Ooey Gooey Sticky Cinnamon Rolls and Warmed Poached Winter Fruit

I’ve made these cinnamon rolls for nearly twenty years, first for Easter, and in more recent times, as part of our Christmas brunch. These are sinful. They are so simple and rival any you’d find in a bakery – or from your grandmother’s oven. They melt in your mouth. Sweet, with a distinct cinnamon flavor, soft, but not doughy. Gooey and sticky. And your house smells so homey. Just the way cinnamon rolls should be. And they can be prepared a day ahead and baked just before serving.

I also made poached fruit for brunch that reminded me of childhood. My grandparents had a quince tree, and I loved the jelly my grandmother made.  If you have never tasted quince, it’s flavor is between an apple – but more spicy and robust than an apple –  a pear, cherries, with a hint of cloves. As far as I know, quinces are not eaten raw because they are very hard and quite sour, but mellow nicely when cooked and pair well with apples and pears. The original recipe from Cooking Light had this as a dessert, but it works perfectly for breakfast.

Sticky Cinnamon Rolls
Makes about 15

1 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 envelope rapid-rise yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup warm water (125°F. to 130°F.)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 egg

1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 stick + 1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

Using electric mixer fitted with dough hook or paddle, mix first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Add water, butter and egg and mix until smooth dough forms, about 4 minutes. Transfer dough to greased bowl. Cover with plastic and clean towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.

Butter 9x13-inch baking dish. Bring 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter to boil in heavy small saucepan. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup walnuts. Pour into prepared dish. Punch dough down. Roll out on lightly floured surface to 15x9-inch rectangle. Spread dough evenly with remaining 1/3 cup butter. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup walnuts and raisins. Roll up jelly roll style, starting at one long side. Slice dough into 1-inch-thick rounds.

Arrange dough slices cut side down in prepared dish, spacing evenly. Cover with plastic. Let rise in warm draft-free area until doubled, about 45 minutes. Yesterday I forgot I had them in the oven (turned off!) and they rose for likely two hours!

At this point, these can be refrigerated and baked the next morning. Bring to room temperature before baking. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake rolls until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Turn out onto platter. Cool slightly. Serve warm.

Spiced Winter Fruit
Serves 8

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar – I used white sugar today because I was out of brown
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
2 quinces, each cut into bite-size wedges (about 3/4 pound)
3 cups sliced peeled Bartlett or Anjou pear (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 1/2 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apple (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cinnamon sticks (optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add quinces; cover and cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sugar mixture, pear, and apple; cover and cook 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in pepper; garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired

This dish will hold up for up to 3 days if refrigerated in an airtight container. To serve, reheat over low heat.

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