Monday, November 4, 2013

Fab Fit Day: The Famous Tea Ring!

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Do you remember the scrumptious Twinkie cake recipe from Jeremy's mom, Cindy? If you thought that one was spectacular, wait until you try this one.  I was gifted with the opportunity to spend a day baking and learning how to construct Cindy's famous tea ring recipe with Cindy, herself! And I'm not exaggerating when I say it's famous. It really is! The recipe was published in a magazine. 

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This recipe has been in Cindy's family for centuries. Her mom, her grandmother's, and her grandmother's mothers all baked the grand tea ring. Cindy used to spend all her time making these as everyone would request them over and over again. Cindy is one of the best bakers. She spent most of her years baking and decorating wedding cakes until her MS put a stop to it. It's inspiring to see her continuing to bake, even if her MS makes it harder. She is one tenacious woman! 
The tea ring is a Christmas morning tradition at Jeremy's house and has become a tradition at ours these past years. I can't wait to spend this Christmas helping Cindy bake tea rings. Traditions make the Holidays special. Every holiday holds family traditions. Most traditions are different in families, but mold together when families join each other. Now that my family has evolved, my brother living in Ohio and I living everywhere else caused our traditions to change. And that is okay. There is always room for new traditions. 
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When I was younger, Halloween was all about getting dressed up, trick or treating, and passing out with a sugar coma that night. Over the past six years our Halloween tradition transformed into decorating the house, starting a fire, and handing out candy to the neighborhood. I have traveled home every Halloween since moving away.
This year was no different. 

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Our neighborhood is notorious for having the most trick or treaters in town. Parents from all over drive their kids to our neighborhood. If you are trying to drive home from work during the trick or treating hours...good luck! We have between 1000-2000 kids on Halloween night. It's so much fun, tho! 

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We spend hours before Halloween decorating the house. We use a smoke machine, homemade props, strobe lights, and blast scary music you can hear all the way down the street. Kid's and parents really appreciate it. We always get letters in the mail with photos of kids who took a photo by our props. It's rewarding to know that our house has become apart of other families Halloween traditions. 
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I spent Halloween day baking the tea ring with Cindy and I hope I can make baking with Cindy a new Halloween day tradition! Not only is it great to learn new tricks in the kitchen, but it's a blast hearing all of the family stories. Especially the ones Jeremy left out ;)
The tea ring was a hit, too! 
Now enough of me talking. I'll get to the recipe. 
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Ingredients Tea Ring *2 Cups Warm Water, *2 Packages Active Dry Yeast, *1 Tbsp Salt, *1/2 Cup Sugar, *1/3 Cup Melted Shortening, *6 Cups Flour, *2 Large Eggs, *1 Cup Brown Sugar (or more for preference) *1/2 Stick Butter, *Cinnamon. 
Ingredients for Icing *1 Stick Butter, *3-4 Cups Powdered Sugar (or more for consistency)  *3-5 Tbsps. Milk. *1 Tsp Vanilla. 




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Mix together yeast and warm water. Pour in sugar and combine. 


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Pour in the melted shortening and only 3 cups of the flour. Combine.
Whisk eggs together in a separate bowl, then add to bowl and mix well. 

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After the eggs are completely mixed in, add the remaining 3 cups of flour. If you have a hard time mixing the flour in, add a tablespoon of warm water at a time. 
Cover with a sheet of wax paper and a towel over that. 

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Let the dough sit in a warm area for about 45 minutes. You'll notice the dough has risen. 
Lay out a pastry cloth (or use your counter top). Sprinkle flour over cloth. 
Roll out dough into a 1/4 in. sized oval/square. (as shown above)

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Melt 1/2 stick of butter and brush it onto the layer of rolled out dough. 
Leave about 1/2 inch of the dough un-coated. 

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Spread brown sugar over the butter layer. It's okay to add extra brown sugar to fill out the center. 

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Sprinkle cinnamon all over the brown sugar layer. I add extra cinnamon for a punch. 

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Roll the dough layer up! 

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Form the roll into a ring and add it to a greased baking sheet. 

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Cut around the ring. Leave about 1/3 of an inch attached to the ring. You don't want to cut the ring into individual rolls. 
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It should look like the photo above once you are one cutting around the ring


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They are about 1 inch thick! 
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Now time to twist. 
I thought this was going to be a hard part, but I got the hang of it pretty quick! Take the cut slits and twist them about five times to form the shape above. I wish I could get more descriptive but this is a hard step to explain. I'll have to put a tutorial on youtube! 

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Twist all the pieces until your ring looks like this! It looks like little mummies playing ring around the rosie. 

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Push all the twist together an towards the center. Try not to press down or flatten the dough! 

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Let the ring cook for 28-30 minutes in the oven. It'll be golden brown on top. 
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Place the ring on a cooling rack for about an hour or so.
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The ring needs to completely cool before adding the icing. 

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Remove the ring from the pan onto it's serving plate. Do this with a spatula. Scrape the bottom of the ring with the spatula before moving it over. Just in case it's stuck to the pan with a brown sugar glaze. 
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Time to make the Icing! 
Melt the butter. Mix in the powered sugar, vanilla, and milk until you get a creamy and icy texture. You might need to add more powdered sugar if it's too runny, or more milk if it's too thick. 


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I drizzled the frosting all the way around the ring with a spoon. Cindy usually ices it like a cake! You can choose the method that's easier for you. I topped the icing with fall sprinkles for Halloween! 
If you don't enjoy making the ring, don't give it to anyone. Because you'll have people requesting it over an over again. 

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