Before I Fuhgeddaboutit
Mary Jo (or Aunt Mimi as my wife calls her) is one of the smartest people I know. We like to joke that she knows everyone because she can’t go anywhere without bumping into an acquaintance. She is a freelance writer and has written a short booklet about Alzheimer’s and the story of how it effected our family. Among other things Mary Jo is the online voice for a toy company which may or may not have once been owned by Cynthia Gerdes (Mitch’s wife and Hell’s Kitchen Co-Owner). I somehow conned her into spending part of her birthday with me making rolls.
Today Mike and I did a side-by-side comparison of Dana’s Caramel-Pecan Rolls from Damn Good Food and the Cobblestone Café Super Rolls, the latter of which made me famous in a former life when I managed a restaurant in Stillwater, Minnesota.
Truth be told, it wasn’t totally a side-by side comparison: we sort of had a super roll appetizer with a caramel roll chaser.
So, by the time Mike had the caramel sauce made, I had my cinnamon rolls rising and the icing on the way to being done. See what I mean? Over. Achiever.
While Mike stirred the caramel sauce, I used his super-duper stand mixer to make the pecan-caramel roll dough, adding an egg and flour to the yeast-milk-honey-shortening mixture Mike had already prepared.
No such task was required for my recipe – I just smushed out the frozen bread dough, heaped on the brown sugar, poured on the cinnamon, and rolled it all up together, stogie-like.
So, as far as comparisons go, there really wasn’t one. I preferred my cinnamon rolls, but when confronted with a choice between cinnamon and caramel rolls, I will generally choose a cinnamon roll. Mike preferred the Hells’ Kitchen rolls, but then, he’s a groupie. And frankly, the fact that I thought the caramel rolls were too sweet for me may have something to do with the fact that I had just consumed a rather large cinnamon roll smothered in powdered-sugar icing.
So, I would say it was a draw, and if someone wants to go for production value, Dana’s Caramel-Pecan Rolls are not difficult, just time consuming, and will surely elicit a suitable response. On the other hand, if you just want to crank out something quick to impress folks, the Cobblestone Café Super Rolls are the way to go.
I will share my recipe, which can be summed up in one word – fuhgeddaboutit. This is also the type of recipe my grandmother used to give which will make anyone who likes exactness (is that a word?) a little nuts:
Frozen bread dough, thawed in refrigerator overnight (I always used regular frozen bread dough but Mike bought the sweet dough and I think it worked really well – perhaps even better). The number of loaves depends on how many you want. I get 4 rolls out of each loaf.
Brown Sugar – about a cup for each loaf of bread. I just kind of pile it up and stop when it seems like enough.
Cinnamon – just start shaking. You’ll know when to stop.
Butter – I used ½ pound for 2 loaves of bread.
Powdered Sugar – Sorry, I just poured. I’m guessing it was a cup or two.
- Flatten out the bread dough to make a rectangle.
- Spread brown sugar on the rectangle. Don’t be shy.
- Sprinkle cinnamon over the brown sugar. Go ahead, cinnamon is good for you. (http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html)
- Roll up the whole mess into a log.
- Cut the log into fourths.
- Lay in greased baking pan, cut side up.
Fuhgeddaboutit #1 – You’ve heard about letting bread rise until it is double. Fuhgeddaboutit! Let these puppies rise until they are at least tripled, if not quadrupled. Don’t worry, it’s just air. The rolls will grow into each other and start trying to escape from the pan. This is exactly what you want to have happen. Warning: if you are the type of person who needs lots of personal space, you may not like that part.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
- Let the rolls cool for a little while before taking them out of the pan so they don’t crush. Top with icing while still warm (the rolls, not the icing).
- Put softened butter into a mixer (this is where a stand mixer comes in really handy. Trust me, I haven’t made this since I gave my Kitchen Aid to my nephew when I sold my house and downsized into a condo).
Fuhgeddaboutit #2 – using the whip attachment, turn the mixer on medium and walk away. Come back on the commercial and scrape the butter off the sides and walk away again. I am guessing I let the butter whip for about 8 minutes or so.
- Add the powdered sugar a little at a time. Once the powdered sugar makes the butter firm up a little (don’t know how else to explain it), move on to Fuhgeddaboutit #3.
Fuhgeddaboutit #3 – Whip the butter/powdered sugar mixture for another several minutes. You will have a wonderfully fluffy icing with lots of air incorporated into it. Add a little cream if it seems too thick.
Damned good birthday quote of the day: I can’t think of a more pleasant way to spend my birthday than cooking and trading wise cracks with the Donnellys.
Steps to make Dana’s Caramel Rolls: