dump the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, spices, and butter into the food processor bowl.  Pulse until the butter is ut into the flour and reduced to pea-sized bits.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Sit in the finely chopped almonds, currants, and raisins.

Again replace the food processor bowl without washing.  Add the cottage cheese.  Process until pureed, then add the egg, rum, vanilla, and almond extracts, and lemon zest.  Process until smooth.  Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and combine well.  Turn the dough onto a floured surface, scraping the bowl to get out any remaining bits.

Flour your hands and the dough.  Gently knead the dough into a round mound, then flatten int ot disk about 8 inches across and 1 inch thick.  Fold the dough into a taco shape, but with one ege not quite meeting the other.  Place on the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake the Stollen 20 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake another 20 to 30 minutes until a paring knife inserted between the “taco” edges comes out clean of gooey batter.  The top should be golden and bottom butterscotch brown.  Brush the hot Stollen with the melted butter and sprinkle the sugar on to coat (this seals the loaf for storage).  Remove to a rack.  When completely cool, wrap in 2 layers of plastic wrap and store, freeze, or package for shipping.

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