Yesterday was nice. I was up at my normal 6 am, thanks to the canine alarm clock (at any movement she launches herself off the bed if not already on the ground, and barks while running down the hallways even if I'm heading the other way towards the bathroom) and hubby woke up just before I put the Hot Cross Buns in the oven. We both agreed that while VERY tasty (there's only 2 of the 12 left) we would like them just a tad smaller, so next time I'm going to make them as 24 instead of 12. I can't wait to make Cinnamon Buns with this recipe - it uses the same basic dough. (recipe posted at the end for the Hot Cross Buns).
I am not, nor do I play one on TV, a professional movie reviewer, so I don't really tell you anything in the following reviews....including spoilers. :P
I forgot to mention that we watched "O Lucky Man!" the other night. Even though hubby and I were tired, and it's a long movie, we watched it. As a matter of fact, we were so tired but liked the movie so much we actually made coffee to stay awake to watch it (we started it during dinner) and I don't like to drink coffee after noon so as not to keep me awake. I thought it was a very good movie. A little bit "Clockwork Orange"-ish without being so surreal. Helen Mirren kinda looks like Felicty Huffman in this movie and there were a few other people from some of the BBC Saturday comedies that we watch that were on there. A lot of the actors play other roles sometimes more than once, and it is a bit hard determining if there is any meaning in the end in their characters and that or not. The music is quite catchy too. :D
We watched "No Reservations" last night. I liked it too. I must admit, I wasn't really expecting it to be as good as it was - and the romance stuff didn't bore me. Yeah, I'm not one of those woman that really like that stuff, I get bored during those scenes. Can't say that it was any real major thinking piece, but it was something nice to sit down and watch. (We watch a lot of our movies and such while eating dinner.) It did cause a bit of kitchen envy though. ;)
Basic Sweet Dough
Makes enough for 12 buns or rolls
From The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
Use this dough to make: Hot Cross Buns, Cinnamon Rolls or Sticky Buns
3/4 cup buttermilk, warm (110 degrees)
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast (1 envelope)
1 1/4 tsp salt
Whisk the buttermilk, butter and eggs together in a large liquid measuring cup. Mix 4 cups of the flour, the sugar, yeast and salt in a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.
Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (If, after five minutes, more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.)
Turn the dough out onto a clean counter and knead by hand. To form a smooth, round ball, about 1 minute. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Food Processor Method:
Whisk the buttermilk, butter and eggs together in a large liquid measuring cup. Pulse 4 cups of the flour, the sugar, yeast, and salt in a food processor (fitted with a dough blade if possible) to combine. With the processor running, pour the buttermilk mixture through the feed tube and process until a rough ball forms, 30 to 40 seconds. Let the dough rest for 2 minutes, then process for 30 seconds longer. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball, about 5 minutes, adding the remaining 1/4 cup flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise as directed in step 3.
Hand Mixing Method:
Whisk the buttermilk, butter and eggs together in a large liquid measuring cup. In a separate large bowl, whisk 4 cups of the flour, the sugar, yeast and salt together. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together and looks shaggy. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball, 10 to 15 minutes, adding the remaining 1/4 cup flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise as directed in step 3.
*NOTE: if using active dry yeast instead of instant – mix with buttermilk and let sit for 5 minutes until yeast is bubbly before mixing into flour. You can add a pinch of sugar if you want to, but there is sugar (lactose) in the buttermilk for the yeast to feed off of. I also found I didn't need any extra time when I used the Bread Machine when using regular active dry yeast.
Hot Cross Buns
Makes 12 buns
From The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
These buns are traditional for Easter; however, they taste good all year round (and there is nothing like a homemade hot cross bun). To prevent the icing from being too thick, be sure to drizzle it over the buns while they are still warm.
1 recipe Basic Sweet Dough
flour for the counter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp water
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and divide into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth, tight ball with a cupped palm. Arrange the balls in a greased 9 by 13-inch metal baking pan and wrap tightly in greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until the rolls have nearly doubled in size and are pressed against one another, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut an X through the top 1/4 inch of each bun. Whisk the egg and water together and brush over the buns. Bake until golden and puffed, 25 to 30 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and let cook in the pan for 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar, milk, and vanilla together and drizzle in an X into the cut grooves of the buns. Serve warm or let cool completely.
To Make Ahead:
After arranging the shaped buns in the baking dish in step 1, cover the dish tightly with greased plastic wrap and refrigerate the rolls for up to 16 hours. Before baking in step 2, let the rolls sit at room temperature until they have nearly doubled in size and are pressed against one another, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
*We like them a bit smaller – so make 24 in the 9 x 13” instead of 12.