Climbing to Heaven on yeasty, pillow-soft layers of cinnamon sugar.
Made you look!
I know, I know, it's unfair. I apologize.
Winter seems to have gone on FOR-EVER.
We've had way, way too much brrrr-ing of late and, still, the weatherman insists on mentioning snow squalls. Then I come along, all smug, with my cinnamon sugar grin, pushing warm, soul-comforting, yeasty, hedonistic pleasures at you.
It's just not fair!
But.......I'm pretty darn sure you will forgive me the second you start pulling one pillowy sheet after another off your hot-from-the-oven loaf.
And what fun having matching cinnamon sugar grins.
Now, please, everyone join me in a big, enthusiastic thank-you to Joy the Baker for this enjoyable-to-make, easy, keeper of a recipe. Joy, you rock!
It's so good to know for sure, unlike those Summertime Blues, there is most definitely a cure for the wintertime blues!
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"Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven
is a friend for life."
~ Lemony Snicket
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CINNAMON SUGAR PULL-APART BREAD ~ Makes one 9x5x3-inch loaf
**Joy mixed the dough by hand, as the instructions suggest. I use my stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, and it works like a charm. Every time.**
FOR THE DOUGH:
2 3/4 - 3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE FILLING:
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter, melted until browned
Stir 1 tablespoon of the sugar in warm water (between 105-115 degrees F), stir in the yeast. Allow mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy and frothy.
In large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, the rest of the sugar and salt.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, (or microwave) melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until mixture registers 115-125 degrees F. (just warm to the touch).
Pour the milk-butter mixture and yeast into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. The eggs will feel soupy and it'll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.
Keep stirring. Add about 3/4 cup flour and stir with a spatula for 2-3 minutes. The mixture will be sticky. That's just right.
Place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
**The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight for use in the morning. If you're using this method, just let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before following the roll-out directions below.**
While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling. Set aside. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter until lightly browned. Set aside. Grease and flour 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Set that aside too.
Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons flour into the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long. If you can't get the dough to 20-inches long...that's okay. Just roll it as large as the dough will go.
Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal pieces once again. You'll have six stacks of six squares.
Place a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 350F. Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30-35-40 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. The top may be lightly browned, but the centre may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the centre is cooked as well.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board or pan. Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the unside down loaf, and carefully invert so it's right side up. (We always seem to serve and eat ours upside down) Serve warm with coffee or tea.
Seems this bread is best served the day it is made, but it can also be wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days. (Like that's going to happen!)