I cannot remember the last time I had fast food. Not that ever ate it all that often, but there was definitely a period of time, right after I graduated from college, that I would crave and thus satisfy my craving for Taco Bell. Why would I eat Taco Bell in a city that has amazing, authentic Mexican food everywhere you turn? Well, truth of the matter is I loved that melty "cheese" dip you get with your "nachos" and I loved the cinnamon twists. You couldn't get those twists anywhere else but Taco Bell.
If you aren't from the Bay Area, and more specifically the coastside, you might not know that Pacifica, CA is home to the best Taco Bell in the world. It is right on the beach. When I say "on" I mean ON the beach. You walk out the back door and down the steps into the sand. They have a walk up window for hungry surfers so they don't track sand into the joint. The ambiance of that Taco Bell makes the food taste better. So occasionally, I would be driving down to see my dad from my apartment in San Francisco on a Sunday afternoon after being out all night with my friends, and let's just say the only cure to the Sunday Scaries at that time in my life was greasy comfort food. So I would pull into the Taco Bell parking lot, run in to grab my two soft tacos, side of nachos, and cinnamon twist dessert, eat in the car, feel a lot better, then head down to my dad's for the best couch nap one has ever experienced. The soft gabbing of the golf commentators and the buzz of the golf clap in the wind really are the best white noises to put you to sleep.
To help with some of the holiday headaches (induced by too much party wine), I give you today's recipe... my take on the Taco Bell cinnamon twists. While I understand this is not technically a cookie, it does have the crunch, sweetness, and portability that a cookie has. I dare you to only eat one. This is probably the easiest recipe you will ever make. It requires very little ingredients and very little effort. They are pretty, too, so a perfect treat to help decorate the holiday buffet table. I am sure you will enjoy these with or without the soft tacos as a starter.
The Recipe: Cinnamon Twists
yields ~12-14 twists
The Bits and Bobs:
1 package puff pastry dough, defrosted
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
On a well floured surface, roll out the defrosted puff pastry dough slightly. The rectangle will be roughly 12 inches x 18 inches. Cut the sheet of dough into 14 strips (roughly 1 inch x 12 inches). Line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper (or work in two batches if you only have one sheet pan).
On a plate or sheet pan, mix together both sugars and the cinnamon. Brush one side of each strip of dough with a little water, then press the wet side of the dough into the cinnamon sugar mixture so there is a somewhat thick layer of sugar adhered to the dough. Hold either side of the strip, twist in opposite directs to achieve the spiral effect. You will want to twist somewhat tight as they will open as they bake. Lay each twist onto the baking sheet, pressing down the ends to hold in place. Place 6 or 7 twists on each sheet pan.
Once you have all the dough twisted and on the sheet pans, place the twists in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to allow to harden slightly. This step will help the twists maintain their shape as they bake.
Preheat the oven to 400*F. Take the sheet pan straight from the freezer into the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the sugar has caramelized. Allow to cool completely on the sheet pan.