Two weekends ago I met the “Gluten-Free Girl.”
Shauna, her husband and adorable daughter happened to be in New York City a few weekends ago, and organized a grand pot-luck in central park for the gluten-free folks of this island. Of course it happened to coincide with the most bizarre weekend I’ve had in a while (more on that later), nevertheless I trekked on down to the great lawn with baked goods in hand to meet this legendary woman.
I decided to make cinnamon rolls.
What I should have done, was go out and finish acquiring all my little bags of flour (it has turned into a slow and surprisingly expensive process), and use them in my ‘please-impress-Shauna-and-Danny’ creation. Unfortunately due to a lack of funds and time (again, insert bizarre weekend blame here), that was not an option. So I looked to my old stand-by shortcut cinnamon rolls and got to work.
These call for Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix, which I’ve used before and always serves me well. This is really the only reason I deemed them a “shortcut” version… they actually take quite some time to prepare and require a little love and a lot of patience. They are, however, totally worth the effort.
About meeting the Ahern’s: The potluck was extremely nerve-racking for me only because I am not the world’s best at new social interactions, and if all went according to plan: people who actually knew about food would be eating things that I made. Luckily, I fell into a situation where everyone was warm, inviting and happy to be sharing in the experience. Especially Shauna and Danny. I could not have imagined a more sincerely happy couple (having the cutest kid in the world didn’t hurt either). All I can say is that I am so glad that I went.
About the bizarre weekend: I stumbled upon a ridiculously good job that I am incredibly unqualified for and was in the midst of training for that. I also managed to find my way to the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy, all while attempting to throw together applications for various apprentice programs. Quite different from the usual ‘dolce far niente’ style weekends that I have grown to love.
So here’s how to make them for whatever kind of weekend you’re in for.
Oh! Also! While spending my usual few minutes looking at all of the lovely food blogs, I stumbled upon something very familiar: Gluten-Free Girl (NYC trip) post
If you scroll down a bit there’s a big ol’ picture of the cinnamon rolls themselves! Ooo that one did give me a jolt.
- 1 package Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread Mix (plus ingredients to prepare according to the “sweet bread” recipe on the back)
- 4 – 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted), plus 4 tablespoons (room temperature)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 6 – 8 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1/2 – 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- zest of one orange
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Non-stick cooking spray
Prepare the dough according to the directions for “sweet bread.” (Tips: using a stand mixer if you’ve got one is very helpful, mix for the full amount of time given and finally: the dough will be very sticky. Do not panic… it will require a little more patience, but will turn out marvelously.)
Spray the inside of another bowl with non-stick cooking spray and transfer the dough into the new bowl. Spray the top of the dough with non-stick cooking spray, cover and allow to rise for at least and hour (two would be better…).
Lay out two long sheets of parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the dough onto one of them, and the other (spray side down) on top. Use a rolling pin (or your hands) to roll the dough out into a long even rectangle, checking every once in a while to make sure the dough isn’t sticking.
Cover the dough liberally and evenly with melted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar (leaving a small edge plain on one long side to create a bit of a seal when rolled up).
Roll the dough longways into a spiral, using the parchment paper to help along the way (this part is a bit tricky and requires a little patience: parchment paper is your best friend… you might even want to use a butter knife to separate any particularly clingy bits of dough from its parchment friend)
(you’ll feel very accomplished after it’s done… promise)
Line a deep rectangular baking dish with more parchment paper and spray it as well. Cut the roll into eight even pieces (it helps to start by cutting the whole thing in half, then the halfs in half, etc. etc.), and place spiral side down in the baking dish. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
With the mixer, in a separate bowl, cream together the room temperature butter and cream cheese. Add the confectioner’s sugar to taste (I like mine a little less sweet than most), and the vanilla and orange zest. Set aside.
Bake the cinnamon rolls at 350 degrees fahrenheit for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Frost while they’re still warm so that the frosting melts into all the little nooks and crannies.
Your house will smell good, your soul will feel good, your taste-buds will be happy and all will be well.