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Monthly Archive for September, 2007

Cinnamon Buns

I met the challenge… the Daring Bakers challenge that is!


I am very excited to be involved w/ this great group of talented bakers. For September, we were asked to try our hand at cinnamon buns. I’ve never made these delicious goodies but was looking forward to it because who can resist the smell of cinnamon and other spices wafting from the oven!! And who can resist not biting into one (or two) of the finished product! I know I can’t!! Here’s my version of the selected recipe…


Cinnamon Buns (from Peter Reinhart´s The Break Baker´s Apprentice)


15 minutes mixing; 3 1/2 hours fermentation, shaping and proofing; 20 to 40 minutes baking.

Yield: Makes 8 to 12 large or 12 to 16 smaller cinnamon buns


  • 6 1/2 tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons (2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract OR 1 teaspoon grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast*
  • 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature OR 3 tablespoons powdered milk (DMS) and 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, or any other spices you want to use, cardamom, ginger, allspice, etc.)
  • White fondant glaze (at the end of the recipe.)  

*Instant yeast contains about 25% more living cells per spoonful than active dry yeast, regardless of the brand. Instant yeast is also called rapid-rise or fast-rising.

1. Cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and mixing bowl and do it by hand); if you are using powdered milk, cream the milk with the sugar, and add the water with the flour and yeast. Whip in the egg and lemon extract/zest until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, and milk. Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

2. Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

3. Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Proceed as shown in the photo on the left for shaping the buns.

(Transcription: (A) Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Don´t roll out the dough too thin, or the finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump. (B)Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and (C) roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller buns.)

4. Line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately 1/2 inch apart so that they aren´t touching but are close to one another.

5. Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size. You may also retard the shaped buns in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, pulling the pans out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof.

6. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the oven rack in the middle shelf.

7. Bake the buns for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

8. Cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes and then streak white fondant glaze across the tops, while the buns are warm but not too hot. Remove the buns from the pans and place them on a cooling rack. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving.

White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns

Cinnamon buns are usually topped with a thick white glaze called fondant. There are many ways to make fondant glaze, but here is a delicious and simple version, enlivened by the addition of citrus flavor, either lemon or orange. You can also substitute vanilla extract or rum extract, or simply make the glaze without any flavorings.

Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon or orange extract and 6 tablespoons to 1/2 cup of warm milk, briskly whisking until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the milk slowly and only as much as is needed to make a thick, smooth paste.

When the buns have cooled but are still warm, streak the glaze over them by dipping the tines of a fork or a whisk into the glaze and waving the fork or whisk over the tops. Or, form the streaks by dipping your fingers in the glaze and letting it drip off as you wave them over the tops of the buns. (Remember to wear latex gloves.)

**The only variations I made to the recipe were:

1) I used orange zest instead of lemon zest

2) For the spices, I used Penzy’s Cake Spice and ground cardamom seeds

3) I brushed the fondant onto the buns which resulted in a light glaze

I brought the buns to my friends’ house for dessert. We all loved them and found it hard to resist eating all of them!!

Until next time…


Telluride, Colorado




Welcome to the Telluride airport… located on a plateau 9080 feet above sea level. The runway is somewhat concave – you land on a downward slope and take off going uphill. If winds exceed 10 nautical miles per hour you must divert!

Pilots say it’s one of the most challenging airports to fly into. See for yourself…

 Safe travels :-)


Basil Mojito


This year, when you have friends over to harvest your basil and make pesto, whip up a batch of these to quench their thirst!!

They’re easy drinking and, ahhhh, so refreshing…

Basil Mojito (recipe adapted from Texas Monthly)


8 limes – quartered

8 ounces simple syrup

40 medium sized fresh basil leaves  – chiffonade, plus 4 sprigs for garnish

2 cups ice – coarsely crushed

6 ounces light rum

8 ounces club soda


1) Make simple syrup: In a medium size pot add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 14 basil leaves (chiffonade). Simmer over medium heat until sugar is dissolved then set aside to cool. Strain out the basil (you will have extra syrup)

2) In a large pitcher, squeeze the limes, add simple syrup and basil then muddle to extract flavor

3) Add rum, ice and club soda; stir

4) Pour into your favorite mojito glasses and garnish w/ basil sprig

** Makes 4 mojitos