So you would think that after Christmas and New Year’s I would be fed up with all the cakes. Well, my friends, quite the opposite. I decided to put my free days from work to good use and spend some quality time with my friend whom I haven’t seen for a while because we were both pretty busy lately. So I invited her over for a chat and a batch of warm cinnamon rolls.
I was once pretty obsessed with cinnamon rolls. I haven’t tried making them, but I read constantly about them, watched pictures and videos. Since I love love love yeast dough and cinnamon, so I honestly can’t explain why I had never made them before. Probably because when it comes to yeast anything, you can’t really make a solo portion. You can’t just make one cinnamon rolls. You have to make a serious batch of dough, and ideally invite a group of people over so you wouldn’t eat all of it yourself.
Well, I decided I wouldn’t wait any longer. One friend was enough of an encouragement to bake these plumpy rolls. They really were so comforting on a cold day, hot from the oven, soft and full of cinnamon flavour. This dough is so smooth and fluffy, caramelised with brown sugar and butter and perfumed with a winter’s best aroma. Whenever I get my hands on anything rolled, I always tend to unroll it as I eat (do you do it too or is it just me?) and unrolling this bun revealed fluffy layers of dough smeared in rich buttery taste. Oh, did I mention that I put some glaze on top, as well? Just a tiny drizzle of orange scented frosting… Why not go the whole hog, right?
preparation time: about 2 hours, rising included
baking time: 25-30 minutes, 170°C (340 F)
baking pan size: 22×30 cm (8,6×12 in), makes 8-9 cinnamon rolls
Ingredients for the dough:
300 ml milk
1 1/4 tsp (4 g) active dry yeast + 1 tsp sugar
300 g all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
25 g granulated white sugar
2 egg yolks
35 g melted unsalted butter + 1 Tbsp melted butter for brushing rolls before baking
Ingredients for the filling:
60 g unsalted butter
100 g brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Ingredients for the glaze:
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
4 Tbsp icing sugar
1. Begin by proofing the yeast. Pour milk into a small skillet and put it on the stove top only until it gets luke warm. Then add yeast and a teaspoon of sugar. Stir it quickly and let it sit in a warm spot (but never on direct heat!) for about 5 minutes. After that, it should look foamy and bubbly.
2. Sift together flour and salt into a big bowl. Add sugar and the bubbly yeast mixture and, using an electric or standing mixer fitted with a hook attachment, start assembling the dough. While it is slowly mixing, melt the butter.
3. After everything starts to get incorporated, add egg yolks and melted butter and let the dough knead for about 5 minutes. By that time, it should still be soft, very smooth and silky, but it should not stick to the sides of the bowl. You could also make the dough without the mixer, just knead it patiently with your hands. It will take longer, though. If your dough is super sticky, which always depends on the humidity, size of the egg yolks etc., add some more flour, but keep in mind that the dough should be very soft.
4. Form the dough into a bowl, brush the top with some flavourless oil and put it back to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot for about an hour.
5. In the meantime, make the filling. Melt the butter in a skillet over low heat and, as soon as it starts melting, add brown sugar. Keep it on low heat until the sugar melts and the mixture starts getting sticky. Remove from the heat, stir in the cinnamon and let everything cool completely, until it gets creamy again and reaches the consistency of soft butter.
6. After the dough has risen, put in onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle so that it’s an even thickness, about 1,5 cm (2/3 in) and smear the filling evenly all around using a spatula. Roll the dough starting from the side opposite to you and pinch the ends together once you roll it all the way.
7. Take a sharp knife and cut the roll into 8-9 equal pieces, depending on the size of your baking pan. Arrange the rolls into the pan with buttered bottom or covered with parchment paper. Let the rolls rise once again for about half an hour.
8. When the rolls have been rising for almost half an hour, preheat the oven to 170°C/340 F. Brush risen dough with a tablespoon of melted butter and bake them for about 25 to 30 minutes or until they are golden brown on top and firm to touch.
9. In the meantime, make the glaze. Squeeze an orange and combine 4 tablespoons of icing sugar with enough orange juice to make thick, but runny glaze. Add one tablespon of juice at time and see how much you need. I needed about 2 tablespoons. Pour the glaze over baked cinnamon rolls and enjoy them while still hot with a cup of tea.