Little T’s class celebrated Carnival last week, and the teacher had sent home a note asking each child to bring something to share for a breakfast buffet. Not having a clue what to make (I prefer the letters that say “bring cut up peppers”) I thought about slapping together some buns with butter and salami. But then, I thought it would be very cool for Little T to bring something “Kanadisch” and my mom’s famous cinnamon buns came to mind. Little T agreed that they would be a yummy treat to bring.
Growing up, I always knew when my mom was making cinnamon buns as the delicious smell of yeast dough rising would permeated our entire house. And while they were baking in the oven, the mouth-watering smell of brown sugar and syrup would join that scent. Intoxicating. Our dogs always knew too, as they would do circles in front of the stove while barking and wagging their tales. With those famous cinnamon buns, you could never have just one.
And so, with such wonderful memories of my mom’s cinnamon buns in mind, I set out to make some for the very first time. I rarely bake, aside from a batch of muffins now and then that I make as more of an activity that Little T and I can do together. But, the recipe my mom sent seemed fairly straight forward. Except the part where she said I could add an egg to the 3 cups of boiling milk. I just cracked an egg and threw it in. Suddenly, it seemed to be transforming into the texture of a scrambled egg, and even my attempt to quickly mix it up didn’t quite get it to a smooth mixture like the milk. I suppose had I been a more experienced baker, I would have known to whip it up before adding it.
The next step was to add flour to the cooled milk mixture, 1-2 cups at a time. In my mom’s notes, she said that some people like to mix with their hands, but she preferred a mixer. When I make pizza dough I like to use my hands, but as this dough recipe is based on milk, I opted for the mixer instead. What I didn’t know is that I should have been using the dough hooks versus the regular mixer beaters, and that our mix-master in the basement would have been ideal for what I was doing.
After about 20 minutes of mixing I added the last two cups of flour, and started to smell a rather odd plastic odour coming from the bowl. Having just opened a fresh bag of flour, I smelled the bag to see if it came from there. It smelled like a normal paper bag. So, I tasted the flour, but having no idea what flour is suppose to taste like, I thought too it was fine. But, the burnt plastic smell started to increase. It wasn’t until I saw smoke pour out of the top of the mixer did I realize (too late) that I was destroying the mixer! I quickly pulled it out and turned it off, while saying a prayer that the mixer would be OK. You see, Hubby does all the purchasing of our kitchen supplies and he spent a lot of time selecting this 80 Euro mixer that also has other attachment like the dough hooks (duh!), blender, and chopper. I then started to worry if the retched plastic smell would have transferred into the mix!
The dough rose OK, and I punched it down and let it rise again, just as my mom said to do. It then came time to roll them out into logs and spread butter, sugar and cinnamon on them. Little T helped me with that, and seemed to have fun doing so, more than me anyway as I can’t stand the feeling of sugar sticking to my hands. I then sliced them and rolled them into buns and placed in the pan with more butter, sugar and cinnamon. But, they didn’t look anything like the perfectly formed ones my mom always made.
As they were baking, hubby came home and I had to break the news to him that the mixer may have expired. Before I confessed, I asked if he loved me, and would forgive me for anything I was about to share. I didn’t get his agreement, but told him anyway. Needless to say he wasn’t thrilled, especially when he inspected the mixer and found dough had been forced up through where the mixer blades are inserted, meaning the chances of the mixer actually working again were next to nil.
The buns smelled delicious anyway, and baked perfectly. But after they cooled, they looked like rather sad demented shapes of balls. Nothing like the perfect cinnamon buns from my childhood. And, I had to admit, they didn’t look all that inviting on the cookie sheet Hubby assembled them all on for Little T’s class. I was a little concerned that maybe we were sending way too many for his class party, but continued to have this image in my head of all the kids loving these Canadian cinnamon buns and immediately all wanting to be Little T’s friend.
Turns out, only one kid ate one and told Little T it was too sweet. The class much preferred the store-bought chocolate covered marshmallows that the teacher brought in (Dickmanns), and had them eat them off a plate “like a pig” with their hands around their backs (Little T really enjoyed this game). As in normal German style, the teacher scolded me for sending too many buns, claiming that on the letter he sent home it clearly said to send “a little something to share”. If he only knew that those buns cost me a mixer and an afternoon of work. I just looked at him and said “sorry.” He quickly tried to backtrack, even switching to English and offered a plastic bag that I could take the cinnamon buns home in as the other teacher had tossed the tin foil they were sent it.
On the way home, I thought that maybe hubby could take the buns into work to share with colleagues, as there was way too many for us to eat. But, when I took them out of the plastic bag, I found tons of black hair on the inside of the bag. So, I dumped them all into our Bio bag collection, sat down, and had a good cry.
Afterwards I realized that I had tried too hard to do something that would help Little T make friends because of my own anxiety that he won’t be able to do so on his own. Even though my intentions were out of love, I have to accept that making friends is something Little T has to do on his own, in his own time. I also realized that I need to accept that I truly suck at baking, and will leave the cinnamon bun recipe for the expert to make: my mom.
For the next buffet request, I’ll send buns with butter and salami.
p.s. In case you are good at baking, and like cinnamon buns, here is my mom’s famous recipe. The only addition I made is the temperature and how long to make them, as my mom missed including that information 🙂 Just save me one, OK?
Dissolve 1 Teas.sugar in
1/2 cup lukewarm water
Add 1 package yeast let sit for 10 min then stir well
while this is rising
Bring 3 cups milk to a boil
Add 1/2 cup lard (I use criso shortenig not always lard works as well )
1 cup sugar
1 tblsp. salt (heaping)
1 egg (optional) but beat it first if adding!
Cool till your hand is comfortable
Add yeast mixture
Add 6-7 cups all purpose flour ( I add 1-2 add a time mixing well
some people use their hand I use my mixer)
Let rise till double in volume punch down and let rise again.
Divide into approx. 4 roll out brush with melted butter sprinkle with
white sugar & cinnamon roll like a jelly roll & cut into i inch rounds
place into greased pan in which you have put brown sugar dotted with
butter sprinkled with cinnamon Let rise again
(Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Bake for 20-25 minutes.) When baked bring from
oven turn upside down to cool a bit before removing pan.
I like to put my dough into the oven with the oven light on to give it
some warmyh to help make it rise . It needs to be kept warm. When
mixing the dough kneading it will help to give a finer texture & get
all the bubbles out.
3 thoughts on “Sometimes life’s lessons cost a mixer”
Heather fails to mention that she also burned out the previous mixer that we brought from Canada by plugging it directly into the 220v socket instead of into the transformer I brought for our kitchen appliances. She’s just lucky she’s so cute!
hahahahahaa………….LOL……..:-) Anne (Schadenfroh) look that up! Should of called me for advice on the school thing!!
I loved this story Heather, and I could taste Mom’s buns as I read. I’m like you, not really a baker, I buy my pie crusts unless I can get Mom to give me one of hers from the freezer. Sounds like there were many lessons learned, and I appreciate you sharing them. (and I’m glad you didn’t just pick the hair off anyway and send them off to Ralph’s work. And we know who would have taken them out of the garbage and eaten them:)
The journey of motherhood is definitely challenging, but when your heart is in the right place, you will never go wrong! Love, your sis