Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Apple cinnamon coffee cake

It's November. The day is new, the kitchen is cool and morning-lit, and there's a 15-inch roll of sweet dough spiraled around an apple marinade of brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, walnuts, and lemon juice, risen and ready for the oven.

And I'm sick.

I have a nose stuffed to capacity with who knows what (I guess I know what) and a cough that won't quit. But what am I to do? 
The coffee cake is waiting.

I brush some melted butter over the dough and make up a small bowl of sugar and cinnamon. My intention is to recreate the crust of my beloved cinnamon rolls that owe their glory to those three ingredients. I lift the bowl to my nose to see if I added enough cinnamon, and that's when I realize my handicap. I can't smell a thing.

I look at the apple-cinnamon-sugar-nut parcel that's about to be treated with the baker's trinity and sent to tenderize and bubble and caramelize in a 350 degree oven, after which it will cool off and get sliced and I'll have nothing to do but get lost in the turns of bread and filling because  I can't taste a thing.

I snap out of my sickly torment. What can be done?
The coffee cake is waiting.

Into the oven it goes. See you in thirty minutes.

But not two minutes go by and it takes me by surprise. Melting cinnamon and sugar, ever so briefly. In my nose! A second later, it's gone. It returns in fleeting waves, penetrating the unwelcome monster in my nasal cavity and greeting my olfactory receptors like an old friend. So nice to see you again.

Thirty minutes later it's out of the oven, and the cinnamon sugar runs rampant. I don't mind. Run along, I say.

It runs across the parchment paper. It runs to the corners of the apartment.

The apple filling is creeping out of the slits in the dough, and the just-from-the-oven warmth will only last so long. I know I won't pick up the more delicate suggestions of my morning treat, but there is nothing more that I can do.

The coffee cake is waiting.