owl in winter

owl in winter

Saturday, February 18, 2012

February Musings

February. Beautiful, blue and white February.
When I think of February, I think of white tulips in a blue and white vase, blue hyacinths sprouting in a china cup, white plumes of smoke rising from chimneys, and food of course. When don't I relate food to any given topic?
Cinnamon rolls. My mother made the best cinnamon rolls ever, ever on the face of this planet and any other. I've tried to emulate her recipe but, after trying many times and not quite making it, I've found another way.

Wanna hear about it?

First of all, let's just say that rapid rising yeast is the breadmaker's friend. I love it. It takes a lot of work out of the equation.

I take one package of the rapid rise yeast and mix it with:
2 c. flour
1 teas. salt
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. soft butter (unsalted)
1 egg

Just mix it together, don't get too worked up about it. And then, add 1/2 c. warm water, and 1/2 cooled scalded milk. Mix together. Begin working in more flour, just a little at a time until you've added probably 3 1/2 cups.
Turn your dough out onto a floured board and knead, adding more flour, for about 5 minutes. Form into ball, turn into a greased bowl, greased side atop. Lay a clean towel on top of the bowl. What I do is I put my dough bowl in the oven and put a baking pan filled with hot water on the bottom rack.

Sauna time for the sweet dough.

Okay, let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours. Pull it out, punch down the dough, turn it back out onto a floured board and roll it out. Roll it until it's about 1/8 inch thick, and begin slathering with butter, and I do mean slather in the biggest slathering way. Slather to about 1/4 inch from the edge. Drop brown sugar all over your dough, a thick layer. Sprinkle cinnamon over, a lot of it. I sometimes will chase the cinnamon with smoked cumin but, warning, if you do this, don't inundate your dough with cumin as it will become bitter if used ad nauseaum. For once I am saying, don't be liberal. You don't have to use cumin at all, quite frankly. Sprinkle just a little white sugar over and now, it's time for the roll up.
Working quickly, pull your dough toward you and begin rolling up. Roll, roll, roll, til you're at the end. Seal these edges with a bit of water.
Slice the roll, about one inch apart, place rolls in greased pan, cover with clean towel and again, let it rise, preferably in a sweet roll sauna as described above, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, bake for 25-30 minutes and enjoy.

Happy days!

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