I've been working non-stop this year, with no longer than 4 days in between each job. It's a blessing to have so many opportunities, but I'd be kidding myself if I said I didn't need a break. It's really easy for me to get caught up in my work, because I genuinely love what I do, but I'm the first one to admit that there are other things in life that I can concern myself with. Like signing up for health insurance, or finally getting glasses.
Well, it turns out that the universe could tell how bad I needed time off, because I was unexpectedly gifted with a week off. It was glorious. I got to catch up on sleep, read all the books I'd been letting stack up on my nightstand, and do so much fall related cooking and baking. I think I've been taking myself too serious for the last couple of months, and all the recipes I've been posting have been accompanied by some heavy writing. This post is a little break from that, because there's no harm in lightening up a little. I feel lighter now, I got a week off and now I can hit the ground running until the holidays. I'm happy, I'm healthy, I'm safe and I've got so much to share with you. For instance:
I watched Heathers for the first time and honestly... what???
I found a new sparkly soda to be obsessed with.
I bought myself a Dutch Oven for my birthday and it's honestly the best thing I've ever done. It was on sale at an outlet mall in New Orleans and I truly believe the sale was a gift presented to me by the universe. Also can't stop baking bread in it. Like I literally can't stop myself. I made 4 loaves of bread in one week and I've got another in the oven right now. I've been using this recipe, but have been experimenting with different flour combinations & toppings. I'll post some of my favorite adaptations soon.
This may or may not be related to the bread thing but yesterday I went shopping for new jeans and all my nightmares were realized when I had to ask the sales associate to bring me a larger size not once, but 4 (!!) separate times. I don't have a link for that, I just thought it would be relatable and funny and also the jeans look really cute on me. Okay fine, here's a link.
My friend John from Boda Marketing came over the other day to take some new photos for the blog, I'm really excited to have updated portraits on here as well my other social media platforms!
I finally got Adobe Lightroom and have been slowly teaching myself how to use it, I love the way I can manipulate my photos now. I've still got so much more to learn but I feel like it's upped my editing skills tenfold already.
My dream man Tom Hanks wrote a book and it's beautiful and funny and sad and just lovely.
Another thing I did with my time off? Combine two of the greatest things to ever exist to make the single greatest thing to ever exist. Cinnamon rolls and babka joined forces to take your breakfast game up to level 100. It's everything I've ever wanted in a baked good. Lightly sweet, with a tangy dough that puffs up into a beautiful loaf once baked. Swirls of brown sugar and cinnamon make their way throughout, and taste just as delicious as they look. I'm not the first person to ever bake cinnamon into babka, but I'm proud of the recipe that I've come up with and I know it will be the perfect addition to your holiday breakfast schedule.
Babka is one of those desserts that's amazingly versatile. It pairs well with coffee in the morning, as a mid-day snack, and as a way to finish off a hearty meal. I bet it would even taste good toasted. Wait a minute.. did I just invent something? Babka toast?
I hope you've enjoyed this somewhat scattered post. I like lightening up a little bit. What do you think?
CINNAMON ROLL BABKA (VEGAN)
Yields two loaves
1/2 cup plant based milk
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup aquafaba*
10 Tablespoons vegan butter, room temperature
8 Tablespoons vegan butter, melted
1 cup brown suger
4 teaspoons cinnamon
in a microwave safe bowl, heat the milk to lukewarm, and then add yeast and a pinch of sugar to activate. Let the milk mixture sit for 5 - 10 minutes until it bubbles or foams.**
While the milk mixture activates, combine the flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Slowly add in the milk mixture and aquafaba until a soft dough forms, adding extra flour if necessary.
Once the dough comes together, add in the vegan butter in small portions, allowing it to fully incorporate before adding more. Process the dough for 5-7 minutes until it is smooth and stretchy. Place in a buttered bowl and cover, then allow to rise for about 90 minutes. The dough will not double, but should rise. Then, re-cover the dough and place in the refrigerator overnight.***
Remove the dough from the fridge and once it's warmed up enough to work with, divide the dough in half. Then a floured surface, roll each half into a large rectangle. Spread half of the melted vegan butter onto the rectangle, then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll it up tightly. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Repeat with the other half of the dough and filling.
Remove the rolls from the freezer, and slice in half lengthwise. Rotate each piece to expose the filling and then cross one piece over the other to form an "x". Cross the top and bottom piece to form a helix shape, and then fold the entire thing in half. Place into a prepared loaf pan and cover, allowing the dough to rise for about 60-90 minutes.
While the babka rises, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and then bake the babka for 45-50 minutes. Once removed from the oven, allow to cool completely before serving.
** If the yeast does not bubble or foam, the yeast might be dead. Make sure the milk wasn't too hot, or try another packet of yeast.
*** If you're pressed for time, you can refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 4 hours. And if you're into a sourdough like taste you can leave the dough in the fridge for another day and then bake with it as directed. I did this out of pure laziness one time and it's kind of my go-to preparation now.
- note that this recipe makes two loaves. If you don't want two loaves of babka you can reduce each aspect of the recipe by half, or store one of the formed cakes in the freezer for up to 3 months before baking.
- This recipe is adapted from my Toasted Almond Babka recipe.
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