Is it raining at your house? I've been putting off this posting for a few days now because the weather has been so incredibly inviting, but now that the fat rain drops are ping-pinging off my window and I'm trapped indoors, I'm out of excuses.
It's technically Spring Break for school this week, not that it matters for those of us who are graduate students and still work full time, but that's one less day I have to drive to school and I can detour to Justin's house instead. I had the brilliant idea to make him an impromptu dinner the other night because his work day had been so ragged - what with the breaking and entering and locking people up and what not - so I stopped by the grocery store at lunch and made my way down after work. Feeling like a clever domestic goddess, I had it all planned out in my head: I would get dinner started before he got home, have the kitchen steamed up with boiling pasta water and put on my favorite 1950's housewife smile for when he walked in the door.
Let me tell you, that fantasy was short-lived. I stood outside the apartment door, digging into my bottomless pit of a purse to find the spare key he so graciously had cut for me without dropping the grocery bags all over the place. I reached up to unlock the deadbolt and...quelle horreur! It was unlocked. Unlocked and open. I stood there for a moment, my hand hovering near the door and peering inside, everything looked okay, but can you imagine what could have been hiding behind the door!? In the closet!? The shower!?
I dashed back up the stairs and phoned Justin, frantically rambling about the door being unlocked and how could that be possible if he was at work and oh my gosh the children! The children! Thankfully, my boyfriend is of sound mind and gently reminded me that we do not have any children and I should sit tight until he got home...in 45 minutes. It made me even more anxious to wait around like that, especially now that my I really need to go to the restroom alarm had gone off, and at some point I lost my sanity and decided it would be better to risk it then end up behind the bushes.
I pushed the front door open, tip-toeing around and checking the closets, under the bed, all the windows and doors to make sure some psycho wasn't rummaging about in his underwear drawer. It was completely quiet, totally safe...and then my cell phone rang and all that business about the bathroom didn't seem to matter anymore because it scared the daylights out of me. It was Justin, calling to say he couldn't believe I went in the house anyway and I should've stayed outside and he was ready to call the police! Then I gently reminded him that he is the police...oh, right.
So at any rate, the 1950's came to be in good time, I make orecchiette with cherry tomatoes, wilted spinach, sweet onions and garlic and a few rosy plums roasted with cinnamon-sugar for dessert. We topped our bowl with a fluff of Parmesan cheese and ate until our bellies pressed up against our ribs and lacked the energy to debate my poor choices on entering the apartment under such conditions.
These cinnamon rolls have absolutely nothing to do with everything I just told you, but I have made several batches of them in the past few weeks and they're one of the few treats that I can't limit to just one bite...or roll. I was recently introduced to the magic of frozen bread dough, and as someone who prefers to go from scratch whenever possible, I was suspicious of it at first. After I filled the dough with melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and slathered cream cheese frosting over the tops, I couldn't taste the different, not one bit. I still like to make my dough from scratch, like the caramel-apple cinnamon rolls, but if you're in a pinch then this works fine, too.
This isn't a recipe so much as a guideline, I didn't write anything down as I was doing it, just get a feel for it.
Gooey Cinnamon Rolls
1 loaf white bread dough, defrosted
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, a little melty
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the bread dough to a long rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Coat with butter, sprinkle the brown sugar over and use your hands to spread it out. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the top, roll it up tightly, then slice into 1 inch slices (or larger, depending on how big you like your buns. Giggle.)
Place the rolls into a butter pan with about an inch in between each one. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cinnamon rolls about 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. While still warm, frosting with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
This one is really handy because you don't have to soften the cream cheese ahead of time, and I usually just warm up the butter for a few second in the microwave. I don't care what anyone says, it works.
8 oz. cold cream cheese
5 tbs. softened, unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, vanilla and butter. Gradually add the powdered sugar, scraping down the sides, and whipping it to spreading consistency.