Thank you for all of the living- and dining-room love! I updated Monday's post with some source information in response to the questions that came in, so check back there for answers. Our downstairs bathroom is pretty much finished, and our hallways have new paint, too, so I'll have more house photos soon.
I have been so very much enjoying the quiet of the house these past two weeks. I guess I am someone who really likes it quiet when I am home alone. It seems to make the day go slower, somehow. I especially like it quiet when I'm baking. I like to hear the sound of the dog snoring, the traffic outside, the baking things clattering. I thought about this lately because we have a new oven and it is bizarrely loud. It is electric, convection. When it is on, I can actually hear it from all the way across the house, in the living room. I read in the instruction book that this is normal; I think it is the convection fan whirring. I guess that is a sound of baking, too, now.
Whatever it is, it baked these cinny buns perfectly. These are the Bakery Cinnamon Rolls from The Grand Central Baking Book: Breakfast Pastries, Cookies, Pies, and Satisfying Savories from the Pacific Northwest's Celebrated Bakery. I love this book. I have made the Irish soda bread, the blueberry muffins (many times), and now the cinnamon rolls, and every single thing came out well. This is all totally because this is a good book, and not because I am a good baker because I really am not. I try hard, and I have one cake and one pie that always work, but I would say other than that I'm about 50% (bewildered) sweets-fail. Not always documented, but sometimes (those cracked me up. I forgot about those). But this book, and maybe the new oven (maybe the old one had even more problems than I thought?), is giving me more confidence. Possibly even already a fat head, as I told Melissa, a cinny bun–making veteran who advised me on the cinny process (and oh my stars did she ever just make the most gorgeous and special quilt in the world). Because these cinny buns tasted very much like the bakery version and I was amazed. (They even have whole-wheat flour and eight-grain cereal in them, which in your mind can help offset the absolutely sin-ny twelve tablespoons of butter and the crazy amount of brown sugar.) I do aspire to be a better baker. Watch out, friends and neighbors, potential recipients. For my next trick, I have mini-loaf pans here on the counter and they are trying to tell me I can do this thing. We'll see.