As you can probably imagine, I have a very large recipe file, or perhaps I should say set of files. Separated into categories, according to courses or occasions, are hundred of magazine clippings, recipes from the Internet, and the occasional food-styled photo. At the beginning of the month, I routinely flip through the files, and I select several recipes which I think I might want to try over the next few weeks. Usually only about half of these actually ever get made, as I inevitably get distracted by a new idea from the latest Food and Wine issue or last night's "Top Chef" quickfire challenge. Some of what I end up preparing I make exactly as written, but most recipes just serve as inspiration for my own variation.
One flaw that I have as a cook is that I don't always read recipes completely through before I start. I sometimes just stop at the end of the ingredient list and then dive in (I'm such a daredevil). I know that reading the recipe from start to finish is something that they probably teach you on the first day of culinary school, but hey, I didn't go to culinary school. This flaw gets me in trouble when I have in my head that I am going to prepare a recipe for that same day, and then, there at the end of paragraph one are the words "refrigerate overnight." Grrrrrrrrrrrr.
This scenario happened to me the very first time that I attempted cinnamon rolls. I could almost taste the warm spiced pastries covered with gooey icing when I realized that my taste buds would need to wait until the next day. It would have been great to have this Maple Sugar Pinwheel recipe as a back-up. They are really a cross between a biscuit and a cinnamon roll, but they come together and are warm out of the oven in about 45 minutes--almost instant gratification! Here are just a few tips for these simple sweet biscuits:
- Maple sugar can be both expensive and hard to find if you don't live in a maple producing region of the country. Sometimes it is available at places like Whole Foods, or you can purchase it on-line through the King Arthur Catalogue. As a substitute for the maple sugar, combine 1 cup of sugar or brown sugar with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
- To add an extra layer of sweetness, glaze the tops of the biscuits with a confectioner's sugar glaze, 2 cups confectioner's sugar mixed with a few tablespoons of milk.
- The biscuits are best eaten straight out of the oven, but they can also be reheated, wrapped in foil, at 300F degrees, for 10-15 minutes.
- As with pie crusts and scones, be sure to not overwork the dough, as this will result in tougher and not very flaky biscuits.
Maple Sugar Pinwheels
For the dough
1 tablespoon maple sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup maple sugar
Pulse together the flour, maple sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture has crumbs the size of small peas. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, add the milk, and stir with a fork until a loose dough forms. Gently knead the dough 8 to 10 times on a lightly floured surface.
Roll out and fill the dough: Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin, into a 13 by 11-inch rectangle. Spread softened butter evenly over the dough and sprinkle all over with the maple sugar. Beginning with one long side, roll up the dough snugly, jelly-roll style. Cut the roll crosswise into 12 slices with a sharp knife. Arrange the slices, cut sides down, 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with any excess maple sugar from the work surface.
Bake until the rolls are puffy and golden, 18-20 minutes.