Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls and the Junction City Daffodil Festival





Junction City is a small Oregon community that's quiet these days. One of the town's major employers recently closed their doors and left many of the town's 5000 people without work. Despite that, this resilient community is going ahead with its annual Daffodil Festival. The event includes nine miles of roadside daffodils, the small town version of a carnival and an assortment of refreshments that includes buns in guises ranging from cinnamon to beefcake (more about this in a bit). Inspired by Lady Bird Johnson's call to beautify America, Faye Moffett planted a handful of extra daffodil bulbs along the road near her house in the 60's. She planted a few more each year and urged her neighbors to do the same. Motorists soon learned of the lovely daffodil-lined street and began to drive along it when the flowers bloomed in March. The Daffodil Festival began in 1972, when Mrs. Moffett and her friends invited the drivers to join them at the Long Tom Grange for some homemade cinnamon rolls and coffee. Bulbs planted by a single gardener evolved into an event that's a marvelous way to showcase the spirit of a town devoted to community and family. The Long Tom Grange - a fraternal organization - took over the festival several years ago when its popularity overwhelmed its founders. Initially, Mrs. Moffett and her friends baked the cinnamon rolls and buns themselves. Now, the Junction City High School "cinnamon specialists" bake the rolls and sticky buns and deliver them to the festival. There are no strangers here. Once in the Grange hall you're treated like a member of the family and you might find yourself sitting at a table with an an organic farmer, a doctor or a mechanic. Status doesn't count for much here. Folks share a pot of coffee and chat like old friends as they eat their buns. If you're lucky you may run into one of the now famous Calendar Guys from the Long Tom Grange. Several years ago this group raised a quarter of a million dollars from sales of their nude calendar. The calendar caused a dustup later in the year when organizers of the Scandinavian Festival refused to sponsor the calendar guys and some schools talked about refusing funds from calendar sales. It made for some lively town meetings, but turned out to be a non-event. Despite vocal moral outrage the money went to its designated targets; it did, however, put a damper on the calendar fun. Sometimes you just can't win. Now back to cinnamon rolls. I collect recipes for cinnamon rolls. Today's recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated and, in keeping with their policy, I'm printing an unaltered version of their recipe. This was the first time I used this recipe and, while it's nice, it's not one of my favorites. I remain partial to brioche type doughs. If you're looking for a fairly simple recipe for cinnamon rolls, you might want to give this one a try. They'd be great for Easter Sunday breakfast.

Cinnamon Rolls:
Ingredients:
Bread dough
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 package dry active yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3 1/4 - 3 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Filling
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup raisins , golden or dark (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts of choice (optional)
Icing
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar , sifted
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. For the dough: Heat milk and butter in small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Cool to lukewarm (about 110 degrees).
2. Meanwhile, sprinkle yeast over warm water in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle. Beat in sugar and eggs and mix at low speed to blend. Add salt, lukewarm milk mixture, 2 cups of flour; mix at medium speed until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Switch to dough hook attachment. Add 1 1/4 cups flour, and knead at medium-low speed, adding additional flour sparingly if dough sticks to sides of bowl, until dough is smooth and comes away from sides of bowl, about 10 minutes.
3. Turn dough onto work surface. Squeeze dough with a clean dry hand. If dough is sticky, knead in up to 1/2 additional cup flour to form a smooth, soft, elastic dough. Transfer dough to a very lightly oiled large plastic container or bowl. Cover top of container with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (Ideal rising temperature is 75 degrees.) After rise, punch down center of dough once (can be refrigerated, covered, up to 18 hours). Making sure not to fold or misshape dough, turn it onto unfloured work surface; let dough rest, to relax, about 10 minutes.
4. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Mix cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
5. Roll dough with rolling pin into an evenly shaped 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Brush dough liberally with milk and sprinkle an even layer of cinnamon-sugar mixture, leaving a 1/2 -inch border along one of the long sides. Sprinkle 1/2 cup raisins and/or 1/2 cup chopped nuts over cinnamon mixture. Roll, beginning with the long side of the rectangle. Use both hands to pinch dough with fingertips as you go, sealing edges firmly to form a seam. Cut into 12 even pieces using dental floss (or serrated knife with cutting board) and arrange in prepared pan.
6. Cover loosely with plastic and allow to rise until double in size (rolls will touch), about one hour. When rolls are almost fully risen, adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
7. Bake until golden brown and thermometer inserted in center roll registers 185 to 190 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Invert rolls onto wire rack. Cool to room temperature, 20 to 30 minutes.
8. For the icing: Whisk sugar, milk, and vanilla in small bowl until smooth. Reinvert rolls and place rack over piece of parchment or wax paper. Drizzle icing over rolls with spoon. Cut or pull apart to separate, and serve. Yield: 12 rolls.

I'm sending this recipe to Yeast Spotting a blogging event sponsored by Susan at Wild Yeast.

33 comments:

Selba said...

Wow.. I love cinnamon rolls! Eating it warm and with a glass of cold milk is so perfect! :)

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Mary, what an interesting story about the Daffodil festival. I'm so glad to hear it's still going on despite everything. When I was growing up my mother always put flowers beside our bed and the daffodils were one of my favorites. Ours here in North Carolina are in full bloom.
The calendar story is a hoot.
The cinnamon rolls sound fantastic and I think they are a perfect compliment to the daffodil festival.
Sam

Donna-FFW said...

Cinnamon rolls are such a favorite of my family. I love trying new versons. I will try this also. Love that it uses the kitchen aid!

Martha said...

When I saw Junction City, I thought you meant the one in Kansas! What a great story of community spirit. But that is what you so often find in little towns. What a neat festival. And cinnamon rolls, yum -- I could almost smell them!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I'm glad the Daffodil Festival is going on. I think people need the positives and traditions. Something about daffodils seems so happy and cheery to me.

Your cinnamon rolls look delicious. One day I will make them from scratch.

Bloggers Over 50 said...

Mary, Blogrolling has been upgrading and revamping since the huge crash back in November. I apologize for not adding you, but I haven't been able to do so for quite some time ---there was no way I could at the time of the crash, but will attempt today to add your blog link! Thanks for the reminder. I am keeping my fingers crossed it'll work today. Blogrolling's servers have been running slower than molasses in January right now.

Susan said...

Once again, a lovely story and told so well. And cinnamon rolls--well, is there anything better? I can smell them baking now. I also have tried several recipes and always go back to the one from my baking cousin.

Netts Nook said...

Mary Your rolls look like they will add rolls to someone. What a great event. My weakness but I must try.

Maria said...

Love cinnamon rolls and I love daffodils, perfect post:)

Deborah said...

I've been wanting to make cinnamon rolls, and this makes me want them even more!

Pam said...

I should check out the Daffodil Fesitval - I don't think I've ever been to Junction City.

I love, love, love cinnamon rolls - yours look absolutely perfect.

Hootin' Anni said...

These cinnamon rolls look so scrumptious. When we lived in Arizona we had a cinnabon store and boy did that ever put the pounds on me...the special imported cinnamon and then to top them....cream cheese frosting. Oh my heart says yes, the butt tells me no. I best go find me some lunch now. I'm craving food...ANY kind of food. LOL

Happy Day to You, Mary!

PS....those daffodils are absolutely gorgeous. And I feel I've see the Full Monty now, too. {insert giggles}

Irene said...

That's lovely, and what a great story about the daffodil festival! These calendar guys look............ ;)

Elra said...

Whaaa I want that famous calendar guys Mary, ha..ha.. ha...

Cinamon rolls look so irresistible and oh daffodils so beautiful.
Cheers,
elra

Mary said...

Hi gals. What can I say about the calendar guys...they range in age from 50 to 79. They have nice legs don't you think?

ChefBliss.com said...

What a fantastic post!! The cinnamon rolls look fantastic and I love the story. Daffodils are always sunny and I love the community involvement. Hhhmmm, wonder if they'll do another calendar!! :)

biz319 said...

I'll have to make these the next time my step-son comes over for brunch - he loves all things cinnamon!

Thanks for the daffodil story too!

The Blonde Duck said...

My weakness is cinnamon rolls...

Barbara said...

The baking of cinnamon rolls just undoes me. I have to have one if I smell them baking. These look delicious.
That is a nice celebration for a small town. I hope they are able to keep it up with some many losing their jobs.

Selba said...

Hi Mary, please pick up your award here :)

Mary said...

Selba, thanks so much for the award.

noble pig said...

The daffodils in Oregon are so beautiful and the rolls look good. Sorry it wasn't your favorite.

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

I love the story of the daffodil festival and eating cinnamon rolls in the grange. It reminds me of the small Vermont town we left years ago now, where one of the last things we did before we left was celebrate the 4th of July with a town-wide potluck on the town green. I hope you got one of those calandars!

Mary said...

Susan, I do have a copy of the calendar. Who knows when it'll become a collectors treasure. The year the first calendar was published was a seller's market. I waited and was able to but one the following year.

Soma said...

These look soooo good! We always buy a box of cinnamon rolls when we go to IKEA.. I could have these with my cuppa.

& I loved the idea of the potatoes in the previous post. looks real easy but full of flavors.

Laetitia said...

I love love love daffodils (and cinnamon rolls too!!). There were growing everywhere in the forest in my village in France while we were there (not the cinnamon rolls, the daffodils... ;)). I love to go pick them.

Mary said...

Laetitia, I'm always so glad when you stop by. I was following your recent visit to France and was charmed by your words and photographs.

Natashya said...

Cinnamon and beefcake! So funny.
I love cinnamon rolls, but Cooks Illustrated makes me nervous with their ranting that their recipes are perfect and should never be played with.
Could you imagine if all the arts were stopped short like that?
I agree with you - a rich dough is nicest for cinnamon rolls.
Your festival sounds like so much fun - a great town to live in or visit. Hopefully work comes back to them soon.

Kevin said...

Those cinnamon rolls look so good! It has been too long since I last had some.

Lori said...

That's my kind of community. And my kind of rolls. Pass the coffee please.

Toni said...

Mary, you are such an inspiration! I'm going to give your cinnamon rolls a try! Also will try the Kaiser rolls.

Have you ever made Calzone?

Arlette said...

This is an interesting story about the Daffodil Festival and the Calendar guys.

My favourite cinnamon buns (I tried lots and lots of recipes) is the BBA Brioche recipe Middle man brioche is the best recipe for cinnamon buns and sticky buns.

Anna Luisa e Fabio said...

Li adoro, questa ricetta รจ favolosa!
Fabio

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