My love of cinnamon toast brings back one of my earliest memories. I remember the night a babysitter made us cinnamon toast (a real treat, because my mother didn’t have a sweet tooth in her head) and then made me more when I asked for it. This was obviously a BIG DEAL. We certainly weren’t starved as children – Mom and Dad always cooked us wholesome meals – but we were rarely indulged when it came to sweets. Nothing tasted as good as that cinnamon toast, even though I knew I was playing that poor babysitter for a sucker!
I’m sure if I were stretched out on a psychiatrist’s couch right now, he’d be connecting the dots between my sweet “deprivation” as a child and my obsessive baking now. Pffft.
Since I’m in Valentine’s Day mode, I took my cinnamon spiral bread recipe and played with it just a bit. Instead of rolling each half out into an 8×12-inch rectangle, I rolled it out into approximately a 14×16-inch rectangle with the long side towards me, added cinnamon and sugar and rolled it up, then cut it in half, pinched the ends closed, and stuffed the rolls into buttered heart shaped canape tubes. (Or save yourself some work and use a baking spray that has flour in it.) I left one of the caps on, but I don’t think it makes a lot of difference.Don’t stand the pans upright – keep them horizontal to rise and bake. And remember, they’re smaller loaves, so only bake them about 35 minutes.
(You may have noticed that those canape tubes have been getting quite a workout lately. They were in my Valentine’s Day tub, so the novelty factor has been calling to me.)
When cooled and sliced, you’ll get pretty little spiral hearts. When toasted and buttered…heaven. And if you want to put a simple powdered sugar and milk glaze over the wide end of the heart loaf before slicing it, I won’t tell. Here’s my basic recipe:
|Cinnamon Spiral Bread|| |
- 2 cups very warm water
- 1 package active dry yeast
- ½ cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1-1/2 t. salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- 6 cups white flour
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon flour
- In a small bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and teaspoon of sugar. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes.
- In a large bowl (a stand mixer works best) mix together the sugar, salt, vegetable oil and butter.
- Add three cups of the flour and the yeast mixture to the large bowl and mix until well combined.
- Add the remaining flour a cup at a time until the dough comes cleanly off the side of the bowl. This should be a fairly soft dough, but not sticky.
- If you are kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes. If you’re using a dough hook to knead, 5 minutes is plenty.
- Place dough in a large oiled bowl, cover, and set aside in warm spot to rise until doubled (about 90 minutes.)
- Punch down the risen dough and let stand for 5 minutes. Divide into 2 equal chunks and roll each one out approximately 8-inches by 12-inches, with the short end facing you.
- Combine the ⅔ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 1 teaspoon flour. Sprinkle half of the mixture (you don’t have to use this much – just make sure the dough is covered) evenly over each rectangle, pat the surface firmly, and roll, beginning at short end. Pinch the seams to seal.
- Place in 2 generously greased bread pans and cover with a towel. Allow to rise until double – about an hour. Depending on the temperature of your house, it may take a little longer.
- Heat the oven to 375 F.
- Bake the loaves for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is a deep brown. Let the bread sit in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes and then turn the loaves out on their sides to cool.
The photos below will show you how to make the heart shaped bread.
Of all the fragrant aromas of baking, breads and pastries containing cinnamon are the most exquisite. Maybe I need to develop a perfume; I’ll bet cinnamon and vanilla would work better than any pheromones. Of course, women would probably end up walking around like the Pied Piper, with a trail of hungry men following them. Hmm, that’s sounding better and better…