Posts Tagged ‘Dorie Greenspan’

Dorie Greenspan’s Cinnamon Raisin Buns , Brown Sugar Sticky Pecan Buns

Sticky, gooey, cinnamon buns with a dough recipe from Dorie Greenspan

Let me tell you a story about Annie and her husband. I’ve never met Annie, never spoken to her and she doesn’t even know I exist. And her husband? He died at the age of 35.

But somehow, I know they will change my life. I came across Annie while reading an article from the New York Times. The article was on how people tend to procrastinate having fun. How many of us are guilty of NOT redeeming frequent flier miles, NOT cashing in gift certificates, NOT drinking that special bottle of wine (in my case, SAVING that special bottle of balsamic vinegar for a special occasion)? Many of us are by nature, procrastinators of pleasure.

If there is one thing I urge you to do today please read these articles . I don’t think I can paraphrase better than the author can write so best you check it out yourself . Please don’t just bookmark it and save reading for a day when you have more time. Read it now.

So I learned about Annie when I read her comment to the article. This is what she said:

“My late husband was a frugal, intelligent, cautious man who made choices carefully, researched his options, weighed the cost versus benefits of any situation and generally erred on the side of saving, money, time, and energy for later. He worked very hard, took good care of his health and his things and didn’t allow himself too much pleasure, often stealing from the pleasures he did allow to touch him by worrying that they were undeserved or could have been gotten for a better price, the time or money used for something more “useful”. He died when he was 35 years old with money in the bank and all his bills paid. He loved to ski but hadn’t done any skiing in years. He was waiting, who knows what for? I have made it my task in life to honor his memory by living the life he denied himself. I appreciated everything about him, and I know he is glad that I am living a joyful life in his absence. It was the only request he made of me before he left the planet, that I be happy. If you can’t seem to allow yourself joy for your own sake, do it for someone who can’t do it for themselves. A friend or love one who is in the hospital or sick, or dying or gone. Do it in celebration of them and the life they didn’t get to live fully….”

Why do people put of for tomorrow what they can enjoy today?

So here’s a simple New Year’s Resolution that I have made to myself – start having fun… NOW!

Oh, and what better way to do it than to make some delicious Cinnamon Raisin Buns using Dorie Greenspan’s Spiced Sweet Dough.

Cinnamon Rolls

Basic Recipe – Spiced Sweet Dough Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

  • 1 cup warm whole milk (41 c)
  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast (total 14 grams or 4 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature(125 grams)
  1. Stir milk, yeast, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar in small bowl. Let stand until mixture bubbles, about 6 minutes. Stir again.
  2. Mix remaining 2/3 cup sugar and orange peel in medium bowl.
  3. Add flour, cinnamon, salt, and ginger to bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; mix on low speed. Add yeast mixture; mix on medium-low speed until dry shaggy mass forms, scraping down bowl occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk; beat on medium speed until well blended. At this point in time I was starting to doubt the recipe was going to work. The dough did not seem to be coming together into a smooth mass, it had looked almost like it had split.
  4. Add sugar mixture; beat until moist soft dough that resembles thick batter forms, about 3 minutes. Dough now starting to improve… looks like there is hope!
  5. Add butter by 1 1/2 tablespoonfuls; beat on medium-low speed until almost incorporated before adding more, about 2 minutes (dough will be sticky). Beat dough on medium-high 2 minutes longer. Finally dough has come together into a smooth mass! Hooray! Let dough rest in bowl 10 minutes (dough will become less sticky).
  6. Scrape dough out onto work surface; gather together. Place in large buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise at room temperature until almost doubled, about 2 hours. Punch dough down; cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Fill with cinnamon, brown sugar, raisins and orange zest

Recipe for Filling – adapted from Dorie Greenspan

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • Spiced Sweet Dough (above)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, warm room temperature (Around 125 grams)
  1. Butter two 33 x 23 x 5-cm baking dishes.
  2. Whisk both sugars and cinnamon in small bowl.
  3. Turn cold Spiced Sweet Dough out onto floured surface; sprinkle with flour. Divide dough in half. Roll out dough to two 38 x 30 -cm rectangles. Using fingers, spread 4 tablespoons butter evenly over each rectangle. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar, half of the grated orange peel and half of the raisings over each. Starting at 1 long side of each dough rectangle, tightly roll up dough jelly-roll style, enclosing filling. Using a piece of butcher’s twine, cut each roll crosswise into fifteen 1-inch-thick slices. (See image below, otherwise, use a sharp knife). Arrange 15 dough slices in the baking dish, spacing evenly apart. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free area until buns are puffy and doubled, about 1 hour 45 minutes. This will depend on the weather as well. It has very hot the day I made these and only needed an hour before the buns rose.
  4. Preheat to 170 °C (fan forced). Bake buns until deep golden brown and filling is barely bubbling around edges, about 25 minutes. Let buns stand 2 minutes. Cool at least 45 minutes. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Use butcher's string to

To Glaze (optional)

  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Heat the milk and maple syrup in a small saucepan.
  2. Pour the milk mixture into a bowl with the icing sugar and stir until the mixture is lump free.
  3. Spread over the cinnamon rolls.

Variation – Bon Appetite Magazine also has Ms Greenspan’s recipe using the same sough for Brown Sugar-Pecan Sticky Buns.

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A frequent comment from people who meet my family for the first time will inevitably be about how much we like to talk about money.  I guess it’s a natural consequence when almost everyone in the family works for a bank or some sort of financial services company.  A typical dinner conversation will without doubt cover an analysis on the state of the global economy, a lively debate on whether interest rates are set to rise and by how much or a long-drawn out comparison between debt to equity ratios of Philippine and Australian Banks.  We even joke that my nephew’s first words after Mum and Dad were Price Earnings Ratio.

There is a story my brother in law likes to tell.  The first dinner he joined with the family we spent the first hour talking about the merits of investing in the stock market.  After awhile he asked “is the stock market all you can talk about?”… a stunned silence fell over the table.  We all looked at each other… and then spent the next hour talking about the merits of investing in the bond market!

So when I first heard about financiers, I was immediately intrigued. It sounded like a pastry that was probably invented by a French family similar to mine – always talking about money!

Financiers are almond cookies/tea cakes that are made from almond meal, butter, sugar and flour.  They derive their name from the traditional rectangular mold which is supposed to resemble a bar of gold.  Dorie Greenspan, who I got this recipe from, mentions in her book (Paris Sweets) that financiers were invented by a pastry chef in the late nineteenth century named Lasne whose shop was near the Paris Stock Exchange.  He invented them so that they could be eaten on the run without a knife, fork or spoon and completely without risk to suit, shirt, or tie.

I unfortunately did not have the financier mold to use but a mini-muffin pan is perfectly acceptable.

The key to this tasty treat is the beurre noisette (burnt butter).  That gives the financiers its rich nutty flavour.  My tip is that you MUST WATCH THE BUTTER VERY CAREFULLY.  There is only a few seconds between the beurre noisette and rancid black butter!  To know when the butter is done, my tip is to wait a few seconds after the butter stops “bubbling” and you see bits of browned sediment at the bottom of the pan.  Use a stainless steel pan, not something with a teflon coating, otherwise you won’t be able to see the sediments.

This recipe has been adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets.


  • 180 grams unsalted butter (6 ounces or 1 1/2 sticks)
  • 200 grams sugar (1 cup)
  • 100 grams almond meal (1 cup)
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 90 grams all purpose flour


  1. Put the butter in a small saucepan and bring it to the boil over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally.  Allow the butter to bubble away until it turns a deep brown, but don’t turn your back on the pan – the difference between brown and black is measured in seconds.  Pull the pan from the heat and keep it in a warm place.
  2. Mix the sugar and almonds together in a large saucepan.  Stir in the egg whites, place the pan over low heat, and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, heat the mixture until it is runny, slightly white, and hot to the touch, about 2 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour, then gradually mix in the melted butter.  Transfer the batter to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface of the batter to create an airtight seal, and chill for at least 1 hour.  (The batter can kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days).
  3. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the over to 200C (400F).  Butter the molds (I think I managed to make 32 financiers with this recipe but can’t be sure if some people swiped a few while I wasn’t looking), dust the interiors with flour, and tap out the excess.
  4. Fill each mold almost to the top with batter (if using mini muffin pans a tablespoonful will do).  Bake in the over for 13 to 15 minutes (book says 12 to 13 minutes) or until the financiers are golden, crowned and springy to the touch.  If necessary, run a blunt knife between the cookies and the sides of the pans, then turn the cookies out of their molds and allow them to cool to room temperature right side up on cooling racks.

Note:  Although the batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, financiers are best enjoyed the day they are baked.


  • I added a blueberry on some of the almond financiers
  • I substituted almond meal for hazelnut meal for one batch and mixed with nutella

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