Monday, 20 February 2012

Busy Baking

I've been busy baking today and yesterday, so I thought I'd share another recipe with you that we frequently enjoy - cinnamon buns. These are so popular at our home and are requested so often, that I usually find myself making them on a Sunday morning. If I have time, I can get the dough ready for the second rising before we leave for Church, and put the buns into the oven, set to come on so that they will bake whilse we are out at Church and be ready when we get home! Mmmmmm! It doesn't seem to do them any harm sitting out for a bit longer than the required 45 minute rising. They make a wonderful brunch, and I often serve these to follow home made apple coleslaw (recipe also to follow) and taties (potatoes baked in their jackets - in North East England, where we are from, this is what they are usually called), which I part bake beforehand so they can then finish baking in the oven along with the buns while we are at Church.

I use one of 2 recipes for my cinnamon buns. The basic recipe has some vanilla pudding mix in it, and the fancier one uses yellow cake mix. These 2 ingredients really elevate these delicious buns out of the bread roll category and into cakes, becuase they both somehow seem to make such a beautiful light, sweet dough. It is really worth having a go at these, if you would like to try to recreate the wonderful taste of the store bought versions (we don't have a chain bakery that sells cinnamon buns anywhere near us - I am not sure they are found anywhere in England - but you can buy almost the same thing from the Waitrose supermarket chain). These are much cheaper - and you may be surprised to know that even with the frosting on (which I don't always bother with) one bun is 350 calories, which is not over the top in my opinion (especially not if it forms part of a meal).

Anyway here is my basic tried and true recipe ...

For the buns ...

1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup butter (melted after measuring)
1/2 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix (I use sugar-free)
1 cup warm milk
1 egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon of white sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
4 cups bread flour
1 sachet (7g/25 ounces) dried yeast

1. Measure the ingredients in the order given into the pan of your breadmaking machine, and prepare on the dough cycle.
2. When done, remove from pan (the dough is light and easy to handle) and place on a floured surface (I have a pastry sheet which I find helpful to use for this as it has measurements on it).
3. Carefully stretch the dough into a rectangle about 16 inches long and 10 inches wide or thereabouts (you can make it thinner than this, but I wouldn't make it any thicker, as you're going to roll it up).
4. Spread onto this the following ingredients ...


1/4 cup butter, softened (I use margarine, which is already soft)
1 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
You can also add about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of chopped nuts or raisins, we tend to have them just plain as this is what our family prefers.

5. Spread the butter on first, leaving a margin about 1/2 an inch all around.
6. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, and then spread these on top of the butter.
7. Using the wider end of the dough nearest to you, roll up, jelly roll style, tucking the opposite end neatly underneath the roll and sealing the ends. Mould it a little with your hands if necessary to ensure it is the same width all along.
8. Now take a knife or pair of large kitchen scissors, and chop the roll into 16 equally sized pieces (you may want to discard the ends of the roll as these often don't have so much filling in them).
9. Place the rolls on a greased baking tray or pan, and cover with cling film. Leave somewhere warm to rise for about 45 minutes.
10. After they are doubled in size, place in a warm oven (175 degrees) and bake for about 20 minutes (mine took 17).
11. Allow to cool on the tray before separating them and placing on a rack to ice.

I think they look lovely just as they are, don't you?

However, if you decide you do want to frost your buns, I usually use a glaze made of about 2 tablespoons milk, approximately twice that amount of icing sugar and a drop of vanilla essence. I wait until the rolls are warm, rather than icing them as soon as they come out of the oven.

A traditional cinnamon bun frosting recipe is as follows ...

1/2 (8 ounce) pack cream cheese, softened (I would use Philadelphia)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup icing (confectioners) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/2 teaspoons milk

However more often than not, I tend not to bother to ice these at all, as the Bear family particularly love them warm, right out of the oven! The ones you can see in the picture, which we had yesterday, I did ice. Obviously 16 rolls is a great deal more than a family of 4 needs, so once they are cooled, I tend to freeze about 10 of them, wrapped individually in foil so that whenever anyone gets the urge to have a cinnamon bun, all I need to do is remove one from the freezer and warm it up in the oven! Yum!

The fancier recipe can be found here. I thoroughly recommend the Taste of Home website. At least 70% of the recipes I use come from here. It is so easy to search for a recipe for something you want to cook, and you can even create your own customised "recipe box" where you can save all the recipes that you think you'd like to try. I really like it, and am always delighted with the results of everything I've cooked from the Taste of Home magazine collection.

As I said, we often have these buns to follow hot taties served up with my home made apple coleslaw. Papa Bear really likes this, and frequently I will make up a big bowl full so that he can have some in his pack up for lunch during the week. It really is a meal in itself, although sometimes I'll embellish it further with a small tin of tuna as well.

For 4 people you need ...

6 sweet apples (Gala is a good one)
1/2 small head of white cabbage
1/2 small red onion
5 or 6 ribs of celery
2 oz red cheese (red Leicester or coloured Cheddar is good)
6 tablespoons mayonnaise (I use Hellman's extra light)
1 tablespoon salad cream (I use Colman's extra light)
juice 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1. Chop the apples into small cubes. There is no need to peel beforehand.
2. Chop the cabbage into small strips.
3. Finely dice the red onion.
4. Chop the celery ribs into 1/2 inch cubes.
5. Mix vegetables in a large serving bowl. Grate cheese over the veggies.
6. In an empty screwtop jar or a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, salad cream, lemon juice and seasonings. If using a jar, give the jar a good shake.
7. Pour dressing over salad and stir to mix.
8. This is really yummy with taties! It keeps pretty well because of the lemon juice, but to save time you could prepare everything other than the apples beforehand, and keep the dressing mix in a jar in the fridge. I have also made this using blue cheese, but we all seem to prefer the flavour of the red cheese as described above.

Finally, I just had to share with you these cute pictures. We don't usually have dessert during the week, but I really wanted to try out my new "pie bird", that we got this weekend. See how cute it looks peeking out of the cherry pie I baked for our tea? Did it help the crust any? Well, yes I think it did! It certainly prevented the filling from oozing out the top of the dish!

We certainly enjoyed slices of this, today! Tomorrow we'll have a much plainer meal though. We can't have treats like this every day, or they wouldn't be treats any more!