Would you walk a mile for a cinnamon bun?

Hey, the weblog tour is back!

What’s the farthest you have traveled for food?  Did you fly across the country just so you could have the perfect bowl of clam chowder?  Did you cross the state line just for a scoop of ice cream?  What was it, how far did you travel, and was it worth it?

I had to think about this, and I would say it was 20 miles, each way, for a Cinnabon.

I’m not clear on the details here. The circumstances are vague and I can’t find any evidence of it in my email archives because it was so long ago. However, I’ll do my best.

Angeltown had no Cinnabon. A great source of sadness to me and a great source of joy to my body, which didn’t need thousand-calorie desserts on a regular basis. My Patient Husband would pick up Cinnabons when he travelled for work, but only if they flew him through the right airport and the right concourse and he had a long enough layover.

I remember it was Wendy who sent me a Cinnabon gift card. I don’t remember why, but it might have been Christmas or my birthday, and I think it wasn’t too long after Emily had died. Meaning I was in a fog (which might explain my lack of details here.)

The nearest Cinnabon was at a mall twenty miles away. But I went for it. On a day I felt like garbage and my life was a nightmare, I went and had a Cinnabon and one of those huge coffees. And my life was good again. Well, as good as a cinnamon bun the size of your head, washed down with a gallon of caffeine, can make it. 🙂

But no more–there are no Cinnabons within 40 miles of Angelborough. On Easter Sunday, because the Dunkin Donuts line was out the door, I learned how to make my own cinnamon rolls, and they’re really quite good. Interested?

Here’s the recipe. It’s from the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, 1995 edition, pages 442 and 444. The cinnamon rolls use half the sweet dough recipe; that half-recipe makes 12 cinnamon rolls. When you make the sweet dough, therefore, you’ll be halving everything.

SWEET DOUGH:

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 packages active dry yeast
8 to 9 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup butter or margarine
2 eggs

1) In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, yeas, and 2 cups flour. Heat milk and butter slowly until warm; butter does not need to melt. (MY NOTE: I put it in the microwave for 1 minute; I discovered that making it too hot will kill the yeast). Beat liquid into dry ingredients.

2) Beat in eggs and 2 cups of flour. (MY NOTE: I hand-mix it. They ask for machine mixing.)

3) Stir in enough additional flour (about 4.5 cups) to make a soft dough

4) Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic; shape into a ball.

5) Turn over in greased large bowl to grease top; cover; let rise until dough is doubled, about one hour.

6) Punch down dough; divide into pieces as your recipe directs; cover, let rest 15 minutes.

—–
I go off-recipe for the cinnamon rolls, so I’m going to give you mine, which doesn’t have raisins and pecans (which would make my kids turn up their noses)
—–
CINNAMON ROLLS

1/2 Sweet Dough
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1) prepare sweet dough. Grease 9 x 13 baking pan (I use a pyrex pan and don’t bother greasing it). Roll dough into a rectangle about 18 inches by 9 inches.
2) Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon. Melt the butter, add to mixture. Stir into a paste.
3) Using a silicone spatula, spread the butter-sugar mixture across the dough. It’s going to feel like you’re painting it on.
4) roll it into a long tube, slice into 12 cinnamon rolls. Set them on the pan to rise for another hour.
5) bake at 400 for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top

—–

SUGAR GLAZE

Option 1: Open a can of frosting; smear gobs of frosting everywhere
Option 2: In a small bowl, stir 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and 3 tablespoons water until smooth; smear gobs of glaze everywhere.

—–

My notes: this does take forever, it seems, because it’s broken up into so many parts. I make the dough before breakfast, punch it down after breakfast and a shower, roll it into the cinnamon rolls before church, let it rise again while we’re at church, bake it while we’re eating “church breakfast” (brunch) and then have it for dessert.

I freeze half of them after they’ve been rolled and cut. To thaw, have them sit overnight in the fridge, then rise/thaw on the counter in the pan for at least four hours before baking.

Enjoy!

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About philangelus

Mom, freelance writer, novelist, angelphile, Catholic, know-it-all.
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10 Responses to Would you walk a mile for a cinnamon bun?

  1. Megan says:

    That’s a good story, and thank you for the recipe. Isn’t it amazing how food can bring a bit of comfort during a hard time?

  2. Ken Rolph says:

    I wonder if I can translate that into something I can use with the breadmaker.

    Jan and I once had fish and chips in Robe, South Australia. We live in Sydney, so it is a bit of a drive. We didn’t got there specifically for the fish. We had gone to the Barossa Valley and were on our way home via Victoria. But it was the best fish and chips we’ve ever had. I wouldn’t mind going back there for some more.

  3. Bienchen says:

    Wow, those sound really good!

  4. Wendy says:

    Ack! I never realized the Cinnabon was 20 miles away! Speaking of which, have you seen the new toaster version that Kelloggs is selling in the grocery store? I don’t know if they’re any good.

    Hobby pilots enjoy going for the “hundred dollar hamburger”: flying to a far-off place just for the sake of doing it and for having lunch (my favorites were hundred-dollar clam chowder lunches in Monterey, 45 minutes away as the little bitty Cessna flies). My farthest hundred dollar hamburger was in Harris Ranch, about 120 miles (IIRC) from home. All their food was produced locally, so I had a hundred-dollar tri-tip and brought home a cooler full of steaks.

    • philangelus says:

      It was at the big mall, which was 20 miles. I went there, had my cinnabon, and then performed some retail therapy. 🙂 Goodness all around, really. A nice long drive that got me out of the house and out of my own head for a while. It was a good thing, and thank you again. 🙂

  5. I think I’m going to add that recipe to my baking to do list!

  6. Terentia says:

    Late to the party and I’ve never commented here before but, yearly I drive 200 miles just to go to a specific restaurant for their incredible peirogies. It’s called Legs Inn and it’s located in Cross Village MI, right on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. Great food and heavenly vistas.

    • philangelus says:

      Wow! Is it an annual occasion that you travel to, or just once a year when it happens to be convenient?

      That’s so cool. 🙂

      • Terentia says:

        It started out to be on my son’s birthday but as differing job schedules started getting in the way, it became just when it was convenient.

  7. Mariana says:

    Hmm.. Interesting question. I’d be hard pressed to say I’ve traveled anywhere *exclusively* for food, except across town (which, can be over an hour on public transportation, but no more than five miles). That said, a big reason for my going to South America (3800 miles and 5400 miles respectively) is definitely the food, what can I say? But there is this pesky family thing there, too… 🙂

    I have seriously considered going to NYC just for the food, but I have not done it yet, so that would be about 200 miles. I’ve driven to Portland, Maine for lunch once (100 miles), but the reason was to see Maine (turns out, very rainy), not food, so that doesn’t count either.

    Oh, for work we drove 20 miles to a specific chinese restaurant in MA. So I guess that is how far I’ve driven for *nothing but* food.

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