A comfort activity. That’s what I needed this afternoon while I continue to wait, wait, wait for that telephone call that starts with, “We are on our way to the hospital. Sarah’s in active labor.” Alas, how to fill the time until that call comes?
How else? Bake!
Don’t ask me why but lately I’ve had a need, a wish, a craving to master – or at least try to halfway master – making yeast breads. I want to knead dough, watch it rise, punch it down, have it rise again, and then see it brown in my oven, emitting that delectable smell only yeast breads, whether plain, sweet or savory, can produce.
I have an indelible memory of that delicious yeasty scent wafting from the kitchen at the Gem Cafe, the restaurant my Uncle Doc and Aunt Dana owned in my hometown. That kitchen produced the most delicious yeast rolls I’ve ever eaten.
But today I didn’t want to make yeast rolls. I’ll save that for a family dinner. Instead, I wanted to try my hand again at a honey-sweetened cinnamon roll. I say again because I tried last week – another day when a comfort activity was needed – and those rolls flopped. Hard, no rise at all, and just plain bad. Today, I wanted a second chance to see if I could create a cinnamon roll minus refined sugar that had the rise and softness of a good yeast roll, plus all the cinnamony sweetness that makes for a delicious bun.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve had a tasty homemade honey-sweetened cinnamon roll. Try several years back before Mani’s Bakery closed here in LA. They were the only place that made honey-sweetened goodies that were actually eatable in all of Los Angeles, or, at least, that I knew about, and I make it my business to know about these things. Hence, my desire for success…
Let me cut to the chase.
This batch of cinnamon rolls is soft, thick, sweet and gloriously gooey.
I am feeling exceedingly pleased.
Below is the recipe I used and pictures of the process in my kitchen. Let it be said that honey-sweetened treats CAN be as good, if not better, than those with white sugar. Plus, they supply nutrients! Off the bandwagon I go, but I think pretty much anybody would taste these and say, “Hmmm. This is GOOD.” In fact, I had a taste-tester who said just that.
Now I just need to get that phone call.
Here is the recipe, friends, for any of you who are interested. I’d love to hear how your baking fares if you decide you need a comfort activity, too.
Sticky Honey Cinnamon Rolls
Prep Time: 3 hrs Total Time: 3 hrs 30 mins Serves: 16, Yield: 16 rolls
3/4 cup water
1 large egg
3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons powdered milk
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
5 tablespoons melted butter
5 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons powdered milk
Make the dough in your machine on the Dough setting. (if you don’t have a bread machine mix ingredients together in the order stated and then let rise, then roll out.).
Roll out the dough into a 12 X 16 inch rectangle.
Combine filling ingredients and spread over dough, leaving a narrow border all around. Beginning at one long side, roll into a cylinder and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 16 1-inch thick slices.
Butter a 9 X 13 inch pan. Combine glaze ingredients and pour into pan. Lay rolls on top of glaze. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled.
Place the pan on a baking sheet (to catch any drips). Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter. Serve warm.
Here is the process from start to finish: