Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sweets, Lent, and Homemade Cinnamon Buns

If I have any weaknesses at all, it's food.  Specifically sweet food.  I think we've all realized this now, having seen my progress on the weight-loss challenge (I hardly EVER get my points for avoiding sweets).  I honestly haven't lost as much weight as I was hoping, even with the challenge.  So I've decided to give up sweets for Lent.  I'm usually pretty good with whatever I give up (except for the year I tried to give up swearing...that didn't go well at all).  Since this year I'm going to go for sweets, I decided to blog a recipe that I made a few weeks ago - the epitome of delicious (and sweets).  I'm actually making a batch today (since I'm working from home) as a little "Fat Tuesday" treat.  They're 6 points plus a piece (for the big ones), so I'll definitely be using up my quota of extra points....But to start out the 40 days of no sweets, this is a great beginning!

Homemade Cinnamon Buns (recipe from King Arthur Flour Cookbook)
The Dough
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsps instant yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp granular lecithin (Optional - and I didn't use it.  I don't have it in the pantry)
2 Tbsp nonfat dry milk (I didn't have this, but I did have dry buttermilk, so I used that instead)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg plus enough water to make 1 cup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp soft butter

The Filling
1/4 cup soft butter
3/4 cup sugar mixed with 1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips (optional)

The Icing
3 Tbsp heavy cream, or 2 Tbsp water (I don't usually have cream in the house, so I usually use somewhere between 2-3 Tbsp Milk)
1 cup confectioners' sugar

The Method
Mix and knead together all of the dough ingredients (yup - throw it all together and mix it in the mixer.  Once it comes together (I added a tiny bit more water to make it come together better), switch to the dough hook and knead it for a while.  Once it is formed into a soft, smooth dough, place it in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hours to double in bulk.

Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and roll into an 11x20 rectangle.  Spread a thin layer of butter over the dough.  Sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar/nut mixture.  Roll into a log (the log way) and use a serrated knife to cute into 12 equal pieces.

Place the buns in a greased 9x13" pan, pressing down slightly.  Cover and let sit again for about 45 minutes to an hour, until puffy.

Preheat the oven to 350* and bake buns for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then take them out of the pan and let cool to just slightly warm before frosting (I actually take one out of the pan immediately, pour some icing over the top and eat immediately.  Yes, they're that good).

ENJOY! - I know I will!  Hello comes 40 days of no sweets!!!

Frosted Cinnamon Buns - the epitome of deliciousness!

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