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Cooking Through Fiction: Leilah's Oversize Cinnamon Roll

What if the one person who broke your childhood heart is the one who can put it back together? What if one bite of the local diner’s cinnamon rolls could sweep you right back to when you were eight, running through the backyard barefoot and dreaming?

Return to Mystic Water and see how the two adventurous kids from Full Moon June have changed. In Wednesday’s Child, Leilah Hamilton, now a small-town nurse, magically brings peace and comfort to the suffering. Adam Durant, Leilah’s childhood best friend, moves back to Mystic Water and back into Leilah’s life, whether she wants him to or not. Can these two find healing for themselves? Who knows?

What we do know is that the local diner Scrambled’s cinnamon rolls are oversize, fresh from the oven, and ooey gooey just like you want! The large size is made for two or three, but don’t worry. You don’t have to share if you need to lose yourself in the sweet cinnamon comfort.

One of Leilah’s best memories is going to Scrambled for brunch on Sundays with her family. Her mama loved their cinnamon rolls the best. So take it easy, grab a fork, and enjoy this delicious treat while you wrap yourself up in the warmest memories and read a copy of Wednesday’s Child.

Leilah’s Oversize Cinnamon Roll

Serves: One 12-inch skillet cinnamon roll Level of Difficulty: Patience is required and a working knowledge of how not to kill your yeast (these rolls needs to rise!) Prep Time: 2 hours; Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients Dough 1 cup whole milk 1/2 cup sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast 1 teaspoon sugar 1 cup warm water (90-110°F) 2 eggs, room temperature 6 cups all purpose flour, sifted 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted Filling 1/2 cup butter melted 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup moscovado sugar (or dark brown sugar) and 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon mixed together Glaze 4 oz. cream cheese, slightly melted4 tablespoons butter, melted 2 cups confectioners' sugar 2-4 tablespoons hot milk 2 teaspoons orange extract Zest of one-half organic orange

How to Make

  1. For the dough, heat milk, 1/2 cup sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar melts and a few small bubbles appear at the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare the other elements.

  2. Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in very warm water (90°F to 110°F) in the bowl of a standing mixer (or a large bowl if you don't have a stand mixer). Stir with the paddle attachment (or wooden spoon) until well blended. Let stand 10 minutes.

  3. Beat eggs into yeast mixture. Stir in cooled milk mixture (it should be lukewarm), switch to the dough hook then add in flour a little at a time until dough is elastic. Add melted butter and mix, then add in more flour until dough is elastic and pulls away from the sides of the mixer. Note: you may not have to use all the flour. Do not add so much flour that the dough does not stick to your hands. Set a timer and knead with the dough hook (or knead with hands on a floured surface) for 5 minutes.

  4. Place dough in a buttered bowl and turn it over to coat the entire surface. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place 1 hour or until doubled (mine took a little longer than an hour to double).

  5. Punch down dough and turnout onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times and cut into two pieces. Roll out each piece to 12x9-inch rectangles.

  6. For the filling, brush the rolled dough pieces with the melted butter. Sprinkle each with half the cinnamon sugar mixture.

  7. Cut each dough piece into 5 even strips lengthwise. Roll one strip up as if you were making a regular cinnamon roll. When you get to the end, use another strip and continue rolling. When the dough spiral reaches about 6-inches in diameter, (3-4 strips-worth of spiraling) place it in the center of a lightly greased 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Continue spiraling dough strips around the middle. This is a messy job, but just embrace the mess. It'll be well worth it.

  8. When all the dough has been used, cover and let rise about 45 minutes or until doubled.

  9. Preheat oven to 400°. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until golden. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn't over-bake!

  10. Whisk together glaze ingredients, adding additional milk as needed. Glaze pastry in the pan while it is still hot. Add additional orange zest if desired. Slice into pieces and serve while still warm.

Wednesday's Child is now available in paperback and ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and other major retailers!

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