CINNAMON ROLLS

You, like Jill, may be one of those people who is mystified by my love for this:

Yes, that’s right, I am a Von Trapper, a girl who counts Christopher Plummer among her first crushes, who knows every word to every song and squeals unabashedly when the camera first opens onto the Viennese countryside.

I can’t rightly say how many times I have seen “The Sound of Music,” but I do know that every time I go back to it, I discover something new.  Like the first time I was old enough to understand that my beloved Captain Von Trapp wasn’t just a handsome military widower who could sing and dance BUT ALSO a radical who resisted the Anschluss and stood behind his political convictions.

Or the first time I realized I had outgrown any affection for the cheesy gazebo scene (“sixteen going on seventeen”) between Liesl and Rolf in favor of the cheesy gazebo scene (“must have done something good”) between Maria and the Captain.  Or this most recent encounter, in which I decided that there was maybe something to this “favorite things” business after all.

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Or my version:

Babies with Afros and top-shelf margaritas
Rothko and Rilke and freshly-made pitas
Baristas who flirt with a glint in their eyes
These are the things that help me get by

So I’m not meant to be a songwriter–the sentiment still holds. Perhaps it’s ridiculous, but I think that conjuring up the memory or thought of things you like best can actually be rather useful.  Or you can actually conjure up some cinnamon rolls in real life.

Your favorites?

CINNAMON ROLLS

Cinnamon rolls from scratch do not a quick breakfast make.  Patience, grasshopper.  They are SO worth it.

For the dough:

1 package yeast
¼ cup warmer-than-your-finger water

Pour the water into a large bowl, then sprinkle the yeast on top with a pinch of sugar.  Let it stand for a few minutes—if it doesn’t foam, try, try again.

Now you’ll need these things:

¼ cup whole milk
2 T butter

Microwave them together for 30 seconds or until the butter is melting and it’s all warm (but not hot).  Toss the warm dairy into the bowl with the yeast, then add the following:

3 ½-4 cups all-purpose flour, added 1 cup at a time
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. salt

I like to hand-mix but you can use a dough hook.  Knead until springy but still soft (you may not use all of the flour).  Don’t over-knead; you want a dough that’s loosely hanging together.

Butter the bowl you were just using & let the dough rise there for at least 1 hour, or until doubled in size (may take 1 ½ hours).

For the filling:

1 cup butter, completely softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 ½ T cinnamon

Whip all of the filling ingredients together with a fork or spoon until fluffy.  Roll the dough out into a large rectangle about ¼-inch thick.  Spread the filling gently atop the dough, going out to the edges on all but one of the long sides.  Leave a ½-inch border along that final edge so you have something to seal the roll with.

Roll the dough up into a log, starting with the edge opposite the border.  When you get to the border, wet the dough a bit, then pull it up and over the log and press down to seal.

Line a jellyroll or spring form pan with parchment (cleanup is a nightmare if you skip this step, trust me).  Using a serrated knife, cut the dough log into inch-thick rolls, placing them swirl side up in the pan.  Don’t space them too closely together, as they will expand.  Cover the pan with a damp towel and let the dough puff up again, about 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325˚.  Bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

While they’re baking, whip up a simple icing: a whole lot of powdered sugar thinned with a little bit of liquid.  You can use just plain milk or milk  + some kind of flavoring (orange juice, vanilla, almond extract, etc.)

Once the rolls have cooled slightly, drizzle them generously with the icing.

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18 responses to “CINNAMON ROLLS

  1. Gah, those look amazing. Thanks for the comment on my blog – and YES! I do take commissions! What do you want? :)

  2. No mystification here! As a kid I used to climb a hill by our house and twirl around while signing “The hills are alive” at the top of my lungs. Julie Andrews was (and is) one of my singing heros!

    Love the cinnamon rolls and wish I could have one right now!

  3. I, too, am a VonTrapper.

    I have started training my nieces, too, much to the chagrin of their father (my brother-in-law).

    You never had a crush on Friederich?

  4. I was a nun in my high school production of The Sound of Music! I played Sister Agatha. It was rocking. Also, my family has a homemade set of “my favorite things” Christmas ornaments, with all the items from the song. We sing it when we’re decorating the tree with them.

  5. Rumi always makes me think of you, though he didn’t make your favorite things list. Just had this quote in my inbox, which for many and obvious reasons made me think of you: “Let the beauty that we love be what we do.”

    —Jalal ad-Din Rumi

    Thanks for sharing your beauty and your vision of beauty with the world. You’re an inspiration.

  6. Do you remember the Eddie Murphy/rap version of “My Favourite Things” from SNL. My brother and I just have to say “wet kittens” and we start cracking up, still.

    • bluejeangourmet

      I’m glad to know I’m in such good company with you ladies!

      Jen–thanks for visiting & commenting back–you gotta make these cinnamon rolls, girl :) I’ll definitely check in with you again re: commission. I’m sure someone I know needs one of your beautiful clutches for a birthday present!

      Phoo-D–Julie Andrews is an amazing woman. I love the visual of you twirling around on a hill, so cute!

      Leslie–naw, Friederich never did it for me. I have a thing for older men :)

      Lauren–of COURSE your family a set of “favorite things” ornaments. that is crazy adorable!

      Rebecca–oh how I love Rumi. thank YOU.

      Cheryl–Eddie Murphy on SNL is genius! I dare anyone to watch his collected skits on DVD and not have a sore stomach from laughing the next day.

  7. TSOM is still one of my all time favorites (with My Fair Lady and Ben Hur). These rolls look great – I’m going to try them.

  8. I’m on the quest for the perfect cinnamon roll, and yours is the next on the list.
    Also…..*ahem*
    Strong rye old-fashioneds, and cheesy gruyeres
    Coffee, and baseball, and boys with short hair.
    Trips to the monkey house at the Bronx Zoo.
    These are the things that help me get through.

    Thank you, thank you. :)

  9. We all need a few Sound of Music skeletons in our closet, no? Thanks for the guffaws this a.m. (and the cinnamon rolls :)

  10. Too funny, I recently realized all of those same things the last time SoM aired. When did we all become such grown-ups?

  11. To this day the Sound of Music is my favorite movie. I’m pretty sure I also own the soundtrack. I love it when other people love it too.

  12. ps, by “cheesy gruyeres”, I meant “cheesy gougeres” — I had gruyere on the brain as per usual. The rhyme stands. :)

  13. Glyn and i used to sing “my favorite things” when she was afraid or very upset — still to this day, we’ve been known to hold close and whisper it to each other. thanks for the reminder.

    oh, and so you went dancing in Chicago, eh?

    • bluejeangourmet

      ya’ll are the best!

      Dragana–YES on My Fair Lady as well–I used to drool over her outfits.

      Joh–I love that you wrote your own, and I love you. resounding “Amen” on the rye old-fashioneds…drink one for me, I’m still abstaining.

      Katie–I know, right? I remember singing “I am sixteen, going on seventeen,” and feeling very sophisticated & grown-up. A decade later…

      Jennifer–We should do a Houston SoM viewing/sing-along!

      Lee–that is so sweet, I love that. Moms & daughters always create their own “code” language. re: Chicago, I don’t know if you can call it dancing so much as standing around in a very loud bar with some very drunk people who were *trying* to dance :)

  14. love the “favorite things” remix. classic!

  15. I like the lighter side of your cinnamon rolls, I have been drowning mine in cream cheese frosting for years, it may be nice to try something a little lighter!

  16. funny post
    Those cinnamon rolls look delicious, just a few more days until Passover ends and I can begin baking again.

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