First the bad news: I told my friend Kirstin that after a time of spiritual discernment, I had come to the decision to embrace moderation. Oh Eaters! If you had witnessed the look of pain in her eyes, you would understand why I (and here’s the good news) immediately took it back. I told my friend to dry her tears, assured her that I never meant to go through with it, and then set about proving it to her. Talk is cheap, but baked goods speak volumes (of cheap talk that we all want to hear). And they are the time-honored method for proving/buying love.
I made maki sushi rolls on Tuesday, (my daughter likes them with brown rice, avocado, sesame baked tofu and [purists, look away] cheese) and Vietnamese spring rolls on Wednesday. It seemed a natural progression to make cinnamon rolls on Thursday. It had been awhile since I’d paid a visit to my favorite cook, (next to you, Mom!) Nigella Lawson. This is a recipe for Norwegian cinnamon buns from the splendid How to Be a Domestic Goddess.
I haven’t experimented with yeast in ages, which is part of why I don’t always think of myself as a “real baker.” But I felt I needed to make these lovely, un-iced rolls because, in my youth, I was known to frequent the Cinnabon hut at the Tacoma Mall. I am ready to go public with my shame. Now I consider Cinnabons a crime against food, but back then? I would even make use of the little sidecar of extra frosting (margarine, cream cheese and sugar). So you see, anything at all that I do now, counts as moderation.
One caveat, you may find the dough is too wet; I did. Read this troubleshooting Q & A from Nigella’s website, addressing just that concern. And your rolls, like mine, may not turn out as fluffy as Nigella’s. But ladies, if you haven’t already accepted that nothing you bring to the table is going to be as fluffy as Nigella’s, accept it now. You can’t argue with cleavage of that magnitude; just politely get your flat buns out of the way.
I left some of these on Kirstin’s countertop, so something tells me all is forgiven. But honestly, I thought they needed frosting.
Norwegian Cinnamon Buns
adapted from How to Be a Domestic Goddess
4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
scant 3 tablespoons of rapid rise yeast or 3 tablespoons fresh yeast (rapid rise yeast comes in packets – use 3)
scant 1/2 cup butter (scant cube)
1 2/3 cups milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons soft, unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg, beaten, to glaze
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Butter your pan/s
Combine the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Melt the butter and whisk it into the milk and eggs, then stir it into the flour mixture. Mix to combine and then knead the dough either by hand or using the dough hook of an electric mixer until it’s smooth and springy. Form into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave it to rise for about 25 minutes.
After rising, roll or stretch the dough into roughly a 25 by 15 inch rectangle. Mix the filling ingredients in a small bowl and then spread the rectangle with the buttery cinnamon mixture. Try to get even coverage on the whole of the dough. Roll it up from the longest side until you have a giant sausage. Cut the roll into 3/4-inch slices. Set the rounds in the pan. Brush them with egg ( I “forgot” to do this) and let them rise about for about 15 minutes.
Place your pan/s in hot oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.