The subject of challenge (which I chose) is food to cherish your loved ones with and really, the reason I chose this was for these cinammon buns.
Warm, fragrant, oozing cinammony sweet butter. What better way to cherish your loved ones (foodwise, that is) than to knock up a batch of these beauties for that most important of meals, breakfast. I'm not saying I make this sort of thing every morning, but every now and again, well, I think you know what I'm saying.
I have a Swedish friend who I don't see nearly enough. She and I 'raspberry leaf tea'd and long brisk walked' our way through the final weeks of our first pregnancies. We were due 10 days apart and ended up giving birth to our sons within 12 hours of each other, albeit in different hospitals. She coped with it all much better than I, birth, breastfeeding, the whole babyness of babies, and within weeks she was my Scandi saviour, bringing down to earth common sense to my hormonal, slightly post-natal slump, and Swedish cinammon buns.
It was she who was our saviour a couple of years' later, the chaotic day, 3 months in to Blue's treatment for leukaemia, that Pink arrived and Blue was very poorly following some chemo. When, later on in Blue's illness I turned to How to be a Domestic Goddess in an attempt to cook my way out of the frustration and anger that had built up inside me, I saw this recipe and immediately thought of her. This was one of the first things I made from that tome, and it has stayed firmly in my repertoire ever since.
I do not know anyone who would not happily eat 2 or 3 (or, ahem, more, she said, red-faced) of these beauties. They have become the birthday breakfast of choice here and they are well worth it. The first few times I made them, I got terribly het up about the wetness of the dough, and also with the timings - because I never quite read the recipe through properly and they ended up taking me longer than anticipated. However, with my new found bread-making confidence, when I served them up this morning I was feeling calm and serene - very Domestic Goddess (although without the knowing pout or the slinky dressing gown).
When I made the dough up, I was careful with the addition of the liquid, and I stopped short of using it all, reserving what was left (a milky buttery eggy mixture) to glaze the buns on the final prove. I also made the dough up the night before and gave it the first rise in the fridge, so that in the morning, I just had to get it out of the fridge and let it come to temperature before forming the buns, giving it a second prove, and baking.
Norwegian Cinammon Buns
300g strong white flour
pinch of salt
11/2 sachets (about 10g) dried yeast
50g unsalted butter
1 large egg
75g soft unsalted butter
75g soft brown sugar
1 tsp cinammon
(possibly an extra egg to glaze)
You will need a lined baking/roasting tin - the one I use is 20 x 25cm.
Make the dough. Melt the butter and set aside to cool a little. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl, then whisk together the melted butter, milk and the egg.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients gradually, stirring to combine. You want a reasonably wet dough, but not so wet that it becomes unreasonable to manage, so if you don't use all the liquid don't worry - I had around 30ml left over. When you have a rough dough, turn out and knead to a smooth, springy ball of dough. You can do this in a mixer with a dough hook just as well as by hand - it won't take as long. If you don't use all the liquid, reserve the left over for glazing
At this stage put the dough back in the bowl and cover with clingfilm. You can leave the dough to rise for 25 minutes or so on the work top, or overnight in the fridge (which is what I did - if you do this, just get it out and let it come to room temperature before continuing with the next stage).
Preheat the oven to 230C. Make the filling by mashing and mixing together the butter, sugar and cinammon.
Take 1/3 of the dough and on a lightly floured surface, roll and stretch it out to fit the bottom of the tin. You then need to roll out the rest of the dough to make a rectangle. I completely failed to measure how big, but probably about 30-40 cm long by 15-20 wide. Certainly longer and wider than your tin, Not very helpful is it? Nigella herself makes a double quantity and rolls her dough to 50x25 cm.
Spread the filling all over the rectangle of dough
and then roll up along the long side. When you have a big old roll of dough in front of you. slice it up into 2 cm slices, placing the little rounds into the tin swirl side up. They won't fit together snugly at this stage, but wait till they have puffed up and risen during the second rise and in the oven...
Glaze the buns with either the left over liquid from the dough, or with a beaten egg, and leave to prove under a tea towel for 15-20 minutes, then bung in the oven for 20-25 minutes, turning half way through.
It's going to be hard but try and wait for them to cool down a little before tearing apart and devouring with a cup of coffee and the satisfied sighs of delight from your loved ones. "Mummy, this is such a TREAT!". May be I'll make them more often...
Forever Nigella is the monthly blogging event organised by Sarah at Maison Cupcake, I'm hosting it this month and the announcement post where you will find all the rules and the linky is here.