Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cooking Challenges - Cinnamon Rolls

One of the things I've always loved the most about the internet and the blogosphere has been the communities (I'm still over on LiveJournal mainly for the communities. I like being able to talk (and especially) craft with like-minded people from all over the world.

Given that I have an addictive personality type (is *that* why the Mumford and Sons CD hasn't left my side since its release date?) - it really shouldn't be any surprise that I love reading blogs. Back to community.

It was thanks to the aforementioned LiveJournal that I "met" Julie from Willow Bird Baking. I've been following her kitchen adventures, her lovely food photography, and her tales of being a teacher (she teaches middle-school so I think she's a saint) for a while. I followed her on Facebook and she started issuing food challenges to some of her followers. So, the first baking challenge was "cinnamon rolls". After a Google hangout she gave us one of her own recipes and challenged us to make it our own.

The Task:

Her recipe was these delicious Coconut Almond Buns/Rolls.

I admit it, I was pretty nervous. I had never made a cinnamon roll. I knew that the dough was really finicky and baking has never been my forte (so *I* say - I know plenty of others who would argue that point!). I took a deep breath and threw caution to the wind, I mean, seriously, what was going to happen if I failed? I'd learn something at the least.

The Changes:

So, my changes to Julie's initial recipe were simple. I first changed the 5 cups of all-purpose flour to 2 cups of wheat and 3 cups of regular all-purpose flour. I had decided early on that I was going to do a more savory take on them. I knew I had a pound of breakfast sausage that needed to be used, so I decided to make sausage, egg and cheese rolls. (My challenge to myself for all of these challenges is to buy minimal ingredients, and really try to use what is on hand first and foremost!)

The Results:

The result of my "building kitchen confidence"? The dough was really easy to make ahead of time since I had everything on hand. To make the filling, I just used scrambled egg, cooked and crumbled sausage and some Mexican shredded cheese I had in the fridge.

Although I really wanted to document all the steps, I really resisted. I wanted to really take this experience as a challenge, and push myself. I knew that if I focused on taking pictures every step of the way, that would be my focus (trying to get the *right* shot) instead of the cooking itself.

The one thing I would do differently is to make sure that my surface was completely floured again before I started laying my layers. When rolling, the dough was stuck to the counter in a few places, which made it really hard to be consistent. Plus, the lumpy filling made it difficult to roll evenly. One of the things I did that worked was constantly flouring my knife, it made cutting the rolls apart really easy.

The Pictures:

So, here are my "rolls" after cutting and placing in the dish. They're not pretty.

In dish

After rising. On the warm stove, these took about 90 minutes to double in size.


After baking.

Baked Nom!

Tastbuds Say:

Nom! These were delicious. I omitted the extra butter in the filling, and these could have used a little more something. I think that if I were to do these again - I mean when I make these again, I would drizzle them with a cheese sauce instead of a glaze. I loved the wheat blend in the flour. They came out like an breakfast sandwich in roll/bun form.

I encourage you to join us in the fun. You can see everyone else's roll/bun creations over at Willow Bird Baking!

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