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Simple Grab and Go Cinnamon Rolls

We all know cinnamon rolls, but have you ever really considered just how much range these wonderful spirals of goodness really have? Stop and think for a moment about some of the cinnamon rolls you have had. There are the firm, easy to hold cinnamon rolls (as pictured above) the ooey gooey you need a fork to eat them cinnamon rolls, and about a hundred variations in between.

BLOG POSTINGS > Desserts & Baking

Simple Grab and Go Cinnamon Rolls

by zirbirt

We all know cinnamon rolls, but have you ever really considered just how much range these wonderful spirals of goodness really have? Stop and think for a moment about some of the cinnamon rolls you have had. There are the firm, easy to hold cinnamon rolls (as pictured above) the ooey gooey you need a fork to eat them cinnamon rolls, and about a hundred variations in between. Not just texture, but flavor, filling, and topings all play a role in making cinnamon rolls a very unique vessel for food creativity.

I am sure Cinnabon or some other major chain dedicated to cinnamon rolls has crossed your mind. Most of us do it, we think of cinnamon rolls and we use something like Cinnabon as the baseline for what a cinnamon roll should be. Then we strive to make them as similar as possible, and rarely deviate from that.

Looking at cinnamon rolls, I found that there are hundreds of recipes, some with very bizarre ingredients, all trying to emulate the Cinnabon formula. Here is the trick though, its not what you put in the dough, its all about how you prepare it.

A sweet bread dough is pretty much the same all around... and from a good sweet bread dough, you can make lots of fun treats outside of cinnamon rolls.. but of course, it is also the foundation for a good cinnamon roll. So, the only dough recipe you need is below:

Sweet Bread Dough (cinnamon roll dough)

3 1/2 cups - All Purpose Flour
1/3 cup - Granulated sugar
1 tsp - salt
4 1/2 tsp (or 2 pkgs) - Active dry yeast
1 cup - milk
1/4 cup - butter (softened)
1 - egg

First, in a large bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour with 1/3 cup of sugar, 1tsp salt and 4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast. Stir it with a wooden spoon, or whatever is handy.

Next up, in a small sauce pan, warm 1 cup milk over medium heat... just until warm NOT HOT.

Add the warm milk, 1/4 butter and egg to the flour mixture and mix (You can use an normal electric mixer here, because it will be easy to mix at this point. Since we haven't added all the flour yet it will be kind of like cake batter).

Ok, so now add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Eventually the mixer wont work anymore and you will be forced to either use a dough hook.. or toss it out onto a flat surface and knead in the remaining flour. Once its all mixed you want to turn it out onto a flat surface, and kneed it for about 5 mins. Dust it with more flour if it starts to get sticky.

Ball it back up, spray the bowl with cooking spray, put the dough ball in the bowl, spray dough ball with cooking spray cover and let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours.


That little recipe is all you need for hundreds of baked goods. It is tried and true and as simple as it gets. Adding pudding, or whatever else really doesn't do as much for cinnamon rolls as what I am going to explain now.

When I started playing with cinnamon rolls... like most people, I was trying to make something like Cinnabon. What I figured out (after trying many failed recipes), is that if I wanted to make it really work, I had to figure it out myself. So, I went back to basics and asked myself some simple questions.

What type of texture am I looking for? - moist, gooey, but firm and slightly crisp on the outside

What should the look like? - tall and firm, with a dark filling that appears wet.

How should they be topped? - definitely more frosting-ish than glaze.

From here, I was able to replicate the results, but changing a few things. After flattening the dough (into a large rectangle), I spread 1/2 softened butter all over the flattened dough.. then combined 1/2 cup dark brown sugar with 3 Tbs cinnamon. and sprinkled that all over the dough. I rolled it into a nice log.. and set it aside.

I then took a rectangular cake pan, and buttered it with softened butter. I cut the log into slices and placed the slices 3 by 4 into the pan, almost touching. I then boiled some water, put a pan in the bottom of the oven (oven turned off and cold), and put the boiling water in the pan. I put the cinnamon rolls into the oven on a higher rack, and let it sit for 20 mins.

When they had just UNDER doubled in size, I yanked them out, and turned the oven to 400 degrees. Then baked them for 15-20 mins.. till dark golden brown. Once out of the oven, when hot, I put a pat of butter on each roll.

Once they cooled I comined 1/2 stick of butter, 4oz cream cheese, 2 cup powdered sugar and 2tsp vanilla. I mixed that till it was smooth.. and spread it on the cooled cinnamon rolls.

It worked, they were very much like cinnabon. They were ooey gooey, they had a blast of cinnamon flavor and they had a nice crisp top... but.. I realized, these were not cinnamon rolls I could just grab and go with. I had to put these on a plate, use a fork and even felt like I needed to warm them up because the soft warm moist delicious tenderness of them was just too much to resist.

So.. a few quick modification:

dough is made the same, and flattened the same, but I used 1/4 stick of butter fully melted, to spread on the dough. Then 1/2 cup light brown sugar, and 2 Tsps cinnamon on top.. rolled and cut into 12 equal pieces. Put on a parchment lined baking sheet, and let rise the same way, but this time for an hour.

I then baked them at 350, and let them cool. Then I made the same frosting, and put it on top. The result, a completely different cinnamon roll. Firm, crisp, a slight chew to it, easily held, and perfectly flavored.

SO.. both methods worked, and both were delicious, and completely different from one another. I think I am going to play around with some other variations on my recipe. Adding things to the bottom of the pan, or adding more to the inside of the cinnamon rolls.. perhaps some savory things, or maybe some fruity things.. (not raisons)... The possibilities really are endless.



zirbirt
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