Babushka Delight

As a child, Liz’s father did the bulk of the cooking in their home. Norm Robinson was a creative and resourceful culinary artist, never cooking from a recipe and always applying the creativity required when feeding a family on a meager budget. As a hungry child, when Liz began smelling tasty aromas waft from the kitchen she would consistently ask, “Dad, what’s for dinner?” And much to her chagrin he would he would respond, “Babushka Delight…and then insert a random number.” A variation of Baked Ziti would be called Babushka Delight #14 and Pork Chops and Rice entitled Babushka Delight #982…no rhyme or reason for the numbering system and never a dish or number repeated. Night after night, meal after meal, our table and stomachs were warmed with a series of meals made by a loving father each entitled Babushka Delight. As a child, anxious for dinner, Liz found his predictable answer a bit silly. Now, as an adult, when contemplating the daily questions, what shall we have for dinner?” she hears the trusted words of her father ringing clearly in her mind…”Well, tonight we are having Babushka Delight.”

Burke grew up working inside the delicious walls of a professional kitchen at his families business, Jacob Lake Inn nestled near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. While standing on milk crates Burke joined his parents to help peel potatoes, crack eggs, flip burgers, and sling hash. Through this process Burke developed the confidence of a chef, the speed of a line cook, and the creativity of a working mans Iron Chef.

Growing up in a foodie family has real benefits for a newly married couple. For Burke nothing brings a bigger smile than the potential of a handful of chopped onion, celery, carrot, and garlic sautéing in a few hearty splashes of a fine olive oil…and Liz is more than happy to sample the tasty outcomes.

Together Burke and Liz enjoy nothing more than a fine meal shared with family and friends. In keeping with tradition of both families, Babushka Delight is a collection of their favorite recipes and culinary creations.


The Texas Rich’s

Sunday, January 16, 2011

BREAD: Cinnamon-Swirl Pumpkin Rolls

Cinnamon-Swirl Pumpkin Rolls

These cinnamon-roll lookalikes are made with a golden, pumpkin-scented dough and lots of spice. 

Dough Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin or squash

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup lukewarm water*

1/4 cup soft butter

2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1 3/4 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour

1/4 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, optional

3 tablespoons brown sugar, light or dark

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons instant yeast

*Adjust the amount of water by the time of year or your climate. For summer, or in a humid environment, use the lesser amount of water. In winter, or in a dry climate, use the greater amount. It's always best to start with the lesser amount; you can.

Filling Ingredients:

3/4 cup Baker's Cinnamon Filling*

3 tablespoons water

1/2 cup minced crystallized ginger, raisins, or dried cranberries, optional

*Substitute 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon for the Baker's Cinnamon Filling and water, if desired. If you use sugar and cinnamon, DO NOT ADD THE WATER.

Glaze Ingredients:

1 cup glazing or confectioners' sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 tablespoons milk, or enough to make a "drizzlable" glaze


1. Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients together – by hand, mixer or bread machine – until you’ve made a soft, fairly smooth dough.

2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise for 1 ½ hours, or until almost doubled in size.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface. Roll it into a 14” x 22” rectangle; the dough will be thin.

4. Mix the cinnamon filling and water. Spread a thin layer over the dough, leaving one short edge free for filling.

5. Starting with the short end that’s covered with filling, roll the dough into a log.

6. Spring with crystallized ginger or dried fruit, if desired.

7. Starting with the short end that’s covered with filling, roll the dough into a log.

8. Cut the log into nine 1 ½ inch think rolls.

9. Place the rolls into a lightly greased 9” x 9” plan that is at least 2” deep. Set aside, cover and let rise for 1 hour or until the rolls look puffy.

10. Bake the rolls in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until they are lightly browned and feel set. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. Towards the end of the cooling process, make the glaze.

11. To make the glaze: heat the butter and milk together until the butter melts. Wisk into the sugar.

12. Drizzle the warm rolls with the warm glaze. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.

Yields 9 rolls.


This recipe is DELICOIUS! I have found that you do not need to knead sweet bread dough, which is kind of a bummer, as I really like kneading dough. Anyway. The dough smells great and is pretty springy to touch. As always, it did take much longer for the bread to rise than I had anticipated but that seems to be the case in my kitchen. I thought it was interesting that you are supposed to grease the surface before you roll out the dough instead of using flour. I guess since this is more like a desert and less like fluffy bread. Anyway, I decided to opt out of the raisins and ginger this time but after tasting the final product, I think I will add them in the future. I really like rolling out the dough and add the sweet filling. The only thing about this recipe is that this is a lot of work for only a few rolls. It takes a lot of time to create these rolls and I think next time I make them I will double or triple the recipe so I can have more to share. Anyway, this was a pretty easy and I am feeling really confident in my ability to conquer yeast. Ben and Sue make really yummy orange rolls and I did call him to find out if there was anything I should know before I begin making sweet dough and he just said to watch the amount of flour I add and make sure they have enough time to raise before I bake them. If they don’t raise enough you have hard blobs and never really turn out. This was helpful and the finished product was pretty fluffy. Overall, a success. I think I will recreate this recipe for Thanksgiving and see what kind of reaction they get from family and friends.

Now, that I am feeling more comfortable with the basic process of how yeast works I am really excited to try more recipes. I find myself thinking about what I could add or change to the bread I have made so far and how I could expand or enhance the recipes. I feel like my zone of proximal understanding has increased and I approach each new recipe with more confidence and speed.

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