Food for Soul

Recipe: Cinnamon Rolls


I just ate way too many cinnamon rolls putting together this recipe. Instead of searching through my cookbook collection for a method, I decided to make a hybrid dough recipe using my pain au lait(milk bread) and brioche recipes. I’ve made milk bread a million times and knew that it was soft and fluffy, and I thought combining it with a brioche formula would add a little more richness to the rolls. The result was a decadent cinnamon roll. Soft, moist, and reminiscent of the sugar bombs you find at the mall. I think this recipe is sweet, but not cloyingly, and a perfect addition to my breakfast recipe repertoire.

Cinnamon Roll Dough:
makes 10 small rolls

450 g all-purpose flour
27 g sugar
9 g salt
6 g instant dry yeast
30 g whole egg
262 g whole milk, slightly warm
150 g butter, softened

Cinnamon Filling:

45 g unsalted butter, softened
100 g sugar
6 g ground cinnamon

Roll Frosting:

30 g cream cheese, softened
45 g butter, softened
56 g powdered sugar
1 g vanilla extract
pinch salt
as needed whole milk

For the dough: In a standing mixer, place the warm milk and yeast in the bowl and hand mix with a whisk. Let sit for 10 minutes while you measure the rest of your ingredients. Once the time has elapsed, add the egg followed by the flour, sugar, and salt. Using the dough hook, mix the dough on speed 1 for 7 minutes. Turn the mixer to speed 2, and mix for another 5 minutes. Mix on speed 2 for another 10 minutes while gradually adding chunks of semi-softened butter. The butter should have the texture of Playdoh. If needed, stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. The dough needs to incorporate all of the butter, become smooth in consistency, and pull cleanly away from the mixer bowl’s sides. Once the dough is mixed, place in a lightly greased bowl and let rest for 15 minutes. With wet hands, fold the dough onto itself to help develop the last bit of strength. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to chill. Doing this will retard the yeast and make the dough firmer and easier to roll out. Once the dough is chilled, roll out on a floured surface to approximately 24 x 14 inch rectangle. Time for the filling!

For the filling: Spread the butter very thinly with an offset spatula along the top of the rolled out dough. This doesn’t have to be perfect. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, and then sprinkle an even layer across the buttered dough. Roll the dough inwards, forming a 24-inch long pinwheel. Cut the dough in half, and then each half into five equal rolls. Place in a lightly greased pan with a small amount of room around them. These can be baked in many different shaped pans, but they should be close enough that they start to touch when proofing.

For the proof and bake: Loosely cover the cinnamon rolls in plastic wrap and let proof in a warm area for 1-1.5 hours. The rolls should double in size and start to proof into each other. Preheat your oven to 350F and bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown. Let cool at room temperature for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the frosting.

For the frosting:
Warm the cream cheese in the microwave for a few seconds so that it can easily be mixed. In a bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and softened butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until smooth. You can use milk at this point to loosen the frosting. If you want a thinner glaze, add a couple of tablespoons of milk. If you want the icing thick, leave out the milk entirely. When they are warm, Frost the top of the rolls if you want the frosting to melt evenly over the top. I used part of the coating while the rolls were warm and saved some in a small plastic bag. Once the rolls were cooled off, I cut the corner of the bag and added more frosting decor to the tops.

Cinnamon Rolls out of the oven.

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