Sunday, June 1, 2014

Excessively Caramelized Caramel Rolls!

Since I'm still kitchenless, A Book of Cookrye is now a mobile cooking blog! Yes, more and more of my friends have found our visits seem to involve making stuff. Today, Marcus just moved and hasn't actually baked in his new apartment's oven! When he turned it on, it made unnerving smells. He naturally decided that meant he shouldn't use it until it's gotten looked over. I said the people they hired to clean out the apartment probably used Comet on the inside and it's just burning off and ignored whatever risks I was running by baking in it. So, starting with some unnerving fumes, we're inaugurating an oven! *FANFARE* And on this occasion, we've got reaction shots of both of us as we taste the results!
We were trying to take one of those pictures of me standing next to the stove looking like those ladies in old kitchen ads. You know, the ones where they look so excited about an oven you'd think the store gave away a free vibrator with it. I failed at looking that excited about an electric stove, so here's a picture of me trying to rev up a really big fake smile.

We decided to make something from the same cookpamphlet at the angel food cake because the recipe sounded really good.
Yes. It's cinnamon rolls baked in the sort of brown sugar-butter sludge you'd put in the pan to make a pineapple upside-down cake. We could not wait. So here's how we did it:

Caramel Rolls
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 c. flour (I used all-purpose and it came out fine)
¼ c. butter
¾ c. milk, plus a little to seal the roll
2 tbsp. butter
⅓ c. brown sugar*
Cinnamon to taste (be generous)
¼ c. butter
½ c. brown sugar

Heat oven to 450°.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or just use your hands- it should be a coarse meal. Add the milk and beat for a while. The dough will thicken and get firmer until it pulls away from the sides and you can make a really sticky but nonetheless firm ball. Set it on a floured surface and knead for about thirty seconds, reflouring as needed if it sticks.
Roll on a floured surface into a rectangle a little thinner than half an inch thick. Spread with the 2 tbsp. butter. Mix ⅓ c. brown sugar and a lot of cinnamon and cover the dough with this, being sure to get all the way to the edge on three sides. Leave about half an inch of dough on one of the long edges uncovered. Roll the dough up from the opposite edge, wetting the bare edge and the side where it'll press in with milk to seal it closed.
Set a round cake pan or skillet over medium heat and melt the brown sugar and butter together. Set aside.
Set the dough scroll seam side up or seam side down- if the seam is on the side it's more liable to open when you're slicing. Slice it into half-inch pieces, pinching them back if they get flattened. Set them into the pan.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. Check the oven early (read on and see why!).

*I used dark.

Also, Marcus gets credit for every photograph he's not actually in, and for using his phone since I forgot mine (what, you think I can afford a digital camera?). He's a bit more enthusiastic of a blog photographer than I am. For example, he wanted a shot of the ingredients, so he took one.
Or maybe he wanted to show off his table cum cutting board.
Despite this pamphlet being for an electric mixer, neither of us have one. Well, I actually do have one, but I didn't think to bring it and he doesn't. We're going to have to have at it by hand. Also, we're skipping busting out a sifter because that would involve buying one.
"Does this look like four teaspoons of baking powder to you?"
A lot of people use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour, but I haven't got one. Even when I could use my mother's, I found it a lot easier to use my hands anyway. Also, I'm assuming that where the recipe instructions say shortening, they meant the butter listed in the ingredients.
Marcus wanted to photograph how I didn't get the butter out to soften first.

And how I then oversoftened it a little.

Honestly, I really do think this is the easiest way to mix butter/shortening and flour. I don't see how a mixer would have made it any easier- I'd just have had a massive dust-cloud of flour blow up in my face.

And just like the recipe says, it resembles a coarse meal.

So, we dump in the milk, and I began to think I should have gotten the bread flour instead of just all-purpose because this showed no sign of getting thick enough to knead. It was this sticky goop that showed no signs of firming up.

But I figured I'd just keep stirring it and hope something happened, and it did!

So it's time to knead this dough ball. Then it occurred to me: I've never kneaded baking-powder bread before. Who does that (besides the folks at Dormeyer)?

It did make a difference. We went from having a dough wad to a smoother dough ball.

To my surprise, the recipe got a lot less detailed once it got to shaping the dough into cinnamon rolls. Usually, promotional recipes are written out really explicitly since the housewife they're advertising at is a stupid woman who must be reminded that you have to drain your spaghetti after it's cooked. You'd think they'd have said to roll it into a rectangle instead of just saying how thick it ought to be.

Wait a minute. This is all the caramel roll I'm going to get? The recipe says to slice this into twenty pieces! Do you see the size of my hand on that dough sheet?

Also, couldn't they have put the butter I'm spreading on the ingredients list? And they never mention how you're supposed to leave about half an inch of dough uncovered on the long edge so you can close up the scroll.

Whatever. Let's roll this sucker up. We figured even if we don't get 20 of them, however many we do get would be as delicious as cinnamon rolls baked in brown sugar and butter would be. And even if they weren't, they'd be like pizza.

Behold! We have arrived at the point where we're supposed to make it stay closed! Did the recipe mention that we may be wetting the dough with milk so it sticks shut?

No, nor did they put the brown sugar and butter I'm about to melt in the ingredients list.
Welcome to the South, everyone!
Now that we've got pan full of delicious... this,
If you don't dip out a spoonful and eat it, you're clearly one of those body snatchers.

it's time to return to the slice the rolls! As you can see, for some reason they get squished flat when I slice them no matte what I do. I ended up pinching them at the sides to bring them back to round-ish.

So here they are, ready to bake! Behold, the squished, irregular shapes that I'm going to say give them homemade charm!

Besides, this is cinnamon rolls baked in butterscotch. How could it possibly go wrong?
This. This is how they can go wrong.
I'd like to say that we did not leave them too long in the oven. We set a timer.
Marcus even took a screenshot of the timer which is set for fifteen minutes, just like the recipe says.
I'd glanced up from washing dishes at twelve minutes to see that the oven vent was smoking like someone had put a fireplace in the oven.
I hereby declare your oven inaugurated, Marcus!
The ones on the outside were completely ruined. And the brown sugar stuff in the pan had hardened to just the right consistency to get stuck in your teeth. We pulled some out of the middle to see if this was good enough to try again.

Some of them may look fine, but they all were blackened on the bottom.
And so, as promised, here is Marcus trying these for the first time as I hold up the camera! Although now that I look at these, I'm thinking why didn't we both try them at the same time? Well, at any rate, you can see how funny I thought it was to watch him.
Saw what the pan looks like and still he's game!

Some of the topping got stuck in his teeth.

And then he accidentally got a fleck of burnt.
 I'm sorry, but after all the buildup of "This is gonna be so good!" and "This is so awesome! We're breaking in your new oven!", having it end up as charred as it did was the funniest thing since whoever wrote West Side Story thought you could make a drama about teenage gangsters that do synchronized chorus-line kicks and burst into song. But if you feel I got off too easy, allow me to provide photographic evidence to the contrary.

So, they were burnt. But, they seemed promising enough that we'll try them again and check the oven well ahead of 15 minutes. The bread part tasted really good, at least. And I kind of thought that if the butterscotchy stuff melted in the pan hadn't been overbaked until it hardened, it'd have been really good. So at some point we'll try these again! If you try these, let me know how they came out!

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