You all know I cannot bake. Cooking is my forte. Baking, not so much. But, I grew up with big, fluffy cinnamon rolls and one no-fail recipe that has given me courage and a false sense of baking talent. I love the recipe not only because it never lets me down, but I can make several treats with one dough. It will give me fluffy sweet rolls, or flaky pastries, and even soft bread. How’s that for magic!
Today I am going to use the basic sweet dough to make three different baked goods: Apple Danish, Cinnamon Nut Pastry, and Cinnamon Bread. You can use the basic dough and make a large batch of just one of these treats, but what’s the fun in that. Go big, or go home.
Basic Sweet Dough:
Everything starts with the basic sweet dough. Set out 2 cups of buttermilk, a stick of butter, and 2 large eggs and bring to room temperature, about an hour.
In a stand-up mixer bowl add 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 tablespoons instant dry yeast and stir to mix. Add the stick of softened butter and the 2 eggs. With the mixer running slowly add 1/2 cup very warm water.
HINT: The water is important. Too cold and it will not activate the yeast. Too hot and it will kill the yeast. You want the temperature to be within 120° – 130°F.
Slowly add the 2 cups buttermilk and continue mixing for 1 minute. Add 5 cups of flour, a cup at a time. I normally shut the mixer off at this point and finish the rest by hand. It gets to be quite a job for the mixer.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead adding the remaining cup of flour a bit at a time. You may not use all the full cup. Stop when the dough is smooth and elastic.
Coat the inside of a large bowl with butter and place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and let the dough rise until double, about 1 hour.
When the dough is ready, punch it down and divide into three equal pieces. Now, let the fun begin.
Let’s start with the Apple Danish. A morning favorite around here and a nod to my German heritage.
On a clean lightly floured surface roll one of the pieces into a 16×9-inch rectangle. Cut into 16 1” strips. Take a strip and twist it forming a circle, almost like a rosette, tucking the end pieces underneath. Place on a lightly greased baking sheets. Repeat with remaining strips. Cover with kitchen towels; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Cinnamon Nut Pastry:
I love pulling this out for overnight guest to enjoy. They look impressive and who doesn’t love cinnamon.
On a clean lightly floured surface roll one of the pieces into a 16×9-inch rectangle. Mix 1/4 cup sugar with 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Spread the rectangle with 2 tablespoons softened butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture spreading to the edges. Cut into 16 1″ slices and using your fingers gently pull the layers out and over one another. Place in a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle rolls with chopped pecans. Cover and let rise until almost double, about 45 minutes.
A delicious soft bread filled with a swirl of cinnamon. Good fresh out of the oven with melted butter or toasted and spread with Italian cheese and grilled apples. I will share the recipe in a later post.
On a clean lightly floured surface roll one of the pieces into a 12×7-inch rectangle. In a small bowl mix 1/4 cup sugar with 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Set aside 1 tablespoon for the topping. Spread 2 tablespoons softened butter over the dough spreading to the edges. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over butter. Roll the dough into a loaf. Pinch dough at the seam to seal. Place in a lightly greased loaf pan. Spread 1 tablespoon softened butter over the top and sprinkle with the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture. Cover the pan and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Once the apple danishes have risen properly, fill the center of each Danish with 1 tablespoon pie filling. You can use any flavor of pie filling. I had apple on hand, so I am using apple filling.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. All three use the same 375°F oven. The Danish and the cinnamon pastry both bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Therefore, I normally place these two in the oven at the same time.
When they are done baking. I place the bread in the oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until a golden brown. If the crust starts to brown too quickly cover with foil and continue baking until done.
I only use icing on the apple Danishes, but really all three can be iced if that is your preference. In a medium bowl, beat 3 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons softened butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, a dash of salt, and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over Danish.
Grab a good cup of coffee and enjoy a breakfast of freshly baked goodies. – Ella💙
Print the recipes here: