Sunday, September 30, 2007
Sticky Cinnamon Buns: Daring Bakers strike again!
Ah, time for another Daring Baker's challenge! As someone who more or less grew up on cinnamon buns, I won't say that this month felt particularly daring - but fun nonetheless.
Swedish cinnamon buns differ from American ones - mostly in that they're usually smaller and individually baked in paper cups rather than in one pan, and that they never have icing. Instead, they're often topped with pearl sugar, and/or flaked almonds. The dough often contains cardamom (and I've never come across one with lemon peel, as this one had) and there's always, always lots of butter smothered on the dough rectangle before it's sprinkled with sugar and spices, and rolled up.
I learned to appriciate the American variety while living in Long Beach, CA. There's this little place called Sweet Jill's on Second Street, with the very best cinnamon buns ever. In fact, I drool a little just thinking about them. They're just huge - I bet one of those is probably enough calories to last an entire day. But what a wonderful treat to have once in a while! To have breakfast there at least once is an absolute must when I visit California. (Which really isn't often enough!)
Marce who chose the recipe from Peter Reinhart´s The Bread Baker´s Apprentice told us to use whatever spices we wanted. I went the easy route and used a ready-made spice sugar with white and brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, vanilla and nutmeg.
You can find the recipe on Marce's blog, here. I opted for sticky buns, and I admit that I only made half the recipe - I was much too afraid that I'd eat them all! (Per is not a caramel fan.) And as I don't have anything called instant yeast, I just used normal fresh yeast - about 10 g for half a batch turned out to be right. I added a bit more flour than stated in the recipe to get the right consistency for the dough.
I got nine buns out of it, and it fitted quite nicely into my 8-inch square pan. I also made half a batch of the caramel topping - but oh my god, that was some seriously good stuff. I had to forcibly keep myself from eating it with a spoon! I also added some roughly chopped up almonds, but I skipped the dried fruit.
And the results? Well, while certainly very tasty, I have to admit that I found the dough itself a bit plain - and I missed not having cardamom in it. I also didn't like that the top of the buns - which became the bottoms, as the sticky buns are baked wrong side up - became a bit too dark and crispy. I prefer my buns pale and soft, so if I made this again, I'd probably cover them with something. The caramel glaze was delicious though - and I think it photographed beautifully!
Will I make them again? No, probably not. But I should make regular Swedish cinnamon buns soon - after all, October 4th is the official Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden! That's how much we love them!
Don't forget to see what all the other Daring Bakers thought of this!