Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How to Make Breakfast at Home on Busy Days

Day 19.

One of the biggest reasons people give for not making a home-cooked breakfast is lack of time. It's a valid reason. We're all so busy all the time. Often families find themselves struggling for bathroom space as two kids and two adults need to get ready for school and work at the same time, and all need to rush out the door far too early to be able to enjoy a homemade breakfast.

However, there are ways to get around the hustle & bustle and sit down to a hot homemade meal before the chaos of the day takes over. Here are a few ideas:

  • Think big. On Saturday, when you're making your pancakes or waffles, double the recipe. Let them cool, then wrap in plastic and store in the fridge (for a few days) or freezer. Pop into the toaster or microwave on a busy morning.
  • Do the work the night before. Combine the ingredients and prepare the crust for a quiche. Store separately in the fridge. In the morning, preheat the oven, pour the filling into the crust, and bake as usual. Go do your hair & makeup and check the kids' teeth and backpacks. By the time you're ready, breakfast will be ready, too.
  • Make something portable for super-busy days. Muffins are a good candidate. Made the night before, you can easily run out the door with a muffin in one hand and a coffee in the other, and you can avoid the vending machines at work.
Every once in a while, though, you should try slow food. There's something special about waking up a bit early and surprising the family with cinnamon rolls. It takes 90 minutes from start to finish. Think of all you can do in the 30 minutes the rolls rise -- 30 minutes uninterrupted! That, alone, is reason to set the alarm a little early. The other reason is the chorus of "mmmmm" when the family comes into the kitchen and smells the cinnamon goodness.
I've been playing around with the perfect cinnamon rolls for a while now. My first attempt used baking mix. It was encouraging -- it meant that I was capable of making a cinnamon roll. The dough was all wrong, though. Then I tried a recipe I found online for a yeast cinnamon roll. It was good, but still not on the money. I've tinkered with it, and here's what I've come up with.

Good Morning Cinnamon Rolls
serves 10-12

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • ~4 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg, beaten lightly
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

How it's Done:
  1. Heat milk in microwave for 90 seconds. Add butter to milk and let it sit until butter is almost melted. Add water, then egg. Mixture should be lukewarm. If not, let it sit until it is.
  2. Meanwhile, combine 2 cups flour, granulated sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of your electric mixer.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the flour. When combined, slowly add flour 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough forms. You may not need the entire 4 cups of flour.
  4. Either turn dough out onto a floured surface OR attach the dough hook to your mixer and knead five minutes until smooth.
  5. Let dough rest on a floured surface, covered, ten minutes.
  6. While your dough rests, combine softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  7. Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 12" by 10". Spread butter & sugar mixture evenly on dough. Sprinkle with pecans.
  8. Roll up jelly roll style and pinch seam shut.
  9. Cut dough into 10 to 12 even pieces. Discard end bits of your roll of dough. Place rolls in a lightly greased baking dish, sides gently touching.
  10. Cover and let rise 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  11. Preheat oven to 375. When rolls have doubled in size, bake 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned.
  12. Topping ideas: Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar OR make a glaze from 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1 Tbsp milk and drizzle over top of warm rolls OR make a cream cheese frosting and spread on warm rolls OR top with drizzled honey.

1 comment:

Kim said...

Michelle, your ingredient list calls for 1/ cup water. Is that 1 cup water or some portion of a cup of water?

I just recently found your blog and I love it!

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