There’s this quote I’ve always liked, “Today’s safe boundaries were yesterday’s unknown frontiers.” I don’t know who said it. I just know that from where I sit today, married, living in Nashville, self-employed and blogging (five years Sunday!), I know it’s true.

einkorn cinnamon buns

Tim and I bought a house yesterday. Or rather, Tim and I made a deal to buy a house yesterday. We spent some time in the nicely landscaped courtyard of an office building signing documents and handing over earnest money, so it certainly feels like we bought a house yesterday, but actually the closing won’t occur for another chunk of weeks. I was driving around Wednesday night, the night before we found out the sellers took our bid, and thinking about the last several months of being a house hunter. Since late May, we’ve seen houses that leaned, houses with fleas, houses that sold the day they posted, houses that sold for more than their asking prices, houses older than both of us combined. At one foreclosure, a sad older man sat in his sofa while we walked through his living room and into the kitchen where boxed brownies had just been baked, and we stood in his sloping basement where the ceiling was caving in, shaking our heads. At a cheerful, yellow turn-of-the-century house a block away from our current one, we fell in love with features like high ceilings and broad porches—but there were too many damages for the house to be insured and thus financed, so we had to let it go. We’ve made offers. We’ve made plans. We’ve seen how little we control.

einkorn cinnamon buns

I was also thinking about the last decade or so of my life, from being in college wondering about the future to being self-employed in Nashville now, about to buy a house. When I finished college, all I wanted was to be a writer, and that felt impossible. I remember the day I got into a graduate writing program, me with my unaccredited education degree, and I told my Dad, and his eyes lit up, and I’m pretty sure I cried. Then, two years later, in the final days of my master’s program, I obsessively applied for jobs, tracking them in a color-coded spreadsheet, and I told my friend Michele I didn’t think I’d ever find one. Then, the week before school finished, I got a dream job offer paying double what I’d made before, and I started the Monday after I got my degree. When I met Tim, he lived in Nashville, and I lived in Chicago, and the idea of bringing the two together seemed an idea too big to hope for. When we wanted to get engaged, we had no money, not even for a ring. I cried in Tim’s kitchen when we apartment-hunted. We’ll never find anything, I said to him. What will we do?

einkorn cinnamon buns dough

The truth is, I’ve been a little nervous about every unknown path I’ve ever stepped onto, and Providence has pushed me down a lot of unknown paths. When I started blogging, when I became self-employed, when I met up with strangers, it was always with a little bit of a lump in my throat and a deep breath for courage.

einkorn cinnamon buns

But there’s a benefit of looking back that doesn’t come from looking forward, and I’ve lived long enough to know that, even on a day like today. So while we step forward into the New of house buying, I’m finding myself glancing back at the old News that once made me so afraid. Tim told me last night about a friend’s Instagram of him and his daughter, riding a night train through D.C. “This is so fun!” the daughter was saying, amidst an environment that would be terrifying on her own. Everything looks different when you’re in the arms of your father. That’s how I feel today.

einkorn cinnamon buns

For a person who usually craves control, there’s a beauty in knowing you don’t have it, in thrusting yourself onto Someone who does. Likewise, there’s a beauty in being surprised by life as it unfolds, in letting your mistakes and stumblings be worked into a tapestry of something good. It’s true of Big Things like houses. It’s true of everyday things like cinnamon buns.

einkorn cinnamon buns

These sweet little einkorn buns were pure accident. I’d proofed an extra bowl of yeast on the counter, and Tim said, Let’s make something with einkorn with it, and la dee da, here you go. You don’t have to use einkorn in this recipe; you could try spelt or all-purpose flour, but note that the results will vary slightly if you do. With soft einkorn, the dough is tinted yellow, and the buns are sweet little pillows ensconced in butter and a cinnamon-sugar mix.

einkorn cinnamon buns

We’ve made them twice, and I can’t stop eating them every time we do.





Cinnamon Treats
Makes 20 to 30 buns, depending on how large you roll them

Full disclosure, the second time we made these, I skipped step 7, and those are the results pictured in this post. When you let the buns rise that extra 30 to 45 minutes, they will get a little bigger and fluffier, and the tops will look more cracked, as the dough expands beneath the cinnamon layer. But if you’re pressed for time at all, feel free to skip the step—they’re still addictively good. Tim also says they’d be good with icing, if you want to take them over the top.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons honey
2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast (one package)
A few dashes of ginger powder
2 1/4 cups einkorn flour, plus up to another 1/2 cup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yogurt
2 tablespoons melted ghee (or butter)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons coconut sugar

Directions:

  1. Mix together warm water and honey. Sprinkle yeast on top and stir together. Let sit until frothy and/or bubbly, about five to ten minutes. Add a few dashes of ginger powder; add salt and yogurt; add 2 ¼ cups of einkorn flour, ½ cup (and then 1/4 cup) at a time, mixing dough together with a spoon and then your clean hands.  Let it rise 1 hour.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400F.
  3. Add up to another ½ cup of flour, until dough is workable and no longer sticky.
  4. Melt two tablespoons of ghee or butter.
  5. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
  6. Form dough into small balls. Brush with or roll in melted ghee, and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  7. Let rise for another 30 to 45 minutes.
  8. Bake dough for 10 minutes, until puffy and slightly golden.
Cooksnaps
Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. Lindsay | The Next Course

    So happy for you as you begin this new adventure!! From someone who also likes to be “in control,” so much of what you say here resonates with me. I am trying to reflect daily on all the things I never planned to happen that I now couldn’t imagine living without–proof that Someone knows more than I do, and a reminder to trust in Him.

  2. Nicole

    I loved reading this Shanna! Your thoughts on new things and old new things is something special. And those cinnamon buns, yum! Congrats on the new house! I was scared when we bought our home, too. So much money, so much paperwork! You’ll settle in just fine in no time at all, though :)

  3. Kathryn

    I, for one, am thankful of all the unknown paths that you’ve taken because it means you’ve ended up here. Here’s to the next five years of blogging and all the new frontiers. Congratulations again on the house too, house hunting can be so demoralising but when you find your new home, it’s a pretty great feeling.

  4. Kendra

    This is beyond exciting. For real. Can’t wait to eat dinner in your new dining room one day.

    Next question. What’s the next day quality of these buns? Room temp, I’m guessing? Are they still the same texture the day after baking? If they last that long? :)

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Great question about the next-day quality. Tim and I both think they’re best out of the oven. They’re good the next day, but they would probably benefit from a quick toast in the oven to re-crisp for best results. Yes, room temp. And yes, you are guessing right, though, that both times we finished them in three days. Between the two of us. It might have even been two days.

      PS I would love to hear your detailed thoughts if you make them. You are my favorite recipe tester because you are so thorough! I am learning from you!

  5. Kim

    I haven’t been around much lately, with life and Google Reader going away, and life. But here I am today, and I’m so glad I’m in time to hear the exciting news! Congratulations! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for smooth sailing through the close. I’ve missed reading your gorgeous writing, and I will have to remember to check back in (or get in the habit of using a new RSS Reader).

    And those look absolutely devine.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Kim! Hi, old friend! I’ve been thinking about you often lately because of our mutual Oakland-moved-to-Nashville pal, and I love hearing from you in this post. Maybe you should take a little trip to see your friends in Tennessee next year, and you can come see the place for yourself!

  6. Jess

    Life’s so funny that way, isn’t it? I look back and realize that some of the times when I was so worried about the future, about what might happen, about things out of my control – those where the times when I needed to trust that He had a plan, and just sit back and enjoy the ride. Can’t wait to hear about the new house adventure! What a wonderful, exciting change!

  7. sarah kate branine

    What a wonderfully huge week in your lives! So many congratulations to you two! I’m so thrilled for you and I will look forward to seeing house photos soon : ) You’re going to have to throw us an Instagram every once in a while. You know, like a carrot on a stick, until we can see the whole thing : )

  8. sarah kate branine

    Okay. I got so excited about congratulating you that I missed this:
    I feel exactly the same way about so many things in life. I remember thinking I would never be able to go to college. The place was too big and there were too many people. Then I remember thinking that I would never be able to go through graduate school. Next, I thought marriage was too entirely scary, especially that first night. Ahem. And finally, I remember thinking I could never go through child birth. Maybe that last one was God’s way of preparing me for c-sections and being completely at rest with His plan in that. I’ve never struggled that my babies were c-sections. And that’s good. Because when your mid-wife leans over you after your water has been broken (on its own, by the way!) for 14 hours and your body has done nothing except to take residence at 2cm!, and tells you, “sweetheart if you lived 100 years ago, you would’ve never lived to see your babies”, you know with complete certainty that any amount of control over your life that you thought you had is completely gone. And that’s good.

    I’m incredibly thankful for these faith lessons. How God comforts and strengthens my soul through each circumstance. Now, to make those yummies! : )

  9. Julie

    Have been through the house hunting, waiting, wanting, lack of any control feeling on the edge and at the mercy process. It’s all worth it when you finally get to that property. I remember though that there were so many mouse droppings, (the house had been empty for quite some time). I said to my husband, “I want to go home.” To this he replied, :”you are home”.

    This is another recipe I’m going to try. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Amy

    Congratulations to both of you! How wonderful to have a space all your own, a place on this earth that belongs to you, a haven and a heaven on the days you need it most.
    My darling and I have only been together for eight months but we are already dreaming of our own space on this earth where our love and relationship and knowing of each other can grow into what it should become.
    Congratulations again, and welcome home.

  11. Erin

    Congrats on the house! House buying can be so frustrating…and it feels so good when you finally close and know it’s done.
    And I love this post so much. It’s amazing where life can take us and how things happen that we would never imagine. Two years ago I was living in Texas wanting to come back to Alabama so badly, and crying often because I didn’t think it would ever happen. And here I am, sitting in my house in Alabama. It still amazes me.

  12. Michele

    Congrats Shanna!! So happy for you. Cant wait to see your new home! I knew back then that you’d find a job as well as all the desires of your heart. Can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.

  13. Pingback: RUSTIC Red Fruit Einkorn Hand Pies | Food Loves Writing

  14. Joanna

    Congratulations on the house! I can’t wait to hear more about it and how you and Tim make it a home full of love and hospitality. I’ll also start daydreaming about sitting around your kitchen table with a plate of these between us.

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