Motivating creativity: Baking is good for the imagination
Every week I’m going to post about something I like to do when I’m contemplating how best to write a scene. Baking is one of them.
This week I’ll share one of my favorite: Cinnamon rolls. I’ve been doing them since high school and still love how perfect they come out.
Sometimes when I’m writing a particularly good scene, I lose myself in the story so completely; the world around me fades away. It’s a wondrous thing, to lose oneself in the make-believe.
Sometimes, those scenes come naturally to me, a slideshow of ideas that keep pouring in while I try to keep up.
Sometimes, those ideas contrast with each other, and I have to choose one.
Here, I stall.
What should I do when both ideas are good enough but completely different?
I follow the thread down the line. I think about the next scene, and how the follow up will eventually meet the ending of the book. I imagine both alternatives and play it in my head – dialogues and all – and choose the best one. Sometimes it’s a long process, and sitting on the couch distantly watching space while I figure it out scares the kids away.
So I bake.
Today I’m going to share that recipe with you.
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- Two tbsp dry yeast
- 1 ¼ cup warm milk
- 1/3 cup softened butter
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (I also add 1 tbsp coconut extract)
- 1 egg
2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp butter
- In a small bowl mix together 2 cups of flour, salt and the yeast. In another one mix warm milk, 4 tbsp sugar, 1/3 cup softened butter and brown sugar until all sugar is dissolved (if necessary, heat it some, but don’t let it get hot). Add vanilla – coconut – extract to the milk.
- Add milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix well, then add egg and mix again. Start adding the remaining flour little by little. Dough will be a little sticky, but easily removable from fingers. If not, you may add one or two tbsp of flour, but no more than.
- Cover dough and let it rise for an hour and a half. Take half of the dough and roll it open on a floured surface. About half an inch thick.
- Mix two cups of granulated sugar with 1tbsp cinnamon and 1 ½ tbsp of softened butter in a small bowl.
- Brush the dough with butter and use half the sugar/cinnamon mixture and spread it evenly atop the surface.
- Roll the dough close then pinch the ends to hold. With a floured knife, start cutting the roll – about an inch apart. Place the pieces on baking sheets and let it rise for another hour.
Do the same to the other half of the dough.
- Preheat oven to 350 f and bake for 12 minutes or until bottom is golden.
Let it cool and enjoy!
Ps: Sometimes while I’m waiting for the dough to rise – either case – I take the time to outline the best scenario so I won’t forget.
Jina S. Bazzar