It’s 7:28 on a morning that is shrilly cold. You’re standing at a subway station, not sure why you’re doing this. You’ve only been here four minutes and your butt, already, is frozen.
OK you know why. You need to get out of the city. Your life, lately, is measured out in coffee spoons and lecture halls. It’s ages since you’ve seen a horizon, or even a stand of trees.
A car pulls up, it’s the trip leader, The Scrabble Player, who also happens to be your friend. Her face is open with a wide adventurous smile. There are two of you, cadging a ride with her, and she is plainly gleeful that you are there.
And soon you arrive, in a crude sort of lodge, people gathering from different directions, you wonder what the hell you will talk about with them.
But The Scrabble Player has brought homemade Trail Mix Cinnamon Buns, a huge tupperware container of them, and that sets the tone. She always brings food, even if she’s meeting you in a bar, she’s insanely hospitable that way.
And then you are outside, in the white curved landscape, your feet are attached to two long skinny boards and at first it feels like you are in some weird arduous dream and wearing strange cumbersome slippers and then a rhythm fills you, and you are fully awake, and you are sliding and even gliding and one of the men you are skiiing with describes it as dancing in the snow.
Trail Mix Cinnamon Buns
* 1 teaspoon white sugar
* 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
* 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/4 cup white sugar
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup butter
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 cup trail mix, divided
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 cup melted butter
1. In a small bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter and salt; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.
2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk mixture, eggs and 1 1/2 cup flour; stir well to combine. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
4. While dough is rising, melt 3/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 3/4 cup brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Pour into greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Sprinkle bottom of pan with 1/2 cup trail mix; set aside. Melt remaining butter; set aside. Combine remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 trail mix, and cinnamon; set aside.
5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, roll into an 18×14 inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter, leaving 1/2 inch border uncovered; sprinkle with brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Starting at long side, tightly roll up, pinching seam to seal. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. With serrated knife, cut into 15 pieces; place cut side down, in prepared pan. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in volume. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
6. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes, then invert onto serving platter. Scrape remaining filling from the pan onto the rolls.