A little over a month ago, I was graciously nominated by FeedMeColor for the Sunshine Award! I first started blogging because I wanted the ability to share my experiences and resources with the gluten-free and baking communities. So a recognition from a fellow blogger is wonderful to receive! It reminds me that every effort, no matter how small, can have an impact on others.
Typically, my blog is focused on recipe development, baking tips, and gluten-free resources. There isn’t too much about my personal life (unless, of course, you count the occasional rants about school projects and stress!). But I’m going to do something a little bit different in this post. The Sunshine Award gives its nominees a chance to tell their readers more about themselves through 10 questions. So I hope you enjoy this get-to-know you post (and don’t worry, there is still a recipe at the end)!
SUNSHINE AWARD RULES
1. Include the Sunshine Award icon in your post and/or on your blog
2. Link to the blogger who nominated you
3. Answer 10 questions about yourself
4. Nominate other bloggers to receive the award
5. Link to your nominees and let them know you nominated them
6. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer
QUESTIONS FOR ME
1. Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner?
Breakfast—all day, every day! I love the sweet and savory options of the traditional morning meal, from pancakes and waffles to fluffy omelets and oatmeal. But I also love a creative spin on an old classic, like Strawberry-Rhubarb Stuffed French Toast or Asparagus & Brie Omelet. Is it breakfast time yet?
2. If you could travel to three countries for free, where would you go?
Just three? My love of new cuisines, new cultures, and new adventures means that I want to travel to just about everywhere! I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to visit France, Costa Rica, and Italy (twice!), but there are so many more places that I wish to see. At this point, my top three would probably be Ireland, Japan, and New Zealand (although I can easily add any of these places to the list as well).
3. What’s your favorite ethnic cuisine?
Thai cuisine, for sure. Thai food is a godsend to both vegetarians and gluten-free followers (so long as some gluten-free tamari is available!). For all who believe that eating vegetables is boring, this cuisine will prove otherwise! The vegetables are fresh, bright, and crisp, and are bursting with the flavor of Asian spice. Serve up some spicy garlic eggplant, Swimming Rama, or delicious curry, and I’ll be there!
4. Salty or Sweet?
I think the name of the blog can answer that question: sweet all the way.
5. Favorite Food?
I thought that the travel question was difficult! As a foodie, it’s impossible for me to choose just one food. I’ll have to break it down by category (and even that is a lot to ask!):
Favorite sweet food: dark chocolate.
Favorite snack item: peanut butter and banana.
Favorite savory food: panini (any type, so long as it’s vegetarian and has lots of cheese or pesto).
6. If you could change one thing in your life what would it be?
I dislike to think of life in terms of what should have been. As George Eliot said, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” With that in mind, I would love to attend either culinary or photography school at some time in the future.
7. What’s one thing you wish to do in your life?
Skydiving. I have a sense of adventure in me, and skydiving has always seemed like the perfect way to challenge myself and to experience the beauty of the world all at once (with a professional by my side, of course!).
8. What’s your biggest fear?
Failure. But I try not to let a fear of failure hold be back. Fear is the only thing that hinders us from achieving our dreams. You only fail when you stop trying.
9. What are your hobbies?
Baking, photography, hiking, and exploring.
10. If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be?
An alpaca. These are just about the cutest, softest animals that exist! And functional, too, because you can sell the wool! Unfortunately, I don’t think my apartment building would allow me to have one.
To continue in the Sunshine Award tradition, I would like to nominate the lovely bloggers at Celiac Kiddo, GF & Me, and Veggie Quest for the next round of awards! Here are your questions, if you would like to participate!
QUESTIONS FOR THE BLOGGERS
- Do you prefer the city or the country?
- Where is your favorite place in the United States?
- What is your favorite season?
- What is your favorite restaurant?
- What is your favorite recipe to cook or bake?
- What is the one ingredient you couldn’t live without?
- What is your favorite resource for new recipes?
- If you could go back to school and study anything, what would it be?
- What would be the #1 item on your Bucket List?
- What is your reason for blogging?
Now on to the recipe! If you remember, many moons ago, I began working on developing a gluten-free cinnamon roll recipe. With each trial, I get closer and closer to that holy grail! Meet Trial #2: Apple Walnut Cinnamon Rolls. These beauties are filled with gooey spiced apple and crunchy walnut and then topped with a sweet drizzle of vanilla icing. The flavor is sweet, warm, and comforting to be sure, a perfect treat for a Mother’s Day brunch. These rolls are not spongy like my first attempt, but more bread-like. They still don’t have the plump, beautiful rise of traditional cinnamon rolls, which is my ultimate goal. But I am determined to find a way to get that gorgeous look somehow, someway! Never fear failure, right? Just keep on trying!
Apple Walnut Cinnamon Rolls
Yield: 8 rolls
¾ cup rice flour
¾ cup sorghum flour
⅓ cup potato starch
⅓ cup tapioca flour
2 Tablespoons potato flour
1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
¾ teaspoon pectin
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
4 Tablespoons butter, softened and divided
⅔ cup brown sugar
2½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1½ cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla
2-3 Tablespoons milk
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, potato flour, xanthan gum, pectin, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Warm milk over medium heat until in begins to bubble. Remove from heat and allow milk to cool until lukewarm (milk that is too hot will kill the yeast). Once milk has cooled, whisk in yeast and set aside to proof for 5-7 minutes.
- Transfer milk-yeast mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix in oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients in 3 separate additions, beating in between each addition. When the last of the dry ingredients has been added, beat for an additional 1 minute.
- Transfer the dough to a large bowl and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place to rise for 35-45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, prepare the apple filling. Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add apples and sauté until softened. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400°F and thoroughly grease a 9-inch pie pan. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and place risen dough on it. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll dough into a 12-inch by 18-inch rectangle.
- Remove the top piece of plastic wrap and spread 1-2 Tablespoons of softened butter over dough. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture on top, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with sautéed apples and toasted walnuts.
- Starting with the longer 18-inch edge, gently roll dough into a log. Cut into eight pieces and place in prepared pie pan. Cover rolls with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for an additional 30 minutes.
- After rising, remove the plastic wrap and bake rolls at 400°F for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly while icing is prepared.
- To prepare the icing, whisk the melted butter, vanilla, and 2 Tablespoons of milk into the powdered sugar. Gradually add more milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Drizzle icing over warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy!