Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cinnamon Roll Disaster

Just in case you were wondering if every culinary effort at the Miles house turns out well, the answer is "No!" Here you see the result of my first experiment with making cinnamon rolls. I thought about taking a picture of what they looked like straight out of the oven but I just wasn't brave enough to do it. I was also a little concerned for the grackles, but have not found any lying dead around the yard. They must have strong constitutions. This one does have an expression that looks something like "I'm going to find who did this and peck his eyes out."

So what happened? Well, surprisingly few cinnamon roll recipes are to be found in baking books. Cooks Illustrated did have one, but it sounded like one of their wacko we're better than everyone else because we're different affairs. I skipped it and went for my mom's old Betty Crocker recipe. I mean BC couldn't possibly let me down. Right? Wrong! The cooking time was WAY too long, and like an idiot I wasn't keeping a close enough eye on what was going on in the oven. And yes, I used an oven thermometer and had the oven pegged at 375 following the directions. The BC icing recipe is also way wrong, basically resulting in confectionary sugar concrete.

What to do? A trip to the library, where I found two books whose cinnamon roll recipes seemed like winners. My second attempt is from Abigail Johnson Dodge's The Weekend Baker, and the result was superb. :-) Abigail knows a thing or two about mixing up icing, as well. Heavy cream makes a much richer icing than milk! I haven't tried recipe number 2, yet, but will definitely give it a go. It's a potato dough approach and calls for Irish Cream liquor in the icing. Anyway, this is one of the Dodge cinnamon rolls. The grackles won't be getting any of these...


waxwing said...

MMM, that looks good. Especially as I have not had breakfast yet.

I've never tried making cinnamon rolls, but your grackle photo made me remember my shortbread fiasco.

We'd gotten some delicious strawberries at a farmers' market soon after we were married. We were renting a house in Alexandria, VA and lived in between two older women. One, Frances, became a dear friend and she and I would get together often.

We both fed the birds -- that was where I began birding in earnest.

Anyway, I used some generic recipe to make shortbread for the strawberries but they turned out inedible -- as hard as a hockey puck. So I ended up throwing them in the yard for the birds.

A few days later Frances told me that a neighbor must have had a kitchen disaster because she saw a crow with a hockey puck shaped biscuit who tried and tried to soften the biscuit in her bird bath. He'd dip it in the water, then peck at it, then dip it again. He finally gave up and left it on the ground.

I didn't tell her it was I who made the shortbread that crows couldn't even eat.

Fiske said...


LOVE the shortbread story. Those crows are wimps! Grackles or starlings would surely have feasted. :-)

Do you suppose Frances suspected who had made the short bread? Old ladies are often times shrewder than they let on. We had a neighbor who we called "Auntie Dot" when I was growing up. She had been a missionary in Turkey for many years and was the sort of person you remember all of your life. Maybe a little like Frances.

In her later years she and her husband had to move to a retirement community. We went for a visit, and we were going somewhere with her in the retirement village. (This place is big -- John Knox Village.) She may have been driving. I don't recall that part. But, we pulled into a parking lot where the health center was. That was it! We were going to visit Uncle Frank (her husband) who was in a full care unit.

Anyway, a concrete parking space bumper was missing and some rebar was sticking up through the asphalt. She was so angry about it because she had already complained that someone might trip and get hurt. And then SHE tripped and fell on the darn thing. I ran over to help her, frightened that she was injured, and she grinned and winked at me. A moment later two security guys came running up as fast as they could to help. She had seen them, I'm sure, and staged the whole thing to get something done about the problem. It really looked like an accident. If she hadn't winked at me, I would never have believed she fell deliberately.

Just something to ponder.

Did you eventually master short cakes?