Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

I woke up one Saturday morning, after enjoying a few (too many?) libations the night before, with a hankering for a really good cinnamon roll. In a world full of fancy donuts, macaroons, cupcakes and even cake pops it’s bewildering to me that there aren’t any truly awesome cinnamon rolls around anymore.

Back when I was a kid Cinnabon was the king. They were hot, fluffy, flavor-rich and delicious. But the last few times I’ve had them (probably three in the last ten years) they’ve been super disappointing.

So when I embarked on making the ultimate cinnamon roll, perhaps still a little tipsy from the night before, I did my best to avoid the “Cinnabon Clones” and instead decided to try something a little more original.

What I ended up with was a fluffy, gooey and delicious roll. I’ve made these now four times, each time a little different, but this recipe is the latest and best so far.  Continue reading

4-Hour Diet Slow Carb Breakfast Bowl

My blog post yesterday about the benefits I’ve seen on the 4-Hour Body, Slow Carb Diet was one of the most talked about blog posts I’ve done in a while. I know from it I’ve sold a few copies of Tim Ferriss‘s book, The 4-Hour Body, and peeked the interest of many of my friends.

Something people have been asking from me was the recipe for my breakfast. Being the data-obsessed guy that I am, I didn’t want to put out a recipe without all the nutritional information. Especially since this recipe is directly connected to a diet plan.

I put the necessary information into NutritionData.com and got my results. YIKES! Even though I’ve shown some great results, the nutrition of this scramble isn’t nearly as good as I had hoped. I then compared it with the recipe Tim uses on his blog as a comparison.

His is faster and healthier than the “luxury” version of my recipe. The “healthy” alternative version I provide is actually a better tasting and arguably more nutrient-dense recipe than Tim’s, problem is it takes a lot more work (ten minutes vs three minutes).

4-Hour Diet Slow Carb Breakfast Scrambles

Perhaps look at my recipe for the person not totally committed to the Slow Carb Diet. Also worth noting, I typically use 100% egg whites but to make the scramble richer, I did 2 part egg white, 1 part full egg which is why there is so much more cholesterol and a little more fat.

Skip that full egg and you’ve got a much healthier meal, even healthier than Tim’s! The version with all egg whites (no whole egg) is in the middle and as you can see, outside of a little more carbohydrates and less protein.  Continue reading

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake

This is my version of the popular Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse cake from Gourmet magazine, February 2006.  I like a thicker, richer mousse and sturdier, easier to cut through crust.

Everyone seemed to just love this mousse, sure to be a winner.  Make your slices thin, this thing is RICH!  I like to garnish it with fresh, thinly sliced strawberries but a light dusting of dutch process cocoa and/or powdered sugar makes for a great, simple decoration.

Shortbread Crust

  • 4 tablespoons hazelnuts
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

Mousse

  • 1/4-oz envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 6 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 13-oz jar hazelnut spread such as Nutella (5 oz)
  • 1 cup mascarpone (1/4 lb)
  • 3 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons sugar

Ganache

  • 2/3 cup plus heavy cream
  • 7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped

You will need one 8-inch (20-cm) springform pan; parchment paper

Preparation

Make shortbread base:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the spring-form pan with a 1″ tab.  Close spring-form with tab going through the bottom of the pan.  Coat pan with baker’s non-stick spray.

Bake hazelnuts at 350°F in a small pan for ~10 minutes.  Remove hazelnuts and wrap in a towel.  Let sit for two minutes.

Massage the towel to remove the skins from the toasted hazelnuts, not all skin will remove.

Pulse hazelnuts with sugar in a food processor until hazelnuts are finely chopped. Add flour, butter, cocoa, and salt and pulse until dough forms..

Press dough evenly onto bottom of springform pan with your fingers. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes, until edges are dry with the center still slightly moist.

Remove from oven and let cool., about 30 minutes.

Make mousse while shortbread cools:
Sprinkle gelatin over water in  a medium sized heavy saucepan and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Heat and stir gelatin just until melted over medium heat. Whisk in chocolate hazelnut spread until combined and remove from heat.

Add mascarpone to the chocolate hazelnut mixture.

In a large, chilled bowl, beat together cream, cocoa powder, and sugar with an electric mixer at low speed, increasing speed to high and beat until cream holds soft peaks.

Line the sides of the springform pan with parchment paper, feel free to use bakers tape on the exterior side of the parchment paper to keep the paper together.

Fold in whipped cream mixture into the hazelnut mixture in the saucepan until well combined. Spoon filling onto shortbread base in pan, gently smoothing top with an offset spatula.

Cover and chill in a freezer for 2-3 hours or until center is firm to the touch.

Make ganache and glaze cake:
After mousse if firm… Bring cream to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan and remove from heat. Slowly and with even distribution, add chocolate pieces. When chocolate has begun to melt into the cream, slowly whisk until completely melted and smooth.  Allow ganache to chill for 15 minutes before pouring over chilled mouse.

Add any garnish, sliced strawberries, raspberries, chopped hazelnut, etc.

Place covered mouse back into freezer or refrigerator for 45 minutes to an hour before serving.  For a firmer, easier to serve mouse, use the freezer.

Release springform sides from the cake base and peel parchment paper from the sides of the cake. Using the tab from the parchment paper, pull the cake from the springform base and onto a serving plate.

Slice cake with a chilled knife, cleaning blade between each piece.