October 19, 2008

Blueberry cinnamon buns (no knead)

We've been enjoying the fabulous Wisconsin Book Festival where for four days we can attend talks and readings of well-known and emerging writers, all for free. It started last Thursday and I rushed from work to attend a reading and discussion by my friend Susan who has been working on her newly published book for ten years. She was paired with another new writer for an engaging presentation. After that, I hurried to another location to catch a talk by Daniel Levitin, the author of "This is Your Brain on Music" and "The World in Six Songs." Incredible. Friday night we heard several people including Amy Goodman from Democracy Now. She gave an amazing, inspiring talk. She is both calm and forceful at the same time, and her efforts fighting for democracy, truth and fairness are inspiring. On Saturday we continued on the theme of political struggle and listened to three graphic novelists. One of them, Mike Konopacki, had just published a graphic history in collaboration with Howard Zinn. Another, Lynda Barry (the main reason I went to see this group) has a new book, "What It Is."

The New York Times says, “Barry is, underneath the wonky handwriting and the quirky, naïve drawings, a great memoirist . . . Like [Tobias] Wolff and [Dave] Eggers, she finds a tone that accommodates self-criticism and self-irony without tipping over into self-loathing . . . but what she is particularly good at is resonance.” This describes her presentation perfectly.

It's amazing to me how much I recognize and relate to, in what she says. She has a unique way of describing the world that puts pictures into your head as the words enter your mind. The book is so graphically beautiful I just had to have it. And, she's a hoot! If you ever have a chance to hear her in person, take advantage. I can't wait to read the book—so far I've just been mesmerized by the drawings.

This evening there was a workshop and presentation by food writers hosted by a restaurant just a couple of blocks from my house. The emphasis was on ethnic foods only one of the promised food samples was vegan.

Although there are are lots of other book events I'd have liked to attend today, we went instead to the Fall Art Tour. Artists in several rural communities about 60 miles from here opened their studios this weekend. My son is visiting from Seattle and he wanted to go.

Did I mention that today is my birthday? Last Tuesday I arrived home from work to an empty house. My husband "had to go out for a bit to meet someone." I was shocked when he arrived home with Aaron and the news that this was my birthday present. He'd flown Aaron home from Seattle for a week's visit! I took Friday, Monday and Tuesday off from work and have been having a great time.

Now to the cinnamon buns I've been craving for about two weeks, but haven't had time to make. With Aaron here it seemed like good timing to finally get around to it. Over at Ricki's blog, she's been making things with coconut, and we made and enjoyed her veggies, rice and coconut (but with a lot less coconut). Then she posted that very appealing raspberry coffeecake. And I started thinking that I didn't HAVE to use raisins in my cinnamon buns. Why, I could use anything I wanted, even blueberries...and coconut. I'd already worked out the dough recipe in my mind; now all I needed was time between book events to make them. I made them yesterday and I managed to pull them from the oven just in time to go hear Lynda Barry.

I'm embarrassed to admit that because I was so rushed, I actually forgot to add the cinnamon to my filling. To make up for it, I sprinkled the buns liberally with cinnamon before baking. Good grief.

Also, this dough recipe is enough for about 40 buns but I decided to make only 20 buns and a loaf of bread. The filling is for half the recipe (20 buns). If you want to make all 40, either double the filling or fill the other 20 with a filling of your choice. I was planning to use the filling part of this recipe, before I switched to blueberries.

Blueberry cinnamon buns
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup sucanot
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 6 cups white whole wheat flour (or a mix of white whole wheat and unbleached white)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1/4 cup sucanot
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut
  1. Add yeast to 1/4 cup warm water and set aside.
  2. Put sugar, salt, oil and margarine in large bowl. Add 2 cups hot water and stir to dissolve.
  3. Add three cups flour and mix with a spoon.
  4. Add yeast mixture and remaining 3 cups flour. Mix well with your hand until everything is incorporated. Dough will be soft, a little sticky but not wet.
  5. Oil bowl, cover and let dough rise at least 45 minutes. You can leave it up to two hours.
  6. Roll out dough into a rectangle about 16" x 18." Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise.
  7. Mix together the (frozen) blueberries, coconut, sugar and cinnamon and spread the mix on one of the dough halves, keeping the filling at least one inch from the the two long edges.
  8. Roll up the dough in a spiral starting on a long edge. With the seam on the bottom, slice the long roll into one inch pieces and lay them cut side down in a large baking pan. A jelly roll pan works well. They should be about one inch apart.
  9. Sprinkle with cinnamon and additional coconut if desired. Cover and let rise 30 to 45 minutes.
  10. At this point you can fill the second rectangle or form it into a loaf, place it on a baking sheet, cover and let rise.
  11. Bake in a preheated 350˚ oven for 25 minutes for the buns and 40 minutes for the loaf. Or until done.
  12. Cool on a wire rack.


  1. Glad that you liked the veggies w/ coconut and the coffee cake! Those buns look amazing (and the diagrams are just the best!). I wouldn't have worried about the cinnamon--blueberry buns sounds quite good enough just on their own.

    Oh, and Happy Birthday! What a fabulous gift :)

  2. OMG, happy birthday!!!! And what a wonderful birthday surprise!


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