baking holidays recipe sweets

Easy Sunday Mornings (+ Glazed Sweet Rolls)

21 April 2014

Yesterday morning I was up at 4:30 and couldn’t manage to fall back asleep so I went downstairs through the sleeping and silent house to the kitchen. I have probably mentioned that my kitchen is my second favorite, maybe my favorite, room in our mostly light-filled and slightly crumbling house? It is cozy and large and unsurprisingly I spend many hours there. As the sky infintissimally lightened outside and the wind rattled both windows and palm trees I put together the dough for a batch of not very traditional hot cross buns glazed sweet rolls because, I don’t know, when in Morocco make a version of an English morning bun? Perhaps I’d seen a recipe whilst on one of my quick trawls across the Internet, perhaps I remembered the neighbor bringing some over when I was a kid, perhaps it’s all the old Masterpiece Theatre shows we’ve been watching, perhaps I wanted to commemorate Easter, as non-religious as we may be. More likely it was that I had the idea of a Sunday run followed by lots of coffee and a little treat and once my mind fixes on these things, well, it’s best to just go with it.

And so I did do both of those things: I made the dough for what I will call ‘glazed sweet rolls’ (rather than ‘hot cross buns‘ because a) I didn’t glaze them with a cross and b) my version is a bit different from what you might be used to) and set it to rise. Then I gave S her breakfast and went out into the blowy morning to run 7 miles along the very blue and wind-roughened Atlantic. I have been trying to eek out a ‘long’/er run once a week outside and my body is remember all of those years of 6-12 milers (occasionally more) milers logged on Sundays. I have always loved a long Sunday run: it somehow sets the tone for the week and even if I can only manage a short run or two the rest of the days I have that solid bit anchoring me at the start. Here you want to get out early particularly on Sundays as it gets pretty crowded along the Corniche, but if you can and do you are rewarded with less congested sidewalks and streets and are surrounded by ‘your people’ — aka other runners, walkers, and bikers.

But anyway — the sweet rolls.

You can see immediately in this photo that my rolls do not include currants and raisins; I was lacking in the first because I don’t think you can get currants here and I was lacking in the second because I forgot to look for them. However I did have dried cranberries and dried blueberries thanks to the powers of the DPO, and anyway I prefer those to any others.

I incorporated a bit of whole wheat pastry flour (of course!) and some ground ginger and cardamom instead of the cinnamon and nutmeg found commonly in hot cross bun recipes (there’s still cinnamon here, but a little less of it). It’s a pretty straightforward recipe, and looking at the ingredients you might wonder why you’d bother to make these at all. And really, I also had rather low expectations when I took my first bite. Or not low expectations exactly but I didn’t think I’d enjoy them as much as I did. I credit the yeast, which distinguishes these rolls from muffins, the other standard of the weekend morning table, and the drip of sugary glaze across their tops which is ever so slightly reminiscent of a cinnamony morning bun.

In terms of timing these were right up my alley; they performed their second rise while I was out getting my exercise and anticipating my second cup of coffee and when I returned I was able to heat the oven during my (tres vite) shower. Having a tiny person in the house means you cram in what you can when you can, and knock wood I think/hope I have found a particular rhythm these days that no doubt will change again just as soon as I’ve learned to count on it. But I think the key is to be fluid, to go with it, to be glad when you can bake off your cake/roll/biscuit/whatever and then enjoy it for a stolen 10 minutes while said tiny person naps or is happily occupied looking around at the scenery. It is definitely possible, is what I’m saying.

We slightly bundled up and took our coffees and our treats outside and admired our California blooms — the poppies are going like gangbusters, even better than the more native nasturtiums — and the neighborhood was lovely and quiet. We sat for awhile outside, actually, long enough that I made another half-pot and Sierra joined in to listen to the wind rustle the foliage. It was just what a Sunday morning should be in my world — a little exercise, a little (or a lot) coffee, a little treat, a little sun and drifting clouds.

Then we went 20 minutes down the coast to the beach for a tiny excursion, some of us napped (hint: not me), we drank tea and ate more rolls, and I roasted potatoes and tomatoes for dinner and served them alongside a pile of sauteed green beans, spinach, and white beans. I blame the good start to Sunday morning for how well I slept that night. It’s the little things.

  • Helen spiridakis 21 April 2014 at 10:31 am

    Nice post….sounds like a rhythm to me…..happy for your lovely day!

  • Luperodriguez16@gmail.com 21 April 2014 at 5:20 am

    I have a feeling that if we were still neighbors, one or two of these buns would have made their way into our kitchen–that thought makes me miss & cherish our friendship at the same time. Keep up the yummy work and so glad your getting to log more running miles lately;) xo