If there truly was reincarnation and I could choose what I’d be born as in the next life, I’d love to be Sleeping Beauty. No question about that. The beauty part might come in handy, but that’s not my main motivation at all. Honestly, being able to sleep for hundred years straight sounds like heaven to me. You see, I love my sleep. The problem is, the
older wiser I get, my sleep doesn’t love me back as it used to. I usually don’t get to go to bed before midnight, and more often than not I’m wide awake at 4 a.m., listening to Mr. Photographer sleeping soundly, and running through the list of things I need to do the next day: Drive the kid to school in the morning. Be the first in line at the department of [whatever] and get them to stamp the form that son’s school requested. Take the filled-out form to said school. Come home and start the laundry. Get a move on that darn translation assignment that’s going so slowly. Call a handyman about the kitchen faucet that’s been dripping for weeks.
The thing is, once I start doing that, there is no coming back. The wheels in my head start turning, and I’m not able to go back to sleep no matter what I do or how many darned sheep I count. (Last night I got to 555. Then I got up, went downstairs and cleaned the kitchen.) I’d do anything for somebody to fix my internal clock. It’s abso-freaking-lutely out of whack – I’m most productive in the middle of the night, and then dream of going back to sleep around 6:30 in the morning. Unfortunately I can’t really afford to do that, because by that time I’m usually already behind the wheel, trying to transport somebody or something from point A to point B. Unless… it’s the WEEKEND.
Enter lúpačky (LOO-patch-ki, plural) – soft sweet rolls served with butter, honey and jam, which are a rather typical breakfast food in Slovakia. I’m sure you’ve seen commercials depicting happy families, sitting at the breakfast table, smiling sweetly at each other and having meaningful conversations first thing in the morning. Well, Slovak happy family would be cramming down lúpačky smothered in butter, and drowning them in coffee or milk. I admit I hate such deceptive advertisements with the heat of a thousand suns, as they do nothing but make me feel like a horrible mother. That’s not how it works in our family at all. No one is an early riser at our house. Meaningful conversation? Yeah, right. The first half an hour after we get up we try really hard to keep our mouth shut, lest we say something we’d later deeply regret. To tell the truth, I learned to make lúpačky for entirely selfish reasons – to buy myself an extra hour of blessed sleep on the weekend. Being constantly sleep-deprived, I openly and shamelessly tell my men on Friday night: “There are fresh lúpačky on the counter. Jam and honey is in the pantry. Make yourself some hot cocoa and don’t you dare to wake me before 9 a.m. tomorrow.”
There, I said it. Go ahead and judge me. Or let out a sigh of relief that you’re not the only one. We can sit on the couch for horrible mothers together. I’ll even make some coffee and bring freshly baked lúpačky. As long as we can eat in quiet and you won’t want me to smile at you and have a pleasant interaction before 9 a.m., we should be good.
Slovak Honey Crescent Rolls (Lúpačky/Makovky)
(adapted from http://www.bonvivani.sk)
- ¾ – 1 cup lukewarm milk, divided
- 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
- 450 g (16 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
- pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 tablespoons mild tasting oil (or butter)
- 1 egg yolk
+ 1 egg, beaten – for egg wash
poppy seeds for sprinkling
- Combine ½ cup milk with 1 tablespoon sugar and yeast. Set aside for about 15 minutes to activate the yeast.
- Place all the other ingredients except milk in a bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast mixture looks foamy, add it to the bowl. With the mixer running, gradually add the rest of the milk until the dough comes together in a ball. If the dough is too dry, add a little more milk and/or 1 more egg yolk. Knead the dough on a low speed for about 10 – 15 minutes, until it is soft, smooth, and elastic.
- Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour, until doubled.
- Line two big baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Punch the dough down and divide it into 12 equal portions. Keeping the other dough portions covered, roll each one into an oval. Stretching the oval with one hand, roll it into a slightly curved crescent. (Keep the crescent fairly thin; it will rise substantially in the oven, and you want to keep the nice crescent form.)
- Place the crescent rolls onto prepared baking pans, 6 per pan, to leave them plenty of room to rise. Cover and let them rise a second time while you preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C).
- After about 35 minutes of rising, brush the rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until nice golden brown.
I also whipped up a quick orange marmalade that goes with the crescent rolls beautifully. If you have a couple of oranges on hand, you can have it ready when the hot rolls come out of the oven!
Quick and Easy Orange Marmalade
- 2 navel oranges, organic
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange zest
- ½ tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- ¾ cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (optional)
- Zest the oranges and set 2 tablespoons of zest aside.
- Process the oranges in a food processor fitted with an S-blade. Place the orange mixture into a pan. Add all the other ingredients, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 15 minutes, until the marmalade is thick to your liking.
- Place into a clean jar and store in the refrigerator.