following our spectacular meal last night, we broke out a couple baking kits that we were saving for just that occasion, figuring they would fit into the night's tradition to "try something new". it should be noted that this started as a quick trip to the local PharmaPrix for some sinus meds so that i might actually get a whole night of sleep, and it ended with the purchase of DIY cinnamon bun kits. drug stores are selling everything these days it seems.
we got two kits, seen here with and without the packaging.
each kit included a cast-iron skillet and a packet each of flour mix and cinnamon sugar.
the skillet is adorable, and that alone made the purchase totally worth it.
remove the contents from both kits...
add a few bits from the kitchen to complete the mise en place, and off you go!
this was my first time using instant yeast, as i tend to stick to the traditional stuff that i used when i first learned to bake (which suddenly feels like it was a billion years ago). i measured out the required amount...
dumped it in the mix (both packets are in the bowl)...
added the water...
and combined it all to form a ball of dough.
i covered the bowl and set it aside to rise until doubled, which (according to the directions) should have taken about twenty minutes. one hour later (after moving it to the stove top, which was slightly warm with the residual heat from having roasted the bbq pork in the oven below), we had something approaching a rise. i am still convinced that the other yeast would have done a better job in less time.
this is where the magic begins. i kneaded the dough lightly, then formed it into two ropes (or something approximating a rope), one for each skillet. i assure you that i am usually a far more exacting baker than this, but midnight was approaching, and i was having a very merry Merlot Eve.
next came a brush of melted butter (not included in the kit, for obvious reasons)...
then the cinnamon-sugar was sprinkled on...
and the rope was formed into a roll and (finally) placed on the skillet. naturally, there was more resting, and (naturally) it took twice as long as was suggested. i recognize that it is rather chilly, as we are in the midst of an arctic-blast, but this much "rise time" was downright ridiculous. he finally had the bright idea of placing the pans in the microwave (without turning it on), so that they might rise a bit faster in the relatively warmer space... which they did! i knew there was a reason why we keep him around.
one short stay in the oven later, and they were (finally) done. all that was left was to drizzle on a bit of icing (also not included in the kit).
now came the moment when we got to taste the thing. i ripped a piece off from the outer edge of my spiral, and bit in... and the more i chewed, the more i regretted it.
him: it's not as bad as i expected. they're nothing compared to your cinnamon buns, but they're not bad for something you buy in a kit.
me: are you kidding me! my cinnamon buns are the stuff of legends. this thing is horrible.
him: you're just exaggerating. it's really not that bad.
me: no, it's worse than that. there is a strange taste at the back of my tongue. first it was super-salty, then it went even more wrong. yep... i'm done.
so, he finished his roll, with mere minutes to spare before midnight, and he also finished mine some time later, after we were done watching Birdemic (because we are still on the bad-movie kick, and i had not seen that one). all in all, it was a thoroughly fun way to ring in the New Year.
now, in case you think we completely lost our minds with this little baking disaster, there was some method to the madness. not only did it provide us with a bit of entertainment, but the kit each included a genuine, old-school cast-iron skillet, and we love love love such things.
so, on the morning after, i stuck them in a hot oven to heat up, before putting them to their intended use. he made some toast, and we sat down for our first meal of the new year with a smile on both our faces.
these adorable little pans were totally worth every penny spent on those silly kits.
oh... and he turned the leftover bbq pork from last night's culinary adventure into an amazing stir-fry for this evening's meal. not a bad way to start a year.