Monday, December 17, 2007

Cinnamon Sticks

Cinnamon-y and cinnamon-ier! OK, we know those aren’t real words, but how else to describe a meltingly tender-crisp pastry stick that’s both filled and topped with some form of cinnamon? Delicious and delicious-er?

Note: Our Cinnamon-Sugar Plus is the ne plus ultra of cinnamon sugar. Made with superfine sugar and prized Vietnamese cinnamon, it’s a superbly flavorful, grit-free salute to everyone’s favorite toast-topper.

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 quarter-pound sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

milk or cream to brush on the pastry
1/2 cup (3 ounces) cinnamon chips*

milk or cream, to brush on the pastry
1/4 cup (2 ounces) cinnamon sugar*

*See variations at the end of the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. There’s no need to grease your baking sheets, but line them with parchment to make cleanup easier.

To make the pastry: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter until the mixture holds together when you squeeze it, with pea-sized lumps of butter still visible. Whisk the egg and milk together, and add it to the pastry, mixing just until everything is cohesive.

Divide the pastry in half, and shape each half into a rough 3" x 5" rectangle, smoothing the edges. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour, or for up to 2 days.

To form the sticks: Remove the pastry from the refrigerator, and if it’s been chilling for longer than 1 hour, allow it to soften and become workable, about 15 to 30 minutes. Place one piece on a lightly floured work surface; a silicone rolling mat works very well here. Roll it into a 10" x 15" rectangle about 1/8" thick.

Brush half the lengthwise surface (i.e., a 5" x 15" strip) with milk or cream. Sprinkle with half (1/4 cup) of the cinnamon chips. Fold the unfilled side of the pastry over the chips, gently sealing around the edges; you’ll now have a 5" x 15" piece of pastry. Brush the top surface with milk or cream, and sprinkle with half (2 tablespoons) of the cinnamon sugar.

Use a rolling multi-cutter or pizza wheel to cut the pastry crosswise into ½" strips that are 5" long. Grab a strip at each end, and twist as though you were wringing a washcloth. Place on the prepared baking sheet; they can be quite close together, as they won’t spread. Repeat with the remaining strips of pastry.

Roll, fill, top, and cut the second piece of pastry just as you did the first. Place the strips on the baking sheet.

Bake the cinnamon sticks for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. If they’re filled with cinnamon chips, they’ll leak out a bit; don’t worry, most of the chips will remain inside. Remove them from the oven, and after a couple of minutes—as soon as you can handle them—lift them up and place them on a cooling rack, brushing off any leaked-out sugar or cinnamon, for a neater appearance. Store airtight, or freeze, well-wrapped, for up to 3 months.
Yield: about 5 dozen 5" cinnamon sticks.

•For a crunchy sugar coating, sprinkle the filled pastry with coarse sparkling sugar instead of cinnamon sugar before cutting and twisting the sticks. For even more flavor, combine 1/2 cup (4 ounces) sparkling sugar with 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Shake in a tightly closed jar till well combined. Brush filled pastry with milk or cream, and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
•For a simpler, more basic treat, replace the 1/2 cup cinnamon chips in the filling with 1/4 cup cinnamon sugar.

©2007 The King Arthur Flour Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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