Cinnamon Sugar Success
I don't call myself a baker. I enjoy baking (and it's products, of course!) but it's one of those things that I end up only doing once every couple months, despite having a beautiful KitchenAid Mixer! Though I like to be adventurous and try unique, interesting, and/or challenging recipes, throwing away something like an entire batch of failed earl-grey-lavender cookies every other time I bake makes my heart hurt. Sometimes you just want to be sure that the time you take out of your day to bake will yield delicious treats, right? So, introducing my ALL-TIME FAVOURITE, NEVER-FAILED recipe: Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread by Joy the Baker!
This recipe isn't particularly unique. Or terribly impressive. But it's definitely one you can count on to nail the texture balance between gooey-goodness & fluffy bread. I've made it over a dozen times in the last couple years after discovering (and drooling over the picture of) it on Pinterest and have yet to make a bad batch! & I can't say that about many recipes I've found via Pinterest...
Now, I didn't use my KitchenAid for this recipe but this is one of my favourite pictures post-action. I Flour is definitely in the same category as glitter - it gets everywhere & you'll find it in the crevices of your kitchen and ears for at least a week after using it... especially when you let your husband help you bake & he spills a bunch, haha (:
From December to July last year, I collected mason jars of all shapes and sizes for our wedding decor (100+) and being a bit of a packrat, I still have a few boxfuls sitting around. But they've proven useful, I swear! Like when I need a rolling pin! Here's proof:
After the dough is rolled out, cover it in a generous layer of melted butter.
Next, fully cover the butter with the cinnamon + sugar mixture.
Slice, slice, slice, stack, stack, stack!
Neatly squish all pieces into a loaf pan. In my case, into one side of a larger baking pan they went.
Left it in a touch too long this time but it was tasty nonetheless!
A few months back, I used this recipe (+ pecans) to make regular ol' cinnamon buns instead of the pull-apart bread form. Just as delicious!
Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread, adapted from Joy the Baker's recipe
2 1/4 tsp. (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3 tbsp. warm water
pinch of granulated sugar
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 c. milk (I use 1%)
1/4 c. unsalted butter
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 c. unsalted butter
1/ Activate the yeast! Whisk yeast into 3 tablespoons of warm water & toss in a pinch of granulated sugar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes; if it doesn't start looking frothy or foamy, throw it out & try activating another package of yeast.
2/ Grab a large bowl & whisk 2 cups flour + sugar + salt together. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk eggs & set aside.
3/ In a saucepan, combine milk + butter. Heat on low until butter has just melted. Remove from heat & add water + vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, to cool.
4/ Pour the milk + butter mixture into the dry ingredients & mix with a spatula. Add the yeast mixture & stir. Now add the eggs & stir. The eggs will feel soupy & it’ll feel like the dough & the eggs will never be friends...but keep stirring! Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour & stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture should be sticky!
5/ Move the dough into a large, greased bowl. Cover with saran wrap + a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm area & let it rest until doubled in size, which takes about 1 hour. Note: The dough can be risen until doubled in size, then refrigerated overnight to use in the morning. In the morning, let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before continuing with the following directions.
6/ While the dough is rising, whisk together the sugar + cinnamon + nutmeg for the filling. Set aside. Melt the butter until browned. Set aside. Grease & flour a loaf pan. Set that aside too.
7/ Deflate the risen dough & knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into it. Cover with a clean kitchen towel & let it rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin (or a mason jar!) to roll the dough out until it's a large rectangle - Joy the Baker suggests dimensions to be about 12-inches tall & about 20-inches long & I'm much too lazy to measure so I just eyeball it. Obviously if it's not exact it'll STILL taste great so don't stress! Just roll it as large as the dough will go. Use a pastry brush or spatula to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all (yes, ALL!) of the sugar + cinnamon mixture.
8/ Here's where you decide what form you'd like your cinnamon sugar goodness in! Cinnamon buns or pull-apart bread or whatever else your creative can think up. To make pull-apart bread: slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips then, stack the strips on top of each another & slice the stack into six equal slices again. Layer the dough-square-piles in the loaf pan - sometimes it helps to hold the pan perpendicular to the countertop. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan & let it rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
9/ Place a rack in the centre of the oven & preheat to 350°F. Place loaf in the oven & bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. If you take it out when it's only lightly browned, the centre will likely still be raw so be patient & wait until the bread turns a dark, golden brown!
10/ Remove from the oven & allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges to loosen the bread & invert onto a clean surface. Place a plate on top of the upside down loaf, & invert so it’s right side up.
In my opinion, all breads taste their very best straight from the oven (after cooling to non-tongue-burning temperature of course!), but it can also be wrapped & kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.
& If you don't already, go read & follow Joy the Baker's blog - she has yummy, easy-to-replicate recipes, pretty pictures, & most importantly, a great personality!