Round 1. Let’s get started!

Ever feel like you are a baker on the Great British Baking Show and it’s bread week and Paul Hollywood is staring you down after having given you a technical challenge riddled with vague instructions such as “bake until done”? No? Well engage yourself with the mysteries of Angie’s Kitchen and you just might!

To begin this segment, we decided to take on the very first entry in the book. We decided not to do any research beforehand. We would read and interpret the recipe as written with no help from the internet or our own cookbooks. Angie’s grandson, my husband Tom was actually the one who suggested using Angie’s recipe book as material for the blog, and I must say, Ray and I jumped on the idea. Surprisingly, Tom was quite interested in this kitchen caper and had much to offer in the way of help and opinions on this one. I guess it is not particularly surprising as it was his idea!

So for this particular exercise, some of it was pretty straight forward. Sift ingredients. Check. Mix ingredients. Check. Turn onto floured board. Got it. Spread with softened butter. Wait. How did I get here? Did I roll out the dough? Actually, I did. How much butter? Okay, while I’m at it, how much brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins? What did I do? I guessed. I didn’t even measure. I spread the dough with butter, sprinkled the dough with brown sugar until it “felt right”, went to return the sugar to the pantry, turned around and Tom was already sprinkling the cinnamon. See, I told you he got involved. We placed the raisins then rolled the dough into a log. Again Tom joined in to offer his help/criticism. The final instruction was “Roll the dough and place upward in greased pan.” After much debate, we opted to cut the roll crosswise to come up with something that resembled what we are used to seeing as a cinnamon bun. There were no baking instructions so we took a guess and went with a very pedestrian oven temperature of 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

So, how did they turn out? Interesting. Okay, so that’s not a description that makes you want to sprint into the kitchen and get busy baking is it? The good new is that they looked a lot like cinnamon buns. They were a little pale, but well baked. What was “interesting” about them you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. The dough was that of an excellent biscuit. In my mind I was attempting to bake a lovely, moist and chewy bun or roll, but in reality I had a biscuit that was laced with sugar, cinnamon and raisins and my “eyeball” measures for the filling were not nearly enough.

So, back to the drawing board! I am looking forward to doing a little research, learning more and formulating my own plan to achieve cinnamon bun success.

Next, let’s see how Ray’s cinnamon bun adventure turned out…

Angie’s Original Recipe

Let me start by saying if you are joining us for the first time on our adventure, you can read a bit more about my grandma Angie and the history of her little cookbook here.  As for the experience of working with that little cookbook, Karen definitely painted a very good picture! 

I can understand why grandma wrote the recipes down as she did – she started cooking these things with her mother when she was a child and continued throughout her entire life.  She kept the list of ingredients in this little book for reference, but she probably didn’t have much need for detailed procedures – after a lifetime of preparing them she knew exactly what to do! 

She certainly would never have imagined that her grandson and granddaughter-in-law would start a blog where they would attempt to make the recipes recorded in it from time to time 95 plus years after she started writing it – had she known, she might have revised and edited a bit!!  She would however be thrilled to know that we are doing just that and that her little book has been the source of many fun conversations and debates.  As I mentioned in the first post she loved not only cooking, but also the social side that went along with it. 

On that note… Karen mentioned that she and my brother have already debated the cinnamon buns quite a bit and I said to her “tell my brother we always have room for guest bloggers!”  Perhaps he and our sister Marie could join us in Angie’s kitchen from time to time so all three of her grandchildren will be represented.

When I did my first test run of the cinnamon buns I initially considered doing the spiral cinnamon roll as well, but something kept stopping me…  That something was one small word in the recipe name – buns.  They were called cinnamon buns, not cinnamon rolls!  Was this important enough to dwell on? Probably not, but my mind just kept going back to the 1920s and conjuring up images of things like hot cross buns and because I couldn’t shake that image I decided that that was how I would shape them.

I ran into the same questions as Karen when it came to how much cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins to use, but I thought maybe this is really one of those eyeball kinds of things and got to work tossing them on until it looked good to me!  I then rolled the dough up into a log and rolled it a second time into a ball and gently kneaded it a bit to get the filling distributed throughout.  From there I formed the rolls and decided to go with 350 degrees for baking.  After 10 minutes in the oven I began to check them every 2 to 3 minutes because I had no cooking time point of reference and didn’t want to burn them.  In the end I found that 17 minutes did the trick.

So what did I end up with?  They weren’t exactly the image of the buns that I had pictured!  Because of the biscuit like nature of the dough, that is pretty much what I got – some very nice cinnamon raisin brown sugar biscuits!  Although they weren’t exactly what I first had in mind, they were pleasant tasting and something I would even consider making again if I wanted a sweeter biscuit.

These are the moments when I wish I could travel back in time and see how they were actually made, but I can’t so I’ll gear up for round 2 and give it another try – I can’t say for sure, but I have a feeling the spiral version will make an appearance….

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