An Easy Way To Make Friends

When I was in high school I fell hopelessly in love with a boy. He was handsome and charming and I was smitten from the start. And then I was inconsolably devastated when he suddenly moved across the province leaving me all alone. We ran into each other a couple of years later at a party in and I was once again head over heels. I went to visit him the next weekend in Montreal with my cutest outfits, overwhelmingly high expectations, and a tray of proofing cinnamon buns. I brought the dough and the cinnamon sugar mix on the side and woke up early the next morning to roll and bake them. The whole apartment smelled of fresh bread and cinnamon. Needless to say they were a serious hit.

I learnt 3 things that weekend:

  1. There is a big difference between being mysterious and being emotionally unavailable.

  2. Montreal is an unbelievably great city.

  3. There is no easier way to get in the good books of a guys friends then to bake cinnamon buns in their house.

The boy I was into was not into me. I would be lying if I said there weren’t tears shed on the train ride home, but man oh man, his room mates loved me.

Now, I like to think I am not quite so desperate these days. I have a wonderful man who I’ve been with for nearly 4 years and I am far past the point of trying that hard to make people like me. And yet… This weekend we have one of Jordan’s friends who I don’t know very well staying with us for the weekend and I made cinnamon buns. I guess some things never change.

6 1/2 tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lemon extract or zest

1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter, room temperature

2 large egg, slightly beaten

3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons (.22 ounce) instant yeast

1 to 1 1/4 cups (9 to 10 ounces) whole milk or buttermilk, room temperature

3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar

1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Fit a standard mixer with a dough hook attachment

Cream butter and sugar together, this will be a little hard with the dough hook so you can get in there with a spatula if you need to.

Mix in your eggs. It will be split and not pretty. Don`t panic!

Just add in all your dry ingredients except the sugar and the cinnamon.

Slowly add in the milk, first 1 cup, then more if you need to.

Work the dough until it comes together and follows the dough hook around. It should still feel a little tacky but if you break a piece off and stretch it should  become transparent. If it doesn`t keep mixing for a while until it does.

Cover the bowl with a cloth. If you plan on baking them today put them in a warm spot to proof. It will take about 2 hours for them to double in size. If you want to bake them tomorrow put the bowl in the fridge.

Roll out the dough. It should be a square about a foot and a half each way. I didn’t roll mine thin enough, I prefer lots of thin cinnamon-y pieces on mine generally. Then cut them into pieces and put into a buttered pan!

Let it proof until doubled in size. If you chilled it overnight it will take about 2 hours, if it`s room temp it should only take about an hour.

Preheat oven to 375F

Bake for about 20 minutes or until just starting to brown on top and your house smells absolutly heavenly.

Spread lightly with Cream Cheese Glaze:

Beat 2 tbsp Cream Cheese with 3/4 cup Icing Sugar. Thin with a tablespoon or two or whipping cream.