Monday, August 28, 2006

At a Snail's Pace

Cinnamon Scrolls

They say that when you're a kid everything goes by so slowly, for the most part I think it is time that seems to drag on the most when you are young. Time, it’s every child’s adversary, especially when birthdays and Christmas only come along once a year and time just feels like it’s dragging along ever so slowly. Days upon days of waiting in eager anticipation for that hallowed day to come, where the prospect of a new bike or plaything awaits you.

But when you get older, it appears as though the opposite happens and it seems that time is just slipping away through our very fingers. It seems to get the better of us no matter what age we are, we can never seem to find the perfect pace for time to pass us by. In difficult times we wish time would make haste and be over with, and then with great moments we wish we could just let time pass unhurriedly, if at all.

Time, as the saying goes certainly flies by. So much so when you get older. But no matter how slowly or hurriedly time passess, it is the waiting that is the most painful thing;
especially when it comes to this time of year, when the vestiges of winter are slowly coming away and the hope of spring is looming not to far around the corner. When you begin to impatiently anticipate in groaning expectation, the arrival of spring and it seems that every last bit off winter is trying its best to stay. Like an overstaying guest, these last winter days just seem to be slowly passing by. I don’t know if it is just me, or because I am so eager for spring to come, but these last few days have actually become colder, not warmer. As if Madame Winter were trying to spite me for urging her early departure.

How I wish to see the advent of spring, there is just something about it. Summer has its nostalgia, but spring has its expectation. I don’t know exactly what of, but the expectation of new things perhaps? I am being a little fussy; the weather here has actually been astoundingly genial even for this time of year, yet the arrival of spring still lies ahead. The thought of berries, cherries and asparagus is a cause for excitement. New season means new fruits and vegetables! For a foodie, the turning over of the seasons is like Christmas all over again. The expectation what new things await you at the growers market is enough to cause an aneurism in some people's heads, including mine.

Making these Cinnamon Snails yesterday somehow reminded me of spring; don't ask me why, they just did. The rhyme and reason for my postings, many times at best, have no clear correlations with each other. I will happily talk about shoes and cookies in the same post, or write about girlfriends and then post a recipe for scones. Or the time when I wrote about the consequences of blogging along with a recipe for strawberry friands. Who knows what occurs in this brain of mine, the cerebral gymnastics routine my mind goes through from cookies to shoes, or girlfriends to scones seems to match up somehow in my head. If I haven’t already lost you, here is the recipe for Iced Cinnamon Snails; may you enjoy them whatever season you are in.

Iced Cinnamon Snails
(makes 12)
this cookbook

Cinnamon Scrolls

2x 7g sachets dried yeast
¼ cup lukewarm water
1 cup milk
125g unsalted butter, cubed
4 cups plain all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
¼ cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup sultanas
80g unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp warm water
½ tsp vanilla essence

For the dough,
Dissolve the yeast in warm water.
Place milk, cubed butter in a medium saucepan and heat until butter is melted.
Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Add sugar (caster) and stir to combine.
Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, and milk and yeast mixtures.
Stir until a smooth dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, working in extra flour if dough is too sticky.
Add the currants and sultanas at the last two minutes of kneading.
Place the dough into a large lightly floured bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Keep the bowl in a warm area and allow to rise for 30 minutes to an hour. The dough should have doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and on a floured surface roll into a 23 x 60 cm (9 x24 in) rectangle.
Brush generously with melted butter, reserving some for later, and sprinkle some brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the surface.
Roll the dough up, to make a log.
With the seam-side down, cut the roll into 2cm thick slices and place on baking trays 1.5 cam apart.
Brush the tops of the rolls with the remaining butter.
Cover loosely and leave to rise until doubled again.
Preheat oven to 180˚C.
Bake rolls for 20-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes then drizzle with icing.

For the icing,
Dissolve icing sugar in warm water and add vanilla essence in a mixing bowl.
Stir until smooth. Add extra water if the icing is too thick to drizzle.


angelika said...

Hi Jenjen, thank you for your kind post I have received. I have had in my mind all the time that I have not yet listed your lovely blog on my list and somehow have not found the right link, so your comment has been highly useful also. I am now going to add it.. and checking out your beautiful site what do I see ? Something really typical for us Austrians and what we can find in every bakery. The closest bakery to where I live is called "Zimtschnecke" (Zimt= cinnemon, Schnecke = snail) since they seem to be their signature. From now on I will visit your blog regularly... Thank you !

peabody said...

Oh, these would have been much better than the bowl of cereal I had for breakfast today!
They look so comforting and yummy.

Tanna said...

I for one really enjoy your random connections. I also enjoy that you and others in your hemisphere keep me oriented as to the global aspects of the seasons in this world. Just one more way blogging has changed me.
Now, about cinnamon snails - I think they are designed for a cup of coffee and a slow talk with friends or even by yourself, allowing time to slow so that we can realize all the wonder of the world.
Your rolls look lovely, I would so love to enjoy one with my tea tonight.

Jasmine said...

How lovely! I'd never thought of cinnamon buns looking like snails before :)



Jennifer said...

Sounds and looks delicious! I love cinnamon rolls, but it's been ages since I made any. I am inspired!

jules said...

lovely photos jenjen...they look like bought ones...mabey you should consider opening a patisserie...

am also really looking forward to spring and asparagus season

Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

Love that first photo. Gorgeous. Esp that slow drip of icing on the poetically chosen snail (how fast does a snail pastry move? lol).

I totally agree with your sentiments on time and childhood. Oh those long hot summer days that stretched into forever. When days were all about sunshine, ice cream, bike rides and play. Where does the time go these days?

lobstersquad said...

well, I´m looking forward to autum, and these look just the thing for tea when the afternoons start to get short.

Zarah Maria said...

I must most definitely agree with Tanna - it is the not-always-entirely clear connections that make me adore your posts - I never know where you're going to take me, but I trust it'll be great! Like these yummy looking thingies...

Monisha said...

Hi Jenjen -
Now that summer is drawing to a close in the part of the world that I reside in, I feel a need to capture what summer is all about and I understand how you feel about looking forward to a glorious spring - the seasons affect the way I live my life and surely the way I work in my kitchen. Your recipe for Cinnamon Snails look comforting and delicious, Thank you !

wheresmymind said...

You are truly evil posting these pictures before I go get I might have to get something sweet as well ;)

Natalia said...

I can see the connection here. It makes perfect sense to me. I'm kind of jealous that your summer is just about to begin and mine is on its way out. Oh well, there's plenty to look forward to in the winter too.

faith said...

I love to slowly peel my cinnamon rolls, eating the brown crispy outside first and winding down to the middle, a nugget of soft icing and dough. Your post reminds me of this. Delicious.

I had to reorient, too, to your longing for spring - it is incredibly hot here in Florida and it's nice to remember that it is actually cold somewhere else. I am longing for the cool champagne days of winter just like you are looking forward to spring!

Helene said...

These look out of this world! They beat the smothie I had this morning!
I am working on a batch of croissants. We'll see....

Orchidea said...

Wow! That look absolutely delicious! Ciao.

jenjen said...

Angelika- you are so lovely, and thank you for your kind words. Your photographs are such an inspiration to me.

peabody- I was planning on having them for breakie, but alas they were all gone before I could put some away.

Tanna- im glad somebody is following my random thoughts.

Jasmine- yes, I don't think I would have made them if it weren't for their cute shape.

Jennifer- oh yes make them, you will not regret it!

Jules- yes the prospect of getting some decent asparagus is exciting. And I would love to have my own patisserie, but only for selfish purposes : )

Helen- you'll be surprised how fast a cinnamon snail actually moves. One minute they're there and the next they're gone!

Lobstersquad- autum has to be one of my favourite seasons.

Zarah Maria- that's great, I think it is safe to keep going with my random thoughts then.

Monisha- i agree, when you become a foodie the seasons affect how you eat more so than when you are not one. I guess it makes sense.

wheresmymind- it's all the subliminal messages you see (insert evil cackle)

Natalia- as much as I hate the cold weather I admit winter and its harvest is great, just think citrus season is coming!

Faith- its funny because I eat mine the same way as well! I love the soft sweet part of the snails!

Helene- wow I envy you, I am too chicken to make croissants. Maybe I can work up the courage soon but it seems hard. Im sure you will make it look very easy.

Orchidea- thanks, I wish I could share some because its truly beautiful.

neil said...

Maybe the connection between spring and your cinnamon snails is the same one I discovered the other night when bringing in the washing. Spring means that garden snails wake up and start moving around, only one didn't move fast enough.

Julia said...

Hi JenJen!
Stunning photo, very mouth-watering (as always...)
I totally agree with Tanna, a bit strange but I didn't even think about the fact that you guys have winter over there...
I hate the cold wheater as well so much, nice for you that spring soon will come. Over here the icy and raw winterwheater is really kicking in. =(
This cinnamonsnail looks very flavourful and tasty for those days. With a nice cup of tea curled up inside...thanks!

Ellie said...

These look absolutely delightful! I saw the same recipe on Vicious Ange's blog and made a note that I had to give it a try, but after seeing these amazing photos, I'm going to have to make sure that the making happens soon!

Bruno said...

Nice buns!

bea at La tartine gourmande said...

I can only tell you how much my hubbie would LOVE to have those in front of him. When we go to France, it is his treat! You did an amazing job with them. Gorgeous looking. I guess I should try them, never did!

Mary said...

I feel the same way about our upcoming autumn season. IMHO, it's the best time of year in SF. And who wouldn't want a cinnamon roll? Perfect for any time of year.

eatzycath said...

Jenjen, that first shot of the cinnamon snails is a KILLER SHOT - it's absolutely wonderful and just oozing with temptation :-)