The cloud was thick, low and heavy. A baking funk is definitely not a nice place to be in. The mind was raging but the body was bailing. A fleeting moment of determination sees me try to get going, but then I realized my backside has grown roots into the sofa. Lil’Lassie was most unimpressed and upbraided me for over a week about the lack of baked goods. Words that were swatted off with, “I cannae be bothered!”. I got a sneer for a reply. Fair enough.
Mooching about the kitchen one morning, my eye fell on Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra. I read this book cover to cover the night I bought it for a tenner from TKMaxx (treasure trove of cookbooks…I was in every week! Not to mention cookie cutters…but I’ll save that for another post). The writers knows her food, knows the history, and has an interesting background of her own. The book is not so much sentimental as tinged delicately with nostalgia. Eclectic too, with her choices ranging from India, China, the Phillipines , the Middle East to Holland and Germany.
I have shamefully neglected to bake anything from it though I have enjoyed a leisurely read several times. Today was the day. A few turns of the pages and my eye fell on these spiral beauties. It seemed the perfect thing to make. It was a gentle re-ignition into baking for all that it was based on a usually terror-inducing yeasted bread. It couldn’t have been simpler; the various stages untangled the knots somehow and in the end I found the process immensely pleasurable.
Make a yeasted dough. Let it rise. Make the filling. Keep it ready. Roll out the dough, butter it, spread the filling, roll the dough. Cut into thick slices. Place in a tin. Let it rise again. Bake. Cool it till your fingers can just about bear to hold it. Let rip into it. You can dig out the rubble of escaped nuts from your bra later.
Forget the overly sweetened, cloying, sugary sauce topped poor offerings you may have been beguiled by in the past. The very essence of these is that it’s not over the top. I increased the sugar content but even then it would not bring your dentist’s broad smile to your eyes. The dough is virtually unsweetened and soft, soft, soft. The bitterness of the cocoa powder, the toasted hazelnuts, the butter they were stuck onto and the sugar to bind them all made the most wonderfully Nutella-esque tasty strip of filling between layers of soft bread. I ground the nuts fairly finely and quite liked the more grainy feel, rather than a chunky one.
Hannah was pleased and appeased. Lil Loon was trying to steal his sister’s portion, after he gobbled his own. TheScotsman made very appreciative noises and mumbled through full, puffed cheeks that this was really good. Nine rolls were made and between the four of us, only one remained in the tin at the end of the day.
It would make an excellent addition to your weekend breakfast table. Or a snack after, maybe a treat after lunch, another with a cup of tea mid afternoon or….. just give up and stand by the tin in the kitchen eating your fourth roll hurriedly, hoping the children won’t spy you. It wouldn’t do for them to eat another one, now would it?