Sunday, April 3, 2011

Move Over Cinnabon!

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze
When I'm travelling abroad and walking through the airport which has become such a tense environment nowadays with all the security concerns of air travel, there is a welcoming scent which I absolutely LOVE. It's the smell of the Cinnabon mmm. I'm a fan, well, I was until this week's baking project. This week I made Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze from Bon Appetit 2008.

I've also been trying to sneak more fiber into my diet. So I thought I'd also make some bran muffins that I could have for breakfast in the mornings. I found a recipe from King Arthur Flour where the batter keeps in the fridge for 2 weeks, so you don't have to bake them all at once, which I thought was perfect for this purpose.

Bran Muffins
So I'll tell you about the bran muffins first since, let's face it, they're a lot less exciting than warm, soft, cinnamon rolls with cream cheese glaze mmmmm. Anyway, so I went to the store and picked up the bran twigs, yes that's the cereal that looks like shredded cardboard that I usually pass in the aisle and wonder what person in their right mind would eat that. But I'd be mixing it with a bunch of other wonderful ingredients that I figured would compensate. When made right, bran muffins can be a delicious start to the day.

Batter after refrigeration overnight
I started by soaking a cup of the bran cereal in a cup of boiling water for 45 minutes. In the meantime, I combined the flour, baking soda and salt. Then I added the raisins. The recipe said 1-1 1/2 cups. I'm always a fan of more raisins so I went for the full amount. After the cereal in boiling water had cooling I mixed in the oil and set it aside.  Then I combined the eggs, sugar and 2 cups of plain yogurt which I used as a substitute for the buttermilk. I mixed the flour mixture and the egg mixture together and added an additional two cups of bran cereal. Then finally, I added the mixture of water, oil and bran cereal to the mix. Then I refrigerated the batter overnight. The next morning the batter was very thick and dark in colour. All the cereal was now hydrated and ready to rumble. I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to fill my 6 muffin tin and baked them for 25 minutes. Then popped em out and set them to cool.

The bran muffins tasted good and had a great consistency but I kept hoping I'd taste another flavour. Like some banana and a bit of mixed spice. However, the great thing about this recipe is, I still have two more batches worth of batter in the fridge , so I can always add those flavours to it and see how it turns out next week. I'm sure with those lil adjustments I'll completely forget I'm eating fiber and just think I'm eating a quick delicious breakfast. 

Now for the Pièce de résistance, the Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze. I started by combining the dough ingredients and mixing into a sticky dough. I turned it unto a lightly floured glass cutting board and kneading it until it was more or less smooth. Then I put the dough in a large bowl sprayed with cooking spray, covered it in plastic wrap then a kitchen towel and left it to rise for 2 hrs. This recipe involves yeast, which I had never used before and was apprehensive about. I am not sure why, it was super easy and actually very cool to see how it made the dough rise like magic. Just look at the difference:

I had thought working with yeast would be hard but really it only requires you to stop for a while to wait for it to rise. I deflated the dough and rolled it out into a 15 x 11 rectangle which happened to be the dimensions of the cutting board i was rolling the dough on so I just rolled it to fit the board. I spread the butter on it and topped it with a mixture of cinnamon and brown sugar. Then I rolled it as tightly as possible and cut it into 3/4"-1" pieces and placed them in a 9 x 13 glass dish sprayed with cooking spray. It was at this time that I realized this recipe was going to be a real winner, they looked and smelled good already. I let them rise for another 45 mins.

I baked them for 40 minutes after which they were golden. While they baked I made the glaze which consisted of butter, icing sugar, and one of my favorite things, cream cheese :-)

I turned them upside down on a cooling rack and let them cool for 10 minutes, then I turned them right side up again, put them back in the dish and smeared the glaze over them. Then I served myself one.

Oh my goodness! Golden on the outside, soft on the inside, perfectly cinnamony and sweet, warm, comforting, and the glaze was the perfect compliment to it. This was better than Cinnabon, and I made them!!! Wow! I took out my phone and my ipod and sent texts and tweets to my friends. I wanted to spread the love. Soon after I had a group of 5 people in my kitchen eating cinnamon rolls, telling me they were great! I'm so glad they turned out so well, and so glad my friends liked them as much as I did. People were there trying to resist their, not second but third cinnamon roll . I had to remove and hide my boyfriend's share as it was in danger of being eaten. I wouldn't change a thing about this recipe and will be making it many more times. It's a definite winner and deserves its 4 fork rating.

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