Granny's cinnamon buns
When I took Nina for lunch at the American Girl Cafe in New York, she especially enjoyed the cinnamon buns they served with the meal. So I promised her that the next time she visited me we would make our own. Which we did, following my mother’s (Nina’s great-grandmother’s) recipe, which my daughter, Dorri Olds (Nina's aunt), wrote up for the delightful book AT GRANDMOTHER'S TABLE: WOMEN WRITE ABOUT FOOD, LIFE, AND THE ENDURING BOND BETWEEN GRANDMOTHERS AND GRANDDAUGHTERS. Edited by Ellen Perry Berkeley, the book is published by Fairview Press and is now out in paperback.
Here's the recipe for Granny's Cinnamon Buns:
GRANNY’S CINNAMON BUNS
3 cups flour
scant ½ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 envelope (1 Tblsp) dry active yeast, dissolved in 2 Tblsps warm (not hot) water with ½ tsp sugar. Yeast should bubble up in 5 mins, showing that it is active.
¼ pound + 4 Tblsp (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup milk, scalded
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup mashed potatoes (fresh or instant)
3 Tblsp brown sugar and/or maple syrup
24 walnut or pecan halves
2 tsp cinnamon
½ cup raisins
1)Combine flour, ½ cup sugar & salt. Mix in yeast water and set aside.
2)Melt ¼ lb. butter in the scalded milk. Add to the flour, then add eggs & mashed potatoes.
3)Mix well, stirring, until mixture comes away from the bowl. Refrigerate overnight (or up to 3 days).
4)Butter muffin pans generously. Pour a little brown sugar or maple syrup (Granny used both) into the bottom of each muffin cup. Then put in an upside-down walnut half.
5)Roll out half the dough on a lightly floured board. Spread 2 Tblsp soft butter over the dough. Then spread 1 Tblsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, & ¼ cup raisins over the dough.
6)Roll the dough up tight & slice it into one-inch thick pieces. Repeat this process for the other half of the dough.
7)Place the one-inch thick pieces in the muffin cups, set them on top of the stove (with the oven turned on the lowest temperature you can make it), and cover them with a towel. Let the dough rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
8)Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
9)Bake buns for 25 to 30 minutes. Take the pans out of the oven & let them stand for 1 to 2 minutes before turning them out onto brown paper.
10)This recipe makes 24 delicious cinnamon buns.