It's April 17th and it's snowing. It's snowing and it's grey and, though our house is up for sale, no one has even put in an offer and this town is draining the very life force from my body. But I have decided to pass along a comfort recipe to you;
THE BEST CINNAMON BUNS IN THE WORLD.
Why? I could walk around saying "Harumph," and just keep this to myself. I do have a bit of a bad attitude, but I'm still, essentially nice. Yes, lucky you. I hope this helps you enjoy and endure wherever you are. 'Cause you're not here...in this house...with the snow...and the bleakness...
This takes a day and a bit to make. If you have a social life, you know, where people call you to do things, don't start this. You need to be around.
TAKE: 1 tbsp plus 3/4 tsp of active dry yeast
3/4 cup of warm water
4 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp unbleached flour
and whisk gently in a bowl to proof the yeast
Sometimes you buy, what you THINK is yeast, but it's actually a football, or a gas cap. Get proof, always.
Leave it alone to think about what it's done for 5 or 10 minutes.
DOUGH: Incorporate proofed yeast into
1/2 cup plus 4 1/2 tsp dry, nonfat milk powder
2 1/3 cups cold water
5 to 8 cups unbleached flour
5 tsp salt
Knead it lightly. Don't go crazy. The dough should be a tad bit unruly-looking and not smooth like the hood of a car or the forehead of that woman you saw in the book store last night. 'Tell me that wasn't Botox. Only a tanker-full, I think. I mean now, instead of showering, she has to 'wash cold, with like colours and lay flat to dry.' Harlot.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate until the dough doubles in size. 1 - 2 hours. That's right! THIS dough rises in the cold. Why? Because this recipe is an aberration in the whole space/time continuum because it's so amazing. None of the regular laws of nature apply here.
While that's in the fridge rising, TAKE:
1 1/2 lbs of unsalted butter cut into 2-inch cubes
2 tbsp unbleached flour
Knead the flour into the butter with your hands. This is a good way to get rid of stress. It's very cathartic. If you want, you can shape the butter into little dolls resembling, for example, that Botox lady, or the arrogant bastard who cut you off as your were trying to merge into the off ramp lane. Yes, you could recreate him and his stupid car being the real piece of work that he was, and then you could pick him up, ignoring his pleas for mercy, and squish him into oblivion. Such power you have! Once you have finished acknowledging your demons, shape the butter into a rectangle. You can do this by putting it between two pieces of wax paper and using a rolling pin to smooth. It should be about 10 X 12.
Let it chill in the refrigerator. (This part does follow the rules of nature. Don't think you can put it in the oven to chill. That would be foolish.)
THE FUN PART:
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and lay on a floured surface...I mean the dough. (I didn't mean that YOU should lay on a floured surface. It's really none of my business what you include as your hobbies. Who am I to judge? But if you do...I know a good therapist. Drop me a line. )
TAKE the butter block and lay it on top of the dough. The dough should be longer than the butter block. Take one end of the dough and fold up over the center third. Then take the other end and fold down over everything. Then take your roller and flatten the whole issue out. This takes a bit of muscle and adjusting. Fold again and roll.
THEN, wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and put back in the refrigerator for 2 - 4 hours.
Repeat the fold-and-roll process as many times as you can during the day leaving at least the 2 hour rising period. Sometimes, you need to let the dough sit for a bit after you've taken it out of the refrigerator before you roll it. Don't ask me why. It just might not want to stretch properly. Maybe it's in a bad mood. Give it a break why don't ya?
THEN, give it a final roll before bed time, and, in the morning, you will come down to find the most lovely, pillow-like mass in your refrigerator. It's like it was massaged by angels during the night. It is, to be sure, a thing of beauty. Michaelangelo tried to paint it on the ceiling of the Cistine Chapel but, well, you know how those crazy Catholics were:
"What do you mean, the earth is NOT the centre of the universe? "This dough does what? It rises in the fridge?"
TAKE the heavenly dough and roll it out. Sprinkle it with a goodly amount of brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. You could add nuts or chocolate chips as well. I would stay away from ham or vegetables. No gravy.
THEN, roll up from one long side to the other. Pinch the seam to keep it together. Cut the roll into 1/2 inch pieces and set into a greased muffin tin or a big roasting pan. Let rise, yes, in the warmth, for about 1 hour.
BAKE at 400 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes. You'll need something underneath the pan to catch the buttery-sugary drips. My kitchen kind of fills with smoke while I'm baking these so I put my fire alarm in the dryer until they're done.
THEN eat. These are chewy buns, not like the dry, cake-like monstrosities sold in the mall. These have texture and integrity.
They contain a gazillion calories and all of the flavour that goes with them.
So there you have it. Enjoy. I'll be here, still, in this house...."Harumph."