Truth Before Dishonor

I would rather be right than popular

I’ve Got A Little List

Posted by Foxfier on 2011/08/25

Actually, a notebook.  It’s got a lot of lists in it, though.

I picked up a bread machine at a yard sale for ten bucks a few months back, and the book that came with it is…er… somewhat less than helpful. The recipes work just fine, it’s just that they all assume you’ll only be baking with powdered milk. Before Kit came around, that would have been a safe enough bet, although I prefer to keep canned instead of powder as an emergency staple; since both child and husband drink the horrible white stuff, though, it’s silly for me not to buy it in the bladder, and so I look for recipes that use it instead….

These go into my recipe notebook.

 Simple, old spiral notebook, first page is Nancy Cookies because I’d rather have a paper notebook than my laptop computer, and I was making a big batch for then-Fiance-Elf.  (They are great because if you put them in zipper-bags and ship them to the other side of the world, they still taste fresh when they get there, and for about a month after.)

  It probably won’t ever turn into the great packs of notecards that my grandmothers had.  Unlike theirs I’ve tried to put in every trick that I use to get results that I like– theirs were a memory aid so they knew the basic route, then their skill turned the variable ingredients into what they wanted; since my ingredients are of incredibly consistent quality and I don’t have anything like the skills they did, there are a lot of notes like “add a little extra water if they don’t look flat enough.”  I’ve got real recipe books as well, including the classic Better Homes and Gardens from the 70s or so. (Since I got it at the Base’s thrift store, it’s also stuffed with clippings from magazines…I still end up getting most of the information I need from the internet, since most of the time I just can’t remember how hot the oven should be for a pork roast, or if I’m supposed to put foil on the bird until the last ten minutes, or not do it until then….)

Adding a recipe to my little list is a sort of big deal for my cooking– there’s a ton of scrap paper around the kitchen, from a scribbled tamagoyaki recipe taped to the microwave to a scribbled list of what I need to prepare for fishstick tacos.  I have to try a recipe several times, get consistent results and really like the results for something to be added.

This is one that made it (although I still need to scribe it….)
It Came From The Bread Machine: Son of Cinnabon

The night before:
Get two gallon ziplocks and a sandwich bag.
Draw a line down the middle of one side of the bags.
On one side of the first one, write:

  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

go to the other side, and write:

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup margarine, melted

Put the dry ingredients in that bag, seal, mix a bit if you feel like it, and set aside.

Get the second large bag and, on the same side you wrote the dry ingredents for the one above, write:

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

On the other side, write:

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened

Put the sugar and cinnamon in, seal, mix a bit if you feel like it, set with the flour bag.

Get the little bag, and write:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

On the other side, or below, write:

  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put in the sugar and salt, seal, put with the other bags. Pull out a stick of butter to soften overnight. Get a microwave safe bowl– soup bowl works fine– and put 1/3 cup margarine and 1 cup milk in it; put it in the fridge beside your eggs.

Put tinfoil on your cookie sheet, clear a space on the counter near the bread machine and go to bed.

When you stumble down stairs to turn on the coffee machine next morning, put the milk and margarine in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Put the eggs under running hot water, or– if you’re a desert kid like me– give the milk mix an extra ten or so seconds and make sure the eggs are mixed in well in the bread machine. Pour in bag #1, set the machine to “dough,” and go have your coffee. (Or go back to sleep for an hour, if you’re the sort who can; if not, when you’re done with your coffee and email, refill the bag.)

When the dough is done, dump it on to the counter and leave it there for about ten minutes. (Good time to rinse the bread machine and refill the ziplock, if you didn’t already.)

Roll it out to a 16×21′ rectangle– that’s “about a hand bigger on every side than the big cookie sheet” for me; you’ll find a shorthand that works for you. Cover with the butter that’s been softening overnight. Make sure that bag #2 is well mixed, then sprinkle as evenly as you can over the buttered dough. Roll it, so you end up with a dough tube that’s nearly two feet long.

Slice into even rolls– I used two and a half fingers to “measure,” do whatever trick so you end up with about a dozen, even-ish rolls. The ends will be ugly; it doesn’t really matter….

Put on the sheet, and put aside until they’re about double in size. (~30 minutes, depends; my first batch took nearly an hour, because I was enjoying the cool morning air and the room was about 60*….)

Set oven to 400*F.

Get a little mixing bowl and empty the third bag into it. (At least three times the size of a soup bowl was the smallest that worked for me.) Put the cream cheese and butter in the bowl you used for the milk mix earlier, microwave 10-20 seconds so it’s soft, mix into the sugar mix with the vanilla. Clean off the beater and put the bowl over the exhaust for your oven. (usually the back right burner– this will make it really easy to pour)

Clean up and re-fill any bags that are still empty. (This really does make it a lot nicer.)

Put the doubled rolls into the oven for about fifteen minutes, so they’re golden brown.

Pull out, dribble frosting over them– I find it easiest to do a bare dribble circuit, let it soak in a bit, and then do one or two more so that I don’t run out of frosting or make a mess. You might even want to have one or two without frosting, although I suggest either putting butter on them or eating them fresh if you do.

These taste like the best cinnabon you’ve ever had, and even two days later they were better than the worst I’ve had. (And the whole batch costs less than just one!)


2 Responses to “I’ve Got A Little List”

  1. DNW said

    “Excuse me … excuse me! But that kind of like … kind of like sounds like work.”

    You know, your post got me to thinking about how what you are referencing is probably not part, in any way, of the life experience of a considerable number of kids nowadays. Unless, it’s gained in a manner akin to my deliberately anachronistic childhood experience of cranking an ice cream churn for the 4th of July gathering. (I had to pause for a moment to ask myself if they were actually called “churns”.)

    I suspect that the upcoming 3rd generation of slack-limbed, pierced-tongued pudgies, descended of those you now encounter at traffic stops and see lined up at McDonalds, will have the same problem in recalling just what that built-in heat-thing-for-food which was found in the wall of their government supplied apartment’s kitchen, was called.

    The 25 percent of the Michigan population now on food stamps may eventually have to be issued restaurant vouchers, lest they die at their game boys; like hapless lab rats frantically pressing levers on a device that sends only an electrical jolt to the brain’s pleasure center, while failing to emit the edible pellet.

    Maybe people ought to cook for the same reasons we learn to hunt. For the lessons you never suspected it would teach you, and the experiences you never stopped to consider it would yield.


  2. Foxfier said

    The funny thing is, I consider these so cheating compared to what my prior generations would do– Nancy cookies use cake mix, these use a bread machine, most of my other cooking I use frozen veggies (which are cheaper, but hey….) Even making cookies is cheaper from a pre-made mix, most of the time, even though I buy bulk flour.

    Heck, my mom’s dad even chopped all the candied fruit and nuts for their yearly fruitcake production line.

    That said, I really do wish that they’d have a useful class like “life skills”– teaches you to follow a basic recipe, do laundry, basic ironing, change a fuse…my high school had home ec that was basically this, to fill up the three-quarters of the school year along side driver’s ed. There are probably a dozen or five “little things” that I take utterly for granted that folks know when they don’t. (For example: Do not put soap in the cast iron pan!!! To draw on recent home “drama.” ;^) )


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