Cookbook review: Pioneer Woman cooks through the holidays

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 26 2013 3:39 p.m. MST

Caramel Apple Sweet Rolls from "Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays" by Ree Drummond.

Provided by William Morrow Cookbooks

"THE PIONEER WOMAN COOKS: A Year of Holidays," by Ree Drummond, William Morrow, $29.99, 387 pages

Ree Drummond, blogger, food writer and TV personality, brings some festive cheer to the kitchen just in time for the holidays with her new cookbook.

Drummond, who runs The Pioneer Woman blog at thepioneerwoman.com, has become a household name for her delectable recipes and flavorful foods, perfect for any family.

In her new cookbook, "The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays," Drummond features holidays from New Years, Cinco de Mayo, Easter, Halloween Christmas and everything in between.

Her photography, an iconic component of her blog, is featured in this cookbook with step-by-step instruction photos to transform even the most inexperienced chefs into holiday hosts.

In addition to the easy-to-use instructions, Drummond's recipes are easy to make and call for ingredients found in most kitchens.

The simplicity of the recipes combined with the exquisite taste of the seasons make "The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays," an essential ingredient for any frantic holiday planner.

Drummond, who is part girl-next-door and part hometown girl, can charm the hearts of readers from coast to coast with her down to earth voice and her nurturing tone, which is evident with her introduction before each recipe.

This cookbook is like catching up with an old friend through the celebrations during the year.

The recipes, as visually pleasing as they are tasty, will add just the right spice to whatever holiday festivities are in the works.

Drummond will be in Salt Lake City for a signing Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. at the King's English Bookshop at 1511 South 1500 East.

If you go ...

What: Ree Drummond book signing

When: Tuesday, Dec. 3, 6 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com, thepioneerwoman.com

Note: There will be priority signing line tickets for those who purchase their copy of "The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays" from the King's English.

CARAMEL APPLE SWEET ROLLS

Makes: about 30 rolls

My mom’s cinnamon rolls are legendary, and while nothing beats the original recipe, I always have fun coming up with new and decadent variations on the theme. These caramel apple beauties — glazed with a heavenly icing — are just about as good as you can get. Deliver these to family and friends around Christmastime. They make an unforgettable gift!

½ batch Basic Dough ( recipe below)

FILLING

4 Granny Smith apples

1 stick butter, plus more for greasing the pans

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

CARAMEL ICING

½ cup (1 stick) butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup heavy cream

2 cups powdered sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1. First, make the caramel apple filling: Dice up the apples pretty finely.

2. Then throw them in a skillet over medium high heat and stir them around to cook.

3. After 3 to 4 minutes, when they’ve gotten nice and golden brown, remove them to a plate.

4. Throw a stick of butter and the brown sugar into the same skillet over medium heat ...

5. And stir it around until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.

6. Pour in the cream.

7. Then stir it around and let it bubble up and thicken for about a minute.

8. Turn the heat down to low, then add the apples back to the skillet and sprinkle on the cinnamon.

9. Stir the mixture and let it thicken for another 1 to 2 minutes.

10. Then spoon it into a bowl to cool.

11. When you’re ready to make the rolls, preheat the oven to 375°F and roll out the dough in a rectangle about 10 by 30 inches.

12. Spoon the caramel apples over the dough and use your fingers to spread them evenly over the surface.

13. Roll the dough toward you into a nice, tight roll . . .

14. And pinch the seam when you get to the end. Turn the seam over so that it’s facedown against the countertop.

15. Slice the dough into rolls ½ to ¾ inch thick.

16. Grease three round, disposable foil cake pans with butter. Place 7 to 8 rolls in each pan, being careful not to crowd them. Set aside to rise in a warm place for 20 to 25 minutes.

17. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they’re nice and golden brown.

18. While the rolls are baking, make the caramel icing: Melt a stick of butter in a saucepan over medium heat . . .

19. And add the brown sugar.

20. Let it melt, then whisk in the cream. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly, then remove from the heat.

21. Sift in the powdered sugar and salt and stir until you have a smooth icing.

22. Remove the rolls from the oven and immediately spoon a good amount of icing over the top. Use a knife to spread it evenly . . .

23. And watch it slowly seep into the cracks and crevices.

BASIC DOUGH

4 cups whole milk

1 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar

9 cups all-purpose flour

2 packages (2¼ teaspoons each) active dry yeast

1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

1 scant teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon salt

1. First, make the dough. Combine the milk and canola oil in a large pot.

2. Add the sugar ...

3. And stir it around. Scald it (heat it to almost a boil), then turn off the heat. Let the mixture cool until it’s warm ... but not too warm!

4. Add 8 cups of the flour along with the yeast ...

5. And stir it around until all combined. It’ll be super sticky, but just have faith! (Get it?)

6. Cover the mixture with the lid of the pot or a dish towel and let it sit for an hour or so, until it’s risen. (Get it?)

7. After it’s had a chance to rise, sprinkle in the remaining cup of flour, the baking powder, the baking soda, and the salt ...

8. And stir gently to combine. It takes a little while to get it stirred together!

— "The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays — 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations," by Ree Drummond (William Morrow Cookbooks)

Email: ebuchanan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: emmiliewhitlock

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