I haven’t made yeasty cinnamon buns since I left cooking school. I never thought of yeast as my thing, and have avoided working with it. To be honest, I was a little afraid of its temperamental nature. But earlier this month I had the chance to interview the delightful stylist, cooking and craft maven Paul Lowe, aka, Sweet Paul, for Publisher’s Weekly.
Sweet Paul’s new cook- and craft-book debuts April 1. Its pages are filled with stunning photographs, recipes and crafts. The key to his recipes and crafts are innovation and simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. Reading through it is a happy respite from daily life, not to mention a relief from the usual books of this sort that have projects that require hours, if not days, to complete.
I got off the phone with Sweet Paul so inspired by him that I hurried to the kitchen, clutching my iPad with a pdf version of the cookbook his kindly publicist had sent me. Thanks to a bread maker I’m testing for my column in Newsweek (a new machine from Zojirushi, with gluten-free settings), I actually had yeast in the house. A recipe for skillingsboller looked so tempting, and Paul made it sound so easy, I had to make it. For those of you whose Norwegian isn’t what it used to be, skillingsboller are cinnamon buns.
Sweet Paul’s skillingsboller are a notch above, flavor-wise, thanks to the addition of grated marzipan to the cinnamon-sugar filling. Because I’m me, I added mini chocolate chips. My house smelled like the Ikea café for hours after I baked them, which is a very good thing as far as I’m concerned. So, while my children slept quietly in their beds, not knowing what they were missing, their selfish mother consumed warm cinnamon buns without waking them. On airplanes they say in case of emergency, put your oxygen mask on before you help your children. I feel the same way about cinnamon buns.
The recipe is effortless. It only requires patience while the dough quietly rises twice. The result is a not-to-sweet, sticky-on-the-bottom, soft-and-gooey at the very center bun.
The recipe is from Paul’s Auntie Gunnvor, who says she won her boyfriend’s heart and stomach with these rolls. One taste of them and he knew he needed to marry her. He was a smart man.
Auntie Gunnvor’s Skillingsboller
Excerpted from SWEET PAUL EAT & MAKE, © 2014 by Paul Lowe Einlyng. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
2 3⁄4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and rolling the dough
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup whole milk, warmed
5 tablespoons cold butter, grated
Vegetable oil for bowl
6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) butter, softened
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1½ cups (10 ounces) grated marzipan
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 large egg, beaten with
1 tablespoon water
Here’s What You’ll Do:
1. To make the buns: In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or in a large bowl with a wooden spoon,
combine the flour, sugar, salt, egg, yeast, and milk and mix well until the dough comes together.
2. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes in the mixer or turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface
and knead for 15 minutes by hand. If it feels too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. If necessary, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Add the grated butter, little by little,
kneading it into the dough until it is all incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic.
4. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and place in a warm spot. Let rise until
doubled, about 1 hour.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out with a rolling pin into a 12-x-16-inch rectangle.
6. To make the filling: Spread the dough with the butter. Sprinkle the sugar, cinnamon, marzipan, and
almonds evenly over the butter.
7. Roll the dough up along the long side into a log and cut it into 12 equal pieces.
8. Place the pieces on a baking sheet about 1⁄2 inch apart, cover with parchment paper, and let rise in a
warm spot for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
9. About 20 minutes before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle
10. Brush the rolls with the egg wash and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
11. Cool on a wire rack and serve.
Although Julia Child said to never apologize…I must apologize for these photos taken in the weird, murky light of my kitchen at night. For beautiful, natural light photographs, there is no one better than Sweet Paul, which makes these all the more disappointing
This is the cover. See all the pretty photos?