Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sweet Dough Mix

It was a friend's birthday this weekend and on Saturday she brought her daughter over to play with mine so we could bake and eat the results under the excuse of her 'birthday'.

I am much more of a cook than a baker, but over the years I have perfected a handful of recipes for those times we've got company coming or need an offering for a party or dinner we're attending. One of my favorite ones to use is cinnamon buns, mainly because I always have all the ingredients in the house already. I make my cinnamon buns with sweet dough, but the recipe can also be used for many other things.

Sweet Dough Mix (single use)

2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Big Batch (makes 4 uses)

10 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup powdered milk
2 teaspoons salt

What else you'll need

1 cup water
1/4 cup oil
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

Combine water, oil and yeast in a bowl and let it fizz for a minute, then mix in 3 cups of dry mix, stirring well. Once mixture is doughy you can knead it until you get bored, then cover the bowl and let the dough sit and rise for about 45 minutes. Or you can dump everything into the bread machine on 'dough' setting. I did one batch of each because I was short on time. I found the old fashioned way to be more fun though.

Once the dough was made the first thing I made was a batch of cinnamon buns. I rolled out an entire batch of dough into a flat, thick rectangle, brushed it with melted butter, spread on a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and then rolled it up and sliced it. I placed each bun in a pyrex pan and let them rise before baking them in the oven until golden brown. I iced them with a homemade buttercream frosting (icing sugar, butter, vanilla). They were the main event and the biggest hit.

With the second batch of dough I made my other 'sweet dough specialty' - Beaver Tails. We live in Ottawa, which boasts the world's largest outdoor skating rink (a frozen canal). During Winterlude people come to skate, drink hot chocolate and eat beaver tails, which are basically rolled, fried sweet dough covered in toppings. I taught myself how to make them when I lived in Australia because I was trying to explain them to people who had never tried them. When I got home I hosted a few 'beaver tail parties' where guests could choose their own toppings. The most popular version is the Killaloe Sunrise, which is sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and lemon juice so I made that kind.

With a small bit of remaining dough, I attempted a couple of yeast donuts. I shaped the dough and then fried them, and iced them with a mixture of sugar and water. They were good, but I think by the time we tried them we were way too stuffed to appreciate them!

There are many more things you can make with sweet dough, but we probably would have been sick had I tried. There is cinnamon raisin bread, sticky pull aparts, coffee cake, danishes, turnovers and a whole bunch more.

Sweet dough is an excellent mix to have on hand in a big batch because there are so many things you can make with it!

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