Thursday, November 3, 2011

Warm Baked Goods Beat Chilly Fall Weather

I have had the overwhelming urge to bake warm and yummy things... So Sunday I baked cinnamon rolls,  blackberry-apple pie, and bread.  Besides the chill in the air, I credit these 3 reasons:

1) The packaging on some baking sheets at Costco have the most amazing photograph of cinnamon rolls.  And not the large bakery kind,  covered in a thick layer of cream cheese frosting, but the kind that look like my mom made them... More diminutive in size, but with thin, delicate layers and the sheen of clear glaze.  The warmth and smell almost emanated from the photo, and I HAD to make some.

2) A friend on Facebook commented about the appeal of the meals described in a Dickens novel he's reading, and I asked if he recalled the breakfasts described in Farmer Boy, part of the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  (It's particularly interesting to boys, by the way, since it's about the boyhood of the man who would be Laura Ingalls' husband.) The hard-working farm family described in the book had the most amazingly large breakfast feasts, including fresh pies.  There is no dessert to tempt me so easily as berry pie, and I happened to have berries in the freezer just calling to be used just that way.

3)  We were out of bread.  :-)

You had a glimpse of the pie yesterday, and this is as much as I'm going to say about it now, because I used the recipe so similar to one I've shown in From Excavator to Pastry (Pie) Chef.

The rolls were a natural off-shoot of replenishing our bread supply.  I made a bit more of our sandwich bread dough, and used half for bread (recipe and method here) and half for cinnamon rolls.  

I couldn't leave the standard filling well enough alone, but had to "healthy it up" a bit.  The bread dough was whole-grain, which was a big plus, but on top of the necessary butter and brown sugar, I added finely chopped walnuts for 'good fats' and some protein, and some Craisins for fiber and antioxidants.  Cinnamon, a must, of course, is also suspected of regulating blood sugar and helping lower LDL (bad cholesterol), which is sure helpful in something like Cinnamon Rolls.  

I don't have a photo to show, but I rolled the topped dough, starting from the wide side.  I pull toward me as I roll to stretch the dough a bit as I go, to keep the layers as thin as possible.
I had willing volunteers for the  cutting process they enjoy

Cutting the rolled dough with thread:  Slip under at the cutting spot, cross over the top, and pull tight

As we cut the roll at about 1 1/2 inch intervals, I placed the rolls in a greased baking pan.  So that they rise up instead of out, I place them
snugly next to each other.  Since this requires a pan that isn't too big, it took a couple of tries to find the right size pan... or, in this case, a combination of pans.

I baked them for approximately 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees, until the internal temperature was 200 degrees.  I went ahead with a glaze... about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, a dash of vanilla, with enough milk mixed in to bring it to the consistency of thick cream... to finish them off.

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