Whenever I’m feeling homesick (or more specifically, when I’m missing Momma’s cooking), I bake. The smell of warm cinnamon rolls brings me back to those early Saturday mornings growing up. Mom pulling them out of the oven and generously drowning each roll in a sweet icing glaze. Sweet bliss, my friends. These orange blossom & honey cinnamon buns are the perfect end of summer goodbye and hello to autumn brunch or afternoon dessert. I first attempted this recipe back in July (hence some of the rolls in the iron skillet), but I wasn't happy with the recipe so I kept adapting. Now I have a recipe I'm proud of. The sweet and fruity notes of the orange and honey play beautifully with the floral undertones of the orange blossom water. I am a huge love of rose water. I’ve even featured it in a few recipes (and, hint-hint, it’s a featured ingredient in an upcoming blog post).
As you are reading this, I will be on my way to Memphis, Tennessee. Classes are cancelled this coming Monday due to Labor Day, so my brother and I are headed off to Memphis for a long weekend getaway. With the both of us growing older and our schedules becoming more and more hectic, our amble amounts of free time seem to dwindle away much like our childhoods. We decided to take a trip, just the two of us, to recharge and reconnect. With him working full time and me finishing up my final year of college, it seems to be more of struggle to get together and catch up. This trip is going to be that chance. I’ll be posting a “Thoughts from…” blog post in the coming weeks with a recipe to accompany it, so stay on the lookout for that.
So I have a confession to make; I’m not in love with blog writing. Maybe it’s not my forte or perhaps I’m a part of the poisoned youth, the technologically-addicted generation that is incapable of comprehending anything of more than six seconds. Whatever the case, I think it’s time I’m honest. It’s not that I hate or dislike writing a blog post. I just don’t feel inspired when it comes to the act of sitting down and writing. It’s the one aspect of blogging I dread. I love developing recipes and photographing them. I could do that part for hours on end. Even if the recipe is bad, I still enjoy the process of trial and error. Though, when it comes to writing, I feel stuck. Almost uninspired. I read some of my favorite blog writers like Beth and Valentina who write not only intelligently, but beautifully as well. I feel like, in terms of my blog, my writing is my Achilles heel, a weakness. And if I’ve learned anything from my management courses, it is that weaknesses are just places were improvements can be made and where success becomes possible.
What does that mean for TermiNatetor Kitchen? Truthfully, I’m not 100% sure. I really want to get into food videography, perhaps getting into the visual storytelling aspect even deeper, allowing my photos and videos to tell the story and letting words play a minor role in that. Videos like Betty’s and Valentina’s has truly inspired me. They’re seriously incredible. I know the future of blogging is vlogging (video blogging). I’ve been hesitant though, doubting my talents, my ability, my voice. Unfortunately, I don’t know a thing about videography. But I suppose I didn’t know anything about photography when I started and look at me now: taking overly artistic pictures of my food and sharing it with a bunch of people on the internet. The dream right?? J I’m at crossroads in my life, things are changing. I’m about to graduate college and start looking for my career, my start of life. Ultimately, I want to do something that makes me happy and brings me joy. That’s the most important part I think.
Orange Blossom & Honey Cinnamon Buns
Original recipe adapted from The Food Network
For the honey buns
1 cup whole milk
2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ cup honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg yolk
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Zest of one orange
For the filling
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Zest of one orange
For the glaze
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon orange blossom water
Juice of half an orange
1 tablespoon honey
In a small sauce pan, add the milk and heat over medium heat until the liquid reaches 100 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and stir in the yeast and honey. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, whisk in the vanilla, orange blossom water, egg yolk, and melted butter. Set aside.
In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, nutmeg, and orange zest. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Slowly add the milk mixture into the center of the well. Mix until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough becomes slightly tacky, about five minutes (add flour in 1-2 tablespoon increments if dough is too sticky).
Transfer dough to a large prepared greased bowl and cover dough with plastic wrap. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and place on the stovetop. Let dough rise for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until doubled in size.
In one small bowl add the softened butter and in another bowl mix together the sugar, 3 tablespoons cinnamon, and orange zest. Once the dough is finished proofing, punch the dough and transfer to a floured worked surface. Roll the dough into a 12-by-14-inch rectangle. Gently spread the butter using a butter knife, leaving a ½ inch border around the edge. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture, covering all the butter. Roll the dough away from you into a tight cylinder. Using a knife, cut the dough cylinder in half, then those two halves in half, and so on until you end up with 8-10 rolls. Place cut rolls into 9x13 baking pan
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Cover the rolls with a tea towel and let rise for an additional 45 minutes. Uncover and bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before icing.
For the glaze. Sift the confectioners' sugar into a bowl, then whisk in the cream, orange blossom water, melted butter, juice of half an orange, and honey. Transfer the buns to a rack and spoon the glaze and a drizzle of honey over the buns while still warm.