Chimney CakesBewitched by an odd, fun recipe, I’ve tackled a baking stunt that involved instant yeast and paper-towel tubes. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have attempted the “Chimney Cakes,” from Korena In The Kitchen, if her post didn’t include all those helpful photos.

First things first: what is instant yeast? Thus far, throughout my pathetic baking history, I’ve used “active dry yeast,” which is the grainy powder that you activate in a bit of warm water before adding to your dough mixture. The “instant” stuff, it turns out, is milled finer than the other dry yeast, so it need not be dissolved first -- just add it dry with the flour and sugar and salt in the mixer. It works the same way and is just as fascinating, with its malty, fermented, yeasty scent.

Here’s another bit of fun: I got to use the dough hook on my stand mixer. What a thrill! For five minutes it twirled and kneaded, until I had a lump of smooth dough. I did indeed place my lovely pillow of dough into the fridge overnight, after rising for a bit on my counter top.

The next day, I rolled my six dough balls, flattened them, cut each with my paring knife into a spiral strip (again, look at Korena’s photos), and wound each around my buttered tubes. The aluminum foil, the melted butter -- it all worked. A fun, creative project, for sure. I did giggle at myself, as I placed the chimney cakes upright on my baking sheet, after rolling them in the sugar/walnut/cinnamon mix. They baked for 30 minutes, until golden brown. You know that cinnamon bread scent from the oven is divine.

So how was it, then? Like a sweet breadstick, I’ll say. I was happy eating the cooled chimneys for days thereafter, as they were crumbly and sweet. A fun triumph.

PREP TIME: 35 minutes to assemble and rise dough, overnight rise in fridge, less than an hour to create and bake the dough tubes
sweet breadsticks

Next time, I’ll open the October 2014 issue of Food & Wine to make two recipes: the “Epoisses, Ham and Apple Tart” (to indulge in a soft, creamy tart) and the “Roasted Maitake Mushrooms with Seaweed Butter” (to give in to the current mushroom frenzy). Come back to my site next week, to share both of them.