Healthier Cinnamon Buns: the whole wheat version

>> Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cinnamon Bun

Well the official countdown to the honeymoon is on (who am I kidding it has been “on” for the last couple months) and with only 2 more days to go before we leave I figured I’d try to fit in one last little post before this site sits empty for the next...three weeks! Scary thought! Let’s not go there because I shudder at the thought that nothing...not even one tiny review or recipe will be posted. So instead let us focus on something that we all enjoy, cinnamon buns!

I don’t think I’ve ever met somebody that doesn’t like cinnamon buns (and if you do, please don’t tell me so because I enjoy living in denial). So I woke up one day a while back and wondered to myself if it’s at all possible to make healthier cinnamon buns because let’s be honest, there will never be healthy cinnamon buns. They can only be healthier than the cinnabons served at your local shopping mall and I believe that in itself is quite a feat!

Cinnamon Bun Frosting
Since I am not one to back away from a so called challenge, off I went looking for ways to make healthier cinnamon buns without losing the ooey gooey chewiness of the aforementioned cinnabons. After a couple hours between countertop and oven, the kitchen smelling of delicious cinnamon and sugar the lovely little puffs of dough were brought in to this world (and quickly disappeared in to my stomach).

I hope you enjoy this recipe that I found and hopefully it'll hold everyone over for the next 3 weeks!

Cinnamon Bun Prebaking
Healthier Cinnamon Bun Receipe


3 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm fat free milk
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 egg
1 egg white
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup raisins

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup low fat cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp fat free milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Cinnamon Bun Filling

For the dough: Mix the warm milk and warm water together in a small bowl, pour in yeast and let dissolve. Set aside until it becomes foamy.

Add butter, honey, salt, lemon juice, egg and egg whites and stir well. Slowly mix in the whole wheat flour and 2 cups of the all purpose flour until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out on to a floured surface and kneed until smooth, slowly add in the rest of the 1/2 cup of all purpose flour.

Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with saran wrap, let it rise until it doubles in size (should be roughly an hour).

After dough rises, punch it down on a floured surface and roll it out to an 16 x 12 inch rectangle.

For the filling: Combine the brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and sprinkle over rolled out rectangular dough.

Roll up the rectangle, on the long edge, in to a log. Pinch down the seam and cut the dough into 16 rolls.

Place the rolls cut sides up in a greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan Cover with saran wrap and let rise until it doubles in size again (roughly 1 hour).

Preheat oven to 375º.

Uncover the rolls and bake for roughly 20 mins or until lightly browned. Cool in pan.

For the frosting: Whip the butter until fluffy, add in the cream cheese and set mixer on medium speed. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and continue to whip. Follow with the milk and vanilla extract and mix until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly coat each cinnamon bun with the cream cheese frosting, serve immediately or cover and put in fridge. Remember to reheat the cinnamon buns before serving, enjoy!


Restaurant Review: West Restaurant and Bar

>> Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Caesar salad

People often ask me where I find the time to blog considering I’m currently planning a wedding, managing a crazy project and trying to manage a move and to be honest I really don’t know. I think I blog because it gives me an out, somewhere to express what my thoughts are and some place to express my feelings through my cooking and eating (sometimes my working out). In a way they’re all related, no? Eating out makes me happy therefore in turn writing about it just reminds me about those happy times and who doesn’t find the time to try and be happy? See they ARE all related. So when some friends invited me out to West to enjoy a few drinks and some food, my stomach and I were happy to have been invited and happier still to be writing about it.

Atmosphere: Trendy and hip, soon to have Calgary’s largest rooftop patio (hopefully before the snow falls) and if you stay well in to the night, West becomes an interesting after dinner hang out.

Ahi Tuna
Price: $10s-$20s

Food and Wine: To be honest, I’ve been to West several times before I was able to sit myself down and write this quick review (this is where that whole no time thing comes in to play), so instead of the usual walkthrough of my meal. I guess I’ll just write down what I remember from those different instances at West.

To start, I’d recommend the Gyoza, which was very light and perfect for sharing. The dish came with a nice spicy dipping sauce without overwhelming the taste of the gyozas. The Coast Spring Rolls weren’t too bad either.

After sampling a variety of different dishes, I must say that I was quite impressed with the pasta. The Braised Short Rib Rigatoni was superb! The rigatoni itself was cooked al-dente, the only way pasta should ever be served but the short rib was perfectly tender done with a nice red wine sauce. The only dish preventing me from saying that the rigatoni was my favourite is the Pork Belly Risotto. Again the risotto was done magnificently al-dente this time with a lovely pork jus and bacon topping. I just knew if I were ever at West, those two would have to be my main go to dishes, plus they’re very well priced!

West’s menu has quite a few different selections ranging from the chef’s corner to burgers and steaks, but our server mentioned that one of their specialty dishes was the fish. The West Coast Halibut was served with a lemon grass sauce but because I enjoy my fish usually a little closer to medium-well, I thought it was a little too well done for my liking. My friend ordered the Wasabi Ahi Tuna and it looked quite delicious, but I guess she wasn’t overly too thrilled by it either. Maybe our server should have just referred us to the rigatoni or the risotto instead?

I’ve also had a few bites of the Blueberry Ginger Crème Brulee served with a nice blueberry shortbread. The crème brulee was a nice texture but I don’t remember the ginger coming through since the blueberry was quite overpowering. It wasn’t too sweet which was nice but I can’t remember much about the shortbread, so it probably wasn’t enough of shortbread to make an impression.

As for the wine, since West also turns in to the bar at night, there are endless drink selections and of course wine. Don’t be afraid to play around with your drink and your food!

Creme Brulee
My Picks: Braised Short Rib Rigatoni, Pork Belly Risotto

Overall: Great location, but it is a little noisy since the music is louder than your average restaurant, just remember that it does turn in to a bar in the evenings, which I’m sure is a great place for happy memories (especially with a few glasses of wine).

West Restaurant and Bar
225 7th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 237-5556

West Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon


Restaurant Review: AKA Winebar

>> Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pork Tenderloin

Every month or so all the girl cousins would try to get together for a girls night out. It’s a great time for us to chat and catch up since time seems to fly by when you get older (it could just be me because I’m still wanting to be that Toys R Us kid). Eating is always the number one plan when we meet and we’ve been pretty good at trying different places every chance we get. So when one of my cousins mentioned that she had an “in” with the kitchen which included a free dessert. Let’s just say, it didn’t take us long to decide that we were headed to AKA Winebar for the evening.

AKA Burger
Atmosphere: Small, cozy and intimate, need I say more?

Price Range: $10s-$20s

Food and Wine: The food and wine menu at AKA Winebar is straight forward and easily understood, the chef changes the menu every couple of months to match what’s in season, allowing things to remain fresh. One staple that remains is the House Made AKA Burger, which comes in a bite busting magnitude and a choice of salad, soup or hash. Two of my cousins ordered it and said it was one of the best burgers they’ve had in a while, can’t beat that!

I had the Spiced Pork Tenderloin which sadly is no longer on the current menu due to the recent changes, the tenderloin was juicy and served over a bed of spice infused jasmine rice. It reminded me more of a risotto with Chinese five spice, which complimented the tenderloin very well.

Lamb Ribs
We also couldn’t go to AKA and not try their Mustard Breaded Lamb Ribs, which are a feature and only $0.50 each on Wednesdays (sadly we were not there on a Wednesday, but that didn’t stop us)! They were crunchy and sweet without being overly so, at this point you’re probably wondering why we had the appetizer after the main. I have no answer for you except this: we eat a lot, so why not?

After our lovely entrée, appetizer combo, we had our complimentary dessert which was the Dark Chocolate Crème Brulee. The dark chocolate made the brulee less sweet than normal and because I’m not one with an overly sweet tooth, it was perfect for me. The compliment with the fruit added a nice texture to the dessert and made for a great end to the evening (meeting the chef was also a nice highlight as well!).

The wine menu was nicely segregated by the deep & dark, the tongue ticklers, the clearly delicious and dessert. I stuck with a nice malbec which complimented my meal very well, my cousins all decided to try something different, ranging from whites to the bubbly but we all agreed that they were enjoyable, so it seems the choices are endless, but if you’re unsure. Always feel free to ask the server! Plus if you’re ever around on Tuesdays, AKA allows you to bring your own bottle of wine with no corking fee!

My Picks: Spiced Pork Tenderloin (if only they would bring it back!), Mustard Breaded Lamb Ribs

Overall: Situated in a quaint stand alone building on the South side of Edmonton trail, AKA Winebar was a little hard to locate at first, but when you do, it’s definitely worth the search.

Dark Chocolate Creme Brulee
AKA Winebar
709 Edmonton Trail NE
Calgary, AB
(403) 984-7534

AKA Winebar on Urbanspoon

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