Good Morning America Recipes

Elizabeth Gilbert's Cinnamon Buns

'Eat, Pray, Love' Author Shares Great Grandmother's Recipe in New Book, 'At Home on the Range'

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Elizabeth Gilbert recreated recipes that were prepared by her great-grandmother.
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Servings:Over 8
Difficulty: Difficult
Cook Time: min

Elizabeth Gilbert, the bestselling author of "Eat, Pray, Love," is out with a cookbook, "At Home on the Range," a collection of recipes originally written by her great-grandmother, Margaret "Gima" Yardley Potter, in 1947. Gilbert, who found the book while unpacking boxes in her mother's attic, shares Gima's old-fashioned and recipe for delicious, homestyle cinnamon buns.

This recipe is adapted from the book.

Ingredients

  • For the bread:
  • 2 crumbled yeast cakes
  • 4 cups of lukewarm liquid -- water, cooled scaled milk, or half-and- half
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of salt
  • 10-12 cups of sifted flour
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • For the cinnamon buns:
  • 1 whole egg
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • For the "sticky part:"
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup (or a little over) of brown sugar
  • ?? teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup of seedless raisins or currants or a mixture of both
  • A few slivers of preserved citron, too, if you like.
  • Cooking Directions

    For the Bread:

    Get out a big bowl and put in 2 crumbled yeast cakes and 4 cups of lukewarm liquid. This can be water, cooled scaled milk, or half-and- half.

    Stir in 4 tablespoons of melted shortening (lard or butter), 4 tablespoons of sugar, 4 teaspoons of salt and 4 cups of sifted flour.

    Beat this batter hard for 2 minutes. Stir in 4 more cups of sifted flour and then see how little more flour you can add and still have a workable dough. Two cups may do it and you shouldn't need more than 4.

    Dust a breadboard or cloth with flour ??? always sifted please. Dump the dough on the board and dust with ?? cup of flour.

    Let the dough "tighten up" for 15 minutes.

    Start to knead by punching the dough away from you, then pull it towards you and press down. Give it a quarter-turn and repeat the preceding act for 10 minutes or a little longer. Add just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the board, and before you know it, you'll have a stain-smooth elastic mass which believe it or not, is your bread.

    Put into your clean mixing bowl 4 tablespoons of shortening or oil.

    Place dough in the bowl and turn it till every part of the surface is covered with the grease. Then cover the bowl with a damp towel or a napkin and leave it in a warm spot for 4 hours. It should double its size or a little more.

    When your dough has doubled in size, attack it right in its bowl. Pretend it's your worst enemy and give it a great punch right in the solar plexus to deflate its ego ... Remove it from the bowl to the floured breadboard and cut into quarters. There, madam, are four loaves of bread. Let them stand for a few minutes for another teightening. Shape them up and they are ready for the pans.

    Grease 4 pans 5 x 10 inches (glass or metal) and then place a loaf in each pan.

    Grease the top of each loaf and then put the pans back in the same warm spot for a t least 2 hours during which time they will more than double their original size. Again, don't worry about them falling for they won't, honestly. And they are better too high than too low.

    Have your oven ready at a good 375 degrees and put in the bread. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for ?? hour longer and here again too much is better than too little.

    When done, loaves don't need any help to get them out on a cake rack or clean towel, then ??? sniff, throw out your chest, and pay yourself on the back ... If you like a crusty loaf, leave the bread to cool uncovered. For a soft outside, tuck a clean towel over the loaves until cool.

    Makes four lovely loaves of bread.

    For the Cinnamon Buns:

    Take just one half the dough for your two loaves or rolls and mix in 1 whole egg, 4 tablespoons sugar and 4 tablespoons melted butter. Then add 1 cup sifted flour. Perhaps less flour will do, or perhaps a little more will be needed. It must bring your dough back to the soft but firm state of the dough in your loaves.

    For the "sticky part:"

    Put in an iron skillet 2 cups granulated sugar and add4 tablespoons butter.

    Stir constantly over a medium fire until you have a thick, light golden syrup and watch it carefully for it burns easily.

    Add slowly 1/2 cups hot water and replace over high heat. Keep stirring till the sugar is dissolved. It should look like pale maple syrup. Pour this into two grease bread pans, dividing it evenly, and start on the buns themselves.

    Roll ?? of the sweet dough into an oblong about ?? inch thick, 7 or 8 inches wide, and 14 to 20 inches long, and spread this with 1 cup (or a little over) of brown sugar and ?? teaspoon cinnamon. Scatter it with 1 cup of seedless raisins or currants or a mixture of both and a few slivers of preserved citron, too, if you like. Then dot the whole liberally with butter. Roll it up like a jelly roll, pressing the far edge into the last fold. Cut the roll into 2-inch pieces and set each piece carefully, a cut side up, in the syrup, about six to eight to a pan, but give them plenty of room. Repeat on your second half of dough.

    Let the buns rise 2 hours or until light and bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 or 25 minutes until the buns are brown on top and the rich syrup has oozed delightfully up over their sides. Turn them upside down on a dish as soon as they are done, and spoon any extra syrup over the top.

    Let them cool as long as you can keep from sampling one, with a glass of milk or cup of coffee (or until the family sniffs the delicious odor and descends upon them).

    Reprinted with permission from "At Home on the Range," by Margaret Yardley Potter, copyright ?? 2012. Published by McSweeney's Publishing.

    This recipe was styled by chef Karen Pickus for Good Morning America.

    Reprinted with permission from "At Home on the Range," by Margaret Yardley Potter, copyright ?? 2012. Published by McSweeney's Publishing.

    This recipe was styled by chef Karen Pickus for Good Morning America.

    Recipe Summary

    Main Ingredients: butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon, water, egg

    Course: Dessert, Snack


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