Nemesis No More

It started innocently. A is leaving and she has loads of food to finish. I was intrigued by vegetarian cooking. And that’s how we started our weekly dose of cooking together. Sometimes at my place, at times at hers. And one day not too long ago, I told her I really wanted to make cinnamon rolls, I made it so many times in the past but never really nailed it. She said, yummm.. and if it’s your nemesis, then we better tackle it.

That’s how we got started making cinnamon rolls infused with coffee and maple syrup. If you’re familiar with Pioneer Woman, then this version of cinnamon roll certainly rings many bells. Hop over to her site and look at her step-by-step photos. Otherwise, enjoy your stay here. I halved her measurement, though we were not shy with the filling. Not by a long mile.

(source The Pioneer Woman)
makes approx. 40 rolls

for the dough:
475 ml milk
1/2 cup oil – we used  soy oil
1/2 cup sugar – we used brown sugar
4 cups + 1/2 cup all purpose flour, separated
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 heaping tsp baking powder
1/2 flat (scant) tsp baking soda
1/2 heaping tbsp salt –  I was shocked, but this turned out to be one of the best stuff!

for filling:
plenty of melted butter – we used about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of melted butter for each roll
plenty of sugar
generous sprinkling of cinnamon powder

for frosting:
1/2 bag icing sugar – we didn’t know what PW meant initially. We followed blindly but it turned out well. So have faith.
1 tsp maple flavoring – we used 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup milk
1/8 cup melted butter
1/8 cup brewed coffee – we used 1 tsp instant coffee mixed with 2 tbsp water
pinch of salt

  • For the dough: in a pot, heat up the milk, sugar and oil over medium heat until it’s just about to boil (but not yet). Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it react for 1 min.
  • In a big bowl, sift 4 cups of flour and slowly pour in the milk mixture. Stir until just combined. Cover with kitchen towel and let it sit in a warm place for 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour, uncover the dough and add in the baking powder, baking soda, salt and the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Stir thoroughly until combined. The dough is now ready to use.
  • Preheat oven to 190 C.
  • Working in two batch, work with half of the dough each time. Heavily floured the work surface and roll the dough into a large rectangle. The dough should be flattened very thinly.
  • Pour over the 1/4 to 1/3 cup melted butter (more or less as you prefer), then sprinkle with sugar and generous sprinkles of cinnamon powder. PW said don’t be afraid to add more sugar or butter, gooey is the goal.
  • To roll the dough, starting with the end farthest to you, roll the dough tightly towards you. When you’ve reached the end, pinch the seam and roll over so that the seam is facing down. You will have 1 very long, very gooey cinnamon log.
  • Cut the log into 1-cm slices and place them in a baking tray already coated with butter. Do not overcrowd the baking tray, as the rolls will grow.
  • Let the tray sit in a warm place, covered, for another 20 mins, while you work with the next batch.
  • Bake for 15 mins or so, until golden brown. Make the frosting while the rolls are baking.
  • To make the frosting: in a mixing bowl, mix all ingredients together. Adjust to your desired flavour. The frosting should be thick but still very pourable.
  • Once the rolls are baked, immediately drizzle the frosting over them.

Enjoy and hug your partner for a journey well completed. For I will probably not make another cinnamon roll without A.

~ Our rolls never raised. I don’t know if it’s a yeast issue or is it because we didn’t use wet towels. No wet towels instruction were given. But I will probably try this next time. With A.
~  The key to rolling the dough into a nice tight log is lots and lots of flour over your workspace. We dusted it before flattening, and after flattening, by sliding in more flour underneath the flattened dough.
~ Our rolls again didn’t raised for the 2nd time. But when it was baked, it expanded, primarily at the bottom and slightly at the top. A aptly said that’s what we would look like if we eat too much of cinnamon rolls.
~ Despite not raising or expanding, the rolls didn’t taste dense at all.
~ A liked her rolls to be not too coffee-y, but since I take my coffee black or espresso, I prefer a heavier shot of coffee.

Oh, one last thing.. what’s so great about that day, beside conquering my nemesis, I also conquered my fear of breaking my neck. I didn’t think twice before doing bungee jumping, but for the longest time, I never really dare to do head stand. But that day, A helped me with my first head stand. Still a lot of things to work on, like tightening my inner thighs, sucking in my belly and making sure my arms don’t go out, but I could hold a decent conversation upside down.

And those, my friends, those are what made a day like this so exceptional. That I am getting better at certain things, no matter how inconsequential it is.

That today I am better than I was yesterday.


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