This is not a post about vomit, though it wants to be. There was a time when I thought all my posts would be about vomit, and aren't we all lucky that didn't happen? But this post does start with vomit, and that's as good a place to start as any.
Oh, actually I guess it starts with Sarah McLachlan, because that's where I was for a small chunk of Monday, watching her perform. Fortunately, she does not sing about vomit, though she does tell birth stories on stage, which is what I'd do if I were a famous singing person. She played a good, solid three hours, so I got home late, watched an episode of something to settle my brain, and then went up to check on my kids. My diva, my lifetime solid sleeper, was awake.
"Mommy, my tummy hurts."
We were up for another two hours. I'll spare you the details.
The next day she had a fever, and she kept that fever holding steady right on through Friday. Her teacher sent her work home so she wouldn't fall too far behind. But really, who wants to work when you're sick? We'd get a page out of her, then a fair amount of complaining, then another page. We got her through a few math sheets, and one writing sheet, and she was clearly done. But the work mountain wasn't much smaller.
So I bribed her.
She had one assignment - a read-and-summarize assignment - about bread-baking. So I pulled out my gorgeously stunning Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking book, and I said, "You do that last summary and learn about baking bread, and then you can pick any bread you want out of this book, and we'll make it this weekend."
And we did. She did her assignment. And this morning I baked my first yeast bread, with the best possible helper a home chef could have. She loves to bake, this girl. She also loves cinnamon rolls. And who wouldn't?
With great praise to the editors at Williams-Sonoma, who wrote this fabulous recipe. (Also, buy this book. It's teaching me to bake. It's awesome.)
For the dough
2 packages (5 tsp) active dry yeast
1 c (250 ml) whole milk, heated to warm (105-115 F / 40-46 C)
1/2 c (125 g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
5 1/2 c (845 g) all-purpose flour (plus extra for the work surface)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mace
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 c (125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the filling and egg glaze
6 Tbs (90 g) granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
About 1/4 c (60 g) unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
1 large egg, beaten
For the vanilla glaze
1/2 c (60 g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, sifted
1/4 c (60 ml) heavy (double) cream
1 tsp vanilla extract (essence)
The book has instructions for you to work by hand or by stand mixer. I have a stand mixer - the pride and joy of my kitchen - so that's what's typed out here. And if you want the sticky buns variation that looks utterly to die for, well, you'll have to go get yourself a copy of the book. Did I mention that the book is awesome?
By STAND MIXER: To make the dough, in the 5-qt (5-l) bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes (mine never really got foamy, but we'd measured the temperature of the milk precisely and set the kitchen timer, so we went ahead with the recipe, and it turned out just fine). Add the granulated sugar, eggs, flour, salt, mace, orange zest and butter. Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the dough hook, and knead on low speed. Add a little more flour as needed (we didn't need it) for the dough to come away from the sides of the bowl after a few minutes of kneading. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5-7 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl.
Form the dough into a ball, transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
To make the filling, in a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Line a half-sheet pan or rimless baking sheet with parchment (baking) paper.
Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut it in half with a sharp knife. Lightly dust the surface of the dough with flour. Roll out one half of the dough into a 10-by-16-inch (25-by-40-cm) rectangle. Brush the surface of the rectangle with half of the melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Starting at the long side farthest from you, roll up the rectangle toward you into a log.
Cut the log crosswise into 8 slices each 2 inches (5 cm) thick. Place the slices, cut side up, in a circle, side by side and barely touching, on half of the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough, melted butter, and cinnamon-sugar mixture, arranging the rolls on the other half of the pan. For crisper rolls, space them evenly on the pan.
Cover the rolls loosely with a kitchen towel and let them rise in a warm, draft-free spot until they have doubled in size and are spongy to the touch, 30-40 minutes. Alternatively, place the rolls in the refrigerator and let them rise slowly overnight (that's what we did).
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 F (200 C).
If you have refrigerated the rolls, let them come to room temperature for 30-40 minutes. Brush the rolls lightly with the beaten egg. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a roll comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.
Just before the rolls are ready, make the vanilla glaze. In a small bowl, stir together the confectioner's sugar, cream and vanilla until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture thickens slightly. Let the rolls cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack, then brush on the glaze while they are still warm. Pull the buns apart and serve warm.