Tasty Tuesday has arrived and brought my first guest author for this round of posts, Roxanne Snopek, to introduce you to her kick-butt characters and cinnamon bun recipe. Take it away, Roxanne!
When I was about sixteen, a friend told me that I’d make a wonderful grandmother. Think about that for a moment: old, soft, a little out-of-touch, good at baking buns and knitting and providing peppermints is not exactly the image one aspires to as a teenage girl! However, now that I’m at that age, I have a different view. Yes, many of my friends who are grandmas are good at baking and knitting but they are also tough, smart and dare I say it, young, too! They are Kick-Butt Grannies and they rock a lot more than chairs!
In my new Sunset Bay series, I have a character named Daphne who’s the ranch cook. She’s got a rough past, a kid and grandkid she doesn’t see, a soft heart and a cinnamon bun recipe that has made her a local celebrity. But don’t let the helmet-hair and granny-jeans fool you. She also kick-boxes in her spare time, has zero tolerance for crap and cusses like a sailor when necessary.
For the many wounded people who find their way to Sanctuary Ranch, she’s just what they need. Here’s a glimpse of Haylee, my heroine, watching Daphne interact with her new assistant, Jamie.
Haylee was at the main house the next morning with a whole minute to spare.
“Good morning Daphne,” she said to the cook.
“It’s morning,” Daphne replied, wiping her hands on her apron. “Can’t comment on the goodness, yet. Just when I think Jamie’s turned a corner, she pulls something new. Today it’s potato mutation.” She leaned toward the cellar steps. “They’re sprouting, you ninny!”
Jamie’s voice floated up. “They’re squishy and gross. It’s like a horror show down here.”
“Kids these days,” muttered the cook. “No life skills.”
“She’s hardly a kid, Daphne,” said Haylee.
“And I’m an old woman, getting older by the second. Bring them up now, Jamie,” yelled Daphne, “or I’ll make you peel them too.”
Daphne loved Jamie like a daughter.
A thumping, bumping noise sounded from the cellar, followed by the heavy wooden door slamming, then footsteps stomping up the stairs as the girl huffed her way into the kitchen, holding the plastic tub out at arm’s length.
“They look desperate, like they’re reaching out for help,” said Jamie. “It’s bad energy.”
Jamie had dabbled in reiki at one time. She’d dabbled in a lot of things.
“It’s life force,” corrected Daphne. “If you put those in the ground outside, they’d turn into a whole garden of spuds.”
Jamie tipped the tub of tubers into the farmhouse sink and turned on the cold water. “Then why aren’t we doing that?”
“You know those green plants you spent three hours weeding yesterday? Potatoes. In another month or so, we’ll be eating them fresh. Until then, we finish last year’s crop. Quit being such a girl.”
Jamie’s jaw dropped. “You can’t say that.”
Haylee bit back a laugh and looked away. She was used to Daphne.
Daphne pointed her knife at the butcher-block work station. “Then woman up, girl.”
That’s the kind of granny I want to be, when the time comes. I don’t knit, but I do bake. In fact, the cinnamon buns Daphne makes for the ranch guests come from a recipe I’ve used many times. My family loves them and when they’re in the oven, the whole house smells of yeasty, cinnamon-y goodness.
Everyone is more than they seem and I love watching my characters find out how tough they really are. I may seem soft and mild at times, but like Daphne, I’ve learned to kick butt when necessary. I bet there’s a warrior inside you, too.
UBC CINNAMON BUNS (TRADITIONAL METHOD)
These legendary cinnamon buns were first introduced to the University of British Columbia’s students in the early 1950s. The recipe has been printed numerous times in The Vancouver Sun and every year they still get requests for these light-textured buns. Although large, they’re not as rich and gooey as some cinnamon buns.
3 cups (750 mL) milk (2 per cent M.F.)
6 tablespoons (90 mL) butter
6 tablespoons (90 mL) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt
1 teaspoon (5 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) lukewarm water
2 (8 g) packages traditional active dry yeast
2 large eggs
9 cups (2.25 L) all-purpose flour, about
11/4 cups (300 mL) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (30 mL) ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (175 mL) melted butter, divided
- Dough: Scald milk. Stir in butter, 6 tablespoons (90 mL) sugar and salt. Cool to lukewarm.
- Dissolve the 1 teaspoon (5 mL) sugar in lukewarm water. Sprinkle yeast over water mixture. Let stand in warm place for 10 minutes; stir.
- In large bowl, combine lukewarm milk mixture and eggs. Stir in dissolved yeast. Add 4 to 5 cups (1 to 1.25 L) flour and beat well for 10 minutes. With wooden spoon, gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.
- Turn dough out on to lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding additional flour as needed. (This is a soft dough.) Place in well greased bowl and roll dough over to grease the top. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in warm place for 1 hour or until double in size.
- Meanwhile prepare filling: In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
- Punch down dough and turn out on to lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half.
- Roll out each piece of dough into 18×9-inch (46×23 cm) rectangle. Brush each rectangle generously with melted butter. Place remaining melted butter in bottom of 161/2 x111/2 x21/2-inch (42x29x6 cm) pan.
- Sprinkle an equal portion of sugar-cinnamon mixture evenly over each rectangle. Roll each dough rectangle up tightly like a jelly roll, starting from the long side; pinch seam to seal. With sharp knife, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) slices. Arrange slices, cut-side down, in prepared pan and cover loosely with greased wax paper. Let rise in warm place for 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 35 to 45 minutes or until baked. Remove from oven and immediately invert on to serving tray.
Makes 18 large cinnamon buns.
Approximate nutritional analysis for each serving: 433 cal, 9 g pro, 14 g fat, 69 g carb.
USA Today bestselling author Roxanne Snopek writes contemporary romance set in small towns, big cities and secluded islands, with families and communities that will warm your heart. Her fictional heroes (like her own real-life hero) are swoon-worthy, ultra-responsible, secretly vulnerable and occasionally dough-headed, but animals love them, which makes everything okay. Roxanne writes from British Columbia, Canada, where she is surrounded by flowers, wildlife and two adoring dogs. She does yoga to stay sane. It works, mostly.
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The spectacular scenery and craggy beaches draw tourists to the small Oregon town of Sunset Bay. But Sanctuary Ranch offers a different kind of experience: a refuge for people—and animals—desperate for a new beginning .
Haylee Hansen has made a career out of caring for and training the dogs and horses on her aunt’s ranch. Part halfway house, part work camp, it also gives troubled kids and adults the tough love they so desperately need. Haylee should know. She was her aunt’s first success story. But now her turbulent past is about to show up on her doorstep . . .
After thirteen years running a level one emergency room in Portland, Aiden McCall arrives in Sunset Bay a broken man. Anger and anxiety have nearly taken over his life—and could sabotage his new job at the local hospital. Until someone proposes an unconventional solution: a therapy dog.
Haylee has seen her share of damaged people, but no one like Aiden. As she tries to match him with the perfect dog, he’ll help her to see that no one has a perfect life. And that opening yourself up to love is the only way to heal your soul . . .
Yum to both the buns and the story! I think that sounds like a super grandma to have around. What do you think? Is this a story you’d like to read while nibbling on a cinnamon bun?
Next week I’ll have another guest author, so until then, happy reading and may your mornings start with a delicious breakfast!
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