A Halloween Tradition


Cinnamon Rolls.

My husband's family has been eating chili and cinnamon rolls on Halloween for decades. They are originally from Washington which means that Halloween evenings were cold. Roy's grandmother wanted to make something warm for her kids before and after they went trick-or-treating, and one year she thought of chili and cinnamon rolls. The combo has lived on ever since. When I married into the family I jumped on the chili-cinnamon roll bandwagon. I like to make a double batch of each and invite friends to come over for a bowl and a roll and to pass out candy. It's a fun tradition, and the recipes that follow are nice to make on any cold evening (or the cinnamon rolls for breakfast for that matter). Both are adapted from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

Turkey Chili

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 white or yellow onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
2 pounds ground turkey
1 28 oz can tomato puree
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Garnishes (optional)
Diced avocado
Minced red onion
Shredded cheese
Sour cream

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, bell pepper, chipotle chiles, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the turkey and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until no longer pink, about 10 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spoon. Stir in the tomato puree, diced tomatoes with their juice, beans, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another 45 minutes until the chili has thickened. Season with additional salt if necessary.

Serve with optional garnishes.

Serves 6-8.

Cinnamon Rolls 

Sweet Dough
3/4 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to warm
3 large eggs
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 envelope rapid-rise yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Vegetable oil

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch salt
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter 

3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place buttermilk in microwave safe cup and microwave until it reaches 110 degrees on an instant read thermometer. (I did this by doing 20 second intervals and stirring after each interval. It took about 40 seconds total). Crack the eggs into a large liquid measuring cup and whisk briefly. Whisk in buttermilk and butter.

Place flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in mixing bowl fitted with hook attachment. Mix briefly to disperse the ingredients. With the mixer on low speed add the buttermilk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.

Increase the mixer to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (After 5 minutes check the dough. It should stick to the bottom of the bowl but clear the sides. If it is sticking to the sides add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it clears the sides).

Turn the dough onto a clean counter or cutting board and knead for 1 minute (press the dough away from you with your palms, then fold back toward you, then rotate 90 degrees, and repeat). Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly oiled with vegetable oil. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place dough in warm area and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press into a 12 x 16 inch rectangle.  Brush the dough with butter. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture leaving a 3/4 inch boarder on the top. Press on the filing to adhere it to the dough.

Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed. Roll the cylinder over so it is seam side down. Gently stretch it to 18 inches in length. Cut into 12 evenly sized rolls. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray and arrange the rolls cut side down in the pan. (At this point you can place the rolls in the refrigerator for up to 16 hours, and then proceed with the rising).  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size and pressed against each other, about 1 hour.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake until the rolls are golden and puffed, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile sift the powdered sugar into a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk the mascarpone cheese, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth. Add to the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the cinnamon buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 rolls.

Notes: You can substitute regular oregano for the Mexican oregano. Also, I use mascarpone cheese for the cinnamon rolls because I like it better than cream cheese, but cream cheese will work just fine if that's what you like or have on hand. Also, the cinnamon rolls are best the day they are baked, but can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for one day. 

1 comment:

  1. A fun tradition and SO yummy to take part in! =D