Sunday, January 22, 2012

Keep calm and have a Cinnamon Bun!

Life Lessons totally start in the kitchen. I don't know about you, but every time I have a baking fail I very logically assess what I did, try to figure out where I made the boo-boo and then figure out what I'm going to change next time. Fact: I do not transfer this skill to other aspects of my life, and I really should. When I eff up at grown up activities I normally pout, get all pissed off, and then either take it out on my credit card, or my lovely-wonderful-understanding (sometimes) man of the house.

My above reaction could probably make the argument that cooking could led to World Peace.

Here are the top 5 things I have learned in the kitchen:

1. Clean up as you go, there will be limited mess at the end - Thanks Dad. This is totally transferable to grown up activities as well.

2. When things don't go as planned try it again, but make sure you change something. Unless you make an adjustment, things will stay the same. Hm, sounds like I could use this skill in other aspects of my life.

3. When you are waiting for something to chill, rise, or rest, go do something else. You could sit around and stare at your creation, which will probably lead to you rushing the waiting period and it not turning out the way you want it to. Go to the gym, sweat it out, clean your house, go get groceries. By the time the waiting period is over, you will have accomplished something else, and even if your baking is a fail, you have already accomplished something else! Another transferable lesson, perhaps?

4. Read all the instructions first. There is nothing worse than getting to the end of a recipe and reading that you can skip the first six steps because you only have to do the last two. I had a teacher in grade six who did this for one of the home-ec recipes we had to make. She thought she was clever. I still remember getting to the end of the recipe (obviously not reading through it first, but reading as I went), and looking over at her and she was just sitting there smiling. Ok, I get it now. I will take the time to read through the instructions first. Something else that I could transfer to grown-up life...

5. Cook things that you enjoy the most! When you want to try making something, do it. Sure, you will always have to make the recipes that are boring, but when you get the opportunity to do something that you want. Take it!

...Is there a trend here?

Apple Spice Cinnamon Buns (adapted from Sprinkled with Flour and Cooking Light recipes)

2 1/4 tsp yeast (or one package)
1/4 cup warm water
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup sour cream
3 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract  
2 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 1/2 cup kamut, and a scant 1 cup whole wheat, but the type of flour you use is your call!), plus more for kneading
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter, chilled
3 tbsp apple sauce
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Icing sugar


In a large mixing bowl, sprinkled the yeast over the water and let it stand until bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the butter, sour cream, sugar, egg, and vanilla.

Beat in 2 cups of the flour, the salt, and the baking soda until combined.

Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour and continue mixing until a smooth, soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour surface (keep your mixing bowl handy) and knead it until smooth, about 3 minutes.  As you knead, add more flour if the dough is sticky, no more than 2 tbsp though. Place the dough back in the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down; cover and let rest for 5 minutes.  In a small bowl cut butter into sugar and cinnamon until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the apple sauce until combined.

Roll the dough into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Spread brown sugar apple sauce mixture over top. Roll up the rectangle tightly, starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal.

Cut roll into 12 one-inch slices (mine weren't very even, so don't feel too bad about this). Place slices in a 9-inch square baking with parchment paper. Cover and let rise 25 minutes or until doubled in size

Preheat oven to 375°.

Bake the rolls at 375° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

Combine the sour cream and icing sugar in a small bowl and drizzle over the cooled cinnamon buns.

Eat as fast as possible. Or slowly, if that's what you want to do. Just do it the way you want to.

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