Once upon a time, Sour Cream Twists held a cherished spot in the Sunday breakfast rotation, deemed to be adequately like cinnamon buns to be eaten in their place. My mom and I would bake up a big batch, usually on a Saturday. Several would be tested immediately or later after dinner, a few more saved for breakfast the next morning, and the rest stored in a 4-litre ice cream pail in the freezer for Sundays to come.
We rarely remembered/bothered (?) to defrost them in advance, relying instead on the miraculous invention that is the microwave. I recall there being a formula of sorts for arriving at a perfectly warmed twist with frosting still intact (this 2nd part being the real challenge). Something like:
T = 20 + 3c
T = total microwave time on power level 5 (in seconds)
c = no. of Cinnamon Twists
T ≠ a multiple of 5 (if it does, add 1)
This last rule was to accommodate W.’s aversion to “even” microwave times. I would have written it in mathematical notation, but high school is too far in the past and I have too much pride to ask R. how to do it.
I say avoid all this math and eat them right away.
Almond Frosted Sour Cream Twists
1/2 cup warm water
2 generous tablespoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
Combine these 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside for about 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
1 1/2 cups lukewarm sour cream (I used fromage blanc)
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup soft shortening (I used unsalted butter)
6 cups flour
In a large bowl, cream together the shortening (butter) and sugar. Add the eggs and salt and beat until smooth.
In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda and sour cream.
Add the sour cream mixture to the first bowl and mix. Stir in the dissolved yeast. Gradually add the flour, stirring between additions.
Place the dough in a large, lightly greased large bowl. Cover with a towel and place somewhere warm to rise until approximately double in size.
Turn the proofed dough out onto a floured counter. Roll into a rectangle (about 24″ x 6″). Spread lightly with butter, then sprinkle the bottom half (3″) with brown sugar and cinnamon. Fold the buttered half over the brown sugar and cinnamon half. Seal by pressing the edges together with your fingers. Cut in 1 1/4″ strips.
Holding one end of a strip in each hand, twist ends in opposite directions. Place on greased baking sheet and press twisted ends down slightly to keep them in place.
Cover and let rise again for 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes or until golden.
Moisten icing sugar with cream or milk and a touch of almond flavouring to achieve a spreadable consistency. Spread or drizzle over warm (not hot!) twists.
Notes: I have successfully kept the proofed dough in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge for up to 3 days, baking cinnamon twists on demand for maximum freshness.
Source: Aunty Elaine of (near) Tofield, Alberta, a gracious host and a firm believer of the pregnant pause between dinner and dessert when entertaining.
* To quote a contestant from a previous season of the most entertaining show on modern TV (that would be America’s Next Top Model). The expression involves head bobbing and finger snapping, left to right in a downward Z, and I really can’t even begin to do it justice in print. The take-away: “Don’t be confused” or “Make no mistake”.