Baking is one of my favorite pastimes. I enjoy baking cookies, cakes, breads, pies, muffins, cupcakes, and much more.
Baking is one of my favorite things to do in the winter, and recently I took on a project I'd never tried before: cinnamon rolls. In the past, I'd made cinnamon rolls at home using store-bought dough. All I had to do was unbox the dough, remove the plastic, place it in the oven, and bake. Voila! After 20 minutes, perfectly round cinnamon rolls on a tray waiting for me. Easy right?
But what would it be like to make homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch? Turns out it's a challenge—but one that's perfectly doable.
For this recipe, I took some inspiration from two different recipes I've made before: raisin buns and swirl cinnamon bread. Both are personal favorites of mine. The ingredients for these cinnamon rolls are quite similar to the cinnamon bread I've made before, but what's different is the filling. For the cinnamon roll filling, I decided to incorporate glace red cherries, dried cranberries, raisins, and orange zest. I soaked them for a few hours (or you can soak them overnight) in the orange juice to really get a good depth of flavor.
When making bread, you can use a stand mixer or you can use the traditional method of kneading the dough by hand. Both methods are equally good. For this recipe, I've used both techniques: I used a stand mixer to incorporate the ingredients and then I kneaded the dough by hand for a few minutes before it rose for about two hours.
By the way, don't forget to brush the top of the rolls with egg wash before putting them in the oven. This is what helps give them that lovely golden color when they finish baking.
The Result: Soft and Delicious Sweet Rolls
Call it cinnamon rolls or buns—these turned out perfectly soft and delicious! I was astounded by the results. Enjoy the sweet rolls with a cup of coffee or tea.
By the way, I decided to omit the icing on the top; instead, I brushed them with a simple sugar glaze. To keep them fresh, cover the leftover frosted or unfrosted rolls tightly and store them for up to three days at room temperature or up to five days in the refrigerator.
Prep Time: 3 to 4 hours (including resting and proofing time)
Total Time: 5 hours
Makes: 12 to 14 cinnamon rolls (depending on the size)
For the yeast mixture:
- 1 cup warm whole milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
For the dough:
- 1 large egg plus egg yolk, room temperature and lightly beaten
- 50 grams butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 cups bread flour, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons for kneading
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the filling:
- 1 cup mix dried fruits (I used dried cranberries, raisins, glazed red cherries, and 2 tablespoons orange zest)
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (you can add more if you want)
For the egg wash:
- One large egg yolk (beaten)
For the glaze:
- Sugar syrup
- Apricot jam
- Icing frosting
Note: You can brush baked cinnamon rolls with honey, sugar syrup, apricot jam, or your own icing frosting. I decided to make a simple sugar glaze (water and castor sugar) because I like the shining effect on the rolls.
- In a pitcher, combine the warm milk, yeast, and sugar. Let the mixture dissolve and set aside for 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg and egg yolk. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the bread flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon powder. Use a spatula or whisk to incorporate the ingredients.
- Combine the yeast mixture with the flour mixture.
- Use a hook attachment to mix the ingredients at a low speed.
- Combine the lightly beaten egg into the mixture. Continue mixing at a medium speed.
- Pause the mixer to combine the butter into the mixture. Continue mixing until it is well combined.
- Transfer the mixture onto a clean surface or baking mat. Use your hands to knead the mixture until smooth and forms a dough. Add a tablespoon of flour if the dough is very sticky. (It won't take long to form the dough as the machine has done a decent job.)
- Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl.
- Cover the bowl with cling wrap and set aside in a warm place. Let the dough rise or double in size (at least 2 hours).
- Make the paste filling: In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon. Mix well and set aside.
- Poke the dough with a finger to let the air out.
- Shape the dough: Roll the dough out into a 14×8-inch rectangle. Spread the sugar paste on the dough.
- Use your hand to spread the fruit mixture on the dough evenly.
- Tightly roll up the dough and cut it into 12 to 14 pieces. Place the rolls in a prepared pan. Loosely cover the rolls with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Let the shaped rolls rise for 1 hour or more.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the rolls with egg wash and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Insert a toothpick in the center of the roll and if it comes clean, it is cooked. (The rolls should be golden to dark brown on top and fully baked in the center of the coil.)
- Brush the warm cinnamon rolls with honey or apricot jam or sugar syrup and let them stand until set.
- Enjoy the cinnamon rolls with a cup of coffee or tea.
© 2020 Liza