Some time ago a friend of mine sent me some information on a baking contest. The grand prize was an insane amount of money, I can’t remember how much. Maybe $5,000. It was one of those where you had to use the sponsor’s product in your recipe.

I had an idea for recipe that would be a variation on cinnamon rolls and involve almond paste.

Like many of my brilliant cooking project ideas, I never got around to making it and this stupid box of almond paste has been staring at me ever since.

This is one of my current on-going missions: I’m trying to clear out my cupboards of the random stuff that gets shoved to the back that you never end up using. Like when you buy a weird vinegar for a particular recipe or you know how you sometimes get a gift basket and it has a jar of kiwi-cumin spread? And every time you open your cupboard you see this jar of kiwi-cumin spread and you feel personally responsible to Aunt Phyllis who so thoughtfully sent you that basket that you can’t get rid of it?

I’m trying to figure out how to use all those things.

I thought I’d throw together some cinnamon rolls this weekend. The dough (which I think of as d’oh!) didn’t look too impressive on the first rise and I was sort-of concerned this was going to be another disaster. Also, I’m not so good at volume estimates. They always say “until roughly doubled in volume.” Whatever genes or brain matter you need to figure that out, I am woefully lacking.

See those droplets on photo #2? I’m just a hair this side of sane when it comes to kitchen cleanliness and I wash my hands a lot, like if run in the laundry room to transfer clothes to the dryer when I get back to the kitchen I wash again. That’s my dripping hands over the d’oh! reaching for a paper towel.

Look how nicely the second rise went except you can see where they want to unroll. There was this I Love Lucy cakes on a conveyor belt moment when I couldn’t get the dang thing to roll up right and I was rolling and unrolling and trying to tighten up the roll like a sleeping bag.

After I started making them I realized that almond paste is among the bottom 10 flavors Bob likes to enjoy and he would be really sad if came home to a wonderful tray of cinnamon rolls and then had blucky almond paste flavor.

So I left it out and now that stupid box is back in the cupboard.

I didn’t remember to take a photo of the final baked product until after we’d eaten half of them. The photo is still in the camera. They were really delicious as they should be since they had over a half stick of butter and a cup of half-n-half in them. I have the last one left for after lunch.

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