The sixth graders at our local middle school are assigned a project called SDL: Self Directed Learning. They choose something they want to learn, find a mentor to help them and create a presentation about the experience. Ben, a neighbor of mine, decided he wanted to learn how to bake. Love that!! I was thrilled when Ben’s dad emailed me to ask if I would be Ben’s baking mentor. What an honor! I’m guessing The Cake Boss wasn’t available.
Ben’s dad, coincidentally, was also my daughter’s 3rd grade math teacher. He worked math magic with her that year and I will be forever grateful. So I was delighted to help a young person learn to bake and to return a little teaching magic. A win win baking situation!
Ben’s directions were to make a recipe twice, so we settled on two variations of the same dough: cinnamon rolls and sticky buns. Now, I decided to get in on the fun and make an “experimental” roll of my own; Banana & Nutella Cinnamon Rolls. My friend Cathy at The Dutch Baker’s Daughter had just made some Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls and they intrigued me. I wondered if you could fill them with Nutella…mmm! Who doesn’t love a little Nutella with your banana?
I started with my trusty Betty Crocker Cinnamon Roll Recipe (Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook, 1996) that I’ve tweaked a little bit over the years. Instead of adding the yeast to the dry ingredients, I proof it first with the warm milk and butter. I also like to use some whole wheat flour in the recipe. In the Banana Nutella Cinnamon Rolls I used a blend of white whole wheat flour and bread flour. Ben used all bread flour in his sticky buns and cinnamon rolls.
Baking with Ben