By Cal Orey
There was a chill in the summer night... The wildflowers are no longer vibrant in splashes of yellow. The pollen is gone. Victoria's Secret is sending me Fall catalogs boasting sweaters and jeans. I'm considering ordering firewood. Ah, are these the subtle hints of autumn? What's more, fresh, hot cinnamon rolls? That's what I'm going to talk about.
At one of the posh Lake Tahoe resorts (all mine, sort of, during off season) I have purchased pricey--but worth it--colossal cinnamon rolls. Imagine dipping into a warmish swimming pool, solo. Steam rising from the blue water. In November (sometimes earlier) a snow flurry falls onto your body and it's like snow from heaven. And to top it off, after laps until in the zone, you plop yourself into the hot, bubbly tub with a panoramic view of the Sierras and towering pine trees. Then, to top off this feel-good event, a hot cinnamon roll is yours to enjoy, bite after bite after the fall swim/tub treat. But making this sweet bread is even more enjoyable in the comfort of your own home.
If you want history facts about the scrumptious cinnmon roll, check out Wikipiedia. I'm thinking about the nutritional perks of rolls and I found that they do include good stuff, such as heart healthy olive oil and nuts. Iron-rich raisins and/or disease-fighting antioxidant-rich blueberries are good for you, too. And if you team this rolls with fresh squeezed orange juice and a cup of hot cocoa--you're on the European healthy track.
But I want to make homemade rolls and make these with a good fat. So who do I go to? Italian Gemma Sciabica, of course. This recipe comes straight from her cookbook Baking with California Olive Oil: Dolci and Biscotti Recipes . Naturally, as a native Californian, I'm going to use Sciabica's olive oil. (I can't believe I didn't include this recipe in my book The Healing Powers of Olive Oil published by Kensington -- because breakfast rolls can be healing from head to toe each time you indulge. And the smell of cinnamon is touted to ignite the feeling of romance, too.
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons semonlina
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dry yeast
3 tablespoons Marsala Olive Fruit Oil
1 egg (or two egg whites)
1/2 cup milk (non fat) or water (110 degrees)
4 to 5 tablespoons brown sugar; 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon; 1/4 teaspoon cardamom; 1/2 cup raisins, dried blueberries or cherries; 3 to 4 tablespoons walnuts chopped small; 2 teaspooons Marsala Olive Fruit Oil
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon Marsla Olive Fruit Oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients until smooth. In mixing bowl add milk and yeast, let stand about 10 minutes. Stir in egg, vanilla and oil. Add remaining ingredients, stir until dough holds together. Cover, let rise in a warm place until dough holds together. Turn dough out onto floured board, pat dough down 12 by 8 inch rectangle. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with remaining ingredients evenly. Moisten edges, roll dough up jelly roll style, begin with long end. Slice roll with heavy thread, placing under roll. Criss cross thread across top of roll, pulling quickly as if tying a knot. Place rolls cut side up in 10 inch greased baking pan. Leave a little space in between rolls. Let stand covered in a warm place until puffy, about 1 hour. Bake in 375 degrees oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden. Cover with folil loosely if browning too quickly. Drizzle glaze over cooled rolls evently. Note: Rolls may be baked in greased 12 cup muffin pan for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
The bottom line: Research shows that aroma can affect mood, anxiety, stress, memory and problem-solving. The scents of fresh cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate? What better way to start off your morning, huh? Oh, and a fire in the fireplace (to replace the BBQ scent of summer) is my idea of the beginnning of breathtaking autumn, a season to love (and two dog nights).