Cinnamon Rolls and Somali Pirates

Day 31 on the Maersk Arkansas

Last April we were all captivated by the drama that unfolded off Somalia when the Maersk Alabama was attacked by pirates and the Captain taken hostage. With this in mind, naturally there was app rehension when the job for its sister ship the Maersk Arkansas came up. Did I really want to get on another Maersk ship bearing the name of a southern state starting with an “A”? Wouldn’t the pirates be out for revenge and take aim at the identical twin? Then I started to think about Captain Philips and his pending book deal and movie potential. I began day dreaming about pirates boarding the ship and me going all Jack Bauer on their assess and single handedly taking the ship back by force. I saw myself on the talk show circuit, getting an “atta boy” and pat on the back from Barack. I could hear Jay-Z comparing himself to me in his latest single and me showing up to the movie premiere with Halle Berry to see Will Smith play me (yes yes, I know it would be a reach for him but I think he could pull it off) in the movie.

Abdi (my Somali Pirate name) taking charge!!!!!!

After doing a bit of research I realized that piracy is not a problem in the Persian Gulf and all you have here is some people with a genuine hate for American’s and our Western ways and would stop at nothing to blow something up. Not as sexy as the thought of me kicking down doors and hitting pirates in the face with the butt of their own AK-47s. My first few weeks I watched the radar like a hawk whenever a fishing boat came too close, cracked my knuckles and prepared for battle. The would be attackers probably sensed a warrior at the helm and backed off to save their own lives. Week after week went by and these cowards failed to make their move and that is when I decided to take things into my own hands. If the pirates were not willing to make the trip from Somalia and take revenge I would have to become a Somalia pirate and do it myself.

The drama unfolds on the high seas

When the time was right I made my move, snatching the 3rd Engineer at knife point and making our way to the same style lifeboat the Somalians took Philips in 9 months earlier. With the lifeboat in the water, I shouted my demands up to the crew. After a few hours, there was no Navy presence and no response from Maersk on my ransom demands but my stomach began growling. All I wanted was my 15 minutes of fame and a few bucks for my troubles. What does a guy have to do to get a little air time these days. I bet people would listen if I came out as another one of Tiger’s transgressions…eeewwwww. Anyway after 8 minutes off heavy negations my demands were met and as requested, Doug would be making his Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast the next day.

Although that little story was a figment of my warped imagination the Cinnamon Rolls were real and just another addition world of tasty things Doug has been baking. There is nothing like the smell of fresh baked Cinnamon Rolls and anyone who has been in a mall and walked by a Cinnabon can relate. Every few days Doug makes these things fresh and there is no better way to start the day. Below is the recipe he uses so enjoy and watch for those damn pirates, I hear Captain Black Jack Sparrow is in the loose.

Captain Black Jack Sparrow, last seen pillaging the Norway Pavilion at Epcot


4 3/4 to 5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup milk

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1/2 cup raisins

1 tablespoon half and half or light cream

Vanilla Glaze

1 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 teaspoon light-colored corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1-2 tablespoons light cream or half and half

Brown Sugar Filling

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup butter

In a large bowl stir together 2 cups of the flour and yeast, set aside. In saucepan heat and stir milk, butter, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt just until warm (120 to 130 deg F) and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to dry mixture. Beat with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes). Shape dough into ball. Place dough in lightly greased bowl, turn once. Cover and let rise in warm place until double (about an hour).

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rise for 10 minutes. Roll to slightly less than 1/2 inch thickness. Lightly grease two 9×1 1/2 inch round baking pans or 2 baking sheets. Roll each half of dough into a 12×8 inch rectangle. Sprinkle Brown Sugar Filling over dough rectangles. If desired sprinkle with raisin and pecans. Roll up rectangles, jelly roll style, starting from the long side. Slide each roll into 12 pieces. Place aside.

Cover dough loosely with clear plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise. Refrigerate for 2-24 hours. Uncover, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. (Or to bake rolls right away, don’t chill dough. Instead, cover loosely and let dough rise in warm place until nearly double (about 30 minutes)

Break any surface bubbles with a greased toothpick. Brush dough with half and half or light cream. Bake in 375 deg F. oven for 20-25 minutes or until light brown (if necessary, cover rolls loosely with foil for the last 5-10 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning). Remove from oven. Brush again with half and half or light cream. Cool for 1 minute. Carefully invert rolls on wire rack. Cool slightly. Invert again onto a serving platter. Drizzle with Vanilla and serve warm


In a medium mixing bowl stir together brown sugar, flour and ground cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly

Vanilla Glaze

In a small mixing bowl stir together powdered sugar, corn syrup and vanilla. Stir in enough half and half or light cream to make drizzling consistency.


Port Of Jebel Ali at dawn, Dubai in the background

Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Recipes, Sweets


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8 Comments on “Cinnamon Rolls and Somali Pirates”

  1. Marilyn
    December 14, 2009 at 10:40 pm #

    mmmmmmmmmmmm – I will pass on the pirates (although the hat is adorable) but please pass the cinna buns!)

    • Toriano's "La Buena Vida"
      December 14, 2009 at 11:17 pm #

      Adorable? You can’t call the captains hat adorable hahahha

  2. Jeni
    December 15, 2009 at 7:50 pm #

    I love the stories that bring you to your blogs as much as the recipes. And in this one the pictures are particularly fabulous! My mouth is watering and I’m about to buy my own knife and start cruising the high seas in search of a chef to bake me delicious breakfast delicacies as well!

    • Toriano's "La Buena Vida"
      December 16, 2009 at 12:58 am #

      Hi Jeni,
      So glad you like, much more to come so please keep coming back. Word of advice, no need for the knife in your search for a sailor. A woman griping a sharp knife makes most of men a little jumpy ;-).

  3. blackwatertown
    January 19, 2010 at 5:53 am #

    Well, it’s not quite what I expected when I followed the link about piracy off the coast of Somalia, but that’s the wonder of linking and blogging.

    • Toriano's "La Buena Vida"
      January 19, 2010 at 8:12 am #

      A lot can happen when you mix sweets and pirates. Thanks for stopping by (by mistake), and stop by later for my talk about midgets of the coast of Norway (j/k).


  1. GOODBYE MAERSK ARKANSAS « Toriano's "La Buena Vida" - January 19, 2010


  2. THROWBACK THURSDAY - January 19, 2017


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