Ally

The New Yeasted Adventures of Cinnamon Rolls

Posted on: June 17, 2011


I know this looks like a car crash, but this my friend is the sunshine after the rain. Say it with me now: Cinnamon. Rolls. Pure. Bliss.

This recipe excite me on three levels: 1) yeast and dough, the best pairing since yeast was existent; 2) cinnamon, the spice of life (i.e. sniff it when you’re having a bad hair day, it’s an instant perk-me-up!) and 3) a billowy meringue filling. Okay, it’s mostly the billowy meringue filling. It  just triggered something about clouds and unicorns  and most importantly, meringue in its pre-baked form is always a joy to spread, soothe and level. There was definitely something creative and unexpected about this experiment…

Also, any sweet treats with fillings, custard, paste, sprinkles or thereof always piques my interest. I enjoy savouring the intense flavour of its key ingredient, say custard in a custard-filled bun; sweet treats with a bite.

Without further ado, here’s the comforting recipe as adapted from Home Cooking Adventure:

For Rolls

3 cups flour (I used whole wheat (atta) flour)

7 tablespoons rice oil

7 tablespoons whole milk

3 egg yolks

100 ml whole milk

2 teaspoons of dry active yeast

For Filling

3 egg whites

10 tablespoons white, granulated sugar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Directions

  1. Add yeast to 100ml of milk and stir to dissolve. Mix oil, remaining milk and flour in bowl. Use a wooden spatula or your hand to mix. Add yolks and yeast mixture and blend well. Knead well (I used my hands throughout) and turn out onto a clingfilm. Wrap and refrigerate for a full hour to let the yeast develop.
  2. About 50 minutes later, whisk egg whites until foamy and gradually add sugar. This stiffens the egg whites. Continue to add vinegar and vanilla extract, whisking at all times. Finally, add cinnamon powder. Separate this mixture into 3 portions.
  3. Preheat oven to 180C.
  4. Cut chilled dough into 3 portions, rolling each piece out on a lightly floured surface and forming a rectangle of about 30cm x 20cm.
  5. Smear egg white mixture on rolled out dough, leaving a 2cm allowance on all sides. Roll lengthwise to a swiss roll effect, careful not to apply too much pressure as filling would spew out. Continue to slice roll into 2cm thick slices.
  6. Arrange on a lined baking tray, evenly spaced out with spiral pattern face up and rain more cinnamon powder on the slices. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until nicely browned.

Notes:

  • Don’t fret over warming up the milk to activate the yeast. It’ll work its yeasty ways in the most mysterious ways, so simply add it to the cold milk and mix well.
  • I mixed the dough with my hands throughout as it assured me that the dough is well incorporated. You may, however, go clean and use a wooden spatula or stand mixer (WARNING: Make sure stand mixer can withstand dough kneading else motor will burn!)
  • I kneaded my dough till it came away from the bowl, which was my definition of kneading it well.
  • Keep the dough wholly covered in clingfilm to prevent it from drying out in the fridge but take caution in not making a snug package out of it. Dough will rise whilst in fridge, so packing it to the T would cause the plastic wrap to burst at its seams! Package it loosely yet securely.
  • Whip egg white mix till it stiffens till you’ve able to hold the bowl, turned upside down, above your head.
  • Roughly roll the dough out to the dimensions as indicated. The larger the rectangle, the thinner the dough will become. Note that dough thinning will risk tearing during the rolling process.
  • Honestly, filling was way too much for the dough even when I roughly apportioned it equally. Filling will spew out no matter what, so smear any excess onto roll (which explains the rustic, spotty look my rolls are sporting).
  • The next time I’m attempting this recipe, I’m adding more cinnamon to the filling and generously sprinkling it onto my rolls before baking. Adjust amount to preference. Personally, I’m VERY passionate about cinnamon.
  • I lined my baking tray with parchment paper. It’s a god-given gift for all bakers everywhere. Nothing sticks to parchment, so no more frustrating post-bake tray scrapping of stubborn bits.
  • Watch the rolls especially after 10 to 12 minutes. Baking time depends on size of oven and batch. Good rule of thumb: Watch your baked goods like a hawk the moment it enters the cavernous box of metal. I carelessly burnt my last batch of 4. No excuses for me…

Cinnamon roll recipes do not deviate too far from this one, but what was different is the meringue filling. The sweetness of the filling melts on your tongue in the most unabashed way. If you enjoyed meringue anything, you’ll love this recipe. Out of the 15 rolls I’ve made, I fervently wolfed down 10.  Eaten warm or cooled, they have a pleasant crispy and crumbly texture (if you slightly overbaked them like I did). Also, if you adore cinnamon, you’ve already lost half of the battle. Now…

Give. Up. To. Temptation.

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