Guest post by Mark :-)… again
The other night for some inexplicable reason I awoke at 3am, you know the one where you feel like you have had 8 hours sleep and could take on the world even though you have only been asleep for a couple of hours. So the dilemma unfolded, stay in bed and try to return to the land of nod or get up and do something. What to do if I did get up, stumped I lay there and thought. Then it occurred to me, I’ll cook up a treat for breakfast. Instantly I was consumed with a burning desire to munch on a cinnamon swirl, don’t ask me why as I have no idea, I have not had a cinnamon swirl for years, all I knew now was “I want one NOW”.
So off to the kitchen we go. The dogs looked at me like I had lost the plot, but undeterred I carried on. Rummaging around in the pantry the ingredients started to form up on the island worktop. The final collection included the following items:
- 150ml of warm milk
- 150ml of warm water
- 1tsp heaped of honey
- Fresh yeast about 25g
- 500g strong bread flour
- 1tsp salt
- 3tbs of Olive oil
- 2tbs of ground cinnamon
- 50g butter melted
- 100g Raisons
- 1 Shot of espresso coffee
- Shot of brandy
- 100g of flaked almonds
- 1 pack of course ground natural brown sugar
- Some butter and grease proof paper for greasing your baking tray
So how do we make them…
Put your oven on at 180C and place a shelf in the middle position.
Put your milk and water (300ml total) into a beaker and microwave for 1 minute, or heat up in a small saucepan. When warm but not burning to the touch mix in the honey and then crumble in your yeast, give it all a good stir and place somewhere warm.
Make your espresso coffee by whatever method you would normally, we are after a single but strong shot. Put your raisons into a bowl and pour the hot coffee over and add the brandy. Place this bowl with your yeast cocktail.
Melt the butter gently, again in the microwave or a small saucepan. When almost melted remove from the heat and add your cinnamon and stir to make a nice thick paste. Add this to your growing collection of bowls.
Take a large baking sheet and with your butter give it a good greasing all over, don’t miss anywhere out. Now place a large handful of your sugar in the middle and with a 70’s disco dance move shake the tray all around so that the sugar sticking to the butter ends up forming a nice even layer all over. Tip out any excess sugar into a bowl, we will use that later. If there are any gaps repeat until you have them all filled in.
Now if you have a food mixer this next bit is easy, if you don’t then prepare for your early morning workout. Measure out your flour and sift it into your mixing bowl, add the salt and olive oil.
By now hopefully your oven is up to temperature, place the almonds on a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes till they are a nice golden brown. This as it goes is just enough time to add your yeast mixture to your mixing bowl and mix until a dough has formed. Now either with a dough hook kneed your doe in your food mixer, or alternatively tip out onto a floured work surface and hand kneed. Remember you cannot stop until the almonds are toasted, so keep going. When done rub some olive oil over you dough ball and around the inside of you mixing bowl, put your dough in the bowl and cover with cling film and a spare tea towel and leave somewhere warm for an hour, or at least until the dough has doubled in size..
Take your almonds out of the oven and leave to cool.
Ok, you can now go and have a cup of tea, or coffee and relax for a while, you are ahead in this game.
When the dough has doubled in size remove the cling film and punch the dough to flatten it down. Grab your dough and place on a floured worktop and kneed for another minute or two. Then with a floured rolling pin roll out your dough gently. You want to try as hard as possible to keep a rectangular shape to your dough and it should be about half a cm thick.
Take your almonds and roughly smash them up to get a range of sizes in the pieces.
Finally we can start building. Spread your cinnamon/butter mix all over the dough, like your buttering a slice of bread. Drain your raisons and sprinkle them over the top, and then the almonds. Now sprinkle half the remaining sugar from your dusting remains to complete the toppings.
Use a large knife or preferably a pallet knife to lift up the short end of your dough and start to roll gently till you end up with a large sausage roll. With a very sharp knife cut into slices about 2cm thick and place on your sugared baking sheet. Don’t fret a small degree of reconstruction will inevitably be required at this point. Place your swirls close to each other so they almost tough their neighbours. When your tray is full, lay a sheet of cling film over the top and return to a warm place for another 45 minutes to an hour.
They should now be all puffed up and starting to look tasty, but resist! Sprinkle the last of the sugar over the top and a dusting of cinnamon powder and pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes until they are a nice golden brown. Remove and let cool on the tray for 10 minutes, you can use this time to fully appreciate just how amazing your house smells at this moment.
Straight from the oven
Now the sugar from the tray and what you sprinkled on top should have caramelised so you may need a knife and a fish slice and a degree of delicate persistence to get them out but trust me it’s worth all the effort .
Serve with a nice homemade latté (boil some milk and add a shot or two of espresso or just a spoonful of instant coffee), or if you have the equipment make a proper one!
Perfect combination – cinnamon swirls and freshly brew coffee
Best enjoyed when warm.
- Cinnamon and sugar swirl loaf (sophiedoesbaking.wordpress.com)
- Cinnamon Roll Pancakes (tastesoflizzyt.com)
- Cinnamon and ginger swirls (eatinginedinburgh.wordpress.com)