Friday, December 28, 2007

In Search of the Perfect Cinnamon Roll

I can pass up a donut, but I can't pass up a good cinnamon roll. For me, cinnamon rolls rank up there with motherhood and apple pie. They seem typically American, but I'm not sure what their origin actually is. Think I'll look that up.

A good cinnamon roll needs to meet certain standards: tender... not dry or hard, not corn syrupy sweet, chock full of cinnamon, not buried in powdered sugar frosting, and not decorated with overlapping lines of piped frosting. The dough should be as pleasing as the filling.

How often do I find one like that? Not very often.

So, I'm making my own. I have a small bakery called the Starlight Bakery. My husband and I bake one day a week for sale to our family, friends, and friends of friends. To get on our mailing list, someone has to tell you about it. Once you're subscribed, you receive an email newsletter on Fridays telling you what we are baking on the following Tuesday. You must order by noon on Monday or take your chances on stopping by and hoping we made more than we sold before you got there. One of our friends actually tried to steal my sister's banana bread, but he settled for some ready-to-bake scones.

In the past six months we've been trying out a lot of breads and pastries. My husband, Dave, bakes the breads and I make the pastries (or the sweeter breads). Our weekly newsletter is read in Texas, Ohio, Oregon, Maryland, and Berlin as well as here in Santa Barbara. Our list is growing rapidly and our order rate is keeping me busy trying to figure out how to get everything ready by pick-up time.

For the New Year, I've decided to focus on cinnamon rolls in various forms and flavors. Join me as I explore and expand my cinnamon roll choices. I'll share my ideas and tell you about what worked and what didn't work along the way... maybe even share some photos (the one shown here is a cranberry apple cinnamon roll).

Nancy Oster, Starlight Baker