People can go a little overboard with the “Once you make X, you’ll never want to buy it from stores again!” guarantee. Because no matter how delicious that bread I baked was, I can promise you that I’m still going to buy sliced bread for my sandwiches. The same goes for many things, especially anything involving a large vat of oil, like donuts.
But it is true of some things, at least for me. For most of my life, the only cinnamon rolls I had came from a Pillsbury tube, or from a Cinnabon store at the mall. And I was content with those. But then one day, in the summer of 2009, my friend Kate and I had some leftover yeast after making pizza dough and we used it to make cinnamon rolls from scratch–and nothing was ever the same. Homemade cinnamon rolls have ruined me, to the extent that I have no interest in the Pillsbury or storebought ones, even if presented to me on a platter (which is really quite rude of me, to reject something I’ve been offered. I told you they ruined me).
The bun is just so soft–not flaky like the Pillsbury ones, but soft in the way that freshly baked bread is meant to be. The bottoms are slightly chewy after absorbing the brown sugar-cinnamon-butter mixture that melts to the bottom of the pan as the rolls bake. And the cream cheese frosting has an actual cream cheese-y tang to it because it hasn’t been smothered with too much sugar. Once I tried that combination of deliciousness, there was no going back.
I was fifteen when my best friend, Kate, told me about this ice cream. She was telling me about having dinner at her then-boyfriend’s house the night before. She glossed over the evening itself and skipped straight to the dessert, which, really, is the most important part of any story. The dessert, she said, was strawberry cheesecake ice cream, with chunks of cheesecake in it. This was a new concept to me and I knew I needed this ice cream in my life immediately. That’s when she told me it was Safeway brand, so the Vons down the street would have it.
Because my parents weren’t home, my only option was my older brother. I knocked on his door, poked my head in, and asked if he would drive me to Vons for strawberry cheesecake ice cream. I gave an attempt at a winning smile.
It did not work.
I dwelled on the ice cream for a few minutes before deciding I had no choice but to walk the mile to Vons myself. So I set off on the journey to Vons, breaking into a run halfway there because cheesecake chunks. In ice cream.
I first encountered this biscuit recipe in the fall of 2009. It was my sophomore year of college and after a year of living in the dorms, I finally had a kitchen. It wasn’t mine, as I did still technically live in the dorms, but I now had a boyfriend who had an apartment, which meant… I had access to a kitchen. And I had a lot of baking to catch up on.
So one Friday evening found me browsing allrecipes.com for biscuit recipes. I wrote down one that looked alright (read: uncomplicated) on a tiny pink Post-It and set about baking. The first bite I took of those biscuits was nothing short of magical. Before this, the only biscuits I had baked were from a scone recipe from one of my mother’s Australian cookbooks. It required three tablespoons of butter.
This recipe required eight.
The biscuits it produced were soft, buttery, and perfect. Due to the four teaspoons of baking powder, they baked tall, and they had a natural split line in the middle, giving them the ability to split perfectly in two, no knife necessary.
And so I remained loyal to this recipe. Occasionally I tried others–biscuits made with melted butter, with cream, with buttermilk–but nothing was quite so buttery and fluffy as this recipe. I’d return to that tiny pink Post-It every time… as evidenced by the way it’s aged over the years in comparison to my other recipe Post-Its.