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I Might Have to Change My Tune

I've always said I'm not a baker.  That's because...well...I've never really been good at it.  You all remember my Baker's Quest, parts one, two three, and four.  That had mixed results, to put it kindly.  Of course, when Mike was diagnosed with Celiac, I made a few epic failures valiant attempts before deciding to pack it in and give up.  Grainy, inedible, dense, and tough enough to snap in half were the nature of some of my failures.  My sweet, patient Mike has gone without certain items because of my inability to bake, however, because the either GF versions are simply not available or what is available is just foul.  Now, many of you don't know me, so let me just tell you I'm a fighter.  I attack problems with a honey badger-like determination.  Thus began a new quest to master baked goods, which, I'm pleased to say, has gone better than the original Baker's Quest.

It started with a simple boxed bread mix.  I have a cheap-as-free bread machine from my parents (thanks, Mum and Dad!), so it was just a matter of tossing the mix into the machine with the liquid ingredients.  Success!  This was a great confidence booster for me.  Next came a recipe from Pinterest for a GF cinnamon roll.  I have learned enough to know, when it comes to baking, I'm too much of a noob to deviate from the recipe, so here's the guide I used

Here's the lineup.  Not a terribly complicated list, but there are some items here that you may not readily have in your pantry.

Like gelatin.  Now, I did because I made pounds and pounds of marshmallows last year for Christmas.  Speaking of which, isn't it that season again? :-)  Oh, and that gross looking stuff is the yeast.  Don't worry, it ends up looking even grosser later.

PS: The bread mix comes with the yeast packet, so no need to buy that separately.

The recipe calls for three cups of flour, which is apparently the entire package.  How convenient!

See, I told you the yeast ends up looking grosser.

Quite possibly the best thing about GF baking: No gluten means you can't over mix and make the dough tough!  This may be perfect for me, as over mixing was one of my biggest issues with traditional baking.

I'm so glad the recipe mentioned about eight times that the dough would be really sticky.  I knew I must be doing everything right when my hands were getting covered with it.  Also, see how I floured the sil-mat there?  Not enough.  Make sure to spread the flour over the whole thing and beyond.  Working with this dough is a little like working with marshmallow cream, but the extreme stickiness in this case can be alleviated with proper flouring. 

There's the dough all rolled out a trimmed.  FYI, I saved the trimmings, which will make an incredible appearance later.

Add cinnamon-butter-brown sugar mixture...

And begin to roll.  After making the initial folds, I found it was much easier to just lift the sil-mat and scrape the dough that stuck with my fingers back onto the roll while moving the sil-mat forward to roll the whole thing up.  I did use a bit of the dough trimmings from earlier to fix any exterior holes as best I could, but it wasn't too much of an issue.

Also, absolutely follow the instructions about the dental floss.  This trick worked phenomenally!  Just slip it under your roll and go.  I cut six big rolls because I wanted them to be the size of the ones you buy in the mall.

Prepare the pan or burn in regret later.  No really, butter that sucker up like a greased pig.

Cover with plastic and let rise,  Now, it was late by this time, so I just went to bed for about seven hours,  This may have caused some over-proofing, but, if so, it wasn't enough to notice.  Oh, and notice that I've covered the trimmings over there to rise as well.

Good morning!  Oh, look how puffy our rolls got!

And what about our leftover dough trimmings?  Well, donuts are on my list of things to make GF as well, so I decided to make cinnamon sugar donut holes.  Best,  Decision.  Ever.  Just take you leftover dough and gently roll into one-inch balls.

Now melt a little butter with a splash of milk and mix.  The cinnamon sugar can be as cinnamon-y or not as you like.  Play with it and see what you like.  Then I just dipped the dough balls into the butter-milk mixture before rolling in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Here is everything all ready to be baked.  Extra bonus, my donut holes are baked, not fried.  Oh, and take note of the casserole dish of water to keep everything moist.  I put that in there before I started preheating.

Now, while everything is baking, it was time to mix up my icing.  I tried to make some vanilla icing a while back, but ran out of powdered sugar, so I had tried to pulverize some regular sugar in my food processor.  That didn't work so well, so my icing ended up delicious but grainy.  I froze it, though, knowing I could redeem it one day.  This was that day.  I spooned a bit into my ninja with the rest of the butter-milk mixture and let 'er rip for a little while.  Aw yeah, now we're talking.

And this is where the pictures end because my parents arrived and things got crazy, as they are wont to do when family comes over.  Let me just tell you, though, that the icing turned out great, the cinnamon rolls turned out great, and the donut holes turned out great.  Later on that day, while I was out shopping with the parents, Mike sent me this text:

"How many more of the cinnamon rolls can I have?  There are three."

Which is, of course, a polite way of saying "I want all of these, but I know that's rude to ask".  That's okay, I'll take it. :-)  Personally, I like the wee donut holes because I can one or two or twelve, but the cinnamon rolls are delicious, the monsters that they are.  Anyway, give these a go even if your household isn't gluten-free because they are incredible.  As for me, I might have to change my tune and stop saying I'm not a baker, especially after you see what I have in store for next week. ;-)

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