And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. -Khalil Gibran
It’s time to say good-bye to our beloved Île d’Orléans strawberries until the next growing season. When I was growing up, strawberry season lasted about a month. One month. Can you believe that?! Present day, thanks to advances in farming techniques, we get to enjoy local strawberries until October! Despite a longer season though, these little wonders will surely be missed.
And with that thought, here is a recipe for some delicious cinnamon buns. My husband first made these for me when I returned one bleary morning from a month-long overseas business trip. Surely, it was a long month for him… and I! And for this reason, these sugary delights remain in our repertoire of recipes.
This recipe uses whole wheat flour and uses less sugar than the classic versions. But still, the result is decadent and certainly not something that one should eat on a regular basis. These are for those special mornings when a little celebration is long-due. Enjoy!
Cinnamon Buns (adapted from Canadian Living’s Best Breads and Pizzas, p. 56)
(Makes 15 buns, requires a 10 inch x 15 inch baking dish or two 10 inch round dishes)
- 1/4 cup granulated cane sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water (it should not feel hot or cold to the touch)
- 1 tbsp dry yeast
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, at room temperature and beaten
- 3 1/2 cups (approximately) white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup butter, cut into 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch x 1/4 inch rectangular cuboids (basically that’s a 1/2 inch cube cut in half)
- 3/4 cup brown cane sugar
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or raisins or a mix of both (optional)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve 1 tsp of sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast and let stand until it has proofed.
- While you wait, gently melt butter in a saucepan. Add milk and granulated sugar and heat until the mixture is warm. (If the mixture is hot to the touch, let cool to warm. Warm means it will feel neither cold or hot).
- Stir the milk mixture into the yeast mixture.
- Stir in the eggs.
- Using a dough hook, gradually mix in 3 cups of flour until the dough comes together to form a ball.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface or a dough bowl and knead for 7-10 minutes until smooth,using the remaining dough as required.
- Place in a large greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (1 to 1 1/2 hours) or refrigerate overnight.
- When you are ready to roll out the dough, stir together the brown sugar and the cinnamon.
- Roll the dough out into an 18 inch x 14 inch (45 cm x 35 cm) rectangle. Spread the brown sugar mixture evenly over the dough. Place butter pieces evenly spaced over the dough. Top with pecans and raisins, if using.
- Starting at the long side, tightly roll up the dough and pinch to seal the seam, resulting in a log shape.
- Slide a piece of string (butcher’s cord, kitchen twine) under the roll, 1 inch from an end. Raise the two ends of the string and cross across the log to shear through it. Place cut piece, cut side down on baking dish. Continue for the remainder of the log to have 15 pieces. Alternatively, you can use a serrated knife to cut log into 15 pieces.
- Cover baking dishes with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- When soon time to bake, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Bake in the center of the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand in baking dish for 2-3 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter. Serve warm!
NOTE: If you want to enjoy these for breakfast, it is best to start the preparations the evening before and let the dough rise overnight in the fridge.