Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cinnamony goodness: BBA #8 & #9

BBA Challenge #8: Cinnamon buns & Sticky buns
Made this one on a weeknight, while also making mac and cheese and chicken nuggets for the kiddos. It was a little hurried and hectic, but I have to say that overall (especially using my trusty stand mixer), it was a really easy recipe.

As usual, I didn't feel like the stand mixer could finish the job; the dough just never feels right when it comes out of there. So I finished up on the counter (while the kiddos cried from hunger - just kidding - sort of)...I checked for windowpane a few times and never got it, but I achieved the proper temperature and finally I just had to slap the stuff in the bowl and feed the kids dinner.

I don't have a lot of experience with rolling out dough, so I did my best and checked: exact measurements on the first try! I had to take a picture.

We really wanted fresh baked rolls that night, but by the time the rolls were rolled and ready to proof, it was 9:30, and we still had 90 minutes of rising, 20-40 minutes of baking, and 20 minutes of cooling left, so we decided to stick them in the fridge and bake them the next night.

We couldn't agree on whether to make cinnamon buns (hubby's request) or sticky buns (my favorite), so we made a few of each. Three hours on the counter to finish proofing, 23 minutes for the cinnamon rolls (perfect), and 35 minutes for the sticky buns (also perfect). The buns themselves: OMG yum. The glaze on the buns was fine, nothing great. (I did use vanilla extract instead of lemon as per hubby-request.) And the caramel, while yummy, did not have enough nuts (in my opinion) and was hard enough to set my teeth on edge; I'm thinking of cutting down or eliminating the corn syrup next time (I don't really like cooking with that stuff anyway). Funnily enough, I preferred the cinnamon buns while hubby said the sticky buns were the best ever: go figure!

fresh out of the oven (after the dropping-on-the-floor-incident, which we will not discuss because it was too traumatizing)

and frosted

sticky-bunny goodness

Hubby just came over to tell me he could eat them all right now because they are that addictive, so I'm figuring these will be made again.

BBA Challenge #9: Cinnamon Walnut Raisin Bread
Because hubby was home this weekend (no football: WAHOOOOO!!!), I decided to go for it and bake a second bread. I love to bake while he and the kiddos are hanging out, playing in the family room, and besides, the buns were easy enough and the next bread looked pretty easy, too, and I'm way behind in the Challenge and...hey, I just wanted to!

Cinnamon raisin bread is not a big favorite in this house, nor is bread with nuts, but all of the posts I read said that this one was worth it. I also decided that because hubby was home and I didn't have to bake while making dinner and taking care of the kiddos, that I would go back to the basics and mix and knead by hand and with my awesome new dough whisk.

I found the dough pretty sticky; it took me about a half-cup of additional flour before I could get it to achieve the right texture, but I got both a windowpane and the right temp, so that was pretty exciting. I did have issues with adding the raisins and nuts. In fact, I incorporated about two-thirds of each, and decided to give up (we don't love raisins or walnuts that much anyway); everything just kept falling out. But I hate to be a quitter, so I did a few dishes and then went back to work, and was able to get in the rest of the fillings.

After an hour and a half, the dough had definitely doubled. I decided (of course) to go with the cinnamon swirl version, so I rolled out the dough and spread out the mixture before rolling up my loaves.

I managed to do this whole step and get the loaves ready to bake while the hubby and kids were eating lunch; we all noticed how much more quickly I can do much of this bread-baking stuff now!

I read somewhere that if you allow the dough to over-proof, it won't spring much in the oven and the center swirl won't come apart. That's why these are so big (not because hubby and I decided to snuggle down for a little snooze while the kids were napping....nope, that's not the reason.....):

Here they are, fresh out of the oven:

And of course I elected to use the optional cinnamon-sugar-buttery topping:

And here is the lovely swirl:

Taste? It was okay. Hubby said it was the best cinnamon raisin bread he'd ever had, but he didn't have a second piece, so what does that tell you? Yeah, I guess this just isn't really our kind of bread. I imagine that the rest of this first loaf will make a delicious French toast in the next day or two and the other will be a treat for the folks at work. Will I make it again? Not for us, but hubby suggested it might make a nice gift for people around the holidays. Not a bad idea!

UPDATE: While the loaf at work disappeared within two hours, the French toast tonight was not so great. The kids ate a normal amount, but I could barely choke down a piece and hubby threw away his last two pieces; the nuts and raisins were just too weird. Don't think I'll be making this one again.