Working on a cycle of extremes, Leanne Brown decides she’s “good enough”


Leanne Brown fulfilled her dream of becoming a published cookbook author and busied herself with touring and promotion, which left her exhausted. As she preached the joys of cooking while caring for a new baby, she began to struggle to find her balance and feed herself, believing like many of us at some point, that she wasn’t worth it. In his latest book “Good and cheap“, Leanne shed light on the inequity of our food system, believing that everyone deserves to eat well every day. In “Good enough: a cookbook“, she explores eating well from an internal point of view, to convince herself that she deserves it too.

Cinnamon and spices
Cream cheese rolls

I’m so proud of these rolls. They were good from the start, but I kept finding excuses to make them again and again because “this recipe needs to be tried” one more time. They are exactly what I like both, both as an end product and as an experience. Knead the dough and watch it go from shaggy to silky smooth, let it rest and rise, knowing that something exciting is happening. Mix the filling and feel all the spice and sweetness come together. Shaping, rolling and cutting brioches. The way they rise and get chewy and soft and gooey in the oven. It’s comfort upon comfort upon comfort. I can feel my deeper breaths coming back as I describe them. They’re like cinnamon rolls, but with the cream cheese frosting baked in, there’s even more batter and spice and no sad, dry part in the middle, just a sublime final bite.


  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the counter
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt (see note, page 189)
  • ¼ cup) sugar
  • 1 packet (2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
  • ¾ cup water, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more butter, at room temperature, for greasing the bowl
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces (½ package) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves


  1. Prepare the dough: place the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir quickly.
  2. Place the water, melted butter and eggs in a medium bowl and whisk, breaking up the yolks, until the liquid becomes frothy and yellow, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients:

With a stand mixer: Using the paddle attachment, turn the mixer to low and slowly pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture until it comes together into a fluffy dough, about 2 minutes. Switch to dough hook and knead over medium heat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

By the hand: Lightly flour a clean work surface. Slowly pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, stir everything together until a fluffy dough forms. Unload
the dough on the work surface and knead until smooth and elastic,
7 to 10 minutes.

  1. Lightly grease a large bowl with butter. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in the bowl, then turn it over so that each side of the ball is lightly greased and the dough is joined at the bottom. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in volume, 2 to 2.5 hours. This may take longer or shorter depending on humidity and heat levels. The hotter and wetter it is, the faster it grows.

To note: I like to make this recipe ahead of time to make mornings a little easier. Dough can be prepared in step 4, covered and refrigerated. The next morning, put it on the counter, do your thing for 1 hour as it comes to room temperature, then make the filling and continue the recipe.

  1. While you wait for the dough to rise, prepare the filling: place the butter, cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves in a bowl and cream with a mixer or a spoon in wood to form a smooth paste. .
  2. When the dough has risen, dust your work surface with flour. Degas the dough and shape it into a small sausage. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick.
  3. Using a spoon or palette knife to glaze the cakes, spread the filling evenly over the rectangle of dough. Roll it lengthwise, like a rug. Cut the log into 12 rolls as evenly as possible.
  4. Place the 12 rolls in a glass baking dish with the swirl side up. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let them rise until they puff up a bit and become friends in the dish, 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  6. Bake the rolls until the top is golden brown and the bottom just golden, about 25 minutes. (You should be able to see the color of the bottoms through the glass baking dish.) You want them fully cooked, but not overcooked or they won’t be as gooey as you want. Serve them as soon as they’re cool enough to handle and don’t burn anyone’s tongue. They will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for a few days, or if you want to save some for later, wrap them up and freeze them for up to a few weeks.

To note: In the Focaccia Rainy Day (page 171), I add the salt separately to prevent the yeast from losing its punch. It’s not as crucial in this rich batter, but in step 1 I usually add salt to the flour, give it a little whisk, then add the rest of the ingredients.

“Good Enough: A Cookbook,” is Leanne Brown’s sequel to her first book, a self-published graduate thesis, which has been downloaded 15 million times. Photo courtesy of Workman Publishing.


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