Friday, May 18, 2012

Quite the Pair

I am generally a fairly patient person.  Of course, any of my friends would tell you, that this is far from the case when it comes to food.  I mostly eat cereal, yogurt, and salads, because I can't stand waiting for things to cook.  When I am hungry, I want to be fed 10 minutes ago.  The same is kind of true when it comes to baking.  I want to mix things in a bowl, put it in the oven, and be done.  Yeast breads don't give you that option.  You have to let the dough rise, and then punch it down, and then let it rise again.  I HATE making anything with yeast.  Cinnamon buns, however delicious they may be, are one of my worst enemies.  They take FOREVER.

Last night, I was supposed to go to my friends' place for a wine and game night, but I decided to make cinnamon buns first and they took so long that I didn't get to go play games.  Curse you little bundles of doughy cinnamon sugar goodness...

You're probably wondering why I would make them if I just told you how much I despise them.  Well, it's a long story, a few years in the making actually.  But we'll skip all the details.  All you need to know is that my friend Justin is a very important person in my life, and that he likes cinnamon buns.  That was kind of our thing: whenever I found something cinnamon-bun related, I would post it on his wall.  So for his birthday this year, I decided a few months ago that I was going to make him a GIANT cinnamon bun.  Then, about two weeks ago, out of the blue, he tells me that cinnamon buns are no longer his favorite, but instead he likes apple crisp.  Um, excuse me?  I don't think so.  I had been planning this thing for months, and you're just going to pick something ordinary and boring and unattractive as a birthday cake?  Great.

There was no way I was going to make him a pan of apple crisp for his birthday, so I talked it over with Stacy, and she came up with the idea of combining the two.  It ended up in the end being more of just apple cinnamon buns and it kind of lacked the "crisp" aspect, but I think it gets my point across.  All that matters is that I had no idea what I was doing, and they turned out AMAZING.  Paula Deen, you are my heroine for this base recipe.  I was trying to rush to get to game night, so I'm sorry I don't have step by step photos, but they are really easy to make, so just follow Paula's instructions and you should have no trouble.

Apple Cinnamon Buns
Recipe adapted from Paula Deen
Yield: About 2 dozen

Follow her recipe for the dough and filling.  I subbed in soy milk for scalded milk in the dough, and then omit the raisins in the filling.  Instead, chop two macintosh apples into very small chunks.  Cook in a large skilled with 2 Tbs of butter over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until soft and slightly browned.

Roll out the dough, brush with the butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture, leaving an inch of space around the edges.  Then sprinkle apples on top.  Roll it up and slice into discs 3/4"-1" thick with a very sharp serrated knife.  Place side by side in a well-buttered pan and allow to rise until doubled in size.  Then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

Trick for the end scraps: I like to take the ends with no filling and roll them in leftover filling mixture in the bowl and place them in muffin tins (about three per cup).  They make really great monkey bread muffins!

Ready to roll
When baked
Close up
If I really wanted to make them more apple crisp-like, I could add a crumb topping.  I didn't last night for two reasons: 1) I didn't want to make them too sweet, and 2) I didn't have enough brown sugar.  But in the end, they were so good you really didn't need anything else.

Justin, I don't have to tell you how much you mean to me.  Happy Birthday, kid <3
Love and cookies,

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