Before I made my first cake I baked my first bread. Even before my first bread, I made my first bao/siopao. So I introduced myself to yeast early on in my life as a food blogger. The orthodox ladder of progression must have been lost in the mail.
The first batch of cinnamon rolls I made a month or two ago, had the texture of day old bread. Suffice to say I was disappointed so that made me lay off making rolls for a while. So maybe starting haphazardly has its disadvantages.
After more than a week of silence (I went on a little trip) I finally went back to the kitchen and baked. I made the mistake of forgetting when the yeast sitting at the back of the fridge was going to expire, so over the next few days and weeks you will hopefully see me churning out yeast inspired magic. Tall order, I know.
I was skeptical at first. I didn’t know if the yeast would froth (the indicator that yeast is still viable). I knew the froth had to resemble copious amounts of beer foam, but the description said as long as the top bubbles, it’s still usable. And bubble it did.
The original recipe called for cream cheese frosting, but I didn’t have any cream cheese on hand. But the first bite into these morsels managed to make me forget all about it. These didn’t taste like day-old bread at all (!).
The verdict: it tastes like how I imagined a great cinnamon roll to taste like – a soft whisper of a crust, giving way to the warm, soft, pillow-y interior. The filling perfectly buttery, with just the right amount of cinnamon. It made perfect sense.
You can add the cream cheese glaze, nuts and raisins, even apples to the filling, but these rolls stand alone perfectly. I’m not sure if it’s the monsoon season here in the Philippines but we have been having rain showers for days now. A batch of warm toasty cinnamon rolls with a cup of hot chocolate would be your best friend on a lazy, cold afternoon.
Cinnamon Rolls (makes 12 – 13 rolls; adapted from yummy.ph)
For the dough
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package OR 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the filling
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 – 3 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup butter, cubed and softened
- In the bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. (If you have an electric mixer, you can do this in its bowl). Leave for 5 minutes.
- Add sugar, butter, and eggs. Using a hand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or the electric mixer), run the mixer on low speed to stir the mixture.
- Gradually add flour and salt, and knead until mixture forms a smooth, elastic dough, about 20 to 30 minutes. I used the dough hook to “knead” it for a while, then placed it on a floured surface and knead it by hand. It took some time but patience is key.
- Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm place. Allow dough to rise until double in size; about 1 hour.
- Punch dough to release air then transfer to a work surface. Roll dough into a rectangle (24-inch – long, 16-inch-wide, about 1/4-inch-thick).
- Make the filling: Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and mix well.
- Using a spatula, spread softened butter evenly over the dough then sprinkle the surface with the cinnamon-sugar filling.
- Roll dough tightly into a log. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 2-inch slices. Place on a greased baking pan, or a pan lined with a silicone baking mat, 2 inches apart. Allow dough to rise until double in size, about 30 minutes.
- Bake the rolls in an oven preheated to 375 F/190 C for about 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Place on a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm and enjoy!
I came home from Manila with a handful of things to help me out in the kitchen: two nice cookbooks, a brand new silpat (which you can see in the pictures), useful kitchen utensils and, wait for it, placemats. I use these when I’m taking photographs of the food I make and it really helps. Scouring the discount aisles at The Landmark for placemats made me feel like a child again. (haha)