If I had to pick one sweet thing that I could eat with my last meal, it would be very hard. I would probably agonize about what to pick for my last month. But, when I did pick I wouldn’t choose a good quality dark chocolate bar with a subtle hint of cherry, 3-layer carrot cake with nuts and the perfect amount of cream cheese icing , a Blizzard chock full of dark chocolate truffles, a chocolate éclair with cold custard bursting out of it, or a caramel apple with a chocolate drizzle. It really pains me to say that, I am definitely not putting down those foods; in fact, they are some of my favorite desserts of all time. However, I would pick a cinnamon roll. Yes, this isn’t really dessert but instead an indulgent breakfast made perfect with a glass of milk (but, I have no scruples to eating one for dessert either).
Cinnamon rolls and I go way back. I have probably eaten a total of more than a dozen cans of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in my lifetime (Grands, Regular, and the ones with orange cream cheese frosting). My dad used to get me one for the occasional lazy Sunday morning when he brought breakfast home from Biscuit King and we would enjoy it together. It filled a small, sqaure styrofoam container; I loved it when it had extra icing and wasn’t overly done. Also, my grandmother sometimes buys me some delicious homemade ones from the Lexington Farmers’ Market and we always have them at the beach. These wonderful gustatory and family experiences influenced me to try to make homemade cinnamon rolls this summer on a day when I was feeling particularly ambitious. Unfortunately, the results embarrass me even to this day. I tried to follow the recipe exactly; I was uber-precise in my measurements because I wanted to make the best cinnamon rolls ever and top them with a delicious glaze/icing. It would be the perfect union of sugar, cinnamon, and dough. After measuring out what I thought was everything and combining it in the Kitchen-Aid as directed, I started to roll out the dough and laid down the mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Then, I came to the shocking and despairing realization that I had forgotten to add water to the dough. There was absolutely nothing I could do. So I just finished sprinkling the filling on the dough and rolled it up. Since the oven was already preheated, I figured that I might as well just go ahead and bake them. Looking back, I am unsure of my logic in making this decision. But, they came out as hard as bricks and I could not even try one for fear of breaking a tooth. I think I might have gotten a bit emotional sometime during this process.
So, I tried again. Except this time the butter was too soft because it had been sitting out for a while. When I tried to roll up the cinnamon and sugar topped dough, it was a sticky disaster. I flung it in the trash. I remember thinking that I it was really quite pathetic to have messed up twice in a row. After this, I am pretty sure that I ate something very sweet and chocolate-y to help me forget my failures.
But, back to cinnamon rolls. By the way, I am considering cinnamon rolls the same thing as what my family calls “sweet rolls” (which is probably a bit broader of a category). One of my first food memories is of eating a sweet roll at my great grandmother’s kitchen table. It was hot out of the oven, especially baked for our visit. The roll was soft and buttery, the dough made from the same as her signature homemade bread. And after a bite or two at the outside, you reached the middle complete with a maraschino cherry and a puddle of sweet, runny syrup. This was always the stickiest, gooey-ist, and best bite. I have later guessed that a lot of butter, sugar, and cinnamon go into the making of these delightful rolls.
My great grandmother took a hiatus from making them, which is well-deserved and is definitely her right since she is almost 93 years old. I hadn’t had one in about ten years or so, a break that hadn’t done any harm to my figure but that had left me reminiscing over them.
Then, this Saturday I had one. It was so delicious! I warmed it up (I have a serious problem where I warm up everything that possibly can be heated in the microwave, I just love stuff hot!). It was everything I remembered it to be. The doughy and not too sweet inside with the the sweet and cinnamon-y outside that requires some finger licking. Although there wasn’t a cherry in the middle, sugary solution still ran out and I used the rest of the roll to mop it up. I really wish that I could at least let you smell a warm one, it is truly divine and definitely a scent that would impress (or maybe just starve) guests.
So whatever makes you as happy as this sweet roll makes me, treat yourself to one as an early Valentine’s Day present!