Dakota's & Evan's Recipes

A common thread and a continuing question from readers as they finish my books, "Set to Simmer" and "Christmas with Granny McPherson", is to ask if I like cooking. I don't just like it, I love it. I love the smells, the textures, the technique, the cultures and stories behind all the recipes, I love it all. Most of the recipes in my books are my own, or favorites, or even recipes passed down within my family. For instance, Dakota's cinnamon rolls? Those are my recipe that spun off my mom's recipe I grew up on. Baking, cooking, food, it all weaves into my best memories, so it's no surprise it would end up in my books from time to time.

One reader asked if I would ever consider sharing my recipes. I have to admit I hesitated a little. Not because I'm a grump or anything, but because I don't always measure very well. It's a splash of this, a bit of that... it doesn't always translate . I know when to stop adding flour because the dough looks right, not because I hit some predetermined amount. This is me... apologizing if it doesn't come out just right the first time. I've tried to get the recipes more user friendly. I love my readers, so I would love to share some of these recipes with you. These are the most requested recipes, but if you read about one in my books and you wish you had it, let me know. I'll see what I can do.

Dakota's Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

6-6 1/2 C. Flour

1/2 Tbs yeast

11/2 C. Milk

2/3 C Butter (So Soft)

1tsp salt

3 eggs

Butter for the center

Sugar for the center

Spices for the center


Warm milk to about 125 F. Add 2TBS sugar and the yeast. Let sit for 5 min, or until foamy. Mix 2 cups of flour, and the rest of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add yeast mixture, soft butter, and eggs. Beat with a mixer on low for about 1 min. Scrape the bowl. Beat the mixture for 3 more minutes. Add the rest of the flour, one cup at a time. (You can also add a couple teaspoons of cinnamon to the dough at this point for extra spice-opt.)

When the dough starts pulling away from the side of the bowl, stop mixing. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead in additional flour until the dough is soft and pliable, not sticky, but not tough. It should feel smooth and almost elastic. Set the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise for an hour, or until double in size.

After an hour, punch the dough down, and divide in half. Most people let the dough recover for 10 minutes, but I'm never that patient. Roll each ball of dough into a rectangle. Smear soft butter over the rectangle. Combine cinnamon, sugar, a dash of nutmeg, and a pinch of ground cloves in a bowl. This is one of those I don't measure moments. Mix it up, taste the mixture. If it has too much spice, add sugar. Sprinkle your sugar spice mixture over the smeared butter. Be sure to coat it. This isn't a time to be bashful.

Start at one side of the rectangle and start rolling like you're rolling a sleeping bag. Insider's tip: Some people cut the rolls with a knife, but I feel like it crushes the roll. I use thread. I slip it under the roll, cross the strings and pull until it slices through. Set each roll in a greased 9x11 baking dish.

This is the point of crossroads. If you want overnight rolls, cover the dish in plastic and put it in the fridge overnight. When you wake up in the morning, you'll pull them out, let them wake up for thirty minutes, and then bake. If you want them right now, then skip the fridge, cover the dish and let them rise in a warm place for thirty minutes and then bake.

Either way, when you're read to bake, bake them at 350 for about 13-18 minutes (depending on how done you like them) or until golden brown. Let them cool a bit, ice them and eat. 100% Sawyer Dumont approved. Doctor Sawyer Dumont, that is.

Evan's Fluffy Waffles

2 C Flour

3 tsp baking powder

3 tbs sugar

1/2 tsp salt

3 Eggs, separated

11/4Cups 2% Milk

2/3 C Butter


Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add eggs yolks milk and butter. Mix until combined. In another bowl, whip the egg whites until they are fluffy and stiff peaks form.

Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Try not to think about Evan. It probably won't work. Think about Evan a little bit, but don't overwork the batter. scoop and fold until the eggs whites are incorporated. The batter should look relatively fluffy.

Heat a waffle iron. Spray it with non-stick spray. Add the appropriate amount of batter for your waffle iron and cook to taste. I use this recipe for my Belgian waffle maker all the time, so it should work with just about any model.

Serve with butter, syrup, whipped cream, and/or strawberries. Have fun with it. Enjoy!

Dakota's Peach Breakfast Puffs

1/4 C Sugar

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

11/2 C Flour

1/2 C Sugar

11/2 tsp baking powder


1/2 - 1 Cup fresh peaches (peeled) or canned peaches (drained), diced

1/2 C Milk

1/3 C melted butter

3 Tbs melted Butter


Mix up the 1/4c sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set it to the side. Add other spices if you feel so inclined.

Mix the rest of the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center of the bowl. Add the beaten egg, milk, peaches (more or less to taste) and butter to the well. Mix them all together. Just until it looks moist. I know, I hate that word too, but it's the truth. Don't overmix the batter. They'll get tough.

Either grease a muffin pan, or use liners. I like liners, less dishes... Fill each cup about 2/3 of the way full. Bake in a 350 F oven for about 18-20 minutes.

Let them cool. When you can handle them, dip the tops in melted butter, then into the sugar spice mixture you made. Repeat for all. Sit back and know Eloise would be so proud.

Recipe adapted from a recipe in an old Better Homes and Gardens recipe book (page 60)