Cinnamon Buns with Bacon

cinnamon buns

Bacon, bacon, bacon and yes more bacon. It seems that there isn’t anything left that someone, somewhere hasn’t tried to add bacon to. While I’m not the first person to add bacon to cinnamon buns, this was my first time making and trying them. I have a wicked sweet tooth and I’ve made this particular recipe dozens of times already. Now, I do LOVE bacon, like really really LOVE bacon, so why wouldn’t I add them together right? I’ll tell you why….I don’t like my sweet and salty to mix generally. I don’t add nuts to cookies and certainly would never ruin my homemade butter tarts with something like pecans. haha! But, I have to admit the bacon hype has me just a little intrigued. Well at least enough to possibly ruin one of my all time favorite baked goods.

Cinnamon Buns with Bacon

Here is the recipe that I use frequently from allrecipes.com

Clone of a Cinnabon

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.

2. After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. (I just spread the brown sugar over the butter then sprinkle on the cinnamon.)

3. Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. If desired, sprinkle on the bacon here. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. (I split the dough in half and make two rolls. Cut each roll in half and then make three buns from each quarter. I find this helps me make evenly sized buns.)

4. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). (I have a convection oven so I baked them at 375 degree F instead)

5. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt.

6. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

So, what’s the verdict? How did we end up liking the bacon cinnamon rolls? As with anything else, it’s all in the frosting. To be completely honest, I couldn’t really taste the bacon very well because of the amount of frosting I like to slather on my treat. Good news is that they certainly weren’t ruined by the addition and the little bits of salty mixed in with all that sweet definitely was an interesting combination. Now whether or not I really needed the extra calories added to an already disgusting amount of sugary dough, that’s something I’m not going to think about right now.

Have you fallen prey to the bacon hype? What kinds of things have you tried to add bacon to and did you end up liking it? Leave me a comment and perhaps I’ll be adventurous enough to take on another bacon challenge.

No-Sugar Valentine’s Treats

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Valentine’s Day is quickly becoming the Pink Halloween, which can be tricky when you’ve just finished off the Christmas loot and you’re anticipating the Easter Bunny’s arrival in a few months. If your children are school-age, you can’t control what comes home from their friends, but you can limit the treats that come from YOU. If you want to show your love, without the sugar rush, try some of these ideas:

LOVE LETTERS

Your significant other isn’t the only one who needs to hear why you love them! Write your children a note (or draw a picture if they can’t read!) and tell them what makes them special, what you love about them, what they do that makes you proud. Tell them a story about when you first fell in love with them.

HEART FOOD

They’re going to be eating throughout the day, sugar or not, so make every meal special by turning it into hearts. If you plan ahead, you can think up a way to incorporate hearts into every meal – using a cookie cutter on their sandwiches, cheese, fruit, veggie slices, etc. Heart-shaped french toast or pizza are pretty good staples on Valentine’s Day, but you could really take it up a notch by making roasted potatoes, beets or whatever else you can think up into heart shapes.

SCAVENGER HUNT

Since this Valentine’s Day is a Saturday, you’ll have the whole day to find ways to surprise your kids. A scavenger hunt through the house is a great way to keep them busy, practice their reading, work together, and have fun! Cut out clues on red construction paper and have the treasure at the end be a big hug from you! Not reading yet?  Hide the hearts around their playroom or bedroom and have them find them all.

CRAFTS

Start the day with some new crafting supplies and spend the day putting them to good use. If you’re stuck for ideas, visit our Pinterest page or for really simple ideas, have a look HERE.

DIY VALENTINES

If you really want to give your child actual Valentines treats, there are some cute (and perfectly cheesy) alternative ideas HERE that can be paired with a homemade Valentine card, like cheese strings, fruit, pencils, glow sticks, nailpolish, stickers, temporary tattoos, crayons, playdoh, Valentine’s socks, etc. Remember all of those no-sugar stocking stuffer ideas you had? Pick one or two and you’re done!

 

Valentine’s Day Treats

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Whether you’ll be sending treats to a party or just want to surprise your family with a little something special, here are some no-fail, super-easy Valentine’s Day treats to make this week. If you’re really brave, have your kids help you out and really share some love in the kitchen… because there is no way this much chocolate and sugar could possibly make this activity end badly. If it turns out (or even if it doesn’t!) take a picture and share your Valentine’s Day treats with us on Facebook. You can find these and more of our ideas on Pinterest.

DIPPED TREATS

Pick up some of those brightly coloured candy melts at either your nearest bulk store or Michael’s – pink, white, red, purple, whatever your Valentine’s heart desires. Melt them down and then dip in whatever treats you desired. Get creative – pretzels, pretzel sticks, cookies, Oreos, licorice, jumbo marshmallows, rice krispie squares, Twinkies… anything! Once dipped, you can lay them on parchment paper to dry or for extra fun, first roll them in sprinkles, chocolate chips or coloured sugar.

HEART SHAPED ANYTHINGS

All you need is a heart shaped cookie cutter. Bonus points if you have multiple cutters in different sizes. Whatever you feed your family on Valentine’s Day for snack or at mealtime, use the cutter to shape it. French toast, pancakes, toast, sandwiches, cheese, apple pieces, melon, cucumber slices, banana slices… Take it up a notch by cooking or baking things in a heart shape, like heart shaped pizza, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and cupcakes.

LOVE BROWNIES

It is so easy to take a simple thing like brownies and turn them into a special Valentine’s treat. Prepare your favourite brownie recipe (we won’t tell if you use the box version ;)) and before baking, sprinkle the top with red and pink M&M’s, conversation hearts, heart shaped sprinkles or any combination of your favourite red and white treats. Bake the brownies and voila! Valentine’s brownies. Bonus points if you cut them out with your heart shaped cookie cutter.

PRETZEL FUN

Have you ever noticed that pretzels are the shape of a heart? You’ll notice now! There are two ways to show the love with pretzels – one is with a chocolate kiss, the other is with a piping bag and some chocolate chips. Either way, you will end up with a Valentine treat pressed into chocolate in the centre of your little pretzels. A perfect treat for snack time!

CHOCOLATE FRUIT

Chocolate + Fruit is such a delicious combination and for some lovely reason, Valentine’s Day is an open invitation to pair the two. Don’t just stop at strawberries! Whether you are dipping and leaving to solidify or are eating it fondue-style, chocolate also goes well with kiwi, banana, apple, mango, melon, grapes, pears, and just about every other fruit. Want the combo without the mess? Stick a chocolate chip inside a raspberry for a bite of heaven.

Gift Guide: Gift Cards

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At Christmas time, people become very divided on the issue of gift cards. One group of people love them for their quickness and ease of purchase. Those same people probably love to receive them as well and shop happily for themselves, selecting the exact item that they want. The other group of people see it as completely impersonal, the lack of thought required defeating the purpose of giving a gift.

Though there is some validity to both sides of the argument, gift cards do provide a great option for families who would like to cut back on the amount of tangible ‘stuff’ that is given and received at Christmas. Toys can be overwhelming. Gift cards can be more than an ‘easy out’, they can also be an invitation to share in an experience at a later date. Here are some of our suggestions:

Coffee Shop

A Tim’s GC is a quick and easy way to say thank you to an adult, but for a child this can be a much bigger adventure. Something as simple as a $5 card allows for two outings for a spontaneous treat. Hot chocolate and a donut? You’ll have to look hard for a kid who wouldn’t want that, from toddler to teenager. A coffee date with your kid is a great opportunity for a little one-on-one time, allowing them to pay makes them feel grown up and special. Tuck one of these in their stocking and schedule an hour over the Christmas holidays where the two of you can get a cup of cheer. Maybe they’ll even splurge on your coffee.

Book Store

Children love hanging out at the library, which is why many book stores have adopted a similar ‘hands on’ philosophy in the kids section. Touch. Read. Look. Play. And Mom, break out that wallet and pay. Or not! A book store is another one of my favourite places to let my children take time and explore. New authors, new stories, new doors opening to their imagination. I have a hard time saying no to a new book, so a GC is a win-win for all of us. A kid in a candy store has nothing on one of my kids in a book store, and allowing them to make their own choices is a great way to encourage that love of reading.

iTunes

If you have any sort of iPad/iPod/iPhone then you probably already know the value of an iTunes GC. While it is easy to stick to those free kids apps, sometimes it is nice to be able to drop a little money on the ones you have to pay for. Music is also a great iTunes purchase or a couple of episodes of their favourite cartoon for those long car rides or endless waiting room waits. Give them the GC as a gift or use it yourself and wrap a bow around the iPod as a hint of where to find their gift.  Continue reading