Monday, April 9, 2007

Bunses. Yup.

Every now and then I'm siezed by the impulse to bake horrible, gooey treats; after yesterday, I figure it's justified. My cold, blustery Sunday afternoon was spent collecting signatures in a (possibly) vain attempt to petition the local government to hold a referendum on annexation. It was a difficult task because people seemed to think the petition was a vote, but it wasn't. Out of the seventeen people I spoke to there were two "I need to think about it" and one outraged "I'm not signing anything". My response to them is this: By not signing, you're allowing the town government to remove you from the democratic process and make your decisions for you. This is how fascism starts, folks. Having said that, hopefully you understand why I felt justified in baking gooey treats, and why I'm misquoting the Beatles' song title, which has absolutely nothing to do with buns of any kind.
Before I headed back out to get a few more signatures this afternoon, I tracked down a good recipe for cinnamon buns. Mixed the dough in Davros's bowl, left it in the bread machine--which is surely the warmest place in the house-- and went on my not-so-merry way. When I got home, the dough was ready and I was more than ready for something more pleasant than popping up on people's doorsteps to ask them to sign the petition. Sure, you can get 'em in a tube at the grocery store -- and there's nothing wrong with that -- but there's just something about... Happiness is a warm cinnamon bun. Yup.

Cinnamon Buns:
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 package yeast
1 cup soy milk, scalded and skimmed (can you even DO that with soy milk?)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter -- about 10 tablespoons -- or vegetable shortening
2 eggs

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup finely chopped nuts or raisins
1/3 cup melted butter

Icing (optional, but always yummy)
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

For the dough, mix flour, sugar, eggs, and butter in a mixing bowl until the consistence is a bit like coarse crumbs. Heat the milk until it boils, then take it off the heat and let it cool to 115 degrees. Add the yeast and stir to dissolve. Let the yeast sit for ten minutes, then add to flour mixture. Mix until thoroughly incoporated and dough is smooth. Let rise for about an hour, then punch down and knead. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. You can divide the dough here if you don't have a big work surface (I don't) and work each piece separately. Roll it out into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick, and spread the filling on it. Roll it up as you would a jelly-roll (on the long side), and cut into 2 inch slices.
For the filling: Plop the sugar, nuts, and spices into a mixing bowl and mix to incorporate. Add the melted butter and stir until it's a thick paste. Spread it evenly on the dough. If you divided the dough, don't worry, it makes more than enough to cover both pieces.
Put the slices in a greased baking sheet or spring-form pan and bake on the middle oven rack at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

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