07 March 2009

Special for Michelle

I'm afraid of yeast.

We got a breadmaker for our wedding. I tried to make bread in it once and it was a dismal failure, so after it sat our shelf for awhile, I gave it to a friend. Alas, though I parted with the equipment, I didn't part with the conviction that baking with yeast wasn't for me.

I've pretty much kept that idea with me until now. Now I feel a little more advanced with cooking and baking, and I think I'm ready to do the yeast challenge, which means, bake anything that contains yeast. Last weekend I was ready to do so, and I decided I wanted to make cinnamon rolls.

When I started to thumb through a few of my favorite cookbooks, I noticed a disturbing trend in cinnamon roll recipes: they all need to rise for two or more hours. How is that conducive to morning consumption? No wonder bakers have to get up at 3 am!

Though I want to make cinnamon rolls with yeast for the fam and eat them for breakfast, I'm really not that sacraficial as to get up at 3 am to make all that happen. Therefore, last weekend I went back to my favorite cinnamon rolls without yeast recipe, which is from Cook's Illustrated. I'm putting it up here so that my friend Michelle, who also doesn't want to get up at 3 am, can give it a try. As for my next foray though, it may have to wait until after I have this baby, because I find these cinnamon rolls entirely too tempting!

If I'm not going to make cinnamon rolls with yeast, what should I make with yeast?

Quick Cinnamon Buns with Buttermilk Icing
Note: where this recipe calls for buttermilk, I've had equal success souring milk with lemon juice instead. A cup of milk added to a tablespoon of lemon juice and left to sit for five minutes usually does the trick.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon unsalted butter , melted, for pan

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (packed, 5 1/4 ounces)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (1 3/4 ounces)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter , melted

Biscuit Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces), plus additional flour for work surface
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted

Icing
2 tablespoons cream cheese , softened
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 cup confectioners' sugar (4 ounces)

Instructions
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; brush to coat pan. Spray wire rack with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
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 until mixture resembles wet sand; set filling mixture aside.
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. Following illustrations below, fill, roll, cut, 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 in large nonreactive bowl until thick and smooth (mixture will look like cottage cheese at first). Sift confectioners’ sugar over; whisk until smooth glaze forms, about 30 seconds. Spoon glaze evenly over buns; serve immediately.

1 comment:

Megan & Christian said...

Jamie,
Try pizza crust. You can do quick versions with rapid rise yeast or the longer versions with the regular stuff. I frequently use a wheat crust from Cooking Light that's good and easy to put together.