Comfort is the key to coping with cold weather. Being able to laze around in bed or on the couch with a blanket and a good book without feeling guilty is one of the perks of subzero temperatures, howling wind, swirling snow, or pattering rain. In my case right now, it’s the first three. There’s a blizzard outside. The view out my window looks like this:
Okay, that’s the Arctic. But trust me, it feels similar, and besides, it’s too cold and dark outside now for me to gather up the motivation to go take a real picture.
Still, weather like this can have good points. Some of the best bad weather compensations are culinary, so without further ado, I present to you my recipe for cinnamon buns.
Cinnamon Buns (Or Rolls, whatever you want to call them):
¾ cup warm water
¾ cup warm milk
½ cup of butter
2 ¼ tsp traditional yeast*
1 tsp sugar
½ – ¾ cup sugar
½ cup sour cream. Plain yogurt will work too.
½ tsp salt
4-5 cups of flour
Soft butter to spread in a thin layer over the flattened dough (you can use oil too)
Brown sugar to sprinkle over the flattened dough (I’d probably go with about ¾ of a cup, but it depends how caramely you like your cinnamon buns)
Raisins (to leave them out is blasphemy. Blasphemy I say!)
Add the yeast and 1 tsp of sugar to the warm water, and leave for around fifteen minutes for the yeast to activate. In a separate bowl, beat the butter, eggs, sugar, and sour cream. Add the activated yeast mixture and stir. Add the salt and enough flour to make a sticky dough (probably 3-4 cups). You will want to work in the rest of the flour while rolling out the dough. You might be able to incorporate the flour with a spoon, but if not, turn the dough out and gently knead the dough. It will be sticky and messy, so flour your hands a little too.
Place the dough in a large bowl. I usually give the mixing bowl a quick wash and dry, rub a little oil or butter into the bottom to keep the dough from sticking, and use that. The bowl will be warm from washing and that will help the dough rise faster. Cover loosely with stretch wrap or with a damp towel, and leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size.
Punch it down (if you have kids, they will love this part), knead gently a couple of times, and, keeping the flour handy, roll the dough into a ¼ inch thick rectangle and spread with oil or butter, and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and any other desired fillings. (If you really must, leave the raisins out. Sigh.)
Starting at the wide end, carefully roll up the dough. Trim off the end pieces (which won’t have much filling) and use a sharp knife to slice the dough into sections of about 1 inch thickness, or to your preference. Place the rolls into a greased baking sheet, and leave again to rise until doubled. Then bake at 325 degrees F for 15 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Turn out onto a plate and eat too many of them while they’re hot and fresh, because they will only keep well for a day or so. If you are only feeding a couple of people, you may want to cut the recipe in half.
*If you use instant yeast, then it doesn’t need to be activated in the warm water, and can simply be stirred in with the other ingredients.
If baking isn’t your thing, then toast sprinkled with cinnamon sugar is the lazy version of cinnamon buns. Kind of.
Perhaps you prefer cold weather compensation in liquid form, and don’t want to turn to tea, the most obvious choice for warming beverages. If so, then may I present:
It has my last name. I pretty much have to endorse it. (And it is good). But really, any strong drink in a reasonable quantity will do.
And, if none of these appeal, then my final cold weather compensation snacks are, in no particular order, cinnamon hearts, caramel corn, or basically any other baked good. Ingest while reading.