THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM “THE BOOK OF LOVE”
We all have those memories that are seem brighter than the others. They are the ones that unexpectedly leap forth and linger a little longer. I always hold those memories a bit closer because I like to think these hold the lessons that we still need to learn. I honor them for the wisdom that seems to be confined within.
This is one of those memories:
As a little girl, I remember watching my mom in the kitchen. She moved quickly. At the time, I never really knew why, but looking back I realize that as a mother of 3 small children, close in age, running on high speed was simply a necessity. We have all juggled the clock: saving a few minutes here, adding a few more there, balancing life’s “to dos” to somehow fit within our waking hours so that we have some precious moments left to LIVE. Although the sentiment often slips away, time is the economy of our lives.
The fragrance of food has the amazing ability to transport us back in time, to a specific moment, to a particular place in our history, with all of the feelings surrounding it. For me, the earthy, sweet, and spicy scent of cinnamon takes me to my childhood. It brings me back to my mom in the kitchen. Wherever I am, that smell gathers me close and overwhelms me with love.
While I am sure there are many more, I can only really recall two, maybe three occasions where the scent of cinnamon permeated the kitchen. The sweet, aromatic scent of her “Love Buns” seemed to linger for days. I am sure she would claim that is because that’s how long it took her to make them. No special occasion, for no particular reason that I am aware of, she baked these cinnamon buns for my Dad. She renamed them “Love Buns” because she always said you really have to love someone a whole lot to spend that much time baking for someone. As children, we would always laugh at that… but now I understand.
Perhaps the greatest act of love is offering our time. We don’t have the luxury of knowing exactly how much we have, but if we spend it acting in kindness, we have used it wisely.
¼ cup white sugar
½ cup warm water
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups (approximately) all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in warm water, sprinkle in yeast and let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the milk, remaining sugar, butter and salt. Warm until the butter melts. Allow cool until mixture becomes room temperature.
- In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk mixture and yeast mixture.
- Using an electric mixer, gradually beat in 1 ½ cups of the flour. Beat for 2 minutes, or until smooth. With a wooden spoon, gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour until the dough is soft, slightly sticky, and comes away from the dough.
- On lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 7-10 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough in a large, butter-greased bowl. Turn the dough, so that the butter covers all of it. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 1 ½ hours in a warm place (or in refrigerator overnight). The dough should be double in size and should retain impressions.
- Punch the dough down.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the ¾ cup of the butter with ¾ cups of the sugar. Whisk until smooth.
- Pour this mixture into a 13 X 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the pecans and set aside.
- Melt the remaining butter and set aside.
- Combine the remaining sugar, pecans and cinnamon. Set aside.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER:
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into an 18 X 14 inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter leaving a one half inch border uncovered.
- Sprinkle with sugar mixture.
- Starting at the long side, tightly roll up, pinching the seam to seal.
- Cut into 15 pieces and place them in the pan, covered for one hour to rise (or until doubled in size).
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes (until the crusts are gold and the tops sound hollow when tapped). Let stand in the pan for 3 minutes. Invert the pan onto a serving platter and scrape off the remaining filling and drizzle over the buns.
After you have done all that, you’ll know why I renamed these cinnamon buns “Love Buns” ‘cause you have to love someone a whole lot to make these for them! – LYNN