''I need air-conditioning in the kitchen'', I told hubby as he sipped his morning cuppa. The 'small' needs of the obsessed home baker - a separate baking kitchen, a DSLR, a mile long wish-list of props and bake-ware and now an AC just for the kitchen! I was kidding of course, but he is now quite accustomed to listening to such weird things from the baker-blogger wife. But wouldn't it be a dream to be able to produce good puff pastry even in summer?
I have so been itching to make some puff pastry since some time. The greasy pie crust I baked and discarded warned me to stay away from puff pastry since this heat can melt even chilled butter pretty fast. Visions of flaky puff pastry had to take a back-seat to be replaced with some cinnamon-y, sugar kissed, crisp bread sticks. Very do-able indeed!
Surprisingly, I was not much of a cinnamon person earlier. When you start baking, cinnamon bread is one of the things that invariably lands up in the baking bucket list. Not to forget the acquired affinity for cinnamon in graham crackers, biscotti, apple pie and more. I realize I have grown to like cinnamon, as long as I keep it to smallish quantities agreeable to my olfactory senses and palate.
Cinnamon Sugar Bread Sticks : Light sugar and cinnamon bread sticks for times you want cinnamon sweetness with a crunch!
The recipe makes a small batch of about 18-20 bread sticks.
For the dough :
All purpose flour - 98 grams
Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
Sugar - 1/2 tablespoon
Instant Yeast - 1/2 teaspoon
Ground cinnamon - 1/4 teaspoon
Oil - 1 tablespoon
Water - 60 ml / 1/4 cup
Vanilla - 1/4 teaspoon
Unsalted butter, soft - 15 grams / 1 tablespoon
Ground cinnamon - 1/4 teaspoon
Granulated sugar - 1 - 1.5 tablespoon to taste
For the egg wash : One egg whisked with a tablespoon of water (you will need very little of this, but it helps the sugar stick to the bread sticks)
Sugar - 4 tablespoons / 1/4 cup
Ground cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
Soft butter to brush on top - a tablespoon or so.
- To make the dough - Mix all the dough ingredients and knead for about 8-10 minutes to make a soft, smooth, elastic dough . (Note: If you using active dried yeast, you will need to proof it first using lukewarm water, the rise may be faster). Place the dough in a lightly greased dough rising bucket, cover and let rise at room temperature till double. This will take about 30-35 minutes as its quite hot now. Note down how long it takes to double.
- While the dough is rising, line your cookie sheet(s) with baking parchment. I used two 9'' square tins.
- Mix the butter and cinnamon. Keep your silicon brush and dough scraper on hand. Lightly flour your work surface.
- Once the dough doubles, dump it on the floured counter and roll into a 3 - 4mm thick square, approximately 10'' / 10''. Keep the thickness uniform as much as possible.
- Using the brush, spread the butter and cinnamon mixture evenly on the rolled dough.
- Fold the dough in half with the filling inside.
- Using the dough cutter or pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 cm strips.
- Lift them up carefully and place on the lined sheet, spaced 2 cm apart.
- Cover and let rise at room temperature till puffy, for around the same duration as the first rise.
- Towards the end of the rise period, pre-heat oven to 190 C / 375 F.
- Brush the tops of the strips with the egg wash and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on it liberally.
- Bake for about 15-17 minutes or till crisp.
- Brush with additional butter and serve warm.
- These are best eaten fresh and warm, though you could re-fresh them in the oven by baking them for 5 minutes at 180 C. Store air-tight.
Try cardamom in place of the cinnamon, add a drop of coconut extract to the dough. Nutella or any other kind of spread can be used as a filling too, but it does tend to dry out in the oven. Try a savory version too!