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Mentor Knows Best

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The Mother’s Day Edition

(Family Features) Whether she’s your mom or a “like-a-mother” mentor, chances are you’ve got a lot to thank her for this Mother’s Day. It’s a time for celebrating your biggest supporters, number one fans and best friends.

In life, we’re lucky to form relationships with women we can learn from and grow with. Beth Somers, Elizabeth Nelson and Emily Tatak from the Wilton Test Kitchen consider themselves lucky.

Beth Somers, Director of Creative Content Development, owes her start to her former boss Milette Raz. Raz is trained in the Wilton Method of Cake DecoratingTM and taught Somers how to decorate. But Somers thinks of Raz as so much more — calling her a mentor, her second mother and her friend. Years after working together, the duo teamed up for Cupcake Wars on the Food Network, returning home as champions of season six with winning recipes like Tropical Getaway Cupcakes.

Elizabeth Nelson, Assistant Culinary Specialist, attributes her love of baking to her grandma Ann, learning the basics with her and picking up passed down recipes that she brought with her to college. She looks up to her mother, her grandmother and her great-grandmother, whom she’s told she also gets her competitive nature from. Nelson and her grandmother went through a lot of trial and error together to come up with what they believe is the perfect cinnamon roll recipe, very similar to this recipe for Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Glaze.

For Emily Tatak, preserving family recipes and continuing the traditions around the holidays and in the kitchen led to her career at Wilton as an Assistant Culinary Specialist. She owes her inspiration to her mom, who taught her how to bake. Together they iced cakes, decorated sugar cookies and even made a gingerbread house from scratch. Keeping with tradition, celebrating the holidays without grandma Irene’s Kolachy recipe just wouldn’t be the same.

For more recipe ideas to honor your mother or special mentor, visit s.wilton.com/MentorKnowsBest.

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Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Glaze

Servings: 1 dozen rolls

Rolls:
  • 1 1/3 cups warm milk (105°F)
  • 2 packages (1/4-ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon Wilton Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
Filling:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup lightly-packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon Wilton Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (about 1/4 pound)
  1. For rolls, stir together warm milk, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in large bowl. Let stand 5–10 minutes or until foamy. Add butter, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, egg yolks, vanilla and salt. Mix with electric mixer using dough hook on medium speed until combined. Gradually add flour, 1 cup at a time, and mix on medium speed until smooth, elastic dough forms, about 5 minutes.
  2. Spray large bowl with vegetable pan spray. Form dough into ball, place into bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  3. For filling, stir together butter, sugar, flour and cinnamon in medium bowl until well-combined.
  4. Prepare 13-by-9-inch pan with vegetable pan spray.
  5. Punch dough down and roll out to 18-by-14-inch rectangle on floured surface. Spread filling onto dough and roll up from long end, like a jelly roll. Pinch seam to seal, trim ends and cut into 12 equally-sized pieces.
  6. Place rolls into prepared pan; cover with plastic wrap and let rise 25–30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  7. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Remove plastic wrap from rolls and bake 25–29 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack while preparing glaze.
  8. For glaze, melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and cream. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture reaches a simmer; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Pour glaze over warm rolls. Serve warm.

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Grandma’s Kolachy Cookies

Servings: 6 1/2 dozen cookies

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Wilton Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Poppy seed, apricot and strawberry pastry filling
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter with electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Add flour, vanilla and salt; beat until just combined. Divide dough into 2 disks. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill at least 12 hours.
  2. Heat oven to 375°F.
  3. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll each to 1/8-inch thickness on generously floured surface. Cut cookies using 2-inch round cutter. Place on cookie sheet and make indentation in dough with thumb. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon pastry filling into each indentation.
  4. Bake 16–18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool cookies on pan on cooling grid 5 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on grid. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

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Tropical Getaway Cupcakes

Servings: 2 dozen

Cupcakes:
  • 2 eggs plus 4 egg whites, lightly beaten (reserve 2 yolks for filling)
  • 1 cup cream of coconut
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Wilton Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened and cut into tablespoons
Filling:
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cups thick mango juice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
Icing:
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (about 1 orange)
  • 1 teaspoon Wilton Pure Vanilla Extract
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with baking cups.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, cream of coconut, water, coconut and vanilla extracts until well combined.
  3. In large bowl, mix flour, shredded coconut, sugar, baking powder and salt with electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 15 seconds. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, continuing to beat on low speed until mixture looks dry and crumbly and largest chunks of butter are about 1/4 inch in diameter, about 30 seconds. Stop mixer and add half of liquid ingredients. Beat on low speed until flour mixture is moistened, about 15 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, slowly stream in remaining liquid. Stop mixer and scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Beat on medium speed for an additional 30 seconds. Divide batter evenly into baking cups, filling about 2/3 full.
  4. Bake 18–22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centers of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan on cooling grid 5 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on grid.
  5. For filling, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch and 1/4 cup mango juice in small bowl until smooth.
  6. In saucepan, combine remaining 1 cup mango juice, sugar and salt. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Slowly stream half of hot liquid into egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Add egg yolk mixture back into saucepan and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Strain through fine mesh sieve. Cool completely.
  7. For icing, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy; gradually add confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down bottom and sides of bowl as necessary. Add orange zest and vanilla extract and beat until fully incorporated.
    To assemble, remove center of cupcake with coring tool or paring knife. Fill with mango filling. Pipe icing onto cupcakes.

Note: Stir cream of coconut before measuring it, as it tends to settle as it sits. Coconut can be coarsely chopped in food processor or with knife.

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