"Serendipity is the art of making an unsought finding."
~Pek van Andel
Some things are meant to be. I know that in my heart of hearts. I believe that the story of how I met our cousin, Syd, serves as an example of how strange and wonderful things happen around us every single day. We need only to pay attention, ask the right questions, and magical things can happen.
In 1987 I met a woman introduced to me as Syd when I started working at The Ballard Inn in the Santa Ynez Valley. I had been hired as the “chef” at the inn, preparing breakfast in the mornings, and high tea in the late afternoon for the guests. Syd served breakfast in the dining room a few days a week for this small and exclusive bed and breakfast which was just a block from her house in the quaint town of Ballard.
|Our cousin, Syd.|
|Syd, with her mother, Margaret.|
|Syd's dad, Bert.|
|First row, third from left is our grandfather, Earl and fourth, is Syd's Dad, Bert.|
Linda's Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
This is a recipe that I made every morning at The Ballard Inn. A hot tray of cinnamon rolls slathered in gooey icing on the breakfast buffet is enough to make diners almost swoon, as I have witnessed many times in my baking career.
The trouble in general with cinnamon rolls though, is that they are a yeast dough and, of course, need time to rise... so making them can be an onerous chore for the baker who has to rise before the sun to be able to get them on a breakfast table when it is still the breakfast hour. This recipe became my solution to that problem.
One needs to simply make the dough the night before, and let it do the first rise overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning, pull the dough out of the fridge, remove it from the bowl, and allow to sit our for 15 minutes on your cutting board before rolling out the dough. After the rolls are prepared and fitted into a baking pan, they are ready for the last rise before being baked off in the oven. This second rising time allows the baker to enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee, and make other breakfast preparations if desired. Easy!
1/2 cup hot water, about 100° to 105°
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
Two 1/4-oz envelopes active dry yeast
5 large eggs
3/4 cup of safflower oil
3/4 cup of milk
6 cups of flour (plus more for kneading)
1/2 plus 2 Tbsps granulated sugar
1 tsp of salt
Filling and final assembly:
5-6 Tbsps melted butter, brushed on rolls and pan
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1-1/4 cups chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
1/2 cup raisins, optional
3 cups powdered sugar
about 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp lemon extract
1. Line a 13x18-inch baking pan with wax or parchment paper. Coat with spray oil and set aside. Alternatively, you can also oil a big salad bowl that is large enough for the dough to double in size as it rises.
2. In a 1-cup Pyrex, combine the hot water with the sugar and the yeast. Stir and set aside for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is foamy.
3. In the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer with the whisk attachment, mix together the eggs, oil and milk. Add yeast, mix again.
4. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Replace the whisk attachment with the dough hook. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until completely blended, about 2 to 3 minutes. The dough will be soft and sticky. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead until the dough just holds it shape, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan, lightly mist the surface with oil, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
5. In the morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes until slightly softened.
6. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Invert dough, remove wax paper and discard. Roll out the the dough into a 16-inch by 12-inch rectangle. Brush generously with melted butter and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon and brown sugar. Top with nuts and raisins, if using.
|Place the rolls so they are barely touching in the pan.|
|Unglazed rolls fresh from the oven. The kitchen smells amazing.|
8. Preheat oven to 375°F. Set the prepared rolls in a warm spot and let rise for 30 to 60 minutes until double in size. Remove plastic wrap and put rolls in oven. Immediately reduce temperature to 350°F and bake uncovered for approximately 30 minutes. While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze.
|Once removed from the oven, glaze the rolls right away.|