Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls, a LONG Reprint, with pictures!

Five posts yesterday, and all I can think to post today is a bitchy rant about something that should be nothing? Hah! I can't let that slide. I originally started blogging (Take that, spell check!!) on this site so I could do things with pictures. Well...this series of blogs was originally a MySpace series, but I am putting it here with photos because I wanna.
Originally posted December 18

Yeasty Things

I believe that we've established that I enjoy baking? Cookies, cakes, banana bread, corn bread - all sorts of things. What I studiously avoid, though, are yeasty things.

I don't do bread. I used to do bread - long, long ago in a kitchen far, far away, I made honey-wheat dinner rolls and loaves on occasion. The rolls turned out fine, every time, but the loaves were a little hit-or-miss. More miss than hit, really. I never really got the hang of the yeasty beasties.

Today, I once more venture into the world of cooking with live critters. I am making cinnamon rolls. Attempting cinnamon rolls. Whatever. I found a recipe I like. I imagine many cooks wouldn't like it, because it doesn't have a lot of measurements. As I haven't posted recipes here, you wouldn't know that most of the things I cook have approximations more than exact measures. And the word "some" appears a lot. I am also fond of the dash, the pinch, and the scosh. I only jigger on special occasions, and never in public places.

Until today, the only cinnamon rolls I've made came in a tube, with a little plastic tub of icing at the bottom to help make them festive. This is most unsatisfactory. Don't get me wrong, the Doughboy does a fine job, and his rolls are lovely when I want baked goodness NOW. Also, he makes those orange sweet rolls that are so popular in this house. Still. They aren't home made, are they? It doesn't count as home made if you just heated it up. And there are things in those rolls that no one in this house can pronounce. Call me picky, but I don't think you should eat it if you can't say it.

What I have learned so far about these rolls:

1. I will NOT be getting up on Xmas morning to make them. It is almost two o'clock now, and I started working on these bad boys around ten o'clock. And they aren't in the oven, yet - they're just about a third of the way through their second rising! If I can make them the night before and let them rise overnight, I may do that. Or bake them the night before and warm and ice them in the morning. We'll see.

2. Yeast is fun stuff, but it's sensitive. It turns out that I MAY have been overheating the water when I made bread with it before. It got all foamy and excited this morning, so I have hopes for better results today than I've known in the past.

3. When you don't put enough flour in the dough, it is sticky. Really sticky. Like, gluing your fingers together so it takes a pry-bar to separate them sticky. Melding to the wooden cutting board you have to use for kneading the dough because the counter's a mess and the big board is all cluttered up and now you can't get the dough off the board to knead it because it has bonded with its new friend sticky.

4. A fun thing to do in the morning is try to shake the almost-empty flour bag off your hand with enough force to send a cloud of flour through the kitchen, turning the formerly black cat gray and garnering reproachful looks and pitiful meows from said beast, making the Pergo floors slippery as a freshly Zamboni-ed skating rink, and giving the almost-five-year-old a fit of giggles that sets him coughing, and you can't pat him on the back because you are stuck to the flour bag and a huge wad of sticky dough, coated in flour, and your fingers are trying to glue themselves to whatever you touch due to the aforementioned dough, which (did I mention?) is sticky.

5. Yeasty dough only rises when you aren't staring at it, trying to catch it in the act. It likes privacy to make the warm, burpy goodness that is yeast in action; privacy and soft music, and maybe some candle light, and would it kill you to bring it a damn rose, or even a daisy, every now and then?? It's doing all this work for you, the least you could do is say "thanks, yeast!" and make it feel special.

6. There is something weirdly therapeutic about patting or punching down the now-doubled dough. No wonder bakers are so Zen.

7. Making cinnamon rolls without a rolling pin brings new meaning to the word "challenge".

8. Reynolds Release foil is wonderful stuff when you don't want your dough to stick to the surface you're (not) rolling it out on.

9. Butter plus brown sugar equals more sticky, but also more fun to lick off your fingers.

10. Enthusiastically shaking on unmeasured amounts of organic Saigon cinnamon will make tasty rolls, as well as sneezing fits and a burning in the eyes if you don't wash your hands the moment you're done. Really, the MOMENT you're done.

I am sure there are more lessons from the cinnamon rolls, but just now I am waiting for the next step - baking them. If you've made this sort of thing before, tell me - can you let them do their second rising overnight so they get nice and fluffy and can bake fresh in the morning, or will you end up with a sort of uber-roll that won't fit in the oven and menaces you when you get too close?

Mmm, cinnamony goodness...

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

Things I did during various stages of waiting to bake cinnamon rolls from scratch:

Played solitaire. A LOT of solitaire.

Dishes. Two loads in the dishwasher and several hand washed.

Wiped flour off the mixer, counter, floor, dishwasher, oven, stove, ceiling fan, walls, cats, son, ceiling, Yule tree, table, chairs, cupboards, and internal workings of the heat pump.

Made lunch for T, myself, and Bird.

Ate lunch.

Put away two loads of dishes and started a third.

One and a half loads of laundry.

Cleaned off the vanity at the foot of my bed that was stacked several feet high with assorted stuff and nonsense.

Showered, taking special care to remove now cement-like dough, cinnamon, and brown sugar from under nails and out of hair - have to look nice for T's work party tonight. Maybe they'd like some cinnamon rolls?

Fielded several phone calls from various folks wanting various information about various other folks.

Assembled party clothes for self and T, which I will be happy to wear but he won't, but too bad because nothing else is clean or the right size.

Make icing for the rolls that are now filling the house with a lovely scent. If they taste horrible, I don't care - they smell fantastic! I can always use them for doorstops...

Can ya smell 'em??


They smell good. They look good.

Now I'm waiting for T to get home and try one - I'm afraid to. What if they're awful? What if they're little cinnamon scented hockey pucks??

I used two cake pans, there were so many. I frosted half. If they're any good, I'll put the unfrosted lot away and re-heat the tomorrow, see how they do with that. If they work out OK, then I know I can bake them on Xmas eve and have them Xmas morning.

Now where the hell is T?? I want to know how they taste. I am having a flashback to my childhood and those Life Cereal ads - give it to Mikey, he'll try anything...

Aww, hell...cover me, I'm going in!!

Caramelized sugar in the pan...mmm...

Hey, not bad! I may use less brown sugar next time, and even more cinnamon (with safety goggles and plastic gloves for safety), and make half with raisins in (because I LOVE raisins, and T really, emphatically doesn't) and I wonder how they'd taste with less of an icing and more of a light citrus glaze? Ooh, or a sort of almond paste filling and a citrus glaze!

Woo-hoo, I did it!!

Dontcha want one??

The ones I made Xmas morning turned out fine. I made them the night before, but baked them Xmas morning, and made a light glaze for folks to drizzle over 'em. The ones in these pictures are from that morning, since I didn't have my wits enough about me to photograph the flour, the dough, or the chaos of the first lot.

'K, toodles, y'all...for some reason I want some dinner...


Rick said...

Yes, I DO want one. Two of those and a glass of milk and I've there. You did leave me some, didn't you?


Kyddryn said...

Nah, they don't reheat well. I make 'em fresh for guests.

Black Hockey Jesus said...

I can't cook. It's too confusing to get everything to work out all at once. I'm not God.

Nice rolls.