Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing


 
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.

I’ve been wanting to put a giant skillet cinnamon roll on here for ages. Like, since before regular cinnamon rolls were published here. But I never quite got around to it. I kept thinking about it, but it just never happened. Well, here we are. And it’s not just any giant skillet cinnamon roll. It’s the most epic giant skillet cinnamon roll of all, made with a stupid simple dough that requires only 30 seconds of kneading, and can be made up to 5 days in advance. The recipe is from my friend Zoë’s new book - Holiday and Celebration Bread in five minutes a day. This is Zoë’s fifth book, written alongside Jeff Hertzberg, M.D, and I can’t wait to bake my way through it.

The concept of the book is super simple (and super clever) - there are a bunch of base bread recipes, which are all incredibly versatile, and can be prepared in 5 minutes of active time. There are accompanying recipes for each base bread recipes (in a lot of cases you can use multiple doughs to make the same recipe), and the dough can be stored in the fridge, so one quick batch of dough will yield multiple bread projects. I’ve never made an overnight dough that is as easy to work with as these, and it doesn’t require the use of a mixer or loads of kneading. It’s just genius. The focus of this particular book is Holiday and Celebration breads, so it is jam packed full of holiday themed breads from different cultures.

This giant skillet cinnamon roll is pretty similar to the standard cinnamon roll recipe - except instead of rolling the dough up into a log and cutting rolls, you cut the dough into strips, and wind them into a tight spiral, forming one giant cinnamon roll. Once it is baked, it is loaded up with a dreamy cream cheese icing. The whole thing is perfect - super simple to make but an amazing twist on the traditional cinnamon roll. I know what I’m making for Christmas morning. I hope you pick up a copy of the book - there are so many incredible recipes in there, and it is a great introduction to bread if you haven’t made it before, as the base bread formulas and the overnight rest in the recipes produce a dough that is dreamy to work with and produces beautiful bread as a result.

A few wee tips:

  • The bread recipe here makes enough for two of these cinnamon rolls, or there are a whole heap more recipes in the book you can use the dough for. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also halve the recipe if you like.

  • I tweaked the method slightly - using a little more dough than Zoë calls for, as she made the roll in an 8” skillet and I only had a 10”.

  • I also added in a wee step just to help keep the roll tight when forming the roll - once the dough is rolled out, you pop it onto a piece of parchment, then add the butter and sugar mixture. The whole thing is then quickly placed in the freezer just to help the dough firm slightly, which makes it a tiny bit easier to work with. You can skip this step if you like, it just makes the dough a bit harder to roll up.

  • To make this recipe into regular cinnamon rolls, you can roll out the dough, spread with the cinnamon mixture, then roll from the long side into a log, before cutting into rolls, placing into a buttered skillet, and proofing and baking in the same fashion as the giant roll.

  • If you can, make the recipe by volume - you can literally measure everything directly into the mixing bowl, which reduces dishes.

  • I used a Danish dough whisk to mix up the dough, but you can use a mixer with the paddle attachment, or a strong spoon.

 

 

Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing

- Makes one giant cinnamon roll -

Reprinted with Permission, from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a day

Brioche Dough
340g (1 1/2 cups) Lukewarm water (100˚f / 37˚c)
10g (1 Tbsp) granulated yeast
17g (1 Tbsp) kosher salt
340g (6 large eggs) eggs, lightly beaten
170g (1/2 cup) honey
340g (1 1/2 cups, 3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the pan
990g (7 cups) all-purpose flour

Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water, for brushing.

Filling
45g (3 Tbsp) melted butter, cooled slightly
75g (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) dark brown sugar
75g (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) granulated sugar
pinch salt
2 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Cream Cheese Icing
225g (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
50g (6 Tbsp) powdered sugar
60ml (1/4 cup) heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

- PROCESS -

BREAD DOUGH

Mix the water, yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter in a 6-quart bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container

Mix in the flour without kneading, using a Danish dough whisk, a spoon, or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour. The dough will be loose but will firm up when chilled; don’t try to work with it before chilling.

Cover (not airtight), allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours, and then refrigerate.

The dough can be used as soon as it’s thoroughly chilled, at least 3 hours. Refrigerate the container and use over the next 5 days.

 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off an 800g piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the dough a quarter turn as you go.

Knead the dough lightly for 30 seconds or so, then leave to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a rectangle approximately 12” x 17” in size. Add more flour as needed to stop the dough from sticking. Place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet dusted with flour.

Brush the surface of the dough all over with melted butter. In a small bowl, mix together the sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Spread the mixture over the butter-topped dough. Use your hands to make sure you have an even coat of the sugar.

Transfer the dough on the baking sheet to the freezer, and freeze for 15 minutes. While the dough is in the freezer, butter a 10” skillet or cake pan.

Remove from the freezer, and slide the parchment paper and dough off the baking sheet and onto the work surface. Trim the sides of the dough using a ruler and pastry cutter or sharp knife, so the edges are straight, then cut the dough lengthways using a ruler and pastry cutter into 1 1/2” strips.

Roll one of the strips into a tight coil. Place the coil on the next strip and roll that strip around the coil, connecting the two ends together. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough until you have a giant coil of dough. At some point, you will have to lay the coil in the skillet and wind the dough strips around the outside of it, or it will get too large.

Once you have finished coiling the roll, cover and allow to rest for 75 minutes. 20 minutes before the resting time is up, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Brush the roll with egg wash and bake for about 35 minutes, or until set in the middle. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, then ice with cream cheese icing.

CREAM CHEESE ICING

In a bowl using an electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine all ingredients together and mix until well combined.

Store leftover cinnamon roll in an airtight container. Best reheated slightly in the microwave before eating.

Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.

Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five minutes a day is Copyright © Zoë Francois and Jeff Hertzber, M.D

Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles


 
Salted caramel snickerdoodles - hard caramel is ground up and mixed into the cookie dough, then chunks of caramel are folded through to form chewy pockets once the cookie has baked. The perfect crowd pleasing christmas cookie.
Salted caramel snickerdoodles - hard caramel is ground up and mixed into the cookie dough, then chunks of caramel are folded through to form chewy pockets once the cookie has baked. The perfect crowd pleasing christmas cookie.
Salted caramel snickerdoodles - hard caramel is ground up and mixed into the cookie dough, then chunks of caramel are folded through to form chewy pockets once the cookie has baked. The perfect crowd pleasing christmas cookie.
Salted caramel snickerdoodles - hard caramel is ground up and mixed into the cookie dough, then chunks of caramel are folded through to form chewy pockets once the cookie has baked. The perfect crowd pleasing christmas cookie.

Just popping in quickly to share this recipe with you - because I think that it should be right at the very very top of your holiday baking list. This is the cookie that people are going to ask you for the recipe for - the one that is going to make you friends at the holiday party. I know that these are big calls to make, but trust me on this, because these salted caramel snickerdoodles are all kinds of epic.

I developed this recipe for the holiday cookie issue of Bake from Scratch magazine - it was part of the cookie box on the cover, and it is probably the most made recipe of the six that I contributed. The cookie was inspired by a bakery in Wellington, the town where I went to university. They do a salted caramel cookie that is giant, thin, and has chunks of chewy caramel through it. I get one every single time I go home.

I tried something new when I made these - I wanted to really get as much caramel flavour into them as possible, so I made a hard caramel (which is super fun, it comes out like a window pane), then divided it in two once it was set. Half the caramel gets ground up and creamed in with the butter and sugar, and half gets bashed up into chunks, which are then folded through the dough, so that when baked, form these melty pockets of caramel which add to the perfect chew of the snickerdoodle. The whole thing is then rolled in a cinnamon sugar, then, once baked, loaded up with flaky sea salt. There you have, in my opinion, the perfect holiday cookie. Pretty simple to make, but a little bit fancy. The best. The recipe also makes loads (I kept them on the small side), so they are perfect for stocking up for the holiday season!

A few wee tips:

  • The caramel, once ground, will pull moisture out of the environment very quickly and start to clump, so use the ground caramel fresh out of the food processor.

  • I like to use a round cookie cutter, slightly larger than the cookie, to place over the cookie and carefully nudge it into a perfectly round shape just after it comes out of the oven.

  • Pro tip Have everything ready to go for the caramel - there are a few seconds between a toasty caramel and a burnt sugar, so you want to be able to pour out the caramel as soon as it is ready.

  • If you do not want to bake all of these cookies at once, the dough, once rolled in the cinnamon sugar, can be stored in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Freeze until solid on a baking sheet before transferring to a bag.

 

 

Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles

- Makes about 46 -

Salted Caramel
400g granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Snickerdoodles
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g ground caramel (see salted caramel recipe)
100g granulated sugar
50g dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
350g all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
200g caramel chunks (from salted caramel recipe)
50g granulated sugar (for rolling)
1/2 tsp cinnamon  
Flaky Sea Salt to finish

 

- PROCESS -

SALTED CARAMEL

Line a half baking sheet with a silpat mat, and have nearby.

Place the sugar in a medium saucepan, and place over medium heat. Heat the sugar, stirring occasionally with a whisk, until all of the sugar has melted (the sugar will clump as you heat, but continue to stir - it will soon smooth out). Continue to cook the caramel until it is amber in colour and just beginning to smoke slightly. Immediately pour onto the prepared lined baking sheet, and sprinkle with the salt. Allow to cool completely. Break into large chunks, and weigh out 200g of the caramel. Place into a ziploc bag and hit with a rolling pin until it forms small chunks. Set aside. Place the remainder of the caramel into the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until finely ground. Measure out 150g and set aside to use in the cookie mixture.

 

SNICKERDOODLES

Preheat the oven to 350˚f (180˚c). Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, ground caramel, granulated sugar and brown sugar on high speed for 4-5 minutes. Lower the speed of the mixer, add the egg and vanilla, and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt, and add to the mixture. Mix on low until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the 200g caramel chunks by hand, ensuring they are evenly distributed.

Using a 1 Tbsp (#60) cookie scoop, scoop out balls of dough and place on a prepared baking sheet. Roll each into a ball, roll evenly in the cinnamon sugar mixture, and space evenly on a baking sheet, leaving room to spread (Note - you will have to bake these in several batches, but I prefer to roll them all at once).

Before baking, place the baking sheet in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to allow the dough to firm slightly, the transfer to the oven. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes, until they are golden brown and have puffed up. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

Store cookies in an airtight container.

Salted caramel snickerdoodles - hard caramel is ground up and mixed into the cookie dough, then chunks of caramel are folded through to form chewy pockets once the cookie has baked. The perfect crowd pleasing christmas cookie.

The Ultimate Vanilla Bean Christmas Treat Box


 
The Ultimate Vanilla Bean Christmas Box. All of the christmas treats for your recipe planning for this upcoming holiday season! Chocolate Shortbread cookies with Vanilla bean Dulce de Leche filling, vanilla bean meringues, vanilla bean macarons, Vanilla bean shortbread, vanilla bean passionfruit fudge, vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix, and vanilla bean marshmallows. The perfect treat box for christmas!
The Ultimate Vanilla Bean Christmas Box. All of the christmas treats for your recipe planning for this upcoming holiday season! Chocolate Shortbread cookies with Vanilla bean Dulce de Leche filling, vanilla bean meringues, vanilla bean macarons, Vanilla bean shortbread, vanilla bean passionfruit fudge, vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix, and vanilla bean marshmallows. The perfect treat box for christmas!
The Ultimate Vanilla Bean Christmas Box. All of the christmas treats for your recipe planning for this upcoming holiday season! Chocolate Shortbread cookies with Vanilla bean Dulce de Leche filling, vanilla bean meringues, vanilla bean macarons, Vanilla bean shortbread, vanilla bean passionfruit fudge, vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix, and vanilla bean marshmallows. The perfect treat box for christmas!
The Ultimate Vanilla Bean Christmas Box. All of the christmas treats for your recipe planning for this upcoming holiday season! Chocolate Shortbread cookies with Vanilla bean Dulce de Leche filling, vanilla bean meringues, vanilla bean macarons, Vanilla bean shortbread, vanilla bean passionfruit fudge, vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix, and vanilla bean marshmallows. The perfect treat box for christmas!
The Ultimate Vanilla Bean Christmas Box. All of the christmas treats for your recipe planning for this upcoming holiday season! Chocolate Shortbread cookies with Vanilla bean Dulce de Leche filling, vanilla bean meringues, vanilla bean macarons, Vanilla bean shortbread, vanilla bean passionfruit fudge, vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix, and vanilla bean marshmallows. The perfect treat box for christmas!
The Ultimate Vanilla Bean Christmas Box. All of the christmas treats for your recipe planning for this upcoming holiday season! Chocolate Shortbread cookies with Vanilla bean Dulce de Leche filling, vanilla bean meringues, vanilla bean macarons, Vanilla bean shortbread, vanilla bean passionfruit fudge, vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix, and vanilla bean marshmallows. The perfect treat box for christmas!
The Ultimate Vanilla Bean Christmas Box. All of the christmas treats for your recipe planning for this upcoming holiday season! Chocolate Shortbread cookies with Vanilla bean Dulce de Leche filling, vanilla bean meringues, vanilla bean macarons, Vanilla bean shortbread, vanilla bean passionfruit fudge, vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix, and vanilla bean marshmallows. The perfect treat box for christmas!
The Ultimate Vanilla Bean Christmas Box. All of the christmas treats for your recipe planning for this upcoming holiday season! Chocolate Shortbread cookies with Vanilla bean Dulce de Leche filling, vanilla bean meringues, vanilla bean macarons, Vanilla bean shortbread, vanilla bean passionfruit fudge, vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix, and vanilla bean marshmallows. The perfect treat box for christmas!
The Ultimate Vanilla Bean Christmas Box. All of the christmas treats for your recipe planning for this upcoming holiday season! Chocolate Shortbread cookies with Vanilla bean Dulce de Leche filling, vanilla bean meringues, vanilla bean macarons, Vanilla bean shortbread, vanilla bean passionfruit fudge, vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix, and vanilla bean marshmallows. The perfect treat box for christmas!
The Ultimate Vanilla Bean Christmas Box. All of the christmas treats for your recipe planning for this upcoming holiday season! Chocolate Shortbread cookies with Vanilla bean Dulce de Leche filling, vanilla bean meringues, vanilla bean macarons, Vanilla bean shortbread, vanilla bean passionfruit fudge, vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix, and vanilla bean marshmallows. The perfect treat box for christmas!

It’s finally (but suddenly already) December, which means it is time for the best part of Christmas - Holiday Cookie Boxes! I’m totally hooked on making these after last year’s one, so was super super excited when Heilala Vanilla asked me to come up with a Christmas treat recipe. I couldn’t help myself and went all out with this vanilla inspired cookie box.

I’ve spoken about Heilala in the past and how much I love not only their products, but the people behind the company and what they stand for, and I couldn’t be prouder to work with them. Not only do they control the production of the Vanilla from cultivation to processing, but they are doing amazing things in Tonga in terms of injecting money into the economy and increasing employment opportunities for Women. The company is New Zealand owned, and run by amazing people who are so passionate about what they do and giving back. Their vanilla truly is the best I have ever used, and I almost can’t bake without it.

I wanted to focus a little more on the treats that are made around Christmas this time around, rather than cookies. In New Zealand, it is hot at Christmas time, so we don’t have the same cozy baking traditions I have come to learn are common over here - everyone is too busy staying cool and spending time at the beach. What we do usually have though, is lots of little yummy bits and pieces to snack on or to bring out when guests come - things that you can make a lot of ahead, and keep in a couple of airtight containers to bring out when needed (that’s what happens in my family anyway).

I started out with a tradition in my family - my Great Great Grandmother’s Shortbread recipe. This was one of the first things I ever learnt to bake with my Grandma, and was always around at Christmas, so I knew it had to be included. They are super simple to make, and the recipe can easily be doubled, so are perfect for times when you will have a lot of people around. I also added my favourite chocolate shortbread cookie, which was sandwiched with a vanilla bean dulce de leche filling. These cookies also make a great roll-out cookie for decorating with royal icing, and are a nice twist on the standard sugar cookie.

Macarons had to make an appearance, so I stuck with a Vanilla Bean macaron with a Vanilla Bean Swiss meringue buttercream. I added some vanilla bean meringues to the lineup - they are super easy to make, and you can pipe out a bunch of different sizes to use as part of desserts through the holiday season too. I then made a quick batch of vanilla bean marshmallows, using honey and Heilala’s Vanilla sugar. These can also be batch made (you can double the recipe I have here very easily), and last forever kept in an airtight container. They also make perfect S’mores!

My favourite parts of this treat box are the Vanilla bean Passionfruit fudge, and the Vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix. Both of these, to me, scream Christmas - little treats to pick at, or to pop out for an easy dessert or sweet addition to a cheese board. Both are pretty easy to put together, and make loads, so you will be fully stocked up, although you’re probably going to need to make more of the nuts - I made a big batch two days ago, took them to the studio, and they got totally destroyed. The passionfruit fudge is a total nod to home for me - it is my absolute favourite fruit, and was the perfect addition to fudge to compliment the Vanilla bean.

So there we are! My Vanilla bean Christmas treat box. These are all perfect in a holiday cookie box, or you can mix and match with some of your favourite recipes too. If you are looking for good christmas gifts or stocking stuffers, I dunno about you but I would be stoked to get a jar of Vanilla. Happy Holidays!

Here’s what we ended up with:

  • Vanilla bean shortbread

  • Chocolate shortbread with vanilla bean dulce de leche (plus a few piped with royal icing, and a few cut out with stars)

  • Vanilla bean meringues

  • Vanilla bean macarons with a vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream

  • Vanilla bean marshmallows

  • Vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix

  • Vanilla bean and passionfruit fudge

A few wee tips:

  • I used this box to make this cookie box - Rich cut me little dividers on the laser cutter, but the craft wood is soft enough that you can use a craft knife and a ruler. I then just taped the dividers in.

  • Most of the components need to be stored in airtight containers, so make sure that if you are making a cookie box, you account for storage!

  • Mix and match the heck out of this box - use any recipes you like, and arrange the dividers any way you like. There are more ideas here - which actually all utilise vanilla bean too!

  • If you have any questions whatsoever please please feel free to ask - I will do my very best to help out!

 

 

Vanilla Bean Shortbread

- Makes about 24 -


225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp Heilala Vanilla bean paste
270g all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp Corn Starch
1/4 tsp salt

 

- PROCESS -

Preheat the oven to 300˚f / 150˚c. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla bean paste until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Sift together the flour, corn starch and salt, and add to the mixing bowl. Mix on low until combined.

Turn out the dough onto your work surface and divide into two. Shape into two rectangle shaped logs, then using a sharp knife, cut slices approximately 1cm (0.4”), and place on the prepared lined baking sheets, leaving room for spreading.

Bake the shortbread for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pans half way through, until very lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheets for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.  

 

 

Chocolate Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with Vanilla Bean Dulce de Leche

- Makes about 18 Sandwich Cookies -

Notes: The Dulce de Leche requires some prep ahead work - boiling a can of condensed milk, so make sure you leave time for this + cooling if you make. I cut out some of the dough into larger circles and made Royal icing to decorate - I used a piping bag and a wilton #1 tip.

Shortbread recipe adapted from Now, Forager

Vanilla Bean Dulce de Leche Filling
1 400g (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk, or one can of premade Dulce de Leche
1 tsp Heilala vanilla bean paste

Chocolate Shortbread
185g unsalted butter, at room temperature
80g powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Heilala vanilla bean paste
185g all-purpose flour, sifted
50g cocoa, sifted

 

- PROCESS -

VANILLA BEAN DULCE DE LECHE FILLING

Peel the wrapper off a can of condensed milk, and place it on its side in a large pot. Cover with water by at least 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the can for 3 hours, checking often to make sure the water is well above the level of the can, and topping up when necessary. Remove from the pot with tongs and allow to cool completely.

CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. Add the sifted flour and cocoa powder, and mix just to combine. 

Dump the dough out onto a large piece of parchment, and place a second piece over the top. Roll the dough out between the two pieces of parchment, until is is approx 1/4" (6mm) thick. Place the dough on a baking sheet, and place into the freezer for 15-20 minutes, or until very firm.

Remove from the freezer. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the top piece of parchment, and cut 2" (5cm) circles using a fluted cookie cutter. Place them on the baking sheet, with a little space between. Place the cut-out cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes, then, using a small cutter in your desired shape, cut out holes in the centre of half the cookies. Re-roll scraps as needed, freezing briefly before cutting out.

Bake the cookies, one tray at a time (or two if your oven is good), for 11-12 minutes, or until set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

ASSEMBLY

Pair the cookies so each pair has a solid cookie, and a cookie with a cut-out. Open the cooled can of Dulce de Leche, and transfer to a small bowl (be careful not to scrape out completely as sometimes sugar gathers on the bottom of the tin). Add the vanilla paste, and mix well until combined and smooth. Transfer to a small piping bag, and snip a small hole in the end.

Pipe a small blob onto one half of the cookie pair (the solid half), and top with a cut-out half. Press carefully to sandwich. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Best eaten on the day they are made - if you would like to prepare ahead, store the filling and cookies separately until ready to serve.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Meringue Kisses

- Makes about 60 meringue kisses, or about 24 nests -

Note: This recipe is very scaleable - the ratio of egg whites to sugar is 1:1.5, so adjust to your liking. Because the meringues are essentially ‘dried’ rather than cooked, you can pipe various sizes and bake all together.

200g egg whites
300g granulated sugar
1 tsp Heilala vanilla bean paste
Red Sprinkles to finish, optional

 

- PROCESS -

MERINGUE

Preheat the oven to 225˚f / 110˚c. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Line a large piping bag with your tip of choice (I used an Ateco #826).

Measure the egg whites and granulated sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer or other heatproof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture, whisking often and watching the edges carefully, until it no longer feels gritty when rubbed between your fingers, and it registers at least 70˚c / 160˚f on a thermometer. 

Carefully transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the vanilla. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, approximately 4-5 minutes. Transfer to piping bag.

Pipe 'kisses', onto the baking paper lined sheets, leaving a small amount of space between each (they will not spread in the oven). You can pipe whatever shape you would like here - blobs, nests, kisses etc. Finish with red sprinkles if desired.

Place the baking sheets into the oven. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until they feel firm and no longer sticky, and peel cleanly off the paper when you lift them up. Turn off the oven, and leave them in there for at least an additional hour to dry out and crisp up.

Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream

- Makes about 24 Macarons -

Macaron Shells
One batch of these macaron shells, leaving out food colouring and using sprinkles of your choice

Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream
60g egg whites
100g granulated sugar
½ tsp Heilala vanilla bean paste
225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

- PROCESS -

VANILLA BEAN SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air. Transfer half of the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a small french star tip such as an Ateco #865.

ASSEMBLY

Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a round attachment (such as an ateco #805) Match the macaron shells up so that they are in pairs of equal size.

Pipe a blob of buttercream on one half of the macaron, and place the second half on top, pressing lightly. Macarons are best after an overnight rest in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before eating.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

- Makes about 36 square marshmallows -

Marshmallow recipe adapted from Bravetart

30g corn starch
30g powdered sugar
14g (2 packets) powdered gelatine
76g cold water
103g liquid honey
76g water
265g Heilala vanilla sugar, or granulated sugar
1 tsp Heilala vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt

 

- PROCESS -

Sift together the corn starch and powdered sugar. Spray an 8” baking tin (20cm) with cooking spray, or grease with butter, then liberally dust with the corn starch and powdered sugar mixture. Set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the first measure of water and gelatine. Mix well with a fork, and leave to bloom while you prepare the sugar syrup. 

In a medium pot, combine the water, corn syrup, vanilla, and sugar. Heat over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until the syrup reaches 240˚f /120˚c, then remove from the heat and leave to cool to 210˚f /100˚c.

Turn the mixer on to medium, and mix for a few seconds to help break up the bloomed gelatin. With the mixer running, VERY carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the mixer. Turn the speed up to high, and whip for 4-5 minutes, until the marshmallow has doubled in volume, has turned white, and holds somewhat of a peak when you stop the mixer and lift out the whisk. Scrape into the prepared baking tin and spread with an oiled offset spatula, smoothing as much as possible. Dust liberally with the corn starch mixture and allow to cure for at least 1-2 hours. Turn out onto a board, dust with more corn starch mixture, and cut into squares using a knife dipped in the corn starch mixture. Roll cut marshmallows in the corn starch mixture.

Store in an airtight container.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Salted Caramel Nut Mix

- Makes about 3 cups of Nuts -

Note: This recipe is very scaleable - it would double very well, and the nuts keep for a long time in an airtight container. Toasting them really helps to bring out the depth of flavour. You can use any nuts you like here.

1 cup skinned hazelnuts (I used skinned, if you have nuts with the skin on, rub them together after toasting to remove skins)
1 cup walnut halves
1 cup pecan halves
250g granulated sugar
45g (3 Tbsp) water
15g (1 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp Heilala vanilla bean paste
1 Tbsp flaky sea salt (such as maldon)

 

- PROCESS -

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Spread the nuts onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, shaking the baking sheet frequently, until they smell toasty. Remove from the oven, skin the hazelnuts if needed by rubbing them together in a tea towel, and pour into a large heatproof bowl. Wipe the baking sheet down and line with a silpat mat or parchment paper.

Place the sugar and water into a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. Place over low to medium heat, without stirring, and washing down the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the mixture is amber in colour. Remove from the heat, and add the butter, whisking well to combine. Use caution as it may splatter. Stir in the vanilla, and whisk to combine.

Pour the caramel mixture over the nuts in the heatproof bowl, and toss well using a silicone spatula to combine.

Working quickly, dump out onto the lined baking sheet, and separate using two forks. Sprinkle with the flaky sea salt. Leave to cool and harden. Break apart and store in an airtight container.

 

 

Vanilla Bean and Passionfruit Fudge

- Makes about 36 pieces -

Notes: I used passionfruit pulp to make this - you can either use fresh pulp from fruit, or you can purchase the pulp packaged from some supermarkets - make sure it is unsweetened. You will need a candy thermometer for this - make sure that in the first step you cook the sugar and milk together very slowly to dissolve the sugar so the end product is not grainy.

Recipe adapted from Edmond’s Cookbook

900g granulated sugar
190g whole milk
225g sweetened condensed milk
190g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 tsp salt
140g (1/2 cup) passionfruit pulp
2 tsp Heilala vanilla bean paste

 

- PROCESS -

Grease an 8” square (20cm) baking tin with butter, and line with two pieces of parchment, extending over the edges of the tin to form a ‘sling’. Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed pot, combine the sugar and whole milk. Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat slightly and add the condensed milk, butter, salt, and passionfruit pulp. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 115˚c / 239˚f on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Alternatively, use and electric mixer and beat directly in the pot.

Beat the fudge mixture on high speed for approximately 6 minutes, until it has thickened and lost its gloss. Pour into the prepared tin and spread with an offset spatula. Chill until hardened, then cut into pieces with a sharp knife. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

The Ultimate Vanilla Bean Christmas Box. All of the christmas treats for your recipe planning for this upcoming holiday season! Chocolate Shortbread cookies with Vanilla bean Dulce de Leche filling, vanilla bean meringues, vanilla bean macarons, Vanilla bean shortbread, vanilla bean passionfruit fudge, vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix, and vanilla bean marshmallows. The perfect treat box for christmas!
The Ultimate Vanilla Bean Christmas Box. All of the christmas treats for your recipe planning for this upcoming holiday season! Chocolate Shortbread cookies with Vanilla bean Dulce de Leche filling, vanilla bean meringues, vanilla bean macarons, Vanilla bean shortbread, vanilla bean passionfruit fudge, vanilla bean salted caramel nut mix, and vanilla bean marshmallows. The perfect treat box for christmas!

Thank you so much to Heilala Vanilla for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.