Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Quick Cinnamon Buns

I have loved this quick cinnamon roll recipe for a good 10 years now. It is from the book The New Best Recipe but I have also seen it on the Cooks Illustrated website. I can't believe that the cinnamon roll gods can be cheated with this fast recipe. No yeast, no rising, no delay to cinnamon roll happiness. Give yourself 45 minutes, start to finish, to get these made and baked. I would say the texture of these buns are a cross between a muffin and a biscuit. So good.

My family of five can devour all 8 in one sitting so I made these last night and again today. My high school kiddos run track so they eat a lot these days! Especially my son Nathan who is 18. He ate 2 or 3 last night!

They are similar to these canned cinnamon rolls but a thousand times better. Okay I've never actually tasted these, just assuming that homemade is always better.

You start out by making the biscuit dough. Once stirred together you'll knead it a few times on the counter and then pat it out to a 9"x12" rectangle. I always keep a ruler in my baking drawer for this sort of thing.

Dump the cinnamon sugar mixture on the dough and press firmly into dough. I love this part--you really smell that scant 1/8 teaspoon of cloves in the mix. 

It is kind of sticky so you'll want to use a bench scraper or a spatula to help you scrape and roll the dough. Flouring the counter does help but the dough is really tender unlike a yeast dough that is stronger.

Use plain (not mint!) dental floss and cut up the dough into eight pieces. First cut in half, then cut each half in half to have 4 pieces. Then cut those 4 pieces in half again to have 8 uniformly sized rolls. I keep dental floss in my baking drawer as well. My motto is to always be prepared to make cinnamon rolls. You can use a serrated knife if you want to but floss works way better.

Place in buttered pan and bake. Drizzle with icing and eat while warm.

Melt one stick of butter and then just measure out what you need for each step.

¾ cup dark brown sugar (packed, 5 ¼ ounces)
¼ cup granulated sugar (1 ¾ ounces)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 ½ ounces), plus additional flour for work surface
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon table salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 T. cream cheese, softened OR 2 T. sour cream can be substituted
2 T. buttermilk
1 cup powdered sugar

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Pour 1 tablespoon melted butter in 9-inch nonstick cake pan or comparable oval pan; brush to coat pan.

2. To make cinnamon-sugar filling: Combine sugars, spices, and salt in small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter and stir with fork or fingers.

3. To make biscuit dough: Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk and 2 tablespoons melted butter in measuring cup or small bowl. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until liquid is absorbed (dough will look very shaggy), about 30 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead until just smooth and no longer shaggy.

4. Pat dough with hands into 12 by 9-inch rectangle. Brush dough with 2 Tablespoons melted butter. Dump sugar mixture onto dough and press into dough. Cut with dental floss into 8 rolls, and arrange buns in buttered cake pan. Brush with 2 tablespoons remaining melted butter. Bake until edges are golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes. Use offset metal spatula to loosen buns from pan; without separating, slide buns out of pan onto greased cooling rack. Cool about 5 minutes before icing.

5. To make icing and finish buns: While buns are cooling, line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy cleanup); set rack with buns over baking sheet. Whisk cream cheese and buttermilk bowl until thick and smooth (mixture will look like cottage cheese at first). Sift powdered sugar over; whisk until smooth glaze forms, about 30 seconds. Spoon glaze evenly over buns; serve immediately.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Birthday Getaway

We didn't go to California this year for our post-Christmas getaway. Paul was out of vacation so for the first time in I don't know how long, we were not driving south on December 26th. The lack of sun was eating a hole in a my soul so for my January birthday I bought myself a plane ticket to see my parents and siblings in Chino, California for a weekend. In fact, the girls had their 15th and 12th birthday in January and early February as well so I bought them tickets too. Presto, a girls' weekend in the sunshine!

Our first stop was Bolsa Chica beach. For a warm February day we were shocked that there was pretty much not another soul on the beach. A rarity in such a crowded town.

That's my sister Carolyn above, talking away with Hallie, no doubt about something highly important like the latest video of a kitty cat on You Tube. Or the Lakers, yea probably the Lakers.

The day was filled with sunshine, laughs, greasy potato chips, handstands, shell collecting and a beautiful sunset.
This is my life right now--Hallie tortures Ilene by touching, poking, or choking, and Ilene screams 'Get away!'

"Mom the best seashells are found when the tide goes out!"

Even when we ain't runnin' around southern California playing tourist we are happy to chill at my parents' home. Picking oranges, lemons, or just enjoying a good movie.
Fresh orange juice for breakfast everyday. No joke. 

I've been picking lemons from this tree since 1978. Aren't Meyer lemons a true miracle?

My mom loves little lawn ornaments.

I am determined to give my girls a proper California education, meaning we try to visit some historical sites like the local missions. Every California kid has to learn about missions in the 5th grade and torture their parents by making replicas of a mission. Usually out of sugar cubes or cardboard. So on this day we headed to the San Juan Capistrano mission.

We opted for the tour with this cool guy in the red shirt. So cool!

walking around town to find some lunch

We dined at Ruby's on burgers and fries for lunch.

Honestly me and the girls didn't plan the black and white shirt theme!

We stayed till sunset, how could we not? 

It was about 75 degress, sunny, and perfect, everyday we were there. In the end it was time for us to head back to Long Beach airport for our flight to Salt Lake City. But I am a moron and went by the time in my Google calendar app for the return flight--4pm. Only that was Utah time, not California time. Our flight was 3pm. So we missed it. Dang you Google! So we had 6 hours to waste before the next Jet Blue flight left for Salt Lake.

playing barefoot is always better

Plenty of time to waste playing cards. An I Love Lucy deck of course.

Thankfully Long Beach airport is outside so we did get 6 more hours of sunshine.

Do I look amused that we missed our flight? I do not. Ilene does though!

Farewell California, till next time! Maybe some day we will live back under your glorious sunshine. but until then we have to settle for long weekends with family.


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