I know you are on your last leg of life. We have entered the final days. It is hard to admit (to both you and myself) that you are past the point of repair. You are old. You've had a good life. It is time we begin our goodbyes.
You and I, we've been together for a long time. Four years, to be exact. We've traveled the world together. I protected you from the great rolling fogs when we lived in England. We struggled to learn French together while in Quebec. We've seen the Rocky Mountains, we've been from sea to shining sea. But now you are old; the 3 foot journey from the kitchen counter to the dining room table has become too much for you.
When I was feeling down, you were there to cheer me up. You showed me pictures of baby animals and delighted me with beautiful pictures of food. We watched hours of television together. I was always surprised that we had the same taste in music. But now a 4 minute YouTube video completely shuts you down.
Then you broke your hip (or hinge, as it may be). It was sad, but we dealt with it. We worked around your new disability. But then you cracked the other, breaking yourself cleanly in half. I taped you together, but the tape wouldn't hold. I held you up with wine bottles, first full and then empty—it was a rough moment for the both of us. Your screen is dim, your track pad no longer recognizes my touch. Now you are held together with rubber bands and rulers.
We've had a good run, you and I. Soon you will go to a better place, where memory is unlimited and your battery never runs of juice. I will have to find a replacement, you know. But don't worry, no computer can replace the space you have made in my heart.
After you leave this earth, the next thing to go will be my bank account.
PS: These heart shaped rolls are for you. Pay no attention to the fact that Valentine's Day is tomorrow.
These cinnamon rolls are heart shaped! The dough is soft, full, and easy to work with—what more could you ask for? The filling is rich, buttery, and just oozes that gooey brown sugar. The filling isn't too sweet, which I enjoy; this is breakfast, not dessert. The glaze is made from cream cheese and has this lovely tang. Each flavor is distinct and independent—the yeasted dough, cinnamon, and cream cheese. This is a perfect Sunday morning pastry.
Heart Shaped Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yields 9 rolls
This recipe can be easily doubled.
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
Microwave the butter and milk on high for 30 to 45 seconds, or until the butter melts and mixture is warm to the touch. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, pour the milk mixture into the bowl and add flour, sugar, egg, and yeast. On low speed, beat on low for 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour by the tablespoonful until it begins to form a ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Form into a ball.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm environment until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 11 by 8 inch rectangle. Spread the dough evenly with the butter. Sprinkle on the brown sugar mixture. From the long end, roll the dough very tightly until you reach the center. Then, roll the other side into the center until both ends meet. Cut off the ends of the dough and divide the rest into 1 inch segments. Take each dough piece and pull down the center until it begins to resemble a heart.
Place the heart-shaped segments into an 8 inch square pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise until it doubles in size, about 45 minutes to an hour. You can also make the cinnamon rolls the night before and allow them to double in size in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden. Immediately invert the pan onto a cooling rack. Cool for 10 minutes before turning the rolls right side up. This will keep all the brown sugar goodness in the bottom of the pan from leaking out of your rolls!
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract until smooth. Spread the glaze on the rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.