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Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I love to bake. I am not the best at it but I like to give it a good try anyway. When I do bake I usually use a mix. I am, it seems, prone to forget an ingredient every once in a while. That's why I like a good mix, less chance of leaving something important out.  For instance, one Christmas I decided to make bread pudding for breakfast. I had bought a beautiful loaf of panatone  bread at Panera just for the occasion. I followed the directions in the recipe, or so I thought. I soaked the bread in the custard mixture for an hour. Poured it all into the pan and into the oven. It came out perfect. I scooped up its deliciousness and dolloped it with a spoonful of homemade whipped cream. With anticipation I took the first bite. Something was very wrong. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't right. I tried to figure out what I had done wrong. I went through all of the steps in my head. What did I do. Instead of bread pudding it tasted more like french toast. I forgot the sugar! Of all things to forget in a bread pudding I forgot the sugar! We decided since it tasted like french toast we would just put pancake syrup on it. Not what I had imagined for Christmas morning but it ended up just fine.

Sunday I decided to try my hand at making cinnamon rolls from almost scratch. In other words, I bought a hot roll mix and made it from there. This is a step up, I usually make them from a tube. Valerie had made cinnamon rolls this last Christmas and they were wonderful, so I had the confidence to give it a go myself. I followed the directions on the mix. I heated up the water and poured it into the mix.

I forgot the yeast. I looked at the mix with the water sitting in it. I looked at the yeast. I was supposed to mix the yeast in before I put the water in. What to do now? I knew for sure with out the yeast they would be ruined. I went ahead and threw the yeast in, and mixed it into the flour that was still dry and hoped. I followed the rest of the directions, reading them three times for each step.

I kneaded the dough for exactly five minutes, I used the timer on the microwave just to be precise. I know that baking is a science as much as an art. When I cook, I throw things in willie nillie, I don't tend to measure. When I bake, I follow the directions. I figure people smarter and more experienced then me figured this all out. I rolled the dough.

I made the filling. Now here, I did my own thing. I knew this was not a part of the chemical process. I had fun. I softened the butter and stirred in some vanilla extract. I spread it all over the dough. I mixed brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and some nutmeg together and spread that all over the butter. I used the pumpkin pie spice instead of just cinnamon for the extra flavor. I wanted something crunchy. I didn't think to buy nuts at the store. What to use? I remembered I had sunflower kernels in the freezer. I didn't know how that would turn out, but I didn't know if they were even going to rise right so I figured what the heck and tossed them on.

I rolled them and cut them and got them into the pan. Now, the hardest part of all, time to let them rise. I covered them with cellophane and a towel and set the timer for thirty minutes. Would they rise? Would all of this effort be rewarded or be in vain. I went and found other things to do for the eternal thirty minutes.

Beep, beep, beep. I went to the kitchen. I lifted the towel. They hadn't risen. There was a little puffiness but they were not double the size. My heart fell.

I have a double oven that I love. I had been preheating the lower oven for the rolls. The upper oven was warm but not hot, I decided to put the rolls int there to see if I could get them to rise. I put the towel back on. I put them in the oven and shut the door. I set the timer and waited, less then patiently, once again.

Beep, beep, beep. I go to the kitchen, I open the oven door. Slowly, I peal away the towel peaking under it like I was expecting something to pop out at me. TAH DAH! They raised! I clapped in glee! I happily put them into the lower oven and went to do something else. And forgot to set the timer.

 Luckily, I remembered soon enough and kept a good eye on them. I pulled them from the oven and they looked scrumptious. I happily made the glaze and poured it all over them. The brown sugar had caramelized on the bottom making them crunchy, and gooey and delicious! The sunflower seed kernels worked very well giving that nutty goodness I had wanted. Despite almost forgetting the yeast, the project was quite a success!

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