I cleaned out a desk this past week and came across a box of old recipes. I sorted perused the possibilities that I wanted to try again. I had about 10 in the running, but until I went to the farmers market I had no idea what would inspire me.
At the market, I was selecting baby eggplants when I spotted flour and bread at the farm booth. I'd never bought anything from this farm and I think it is relatively new to the U-District Farmers Market as not many farmers grow and sell wheat and flour for the market.
I picked up a loaf and when the young farmer said, I grow the wheat and potatoes and make the bread myself, I was sold.
My Cooking Assistant is an easy sell too. The bread was delicious and with the weather turning cooler these days, I wanted to make the cinnamon roll recipe I'd found. How many years had it been?
I remember the day I got this recipe from my friend Jules when I lived just south of Bellingham, Washington decades ago. I envied Jules because she made everything from scratch--pizza, pie crust, and cinnmon rolls. I got many of my classic recipes from Jules.
The more stains on a recipe card or page, the better the recipe is, or so my mother says. I remember making these rolls for Mom when she came to visit years ago. She loved them, but she always preferred walnuts to raisins. You can add either or both to this recipe.
If you use local flour, make sure it is hard wheat not whole wheat pastry flour. You need enough gluten in the flour for these rolls to rise.
If you knead by hand, you can never over-knead it. You can knead and knead again. I love kneading and I love stretching out the amount of time devoted to rising. Kneading bread dough is like playing with play dough, only better because you get to eat the end product.
Punch it down, let it rise and do it again. Make sure no drafts hit the dough while it is rising.
Spread a layer of sweet cinnamon-sugar and butter or Earth Balance spread over the dough, roll it up and let them rise again. Freeze some of the rolls and enjoy them all week long if you want.
Here's Jules's recipe:
The Best Cinnamon Rolls
(Makes about 10 rolls)
1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk (dairy, soy, rice or almond)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups unbleached white flour (or mixed)
1 tablespoon shortening (oil or butter will also work)
1/2 cup butter or Earth Balance
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins, currants, cherries or chopped walnuts or pecans
Dissolve yearst in warm water and milk. Allow to sit for 10 minutes while mixture bubbles up. Stir in sugar and salt. Add flour and shortening and mix until a dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured board for about 10 minutes. Form into a round ball. Dough should be smooth.
Cover with a wet dish towel or an oiled piece of plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. Punch it down, knead it again and let it rise for about 30 minutes or until a finger poked into it leaves and indentation.
Place the ingredients for the filling, except the nuts and raisins, in a bowl and mash them together. Stir in the nuts and raisings. After the dough rises a second time, punch it down and flatten the dough, stretching out out to a large rectangl--about 18 by 12.
Spread the filling over the dough, then roll the dough, lengthwise. Roll as tightly as you can and when done, pinch the edges together. Slice 3/4 to 1-inch rolls. Set on parchment paper and cover with a wet tea towel or oiled plastic wrap.
Preheat oven to 350F. When rolls have doubled in size, remove wrap and bake for 25 minutes or longer. Remove entire length of parchment paper from pan and cool rolls on cooling rack.
It's so gratifying to have these rolls loved by everyone.