*So apparently trying to schedule posts from my phone just doesn’t work. Here is Friday’s post… on Sunday.
I have always been an avid baker. My Mom made what I considered to be the most delicious bars and snack cakes on the face of the earth and I aspired to be as good a baker as she was. The simple Chocolate Chip Cookies, “Congo Bars” (aka fancy name for Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars) and Wacky Cake (a Depression-era snack cake that didn’t use eggs) soon prompted me into forays of making Double-Crust Apple Pie, Marble Chiffon Cake, Two-Layer German Chocolate Cake and even a “rabbit cake” for one of my sister’s birthdays. (That would be two 9″ round cake layers cut into shapes and put together to look like a rabbit. I’d also made her a “Cat Cake” another year – same concept.)
My adventures in baking contained numerous victories: high praise and many a ribbon at the county fair. However, this is not to say that I haven’t had some failures. When I was twelve, I pulled out my Mom’s very beat up (held together with masking tape) Betty Crocker Cookbook and found the recipe for a Chocolate Souffle. I read the list of ingredients and a check of the pantry and cabinets revealed that we had them all. It was a pleasant enough day and I began to bake. Loving and careful attention was paid to every step and I heeded the warning that loud noises or banging around inside of the house may very well cause the delicious beauty to collapse before it finished baking, so I kicked everyone out of the house. This was to be a baking triumph!
What nobody told me was that as beautiful as that souffle looked when it was done, big, puffy, chocolatey with steam escaping from the cracks on top… was that it was going to collapse as it cooled and that you really should serve it immediately after coming out of the oven. I was terribly disappointed. Ultimately we all had a good laugh that evening as we enjoyed our dessert of Chocolate Souffle-come-Chocolate Souffle Brownies; and that brings me to last Saturday and what marked what could be considered in current culture as a “Pinterest Fail“. If you’ve not heard of these or stopped by the site, please do – they’re hilarious.
I’d been craving cinnamon rolls for weeks by this stage. The Udi’s Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls were a major disappointment, I wouldn’t even call them an acceptable substitute. Especially not if what you’re craving is the high fat, high sugar goodness that is Cinnabon (come on Cinnabon…. we need a really good gluten-free cinnamon roll from you). My America’s Test Kitchen Gluten Free Cookbook didn’t have a recipe for cinnamon rolls (another disappointment), but I had a box of Gluten Free Bisquick in the pantry and a quick look at the website found a cinnamon roll recipe. I made my decision on Friday night that I would make the cinnamon rolls in the morning and went to bed.
Saturday morning, I was excited. Cinnamon Rolls! They would soon be mine and I opened up the laptop to the page with the recipe, pulled out the ingredients and began.
So, funny thing about gluten-free dough… it’s very, very…. mushy. This was the case with this cinnamon roll recipe as well. If you just wanted to scoop it out into a pan and bake it, great; unfortunately, cinnamon rolls require some manipulation, i.e. kneading and rolling the dough. Having been gluten-free for the last two years, I knew that the dough would be sticky (understatement) and since I had to roll it up, my best plan of action would be working on something like waxed paper (had it) to help facilitate a smooth roll.
You know what they say about good intentions, right?
I had envisioned my cinnamon rolls to turn out just like the photo on the website. My intentions were that I’d have a photo-ready recipe to say, “Hey look! I made these cinnamon rolls and they were delicious and easy-to-make, too!”
The reality turned out more like this… The dough mixed, I scraped it out of the bowl onto the Bisquicked waxed paper to perform the “knead 5 times” of step three of the recipe. I think I succeeded more at mushing the dough around and scraping my hands off with the spatula than I did at any actual kneading of the dough. After kneading you’re supposed to “roll out the dough”. Really? Really?? With as sticky as the dough was, breaking out the pastry pin would have just resulted in an additional exercise in futility, so after washing my hands of sticky dough residue (again), I sprayed them down with nonstick cooking spray and patted out the dough onto the waxed paper in a neat rectangle, washed my hands again, brushed… no, dabbed on the melted butter and sprinkled the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture evenly.
Time to roll this puppy up! Applauding my brilliant idea to do this all on easy-to-clean-up waxed paper, I began to roll the dough, which is not just sticky, but fragile. My first roll went “okay” but the dough had nearly saturated the waxed paper and was now sticking to that and my hands. I brought out my dough scraper, using it to encourage the dough to pull away and forgetting that I should have sprayed that with nonstick spray as well.
One clean dough scraper, freshly spritzed, and I was at it again. The end result was no neat, tight bundle of dough with cinnamon and sugar filling, oh no. The end result looked more like a threatened sea cucumber ejecting it’s innards in an effort to escape a predator.
I realized that there was just no way I could salvage this cinnamon-sugar sea cucumber disaster and make it look pretty so I started hacking away at it with my dough scraper and plopping (that’s a technical baking term) pieces into the cake pan. There was no beautiful, textbook photo ops though there were plenty of “I think this qualifies as a Pinterest Fail” moments and as I laughed at how un-cinnamon-roll-like everything turned out, I caught Mr. Muse in the hallway and said, “You have to come see my Pinterest Fail!”
He entered the kitchen, took one look and raised an eyebrow as he stifled a laugh and said, “It looks more like Cinnamon Roll Dump Cake”. How apropos! “For all the effort,” I commented, “this better taste good.” While it didn’t turn out to be cinnamon rolls, it did turn out something like a Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake.
And that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.