’08 Advent Calendar, Day 20

OK, maybe just a little more sugar wouldn’t hurt me.

Looking for a lighter cinnamon roll than the heavy butter- and icing-bombs you find most places, I decided to adapt my king cake recipe this morning, with stellar results. A light, bready brioche wrapped around a buttery cinnamon filling and topped with honey-cream cheese frosting … oh, I didn’t meant to imply they’re light, just lighter.

For the 2007 Advent Calendar, click here.

recipe after the jump

Cinnamon Rolls adapted from a king cake recipe

This recipe makes a LOT of cinnamon rolls, even when you half it as I did. I’m sure your co-workers would love you if you brought in a big batch of these for breakfast one morning, though.

3/4 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup butter
2 packages active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
3 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks, room temperature
5 1/2 – 6 1/2 cups bread flour
Cinnamon filling, recipe follows
Honey-cream cheese frosting, recipe follows

Place milk, sugar, salt, and butter in small saucepan. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl. Add lukewarm milk mixture, eggs, and 5 cups flour. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 2 minutes. Continuing on Speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix about 2 minutes, or until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl.

Knead on Speed 2 about 2 minutes longer. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Punch down the dough and place it on a lightly floured counter top. Flatten or roll it out into a long rectangle; the wider you make the short side, the bigger the cinnamon rolls will be. Top the dough with cinnamon filling, leaving about 1/2 inch clean dough around the edges. Wet the edges of the dough along the far, long side. Roll up the dough into a long, skinny snake-like shape and press to seal the wet edges. Slice the dough into 3/4-inch rolls and carefully transfer them to a buttered baking sheet.

Cover the rolls with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for about 50 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and slather with honey-cream cheese frosting while the rolls are still hot.

Cinnamon Filling

8 tablespoons butter, melted (optional)
2 cups brown or granulated sugar
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup flour or oatmeal

Mix ingredients together into a thick paste, then spread on dough. It’s best not to do this too far in advance; once the butter cools, it becomes much less spreadable.

Honey-Cream Cheese Frosting

8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
8 ounces neufchatel cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey, or to taste

Cream butter in stand mixer on setting 6 for 1-2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and beat to incorporate.

Update, 12.21.08: After sampling I’m-not-telling-you-how-many of these, I’ve come to the conclusion that the dough could use just a touch more salt. It’s personal preference, though — Gil says he wouldn’t change a thing. I’m just throwing it out there…

10 Replies to “’08 Advent Calendar, Day 20”

  1. Wow, what a coincidence! I JUST made cinnamon rolls for the first time yesterday, after searching for a few days for the perfect recipe. Too bad I didn’t come across this earlier. It would have been just right. I’ll bookmark this and try it next time.

  2. These look really, really good. Cinnamon rolls have been on my list of things to make for a while, and now I’ve found just the recipe. Just wondering though: how much do each of the packets of yeast weigh?

  3. I have been gearing myself up to try cinnamon rolls. I think this may have pushed me over the edge. You just make it look so simple.
    I will let you know how they turn out. This should be Christmas morning food!

  4. Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

    Tim, I’m not really sure how much a packet weighs; I used my last one making these rolls and the packet is buried at the bottom of the trash can!

    Mary, it really is easy, especially with a stand mixer. I used to be a huge bread snob and made loaves completely by hand; so glad I’ve seen the error of my ways!

  5. Tim: a packet of yeast is 1 tablespoon. I don’t know the weight. In most bread recipes the amount of yeast is somewhat irrelevant. Even if you use less, the dough will eventually rise as required. If you use too much, it will raise somewhat faster. I suppose if you use WAY too much, the taste will be affected.

    This dough is very like my recipe, which has been a family favorite forever. I don’t like frosting on them, but I do put a ‘sticky bun” mixture in the pan so when you turn them out they are gooey on the bottom…..probably just what Amy was trying to avoid!

  6. Betty, thanks for weighing in! I’ll have to bookmark this post so I can refer back to your tips about baking with yeast. Your rolls sound tasty — it’s just the combination of sticky bun and icing that would put me over the edge. 🙂

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