Update: The winner is commenter #207 - Elly! Her favorite comfort food is a toss up between mashed potatoes and mac and cheese. Both of those are very high on my list too :) By the way, you guys *love* your mac and cheese, it was definitely the most popular response!
Congrats Elly! You should have an email from me, please reply with your mailing address so I can get your prize off to you.
I am so excited about today's post guys!
If you've been a reader for any length of time, you know how much I love everything published by the folks at America's Test Kitchen. Their cookbooks and magazines are my go-to source no matter the type of recipe I'm looking for. So when they contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I'd be interested in reviewing their new cookbook, it took me all of about two seconds to say yes.
But the news got even better because that new cookbook? It's called Comfort Food Makeovers.
Comfort foods pretty much deserve their own category on this blog, they are definitely my favorite. But I'm also trying to eat healthier lately so I've cut many of them out because, let's face it, they're usually loaded with butter, cheese, bacon, sugar, or some combination of those ingredients. The genius of Comfort Food Makeovers is that it takes all of the classics - the ones you loved growing up as well as your restaurant favorites - and lightens them up! They're not substituting weird ingredients or cutting your portion size down significantly either; it's everyday ingredients used in a smarter way so the flavor isn't sacrificed one bit. My mind = blown :)
Comfort Food Makeovers runs the gamut, from appetizers, soups and salads to pasta, breakfast, dessert, and so much more. You can find a complete list of every recipe in the book right here, but let me share a few of the ones that caught my eye. Things like macaroni and cheese, pizza, chicken parmesan, brocoli-cheese soup, buttermilk biscuits, chocolate cupcakes and crab rangoon - some of my personal favorites, and they're all covered!
Oh, and one more thing I really love about this book is that complete nutritional information is provided for each and every recipe so you don't have to spend the time calculating any of it yourself.
I had a really hard time choosing just one recipe to share today so I asked Shane to help, and though he flagged just as many as I did, we both kept coming back to these cinnamon rolls. Ooey, gooey, buttery cinnamon rolls with a sweet cream cheese icing - comfort food at its best, right?
So, here's how this recipe was lightened up. First of all, the butter was reduced everywhere. If you've ever made cinnamon rolls, you know that the dough is usually full of it and then it's slathered on to help the filling adhere and maybe there's even a bit more in the icing. In other words, there's A LOT of butter. There are only 3 tablespoons in this entire recipe though! Maple syrup is used in the dough in place of granulated sugar to help keep it moist. Skim milk was also swapped for whole milk everywhere in the recipe and reduced fat cream cheese in place of full fat in the icing.
We weren't at all let down by the result here. My biggest concern was that cutting so much of the butter in the dough would mean tough rolls, but they were just as tender and flavorful as I'd hoped they'd be. From the sweet brown sugar-cinnamon filling to the thick, rich icing, my craving was completely satisfied. I wish I could invite you all over for brunch and share a big platter of these cinnamon rolls!
Ok, so here's the really good news: today I'm giving away a copy of this amazing cookbook to one of you! I guarantee you'll fall in love with it just as much as I have :) To enter, simply leave a comment on this post answering the question: What is your go-to comfort food?
That's all - easy, right?
Comments on this giveaway will close on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST. A winner will be chosen using random.org and announced on this post. Please be sure to leave a valid email address so I can contact you. Prize must be claimed by the winner within 48 hours or an alternate winner will be selected. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Good luck!
Lighter Cinnamon Rolls
from America's Test Kitchen Comfort Food Makeovers
3 3/4 cups (18 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups warm skim milk (about 110 F)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4 oz) confectioners' sugar
2 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons skim milk
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the yeast, and salt. Stir briefly to combine. In a medium measuring cup, whisk together the milk, maple syrup, and butter. With the mixer on low, gradually add the milk mixture and continue mixing until a rough dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Knead the dough on low speed for 5-6 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. (The dough should clear the sides of the bowl - if it's excessively sticky, you can add as much of the remaining 1/4 cup of flour as necessary.)
Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Shape the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled, about 2 - 2 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl stir together all of the ingredients for the filling until well combined and evenly moistened.
Coat a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll it into an 18x12-inch rectangle with a long edge nearest you. Mist the dough with water, then sprinkle evenly with the filling mixture, leaving about a 1/2-inch border along the long edge farthest from you. Press the sugar into the dough gently to adhere. Starting with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough into a tight log about 18 inches long, pinching the seam to close when you get to the end. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut the dough into 12 equal pieces.
Transfer the rolls (cut side-up) to the prepared baking dish. Cover the dish loosely with plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise at room temperature for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, or until just about doubled in size.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F. When the rolls have risen, transfer them to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the pan to a wire rack and allow the rolls to cool. Make the glaze by stirring the confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and skim milk (start with 1 tablespoon, and if you want a thinner consistency, add some (or all) of the remaining 1/2 tablespoon) until smooth. Spread the glaze over the rolls, then serve.
Makes 12 rolls
Disclosure: America's Test Kitchen provided me with a copy of Comfort Food Makeovers to review, but, as always, all opinions are my own.