I Miss the Crisp: Cinnamon Nut Crisps

I've been feeling more confident working with yeasted breads, so I decided to tackle another yeast recipe from my vintage Pillsbury cookbook: "Cinnamon Nut Crisps," the second place winner in the 1953 Bake-Off. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the recipe. There is no photo, and while the cursory headnote says that the pastries will "remind you of Danish crisps," I've never had a Danish crisp either. But with brown sugar, raisins, and nuts rolled up inside an egg- and cream-enriched yeast dough, the recipe looked promising.

To make the dough, you combine eggs, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, and yeast that has been softened in warm water; then you add flour to form a stiff dough. After some brief kneading (I used my Kitchenaid mixer), you let the dough rise until doubled.

After the dough has risen, you roll it out into a rectangle, brush it with melted butter, and sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top. You then make a book fold (bringing in the two long edges of the rectangle into the center, and then folding the dough in half again lengthwise) to form four layers of dough. You roll out the folded dough, brush on melted butter, and sprinkle on chopped nuts (I used almonds), raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Then you roll up the dough like a jelly roll and cut it into one-inch slices. You place each slice on a surface sprinkled with sugar, flatten it with a rolling pin to one quarter-inch thick, place it on a pan with the sugared side up, and let the pastries rise for another 15 minutes before baking.

The pastries got quite puffy in the 15 minutes before baking, and they were no longer flattened out by the time they went in the oven. And of course they rose even more during baking. In the end, I thought they looked like small naked cinnamon rolls (I say they looked naked because they were quite plain: no egg wash, no glaze, and no frosting).

When I said that I didn't know what to expect from this recipe, that wasn't entirely correct -- from the name of the recipe, I expected these to be crisp. But they weren't crisp at all. They tasted pretty good, though. The pastries were not overly sweet, and I enjoyed all of the goodies rolled up inside. I do think that they could have used a little more cinnamon, and in retrospect I wish that I had left the almonds more coarse to add some additional texture.

Like the Ring-A-Lings recipe I recently made, I didn't think the dough was all that memorable. It was slightly dry, and I was disappointed that it was not more rich and flavorful, especially given the fact that it included both eggs and cream. I'm not sure if my pastries turned out the way they were supposed to, or if I just screwed up the recipe. Either way, I was satisfied with the way these turned out, but I won't be making them again.

Recipe: "Cinnamon Nut Crisps" by Mrs. Joseph Terrill of Burlingame, Kansas, Second Prize Winner in the 1953 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Recipe available in Pillsbury's Best 1000 Recipes: Best of the Bake-Off Collection.

Previous Post: "You Can Ring My Bell: Ring-A-Lings," November 3, 2013.


Louise said…
Here's what I know as Danish Crisps - http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/breakfast-danish-crisps They are pretty similar to what I know as Elephant Ears. Very flaky things.