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cinnamon

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Cinnamon, sugar and butter between slices of dough and baked to a warm hue. How can you resist?

It looks all fancy schmancy, but it’s really simply to make. It’s the basic plain white bread dough. You just do a little bit of rolling, spreading and slicing. Shove it into a loaf pan, and then let time and the oven do its job. I’m one of those that believe that there is no such thing as too much cinnamon; so I’m not shy at all about how much I use.

And you know, this bread is pretty genius. You don’t have to bother slicing it – you just peel it apart slice by slice. It’s rather fascinating doing so – watching the slices come apart, as you get hit by a whiff of cinnamon. It’s joyful. It’s comforting. And then you bite into soft, pillowy, flavourful bread.

The cinnamon pull-apart bread is best had minutes after you’ve baked it. I baked two large loaf pans and didn’t have any leftovers. But if you do, then there is no better use of the bread than making yourself some French toast. Heaven on a plate.

Inspired from Joy the Baker, I made the cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread using my go-to soft white bread recipe (Don’t be fooled by its use in the pesto bread roll – that’s just how versatile this bread recipe is.)

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For the past few minutes, I’ve been pondering over how to start this post. All attempts were defeated as I stared at the words  – cinnamon, butter and applesauce. Biting into three of my favourite things spread rather generously on a piece of toasted bread – I’m not thinking clearly. If you were next to me right now, all you’d hear would be squeals of joy.

When you take a tour of food blogs around this time of the year, you will notice the space bursting with all things fall – pumpkins, persimmons, apples – but nothing yet on Purple Foodie (gasp!). I know I’m a little late in coming up with a recipe for the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’*, and I clearly got the hint weeks ago when I noticed frantic activity on the recipe for apple chips. But the truth is, there is no fall here in Bombay. No rustling leaves in crimson and gold, no woolen scarves and jackets, none of that. And to top that, we have apples available all year round which saps the charm out of apples being seasonal fruits. But you know what? Making the cinnamon butter and homemade applesauce will make you happy, regardless of how the weather around you is.

The first time I had applesauce was a little over a year ago at a farmers’ market stand in NYC. The pink hued applesauce was calling my name from afar. I traipsed over, and bought a tub of the raspberry applesauce and a loaf of raisin and fennel bread.  And that was my breakfast every day for the rest of my trip. Just to relive that moment, I added a little raspberry puree to this homemade applesauce, and I am only too happy to report that this sauce has surpassed the one from the farmers’ market. I’m going to attribute the success to Granny Smith apples – they are magical when cooked.

Some tips on making homemade applesauce:

  • Use apples that are meant for cooking like Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji or Mcintosh.
  • Add some lemon zest to the sauce while cooking to intensify the flavour.
  • If you’re using a cinnamon stick, don’t discard it when bottling. The cinnamon will continue to add flavour to the applesauce.
  • If you’d like a chunky applesauce, use a potato masher, and if you’d like a smooth texture, you could whizz it together with a hand blender or pass it through a food mill.
  • I used raspberries for that pink blush to the sauce, but you could use cranberries or strawberries too. If you’d like increased tartness, you could add more of the berries.
  • I have made homemade applesauce with two methods: first by caramelising the sugar with the apples and butter and the other by dumping all the ingredients into the pan at the same time. This didn’t make much of a difference, but I’m partial to the method of caramelising the apples first.
  • If you’d like to make a super quick version of the homemade applesauce, you could throw all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl along with a little apple juice, cover it leaving the slightest and microwave it on high for 10 minutes. I’m not a proponent of microwave cooking, but this saves you a lot of trouble of toiling over the stovetop.

Go ahead, and make this. Make sure you dollop the toast with blobs of the cinnamon butter. And when your house health police isn’t looking, add another. You can blame me if you’re caught, I’ll take one for the team.

* To Autumn – John Keats.

Cinnamon Butter

Ingredients:
100g butter, at room temperature
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons castor sugar

Method: Mix all the ingredients until combined and then fill it in a small jar. I like to refrigerate it for a little while until its firm, but still malleable and then roll it in parchment. I then cut small discs and plop over some hot toast.

Applesauce
Approximate yield: 500g / 1 lb.

Ingredients:
5 apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp vanilla bean sugar

Optional: A few frozen raspberries/raspberry puree

Equipment: Potato masher

Method:

  1. Heat a saucepan, and add the butter to it. Stir in the sugar and let it cook with the butter until it is almost dissolved. Add the apples, and stir to coat.
  2. Cook the apples for 10-12 minutes, stirring often until the apples have softened and yield to pressure when squeezed between fingers.
  3. Stir in the cinnamon until evenly distributed.
  4. With a potato mashed, squish the cooked apples until it reached the texture you desire.
  5. If you’re adding the berries, now is the time. Mash them together until uniformly blended.
  6. Turn of the heat and lick off the masher while no one’s looking.

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Buttery Cinnamon Cake

September 13, 2010

Cinnamon

When the Pioneer Woman says it’s the best coffee cake ever, you’ve got to listen. Having bookmarked this recipe ever since she wrote about this super delicious coffee cake, I finally set out to make it today. With lots of butter, sugar, pecans and cinnamon, what’s not to like? (For that matter, anything with cinnamon makes me go weak in the knees.)

I have never made a cake with this technique of folding in egg whites right at the end, so I was very, very curious about how the texture might turn out to be. I’m so pleased to learn that this resulted in a cake that has the softest crumb I’ve eaten in a long time (well, clearly). Biting into the cake, is like having soft, pillowy goodness in your mouth that has the added bonus of having a hint of vanilla in the cake and a heady fragrance of Sri Lankan cinnamon in the crumb topping. And then there is the slightly chewy, almost crispy, buttery brown sugar pecan topping that not only makes for a wonderful topping, but blobs of it sink into the cake that makes the sugary goo so desirable (that’s the part I look for, hoping I can sneak the slice with the maximum goo without anyone noticing.)  It is so buttery, you’re going to have nightmares about your doctor when you make them. But you know, it’s good for you.

Buttery Cinnamon Cake

Will the original recipe makes A LOT of cake; I halved the recipe to fit into a 7 inch square pan. Of course, if you don’t have the pecans you could substitute walnuts or leave them out entirely. I can imagine this cake being so delicious with vanilla icecream, for those who like ice cream. However, I’d much rather have them with caramelised apples. You should make this cake. You really should.

Buttery Cinnamon Cake

Buttery Cinnamon Cake Recipe

Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman (her cookbook)

Yield: One 7 inch square cake. Serves 8.

Note: I have halved the recipe and put down metric measures because cup measures get a little weird (1/2 of 3/4th cup?). If you’d like to see the cup measure for the full recipe, you should check out the link above.

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:
60g egg whites
85g butter, Softened
180g sugar
1 tsp vanilla
180g  flour, Sifted
2 tsp baking powder
150ml whole milk
FOR THE TOPPING:
85g butter, Softened
60g flour
100g brown sugar
1 tbsp Cinnamon
100g Pecans, Chopped

Equipment: 7 inch square pan

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg whites and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture and milk alternately until combined, starting and ending with flour. Don’t overbeat.
  3. Fold in the beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula.
  4. Spread in a 7 inch square pan with high sides lined with parchment paper.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle all over the top.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until no longer jiggly, and a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Eat!

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Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

Rejoice yeast-o-phobes! I have found the perfect recipe to convert you.

I am one anxious person when I’ve to make bread. I’m never sure if a new recipe I try will work out. Will it rise? Will it get a nice brown crust? Will it smell too yeasty (answer to this: I used to think mixing instant yeast with warm water to start the fermenting would be a good idea, turns out, it does the same job when added to the flour, just a lot less stinky dough).

Babkas originated in Eastern Europe and in several Jewish settlements, though in my mind they were popularised on Seinfeld (The Dinner Party). Jerry and Elaine miss out on the last wonderful chocolate babka, and have to settle for a cinnamon babka. Chocolate vs cinnamon – that’s a tough spot to be in, isn’t it? To eliminate this predicament once and for all, and in honour of this wonderful Seinfeld episode, I decided to make “Jerry and Elaine’s Chocolate Cinnamon Babka”.

The chocolate cinnamon babka recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday looked too good to be true, so just as a precaution, I halved the recipe. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t because this was so soft and chocolatey and delicious. (I’ve given the full recipe here).

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

So why is this recipe so good?  Glad you asked. This chocolate cinnamon babka starts with all the familiar things of making a cake that puts you at ease instantly… cream the butter and the sugar together, add the egg yolks one at a time and then the flour… See? And before you know it, you’ve added the yeast mixed into milk and the dough has beautifully come together! A golden yellow dough (read rich dough full of butter, eggs and sugar!) results and you’re half way through making your bread.

Now you just have to let it rest for about 2 hours (or you can refrigerate it overnight, just make sure to pull it out 2 hours before you want to bake it).  Next, roll it out and spread it with dark chocolate and cinnamon. Roll it. Twist it. Bake it!

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

And of course, the flavour possibilities with this bread are endless: cinnamon sugar, white chocolate vanilla and (I’m thinking we might get some of the caramelised white chocolate goodness that David Lebovitz raves about), Nutella (!), chocolate with sliced almonds, pistachios, etc. and maybe even some fruits – fresh as well as dried?

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka Recipe

Adapted from: Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday (OMG, I love this book!) (USA | UK | India)

Makes 1 really large loaf or two medium sized loaves.

Bread:
2 tbsp / 19g instant yeast
3/4th cup / 170g lukewarm milk
6 tbsp / 85 butter
6 tbsp / 85g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg yolks
3 ½ cup / 425g all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
Filling:
1 ½ cups / 225g dark chocolate, coarsely grated
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/4th cup / 55g butter
  1. Whisk the yeast into lukewarm milk and set aside for about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a KitchenAid, cream together the sugar and butter until smooth.
  3. Add the yolks to the bowl, one at a time, mixing constantly for 30 seconds between each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the flour and salt and continue to mix until it all comes together.
  5. Now mix in the milk + yeast mixture and let it mix until it forms a soft dough.
  6. Knead by hand for another 2-3 minutes. You will have a soft, supple and golden dough.
  7. Let this rise for about 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight, making sure to remove it from the fridge two hours before baking.
  8. For the filling: mix the chocolate, butter and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  9. Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a sheet with a thickness of 1/8th to 1/4th inch. Make sure to keep it dusted well with flour at all times, else it might stick.
  10. Spread the chocolate mixture over it.
  11. Roll the sheet of dough and then pinch the seams to seal it. Roll it to a length of about 24 inches. Either you can keep it this big if you’d like a big loaf, or cut it into half for two medium loaves.
  12. For the gorgeous twisty shape, cut the log down the middle lengthwise, making sure to keep the top end attached. Twist over each other to get the braided look.
  13. Now you need to let if prove for another 2 hours, but I skipped this step because I overlooked it. Turns out, you too can totally skip it, if you’re short on time.
  14. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C and bake for 15-20 minutes for medium sized and 20-25 minutes for the large loaf.
  15. The babka tends to brown quickly because of the high(er) sugar content, but you shouldn’t worry. It tastes fab!
  16. Cool for an hour (painful) or eat it right away (delightful!)
  17. The bread stays good for 2-3 days in an airtight box.

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Cinnamon Cake with Caramel Apples

There is something about cooked apples that instantly spells comfort food for me. I especially like how tart apples like granny smith hold their own in whatever recipe they’re used. Earlier, when they were unheard of here, my grand mum would lug them for me from London along with Kiwis (I remember hiding them at the back of the fridge, just in case she wanted to give a guest a taste of exotica). Back then I didn’t bake or cook, and cooking apples was an alien thought. But if I knew how beautifully the apples transformed with a little sugar, butter and heat into luscious caramel apples, I’d make them everyday.


Today, just I was going through my books, I chanced upon this recipe for the caramel apples. The photo was so enticing that I was instantly drawn to making them. And the timing couldn’t be more perfect because I had a few granny smiths in my refrigerator waiting to be used up. Along with apples go cinnamon, so I made a cinnamon cake with a cinnamon sugar crust; a trick I learned when making bread from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It’s such a simple idea, but once you do it, you’ll wonder why you never thought of it. Just as soon as the cake is out of the oven, brush it with butter, lots and lots of butter. Then roll it in cinnamon sugar and you will have the most amazing crust to the cake. Slice up the cake and top with the caramel apples and serve. Or after slicing the cake into wedges, slice them into halves horizontally and place the apples slices in between, much like a sandwich.

You can use the caramel apples with anything you fancy. My two favourites being vanilla ice cream, and of course, this cinnamon cake.

Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples
Yield: 8 servings
Adapted from: Jill O’Connor’s Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey

4 granny smith apples
1/3rd cup granulated sugar
1/3rd cup brown sugar
A pinch of salt
3 tbsp butter, plus a tiny knob to finish.
½ tsp vanilla extract

  1. Peel and core the apples. Then quarter them and cut them into slices (not too thick). Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a 12 inch sauté pan over a medium heat.
  3. Add the sugars and stir until it is dissolved and the mixture is golden brown and bubbling.
  4. Stir in the vanilla and the salt.
  5. Add the apples and simmer uncovered, stirring frequently until the apples have cooked through; about 15 – 20 minutes.
  6. After you’ve turned off the heat, thrown in the remaining knob of butter to coat the apples evenly. Serve warm with the cake that follows.
Cinnamon Cake
Yield: 8 servings

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 stick / 112g butter
2 eggs
½ cup yoghurt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Butter an 8 inch square or circular pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and the butter with a hand mixer until light and airy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition.
  5. Reduce the speed now and add the flour in 3 parts and yoghurt in 2 parts alternately; starting and ending with flour.
  6. You will have a very thick batter.
  7. Transfer the batter in the buttered pan and even out the top with a spatula.
  8. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the crumbs are golden and a skewer comes out clean.
  9. When the cake is just out of the oven, brush it with butter and roll it in cinnamon sugar. Or if you’d like, sprinkle it on top of the cake.
Please note: Serving caramel apples with this cake is mandatory.

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Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

April 8, 2009

Pretzels

It’s always a good thing to like baking – when you crave something you know you can whip it up to satiate yourself. There might just be that tiny bit of lag time, though, but it’s all worth it! The other day when I craved for some soft pretzels coated with cinnamon sugar, I went looking for a recipe when suddenly I remembered that I had an e-mail from a friend who had made some gorgeous looking pretzels a while back. I rummaged through the archives and was overjoyed to find that e-mail from way back in 2007! I quickly got down to work.

I made two batches just to see how the taste would vary when I gave the dough time to ferment for a day (the real reason being the lack of time. But anyway, it did help figure that out). Although the second batch of dough fermented for over 8 hours as opposed to the first batch that got rising time of about 40 minutes; I couldn’t really notice too much of a difference. If you’re in a cooler place, you might need to let it rise for about 15 minutes more. See, I knew living in a place at 40°C has its benefits!

Pretzels

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
Yield: 6-7 pretzels

1 1/2 /350g cup warm water
1 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 /25g tablespoons brown sugar
4 cups / 500g regular flour
1 1/8 teaspoon salt
Water (for boiling the pretzel)
2 /25g tablespoons baking soda
Cinnamon sugar,
4 tbsp / 60g butter, melted

In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water (if you tend to kill the yeast with hot water like do, then use water right from the tap. The yeast will take longer to froth up, but at least you know you’ve not killed it). Add sugar, and stir to dissolve.

Add flour and salt and knead dough until smooth and elastic. Let rise for 40-60 minutes at least.

Shaping the dough: Divide the dough into 6-7 parts and then roll it out. Make sure to keep both the ends thinner than the rest of it since both the ends are going to be tied together an will become thicker eventually. Also, make sure that you roll them out thin, not more than ½ an inch in diameter, because they will swell up twice – once after the water bath and then when it’s baking.

Pretzels

Next, boil the two water and add the baking soda. Drop the pretzels in the water bath and let it stay in for about 5 seconds. Make sure the stove is still on. After the pretzel is removed from the water bath, make sure to dry the excess liquid on it on a kitchen towel before placing on the baking sheet/silpat/baking stone. Below is a comparison of how the pretzel looks before and after a water bath.

Pretzels

Place the pretzels on a baking sheet and brush with a lightly beaten egg. Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C/450°F oven for ten minutes or until golden. Let cool on a wire rack. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle the sugar cinnamon all over it. Don’t be shy, make sure to coat both sides and every nook and cranny!

Pretzels

These are best stored at room temperature. I have no idea how long these would keep since we consumed these on the day they were baked. If you do have some left, I’d be happy to know how long they kept for.

Variation: You can use the same dough to make the savory ones as well, just sprinkle some salt after the egg wash (so that the coarse granules stick) and you will have the traditional type of pretzels.

Savory variations: herbs, your favourite seasoning mix, sesame, onions, garlic butter, Parmesan and herbs, sun-dried tomato and herbs.
Sweet variations: almond or pistachio flakes, coconut flakes,lemony icing sugar glaze, melt-in-the-mouth powdered sugar, dipped in chocolate or spread with Nutella or peanut butter.

Enjoy the soft, chewy golden goodness!

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Sticky Cinnamon Buns

June 9, 2008

I’ve made these before and they’re always a hit. For a while I’ve been thinking “I’m going to make them this week” but never did. Finally, I began making them yesterday.
These buns are high sugar, high carb, high fat, low protein so forget about it if you’re counting calories.

While they’re baking, a wonderful cinnamony smell will waft out of your kitchen and you’ll know you’ve got something special.


I’m not big on baking bread but these are so, so easy to make. They freeze well too, so you can enjoy them at later date without having to wait though all the bread rising and punching down and rising again.












 

Sticky Cinnamon Buns
Adapted from: Oprah Magazine


Dough:
1/4 cup warm water
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
3 large egg yolks
1 1/4 teaspoon. salt
4 to 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Filling:
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Topping:
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. corn syrup/glucose
1 ½ – 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans.
  1. Make the dough. In a bowl combine warm water, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar. Stir to dissolve and let it sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add milk, butter, remaining sugar, egg yolks, salt and 3 cups flour. Knead until blended. Add the remaining 1 cup of flour. Knead dough until smooth and slightly sticky (adding a little more flour if too wet). Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large, buttered bowl. Turn dough over in bowl to coat with the butter from the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. After the dough has risen, punch down. Turn out onto a lightly floured cutting board and let sit 20 minutes.
  3. Filling: Combine brown sugar and cinnamon and softened butter.
  4. Roll dough out into a 12″ x 18″ rectangle and spread the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Starting with the long side, roll dough into a cylinder. Place seam side down on a flat surface and cut crosswise into 15 slices. Dental floss does a nea
    t job.
    Makes the cut nice and even too.
  5. Topping: In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, honey and corn syrup over low heat; stir until sugar and butter are melted. Pour mixture into a greased 9″ x 13″ pan and sprinkle pecans on top.
  6. Place dough slices, flat side down, on top of prepared topping. Crowd Leave little gaps to allow the dough to expand. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving room for the buns to rise, and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while the oven pre-heats. Preheat oven to 190°C. Bake buns until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove pan from oven and immediately and invert onto a serving tray or baking dish.
  8. Serve warm. These would go well with some vanilla ice cream.
While I was separating the buns I couldn’t stopping gobbling down a few. Now I have to pray it doesn’t all go to my thighs.

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