a dirty martini and some cinnamon biscuits

i don't know about you, but pretty much the definition of a happy saturday morning for me is being allowed to sleep past 8am, followed quickly by a cup of dark, oily, strong black coffee and some sort of breaded vehicle for delivering cinnamon, sugar and butter into my mouth.

i don't often have the time or energy for yeast dough. i mean, they're fun and all, but extraordinarily labor intensive. i took a stab at making my own version of lake of the isles' bun and bakery's "puppy dog tails" over christmas and they were a smashing success. i took my basic cinnamon roll recipe that proofs and rises twice, then flattened it out into a rectangle and filled it up with melted butter, brown sugar and all kinds of spices. but instead of rolling the dough up for a standard cinnamon roll, i folded it in half, then sliced and twisted each slice. oh holy, gracious and good God in heaven, these knock-off puppy dog tails made me believe in You once again and that you do, in fact, want us to be happy.

however, they did take me nearly four hours to make. fun little hobby during christmas vacation, but not necessarily fun on your average saturday morning. which brings us to today. my mom is hosting a brunch for a handful of friends this morning and she asked me to bring puppy dog tails. in the flurry of activity that was my day yesterday which included working, stopping at my kid's preschool for an errand, grocery shopping (which took three different stores and two hours), making red velvet crinkle cookies for v-day and a homemade heart-shaped pizza... well, after all of that, i did not have it in me to start a four-hour yeast dough project. i made myself a dirty martini and went to bed.

but upon greeting this morning with sleepy eyes and fuzzy hair, i realized that i still didn't have the time for puppy dog tails and couldn't show up empty handed at a brunch where i'm in charge of bringing the sweet thing. then i remembered my moosewood cookbook. ah yes, my moosewood cookbook! there is a recipe in there for something called "quick cinnamon biscuits". i made these on almost every saturday morning throughout 2006 and 2007 until my friends and family pleaded me to try something else (so i did! things like homemade donuts and hazelnut mascarpone morning rolls and apple pie for breakfast.)

so this is my version of the moosewood cookbook's quick cinnamon biscuits. the dough comes together in about 10 minutes and they bake for 25. so in under an hour, you have sugary, oozy, warm, homemade cinnamon "rolls".

quick cinnamon biscuits
based on the moosewood cookbook recipe by the same name

for the dough you will need:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 1/4 cups heavy cream (this morning i didn't have any heavy cream, so i mixed whole-fat greek yogurt with unsweetened almond milk until it was the consistency of heavy cream. it totally worked. feel free to do the same, but don't use fat free yogurt or the dough won't come together. you need the fat!)

for the filling, you will need:
2 Tablespoons heavy cream (or the greek yogurt-milk mixture)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon clove
1 teaspoon ginger
(you can skip the clove and ginger if you don't want them overly spiced, but i like to live dangerously)

here we go! get a big mixing bowl. throw in the flours, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. mix together. pour in your heavy cream (or substitute) and stir quickly until it comes together into a ball. now get your hands in there. fold it over a few times just to incorporate any dry bits that may not have come together. you'll get a pretty smooth ball of dough in just a few minutes. way to go! you did it!

now flour your counter/work surface and slap that ball of dough down there. press into a rectangle approximately 9x13 ish. keep checking under the dough to make sure it's not stuck to the work surface. add more flour as needed and just don't worry about it.

once pressed out into a rectangle, slather the 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream all over the dough. use your fingers because it's more fun. now spread the brown sugar out over the whole thing. again, use your fingers. it's just better that way. sprinkle your spices all over and now begin to roll, starting from the long side. i like to kind of pull and roll as i go so that you kind of stretch the dough a bit and you get more swirls of cinnamon-oozy goodness in your finished roll.

oh sh*t. right about now you're going to wish your oven was preheated to 400. so go ahead and do that.

back to the rolling.

roll them up, pinch the last roll to sort of seal them and then slice into approximately 8 rolls. place them into an un-greased glass pie plate. it's okay if they seem kind of cramped in the pie plate. it's also okay if they aren't close to each other at all. they'll rise as they bake and it'll just look all rustic and amazing and your friends will think you're some kind of hippie who doesn't shower and makes rustic baked goods in her free time just for fun.

bake for 25 minutes, then let them rest if you can resist. they are best when eaten while they're still warm. you can glaze them with some sort of powdered sugar/butter/cream cheese mixture, or just eat them plain.

happy saturday,
ashley "that ain't no yeast dough" rebekah


  1. your rustic hippie hiarious comments put me in mind of the gals who ran Troy Bakery. leg hair wild creatures but wow could they back cardamom and annadamma breads and yummy pastries! And they lived by Moosewood Cookbook! Your 45m early arrival to again bail me out as panic was setting in and the toilet was not yet scrubbed was more appreciated than you'll ever know. It's like having leprosy and here comes Florence Nightengale with THE CURE. How do you spell relief? My foodie dtr Ash. hugs from YOUR MOM

  2. 'bake'.....not 'back'. DUH.


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