This morning, I woke up and found myself face to face with a crane.
Once I had recovered from that surprise and had ensured that nobody was going to knock my house down or blow up the Earth in an attempt to make way for a hyperspace bypass, I noticed how disgustingly autumnal the weather looked.
You see, I don’t live in one of those places that are all gorgeous and colourful and balmy when the season changes.
No, autumn in my city is characterised by cold, grey, dark weather and constant drizzle, which turns the leaves to mush and moistens the dirt so it sticks to everything. (Preferably me.)
I despise rain and being wet or dirty, so it makes sense that autumn is not one of my favorite seasons.
The thing is… I may despise the weather, but I really enjoy the atmosphere that seeps into every corner when the leaves turn
orange to mush. People seek closeness, warmth and comfort, be it in other people, in their homes or in food, and the air carries a subtle hint of melancholy and wistfulness.
I frequently find myself in a state of listlessness as the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, but there are things that I strongly associate with this comfortable, pensive autumnal atmosphere that are guaranteed to snap me out of it… such as baking, for example.
So, when I found myself sighing sadly at the weather this morning, I slipped into the kitchen and cozied up with a cup of coffee and some flour, sugar and cinnamon – is there a spice more strongly associated with autumn than cinnamon? I think not – and made these citrusy cinnamon rolls.
Orange Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 packet instant yeast
- 1/3 cup + 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup oil (I would not recommend coconut oil, but sunflower seed oil is great)
- 3/4 cup soymilk (or almond milk)
- 1/2 – 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 1/2 – 4 cups flour, as needed
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups almonds (blanched or not, your choice)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- seeds of two cardamom pods (optional)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 tbsp hot water, as needed
- 5 tbsp orange marmalade
Mix the yeast, water and 1 tsp sugar and let stand until foamy.
Add the soymilk, salt, sugar, oil and half of the flour and mix to combine.
Add more flour as needed to achieve a smooth, soft, just barely tacky dough, knead for 5 minutes and let the dough rest for an hour (or until doubled in size) in an oiled bowl.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling: place the almonds, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom seeds in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.
(You may also chop the almonds/cardamom by hand and then add the sugar and cinnamon. It’s all fine.)
Transfer the almond mixture to a bowl and add the water and orange marmalade.
Once your dough has risen, punch it down to avoid large, irregular air bubbles later on, then let it rest for ten minutes.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough in the shape of a rectangle and evenly spread the filling on top of it.
Add more orange marmalade if you feel like it, then carefully roll it up, cut it into approximately 1-inch pieces and place them cut side down on an oiled baking sheet.
Let the rolls rest for another 45 minutes while you preheat your oven to 190°C/375F, then bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
(You can make a glaze for these from powdered sugar and fresh (strained) orange juice, if you like. I prefer them without, but to each their own.)