12 December 2005

How Jann Arden got me to rediscover cinnamon buns

Last month I got to see Jann Arden in concert. All I have to say is If you ever have an opportunity to see her live, take it--she's smart, has a lot of fun on stage and she sings great stuff. One thing she's great at is the inter-set banter...that night a good part of it around cinnamon buns.

Mmmm...cinnamon buns.

It's been years since I made them. Don't get me wrong, I eat them. I probably eat more than I should...Cinnabons, St. Cinnamon, Tim's, Farmer's Market...all good sources for lovely pastry treats. By far, Cinnabons is my favourite, but their only problem is how overly sweet they are: I wind up splitting a bun into two or three portions and, over a few days, slowly make my way through them. If I don't eat them like that, the inevitable migraine has me seeing spots and seeking refuge in a very quite and extremely dark room.

Anway, after the concert I decided to make some buns. But out of the 50-some-odd cookbooks on my shelves I only had ONE recipe for them. I thought they were a staple... I guess I was wrong. When I started going through it, the flour to yeast ratio seemed...well...off.

So I asked a bunch of baker friends for their recipes...I might as well have asked for a Lotto ticket worth $24 million...no one seemed to have a recipe. Many have left their cinnamonny cravings to squeezy doughs a la Pillsbury...how depressing is that?

Thus began the quest.

I really didn't want anything as cloying as what's the chain stores...nor did I want anything as sticky as what they offered. I wanted something slightly sweet, with a nice crumb and a little ... zingy. I have a thing for orange marmalade, so I mixed it into the dough and then used a little with the filling. I also wanted the crunch of toasted nuts with a little bit of spicy heat to them.

"Why do you have to fiddle with something doesn't need changing?"

Yeah, The Fussy Eater wasn't necessarily a fan of my plan.

What I ended up with was a a really lovely little bun that was lightly orange flavoured. I kept the flour to yeast ratio that my recipe suggested and improvised the rest--it produced a tender crumb that passed Christine's tear test. The guinea pigs liked the cranberry and spiced pecans. Definitely a hit.

What of The Fussy Eater? Well, it was hard to tell...since his mouth was full of pastries...but I take it that the "what do you mean there are none left" whimper meant he'd be willing to try them again.

Orange-Cranberry Pecan Cinnamon Buns

For the dough:
575g ap flour
3T quick-rise yeast
0.5t salt
2T granulated sugar
125g butter
375mL whole fat milk
60mL orange marmalade

For the filling:
150g pecans, chopped, toasted in butter, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and salt
125g dried cranberries
75g light brown sugar
125g butter, softened
2t cinnamon
0.25t nutmeg
2T orange marmalade

For the glaze
1 well-beaten egg

Putting it together:
For the dough: In a small pot, melt together the butter and marmalade, stirring slowly. When the jelly and butter are totally melted, take the pot off the heat and let cool slightly. Stir the butter mixture into the milk—check the temperature—you want it to be approximately hand-hot. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar, and then mix in the warm liquid mixture. Knead mixture until the dough is soft and elastic. Form a ball and place in an oiled bowl; cover and let rise for 30 minutes or until the dough has doubled in volume.

For the Filling: Mix together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and marmalade until you get a smooth and consistent paste. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 425F; butter a 9”x13” baking dish. Take the risen dough and press it into a 10” x 20” rectangle. Spread the butter mixture and then the nuts and cranberries on the dough, making sure to cover the entire surface. Roll the short side of the dough, so that you have a long, 20” log. Cut pieces that are 0.75” long and place snugly in the buttered dish, spiral-side up. Brush with beaten egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown.


cinnamon buns piccie: The Fussy Eater



Anonymous said...

Yum! These look especially delicious!

Anonymous said...

This recipe sounds amazing! I started reading this post because I was at Jann's (she really makes you feel like you're on a first-name basis with her, doesn't she?) concert here in Toronto about a month ago ... but I ended by developing a massive craving for cinnamon buns. These look superb, and I love the idea of adding marmalade. Mmmm ... must bake ...

Anonymous said...

HI Jasmine--I just discovered your blog tonight via your comments on Tania's blog.

These cinnamon rolls sound very original and delicious. I would love to include a link to your post on my next "nut recipe roundup." I'm salivating just thinking about the pecans in these!

jasmine said...

Hi Lisa

Not a problem :)

Thanks for telling me--I've also posted something very similar on your blog.

mmm....macadamia nuts...