Today marked the day of our oldest child’s first Hallowe’en party. It also marked what must be the fifth pumpking we’ve eaten in as many weeks. It also marks the day of the American elections, but that is so totally beside the point here, that I’ll just move on and back to Halowe’en.
My son’s halloween party. A party for which (so we heard YESTERDAY) there would be a costume required. Preferably a scary one. And possibly the bringing of some sort of celebratory food. Now. I am not saying this to blame our daycare, but these types of things are not exactly music to the ear of the working (outside the house, I got the pc-memo) parent (HINT; tell me maybe a week before?).
BUT: as luck would have it, early in the week is generally a good time to ask me for baked goods. In fact, I had just managed to do something about my near constant craving for cinnamon rolls* and had ended up with waaaay too many (which I otherwise totally wouldn’t have shared if I hadn’t have had to be the perfect mum bringing baked goods to daycare), and — luck was on my side again — because I had made those rolls not with a straight up cinnamon filing, nono, but instead with PUMPKIN. Due to the pumpkin abundance and my feeling that I will never find, nor make cinnamon rols as good as these. But the pumpkin, is what now gives me a beautifully easy segue back to halloween and then back to the recipe at hand. Bear with me.
I know exactly, why those last minute notes from school/daycare send me in a tizzy. It’s because growing up, my siblings and I often were the kids with no lunch money on a field trip, more often than not no snack for the break**, and definitely always the ones with the non-matching-non-mended-totally-not-cute socks. Meaning, I know what it’s like to be the kid who’s parents weren’t always prepared (and I have to add, lest my parents choose not to speak to me again, that this is the ONLY thing I would ever jokingly reproach them of. If ever. That, and the early curfew perhaps…).
Fast forward a few years later, and guess which parent I am? The one who isn’t always prepared. They get snacks for their day, but they are sensible snacks, no juice boxes and prepackaged cheese bits, and no nutella. Just boring stuff. Oh, and their socks are all way too small and non-matchey. But yesterday, as I was told there was a party, we should bring food and have a costume for the child. I felt super confident thanks to the delicious rolls (buns?) I had made; but there was a measure of discomfort there somewhere which I wasn’t able to pinpoint until…
11pm, deep into the last episodes of season 1 of Mad Men (are you watching? you should watch!), when I suddenly sat up and realised that we didn’t have a costume. And all I could think of was that he wanted to be a dog, because dogs are scary. And figuring out how to make that costme happen at 11pm was not an option. So we chose
an easy out a perfectly acceptable solution combining mummy’s tshirt and daddy’s designs skills . The ‘blood stains’ are courtesy of jello and fruit punch.
The pumpkin rolls however, were no cop out, those were truly good and I shall now, after this long-winded story, leave you with the recipe.
Adapted from epicurious
prep time: 15min, rising time: 2h total, baking time 35 min
mixing bowl, dough hooks, rolling pin, 1 big square baking pans or 2-3 round small ones
for the Dough
1/2 cup warm water
5 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting (I used something like cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm milk
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup (115 g) butter, softened and cut up in chunks
for the Filling
400 g pumpkin puree (I made mine by steaming the pumpkin until tender and then leaving it to drain in a sieve)
1/2 cup (115 g) of butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
a dash of grated nutmeg
1 cup of chopped walnuts (expendable)
Mix the yeast into the warm water and add a pinch of sugar. Let rest until bubbles form at the surface (don’t go off to another room with a phonecall for 10 min. bad idea.).
Stir together all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and in a smaller one whisk together the milk and the eggs. By now, your yeast mixture should be bubbly. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour and beat until all is combined Add the softened butter and mix on medium speed until the dough comes together, about 4 minutes. It will stil be fairly sticky. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1h).
In the meantime, make the filling by simply mixing together all the ingredients save for the nuts in a large bowl.
When the dough is doubled in size, punch it down and roll it out wth a rolling pin to a 40cm square. Spread the filling evenly and sprinkle with the nuts. Roll up the dough away from you and pinch the seams to close it. You will now have a giant doughy log. Cut it in 2 cm thick slices and arrange them in you baking pan(s). At this point, you can either freeze or refrigerate the individual rolls until further use or let them rise again right away. If you choose to freeze/refrigerate them, let them rise again after defrost until doubled in size.
Bake them in an oven preheated to 190° until golden, for about 30 min.
I chose not to ice them, because until I can find the recipe for these particular cinnamon buns, i will not take any icing. It’s a thing I have. You can of course ice them at your own discretion.
*or buns? I never know how to tell them apart!
** to my (working) parents defense, it wasn’t lunch, school only went ’til 1 om in Germany, so you would eat lunch at home).