The summer I got engaged I got hired to work in a bakery. I was one Math class short of getting my A.A. degree, which seem to be taking much longer than intended. But it's because my major path kept changing and I wasn't going to go into debt taking university classes aimlessly. And since I had thought about going into catering or do something with the Patisserie world, what better way to find out than get a job in the field--right?
I wholeheartedly encourage getting a job in the field before spending the money. It helped me in my pathway of self-discovery, work ethic and respect for the doughnut maker. That's right, the "time to make the doughnuts" guy or gal. In non-specialized bakeries (ones that do just about everything), when you apply for a job without any work experience you will start at the bottom. In this instance, it's the doughnuts. This means getting to work at 2:00 am, sluggishly weighing the flour, heating up the dispiscable vat of oil, taking the yeast doughnuts out of the proof box...all the while standing in the far back, next to 500 degree ovens, where the only person you converse with from 2am-9am is...YOURSELF. By day two on the job, I no longer judged the people my manager spoke of during the interview who quit in the middle of their shift (I never became one of them though).
However, the day before my first day of 'Time to make the doughnuts,' I had already committed myself to providing breakfast goods for a college student conference. I was a bit stressed thinking about starting my job, getting my body adjusted to a weird sleep schedule, moving out of my house that week, and being the perfectionist I am about what I produce in the kitchen. Luckily, Ben reassured me that he could take care of the cinnamon rolls I was making. I went over how long they needed to be in there a couple times and all the other steps. I was a bit nervous, but went to bed at 7:00 pm on a Washington summer day (meaning the sun doesn't set till 9:00pm). I awoke around 10:30 a bit disoriented, wondering if it was time to get ready. Not only was I confused about the time, but I had a bad dream about my cinnamon rolls and hurried downstairs.
When I got downstairs I began to panic. The table was empty. The counter was empty. The top of the fridge was empty. The fridge was empty. My cinnamon rolls were no where to be found. I was worried, enraged, baffled and about 1/4 awake. And let it be known, I am NOT, in any way, shape, or form the person you want to wake in the middle of the night or too early in the morning. I need my space and as my good friend Hilary said to another roommate, "No, Kamille's not mad at you...just don't talk to her in the morning when she first wakes up." Well, as I'm searching on the main floor for some answers, I notice some people are in the living room watching a movie. I slide open the gigantic door to find eaten cinnamon rolls. I flip. I absolutely flip and am ready to attack. I don't quite remember what I said, but I do remember hearing from Ben what Hilary said, "Ben...Kamille woke up, started rambling, had death in her eye, and--she was SCARY!"
I went back to bed and started my first day with ease. But what I learned later was my cinnamon rolls got burnt in the oven, so Ben took care of it (like he said he would). He went and got bagels & cream cheese (the next time I made scones for the college students) while I was the night of living dead towards my friends. He offered the cinnamon rolls to be eaten for anyone who enjoyed black bottom cinnamon rolls.
There were three other things I learned from that experience. One is "let it go" (enough said). Two, I'm still great friends with Hilary and this is a picture of loyalty & love. And three, my outlook on doughnuts has forever been tainted (Apple fritters go in at 3 oz each and come out of the vat of grease at 6 oz) and that's not a bad thing. However, my view on danishes & cinnamon rolls have not. So why not combine the two and indulge in flaky, buttery goodness. But make them when you've volunteered to bake for say...24 people.
Cinnamon-Almond Danish Rolls (printable recipe)
The recipe is adapted from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book. The author offers two Danish dough recipes to choose from, so I chose the quick method. You don't have to fold in the butter using this method, but a food processor instead. And the dough had the flakiness I was desiring in a Danish dough. This is also a two part recipe.
Quick Method Danish Pastry (printable recipe)
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch slices (think a pat of butter)
- 2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1/2 cup warm water, 105 F to 115 F
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or undiluted evaporated milk
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (in baking always use table salt, unless otherwise indicated)
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
Measure 3 1/2 cups flour into a food processor with a steel blade. Add the 1/4 inch slices of butter to the flour. Process the mixture until the butter is about the size of kidney beans.
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in the cream or milk, cardamom (if using), salt, eggs, and sugar. Turn the flour-butter mixture into the wet mixture, and with a rubber spatula, mix carefully just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours, overnight, or up to 4 days.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board or surface; dust with flour. Pound and flatten to make a 16-to 20-inch square. Fold dough into thirds, which will make 3 layers. Turn dough around and roll out again. Fold from the short sides into thirds. This should make a square (If not, don’t worry too much about it). Repeat folding and rolling again if you’d like (which I did). Wrap and chill the dough 30 minutes or as long as overnight.
One batch of Quick Method Danish Pastry
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds (the original called for 1 cup chopped pecans)
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 slightly beaten egg
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons hot coffee
Place paper cupcake liners in 24 muffin cups. Roll pastry out on a lightly floured surface to make a 20-inch square. Spread with the butter. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, almonds, cinnamon & cardamom.
Roll up jelly-roll fashion (remembering to roll tight enough so the ending circle will fit inside muffin tin). Cut into 24 slices. Place slices with the cut side up in each muffin cup.
Let rise in a cool place for 30 to 45 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Brush pastries with beaten egg. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden. Mix the powdered sugar with coffee. Drizzle the icing over the hot pastries. Serve warm.