A recipe for Mothering Sunday... or any day of the week for that matter.
On Fridays, when the house is quiet, we bake. At two, my daughter is a whirlwind of flour-dusted glee, spooning & mixing with tiny, sticky hands. The results are messy and misshapen, but she wriggles with uncontainable pride.
My Grandma taught me in this same way - a stool pulled up to the work surface, an old 50's apron tied up to fit around my childish form. Her recipe book was a small, leather-bound notebook, filled with neat, cursive writing and yellowing newspaper clippings from her time before marriage, a legacy of parkin, apple pies and simnel cakes.
From her, I developed a love of cooking, my obsession with the best home-cooked food. My own parents were firm adopters of 80's convenience cuisine, and I often wonder if, without my Grandma's early influence, I'd have ever fallen for the kitchen in the way that I have.
I have no handwritten recipe book, I have a Pinterest board and a blog but it's difficult to imagine these ever holding that same magic for Orla. And so, instead, I show her. I take her hands and I teach her to fold, to knead and roll, to know when something is wrong or just right. We cook the recipes of our everyday life, the foods we love to eat and, already, I see her remembering it all, piece by piece.
These are my gifts to her. Shaping her mind as we shape the dough together...
These are a weekend essential in our house. Forget a million dollars, I don't get out of bed for anything less than a gooey cinnamon bun & a fresh mug of coffee. Orla's been known to eat two!
A Recipe for My Daughter: Sunday Morning Cinnamon Rolls with Rosewater
1 cup slightly warm Milk
2 whole eggs
cup melted butter
4 cups strong white bread flour
1 tsp Salt
cup caster sugar
2 tsp dried yeast (one regular sachet)
cup dark brown sugar
cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp rose water
cup spreadable butter
1 cup milk
2 cups icing sugar
50g melted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
To make the dough, it's easiest to use a bread machine or stand mixer. Add the first cluster of ingredients in the order above, wet to dry. Use a quick dough cycle, or allow the mixer to work for around 25 minutes, then stand the bowl somewhere warm to rest.
Knock back the dough on a floured surface - kneading and squashing it until all the air is out. Then roll it out into a rough rectangle shape, roughly the size of a sheet of A4 paper.
In a mug, mix the rosewater into the remaining butter. Spread the dough sheet with this butter. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly.
Gently lift one of the short edges of the rectangle and roll the dough. Sit it so the seam is at the bottom.
Mark the roll every inch with a knife. Take a length of (non-minty!) dental floss and cut your roll at each mark - this is unspeakably satisfying, and gives you a lovely clean cut. It also has the advantage of being safe for little fingers!
Arrange the rolls in a large baking pan, lined with parchment. Nestle them together to keep them coiled, but leave a little room for rising. Sit the pan somewhere warm, with a clean tea towel over the top. Wait half an hour or so. Preheat your oven to about 200c.
Once they've risen a little, put the buns in the oven for 10-15 minutes - watch them, as this seems to vary with every batch.
Meanwhile, mix together the remaining ingredients and drizzle over the buns while still warm from the oven.
Best eaten warm, but delicious any time, quite frankly. Will keep in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days.
Words and images by Sara Tasker