Maximus Apple Cinnamon Rolls


Oh! Sweet Christmas, It is that time of the year where you want to enjoy yourself in the kitchen, to give and to allow the time to go by with no remorse while indulging the guiltless pleasure of a Holiday morning…. Waaahw Wahhw Wahhw Wahhw… Rewind that… you wake up and your children are screaming “Can we open the presents?” Dog barking, Phone ringing, hubby half sleep, you are feeling cranky because you stayed up late making these rolls for breakfast… this is more like it right?, But where is the Christmas spirit?… No worries, it’s coming out of the oven in a few minutes. Make coffee, place the tray of Apple Cinnamon Rolls in the oven to warm up while you open a few presents. Twenty minutes later your house will start to smell like the north pole kitchen. Cinnamon is in the air! Drizzle the glaze, and scream “Breakfast is ready!”

I know this recipe is not the 1,2, 3 mix and done cinnamon rolls. But, why settle for less?, let’s make it AWESOME, It’s Christmas! I promise you it’s all worth it.

One bite of these rolls and you will feel how the world is merry, joyful, and your efforts so worth it when making these rolls. Time to sit, relax and enjoy!

Undoubtedly, these Maximus Apple Cinnamon Rolls will ungrinch-ify the grinchiest Grinch.

Merry Christmas, Happy holidays, Joy and Hugs!

Ian & Mariana



Maximus Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 12 large rolls (will feed 9 reindeer,  1 Santa, 1 photographer and 1 cook!)

For the dough:

½ cup luke warm water + one teaspoon honey
2 envelopes / 4.5 tsp / 14 g. active dry yeast or 4 ounces if using fresh yeast.

5-6 cups of unbleached all purpose flour. Plus a little more for dusting and rolling.
1/2 cup / 100 g turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon / kosher salt
¾ cup / 6 oz whole milk luke warm
½ cup /4 oz/ 114 g. unsalted butter*
2 large eggs*
1 egg yolk*
*Butter and eggs should be room temperature for best results on a soft silky dough.

For the filling:

3 medium granny smith green apples, peeled and sliced in fine wedges.
3 tablespoons melted butter
¼ cup cornstarch
1 cup packed brown sugar. Date sugar, coconut sugar, turbinado sugar are great substitutions.
¼ cup white sugar.
¼ cup ground cinnamon. Use your favorite cinnamon. I love Saigon cinnamon for baking. It is so fragrant, flavorful and adds great color to your baking dough.
½ cup chopped pecans.

For the Glaze:

4 tablespoons heavy cream
½ -3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract.
Freshly grated nutmeg

Possible Substitutions:

Whole Milk: Full fat unsweetened Soy milk
Brown sugar: Raw coconut sugar if you prefer your buns less sweet.or Date sugar.
Butter: Coconut oil
Flour: You can substitute ½ the amount whole wheat and ½ white flour, and add 2 extra tablespoons of butter to the dough.
Gluten Free: Use an all purpose gluten free mix, like “Cup 4”or “King’s Arthur gluten-free mix”.
Expect different texture.

Preparation Method:

1. Start by measuring all your ingredients.
2. Start the yeast. In a small bowl combine luke warm water, dissolve honey and add the yeast. Mix and let it foam for about 5 minutes.
3. Using the bowl of your stand mixer, combine 5 1/2 cups of flour along with all the dry ingredients, whisk and then add the luke warm milk, butter, egg yolk and eggs. By now your yeast should be foamy and awaken, add to the bowl. Start mixing on low with the hook dough attachment. Scrape the sides until all is well combined. Increase the speed of your mixer until everything comes together and the dough starts to pull a side from the bowl. If the dough seems too wet, add one to two extra tablespoons at a time until your dough is not too sticky to the touch and its pulling apart from the sides of the mixing bowl. You can add up to 1/4 cup of flour not a bit more. Beat on medium high for about 5-7 minutes, scraping the side of the bowl now and then. See picture for best results.

4. Dust your work table with a bit of flour, dump the dough and finish kneading by hand using envelope movements. See picture below. For about 3 minutes or the equivalent of 10 envelope kneading. Your dough should be soft and tender, shape it into a ball.
Now, If you do not own a stand mixer, you can knead everything by hand. Mix all dry ingredients and make a well. In the center combine all the wet ingredients and start mixing dry into wet little at the time, until you have them all combined. Knead in circular motions. It will take a lot of arm work, around 20-25 minutes until dough feels smooth and soft, with a bit of elasticity. Once the dough feels soft and well combined proceed to do the 10 envelope kneadings. Obviously this process will earn you an extra cinnamon bun. ; )

5. Place the dough into a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Place the bowl into a warm place about 80-85 degrees is best, away from any doors or window drafts. Let it rise until double in size, depending on the warmth of your house, could take between 1-2.5 hours. I usually place the bowl inside of my turn off oven to ensure the dough is rising at an even temperature.


6. Mix Brown sugar and cinnamon, toast the pecans, peel, cut and toss the apples in thin slices. And toss them into the cornstarch set a side. Melt the butter, get your pastry brush ready.


7. Once the dough has doubled in size, lightly flour your work table dump the dough and gently press it to release some of the air, and start shaping it into a rectangle. Using a wood pin roll gently start stretching the dough until you have a 20”x 16”rectangle. 50×60 cm approx.

8. With a pastry brush apply all the butter to the extended dough. Then sprinkle the sugar, cinnamon and pecans mixture evenly and layer the apple slices like soldiers all lined up along the longest side of the rectangle dough. See picture below. This will ensure that the apple slices do not break or create holes into the dough while rolling.

9. Now from one of the corners of the longest edge of the rectangle, start rolling the edge by gently pinching it. This will be the center of the spiral. Start rolling evenly and slowly, not to tight, not to lose. And seal the edge with a bit of water. Leave the roll on the table seem side down.

10. With a bench dough scraper cut the roll in half. Use your hand to held the roll while you cut so the pieces do not smudge. See photo below. Then, each half into half. Now you have 4 pieces, cut each piece into 3 equal pieces. It helps to slightly mark the pieces before you cut them, in case you need to rectify the cut, so you can be sure you are gonna cut them into equal size rolls. See picture below.

11. Line up with parchment paper a half sheet baking tray with a leap 18”x13”x 1” or a half-sheet rectangular cake pan will work too. Or two rectangular trays 9” x 13”. Place the cut pieces carefully re-shaping them into circles and evenly spaced about 1” in between the edge of the tray and between roll and roll. If using half a sheet 3 rows of 4. If using two pans of 9”x13”, 2 rows of 3. Press gently to even up the heights.
12. Cover them loosely with floured plastic wrap and then with a kitchen towel let them proof for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until double in size and they are touching and filled up the tray. See picture below.

13. Once your Rolls look like this, preheat your oven at 375 F / 190 C. Place tray into the mid rack of the oven and bake them at 350 F /176 C, for 20-25 minutes.
14. While they bake whisk up your glaze, combining all the glaze ingredients. You can up grade it with some Spiced Rum, or eggnog instead of the cream. Softened cream cheese is always a good option too. In this case I love the tangy cream, with a bit of sugar in it , the nutmeg brings out the flavor of the apples.
15. Take the buns out of the oven, they should have a mahogany-golden brown tops. You can tell they are done if your kitchen has the insane smell of cinnamon sweet dough. Pull them out. Brush them with melted butter immediately. Let them rest on top of the stove, or near by the stove.



Let them cool down a little before drizzling the glaze. Drizzle with a spoon or the whisk. Grate some nutmeg for the final touch. Now please, bite into one, and scream of happiness and Joy!




Note: They taste best if they are baked the day before your Holiday.

Save the drizzle and refrigerate them, warm them up next morning while opening the presents!

*Drizzle them while they are warm*

Enjoy, and Happy , Happy Holidays!

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Scribbles Garabatos Cookies


At less than 10 days until Christmas there are too many cookies and so little time! This year I decided to go with just ONE cookie, yes believe it or not just one… Ahem.. let me re phrase that…because there is no way I can eat just one of these buttery and nutty lil cookie sandwiches. I mean one type of cookie, and I chose my favorite ones Garabatos, which translates to: scribbles. The name of these Scribbles Garabatos Cookies comes from the freedom and delightful abandon in which the chocolate is drizzled all over these buttery cookies.  This cookies are very popular and loved in Mexico.

These crisp cookies with a soft crumb like a shortbread are filled with raspberry jam, chocolate ganache or hazelnut spread. A fine scribbling drizzle of dark chocolate, makes these little cookies not only delicious, and appealing, but equally easy to make. Dough is made in a flash in the food processor, chilled for 30 minutes, then rolled, cut, and baked 8-10 minutes. When you bake these cookies a butter cloud hugs you with love and Christmas feelings.

If you want to enjoy and make a simple and delicious effortless buttery cookie, start scribbling, this is the perfect last-minute letter to Santa! Ho, ho, ho!


Scribbles Garabatos Cookies

Makes about 24-26 little 2” cookie sandwiches

2 -1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup confectioners or powdered sugar

1 good pinch kosher salt

1 cup butter* Use the best unsalted butter you can buy because it will make the difference on flavor.

2 egg yolks room temperature (save whites for an omelette)

½ teaspoon almond extract

For the filling:

¼ cup raspberry jam

¼ cup hazelnut spread

For the drizzle:

6-8 oz. 71% Dark bittersweet chocolate, I used Valrhona

Le Noir Amer 71% or Le Noir Extra Amer 85% cacao

Note: Any chocolate of your preference will work, I love the dark rich bittersweet chocolate, it plays great with the delicate sweet butter cookie, making the cookie not overly sweet.

If you prefer other brand or no so intense chocolate adjust to your taste.


Preparation Method:

1. In a food processor add dry ingredients first then pulse to mix. Then add butter, egg yolks, almond extract and quick pulse until is well combined. Do not over mix.

2. Remove from processor into a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a tick disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


3. In the meantime prepare your sheet pans, line them up with parchment paper or a sil pad. Next prepare your cooling rack and cookie spatula. Select your cookie cutters. I prefer 2” as they are small and perfect little 2 bite cookies. Preheat your oven at 375F.

4. After 30 minutes, remove dough from refrigerator and on a light floured cold surface, roll the dough about 1/4” inch thick. Making sure your dough is not sticking to the table.

5. Cut out as many cookies you can from the first roll up. And place them about 1” apart on the cookie tray. Gather the cut up straps, reshape into a disk with out over kneading the dough. Place in the refrigerator for 10 min. before re rolling.


6. In the meantime bake your first batch. 8-10 minutes, check your cookies at 7 minutes and judge from there. Watch your cookies at all times, they can over cook very easily. Adjust temperature and time if you have a gas oven, or convection oven as they might be ready in less time. Cookies are done as they just turn color slightly.

7. Once they are baked, take cookies out of the oven and let them rest on the tray for 2 -3 minutes. Transfer cookies on to a cooling rack, let the baking pan cool off a little, and meantime re-roll the rest of the dough. Repeat steps 4, 5 6, 7 until you are out of dough.

8. Once you baked all the cookies, cut a big piece of parchment paper and place it on your work table. Start lining up the cookies placing half top side down and half topside up.

9. Melt half of the chocolate and add 1 tablespoon butter. Stir your raspberry jam, and stir your nutella spread. Star placing about ¼ teaspoon or so on the top side down cookies, and sandwich them. Usually I divide them into 3 parts so I have an equal amount of flavors. I also like to choose a different shape for each flavor to identify them better. These preferences are totally up to you, you can make them all the same if you prefer. I advice you if you are using different shapes do not mix shapes in the same batch as they might cook differently. For example, the stars tend to get golden brown picks, and they need to be pulled maybe 1 minute earlier. While the hearts might take a minute longer. Keep this in consideration. Regardless the shape, my favorite ones are the raspberry jam filling!


10. Once you have all the cookie sandwiches, melt the rest of the chocolate on a double boiler or microwave. Follow the guidelines based upon your chocolate brand. Once melted, make a little parchment cone, or use a small piping bag or Ziploc bag and start drizzling the cookies with freedom and abandon.



Remember, you are scribbling with chocolate! *yum* This is a great step to involve your kiddos.

Let the chocolate harden and proceed to enjoy.

Have fun, eat, dunk in milk, tea or coffee. repeat. And keep writing to Santa!




~ Scribbles Garabatos Cookies ~

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Ponche de Frutas – Warm Fruit Punch


It is freezing and wet cold here in Austin, I really needed  a warm drink, so last night I geared up and made this warm fruit punch recipe, it is divine and it works like a charm!. This Punch is traditionally from Mexico and is served, on the cold weather months November, December, January, “Ponche de Frutas” Warm Fruit Punch is a delicious warm drink made with fall and winter stone fruits like apples, pears, crabapples, hawthorns, oranges, mandarines, guavas, prunes, plums, raw sugar cane sticks, tamarind, hibiscus tea, cloves, cinnamon well everything but the kitchen zinc!

Imagine all this ingredients gather in a stock pot slowly simmering to magically work and  deliver  fantastic warm aromas and wintery flavors with one mission: warm you up!

There are no rules when making the punch, the only ingredient that is a must is the cinnamon. For the rest, you can make it with your favorite fruit combinations, but I will encourage you to use at least 2 kind of stone fruits, 1 citrus and either hibiscus or tamarind they add the acidity background note needed to balance the sweetness.

This drink is not meant to be overly sweet. In fact most of the sweetness comes mainly from the fruits so adding a small amount of sugar is just what you need to balance the flavors.

You can use brown sugar, turbinado sugar, honey, dark agave nectar, monk-fruit sweetener or piloncillo* which its my favorite option in small amounts. Piloncillo is raw-pure unrefined sugar compressed into a cone that resembles in flavor to molasses; some times you can find it with cinnamon, anise and a little vanilla added. It is used to sweeten desserts, drinks and bake goods. So a little goes along way.

Can you imagine the aromas that this concoction will bring to your kitchen? spices, apples, cinnamon, oranges, warming up the house!…**sigh**

This punch is served in mugs and with a little spoon so you can eat the fruits from the bottom as you drink along. It is great for parties and family gatherings kids love it!
For the grownups you can spike it up by adding a little splash-a-rooh of your favorite rum or vodka as you serve it.
Whether you make a large, medium or small pot, this fruit punch will definitely warm you up inside out!…


Ponche de Frutas – Warm Fruit Punch

Serves 4-6 adult cups or 2 Yetis

3 qt.-12 cups water
2 apples
2 pears
4 guavas
4-6 small crabapples
14-15 hawthorns (Tejocotes)
10 Prunes
½ cup hibiscus Flowers or about 4-5 tea bags
1 orange rind
3 large cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
1 or ½ Piloncillo cone (this is up to you upon how sweet you like your punch, my advice will be start with a small amount, taste and add more if needed. If you are using any other sweetener, start with a ¼ cup and work your way up.)

Liberal amounts of …Spiced Rum or Bourbon can be added into each cup, upon preference. Customizing each cup, allows the little ones to enjoy some  alcohol -free warm fruit punch


1. In a 4-6 qt large stock pot, add the water, cinnamon sticks, cloves, hibiscus flowers and bring to a boil.
2. Core, and cut in medium size pieces the apples and pears
Cut the ends and de-seed the guavas with a small spoon or melon baller cut into small wedges
Slice the crabapples in round slices and tap the slices to remove the seeds
With a pairing knife remove the end core of the hawthorns live them whole.
Note: I like to cut each fruit a little different so people can recognize what they are eating.


3. Add all fruits all the cut fruits, cover with a lid and bring to a slow simmer.
4. Add piloncillo until dissolve, slow simmer for about 15-20 minutes uncovered.
5. When the fruit is fork tender your punch is ready to serve!
6. Serve piping hot on mugs with little spoons to fish out and eat the fruits, add some rum into the cups right before serving…Enjoy!



~ Warm up! ~

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Huevos Rancheros


This is the perfect breakfast on a rainy weekend morning. Or a even cold snowy morning, if you live north of Texas. The origin of this dish is unknown to me yet very familiar. It’s a classic everywhere in Mexico. There are dozens of variations with different toppings and seasonings from various regions, families, grandmas,  mercados, or restaurants. This is the dish in its purest form. All principles items include fried eggs, dried chiles, tomato sauce, tortillas, and that last onion section that you didn’t quite finish on Thursday. This Mexican one pan wonder is the weekend antidote when you wake up extra hungry and craving a breakfast worth making. Imagine the creamy runniness of a sunny side up egg, smothered with savory spicy warm salsa over soft fried corn tortillas, a side of black beans, crema, and queso fresco. I would wake up to that in a flash!

My Huevos Rancheros version gets a side of black beans which I prepare almost every month by cooking a large batch in a slow cooker. I make little portion bags that I freeze for quick use. It makes my life easier and tastier. Ian calls them “Beansicles”. They are very easy to defrost and use either whole or smashed when ever needed they are there for you. Now, what you need from the pantry is that forgotten can of tomatoes. Please check your refrigerator drawers for a couple of fresh ones if in season. I always have my staple dry chiles in the pantry. Dried chiles are miracle workers. I can make salsa in a flash, or spice up soups or even hot cocoa like this. Fresh chiles? Yes, please! Serranos, jalapeños, chipotles en adobo; for me all variations are delicious as long you follow the ranchero principle: simple sauce + fried egg + corn tortilla + beans = Best Huevos Rancheros. Please no melty cheese in my Rancheros, save it for a quesadilla.


One of my favorite version of Huevos Rancheros Its the one you are about to see, easy enough to prepare them before coffee, and the spicy kick to the sauce will add to your morning wake up.
Huevos Rancheros cures hangovers, rainy mornings, helps you forget weekly stress, and fuels the most ambitious of Caudillos. Its uncomplicated preparation will give you a boost of confidence and culinary accomplishment. The way I prepare them could work for bigger crowds if arranged on a large platter or  for a brunch with friends or neighbors. All you have to do is learn how to fry an egg and combine 4 ingredients for a killer salsa. Enjoy!



Huevos Rancheros

Serves 1 Güerito and 1 Mexican

4 Eggs (ranchero faces drawing optional)
4 corn tortillas best kind you kind find.
Corn oil or your frying oil of preference enough to fry the eggs. about 2-3 glugs.
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup Black beans whole or fried is up to your preference.

For the Sauce:

1-1/2 cups roasted tomatoes I used roasted canned, if using fresh when in season you will need about 4 Roma tomatoes.
6-8 Chiles de Arbol  (For amateurs please start with 3-4 chiles. When this dry chiles get toasted, the flavor profile is a bit smoky and much milder in spice, so do not fear them!)
1 garlic clove
1/8 onion
Salt and black pepper


1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
2 tablespoons Mexican crema
1-2 fresh cilantro sprigs

Quick pickled onions:

1/8 onion slivered and rinsed*, 1/2 lime juice, one good pinch of salt, one good pinch Mexican dry oregano, combine everything on a small dish, wait for 10 minutes, serve. * I always like to rinse my onions when they gonna be eaten raw, it smooths away that sharp taste, and you will not have to brush your teeth five times before the flavor on your palate is gone.



1. Start by preparing all your toppings, warm up your beans, make the quick pickled onions, set a side.

2. Remove the stems of all your dry chiles de arbol. On a medium size frying pan, (good enough o fry some sunny side up eggs) place about two glugs of Corn oil over medium high heat, add the chiles and toast them tossing often, until a deep dark red. Remove the chiles, and add 1/8 of an onion for a quick sauté. Remove the onion, turn of the pan. In a Blender or with the help of an immersion blender Combine the roasted tomatoes, the toasted chiles, one garlic clove, the sautéed onion, 1/2 cup water,salt and a bit of black pepper. Blend until smooth. Set aside.


3. Warm up over medium high heat the same pan and oil you use to toast the chiles and onion. There should be plenty of oil to sauté the corn tortillas. If not enough add a bit more oil. Oil must be hot before soft frying the tortillas. Cook the tortillas in the oil one by one both sides. Tortillas should have a toasty color and they should be playable. Place the tortillas as you go into the plates; one tortilla per egg.

4. Using the same pan and oil fry your eggs. I like to fry 2 eggs at the time, so they have lots of room and the temperature of the pan does not drop. I like my eggs with a bit of crunchy edges but soft runny yolks. It’s really up to you, cook them up to your preference. Place the eggs on top of the tortillas one egg per tortilla as you go. Remember that it is important letting the pan and oil to come up to hot temperature in-between egg batches. Like I said, I like sunny side up eggs in this recipe so I do not over cook the yolks. In fact I leave them a little under done, so when I pour the warm sauce over the eggs, it will warm them up and finish the cooking  to a perfect creamy runniness. Take this in consideration when your cooking your eggs.

5. Once your eggs are ready, in the same pan with the remaining oil and while it warm add the sauce. (Be careful sauce might get a bit feisty, you might end up with a polka dot pajama!). Lower the heat. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Sauce should be rich and at the same time lose enough to cover the eggs. If the sauce is too tick add a bit of water or chicken stock, if to loose keep reducing it.


6. Taste your sauce for seasonings and adjust if needed. Sauce your eggs with plenty of warm sauce. Place leftover sauce in a small bowl and take it to the table for an extra spoon or two.
Serve a couple of tablespoons of  black beans on the side, top with queso fresco, crema, cilantro for garnish and the quick pickled onions on the side. Enjoy!





 Huevos Rancheros, A great rainy weekend breakfast!

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