There is a cinnamon spectrum, I find, in which there are two extremes: the group of people who really, really like cinnamon, and the group that really, really doesn't like cinnamon. Unfortunately, most people in my family fall in the latter category, and it is for that reason I grew up with a childhood that was pretty much deprived of cinnamon rolls and cinnamon-sugar toast.
I'm trying to make up for it now, though. Catching up on all the cinnamon that my blood sugar lacked in my first fifteen years of life.
I think my first (proper) encounter with cinnamon that I can remember is thepioneerwoman's cinnamon sugar toast - the one in which she introduces the best way of making cinnamon toast, and why the other three methods just don't measure up. I've been making cinnamon toast her way ever since, and I remember many mornings when I would have that for breakfast before school.
I've found that people these days have a tendency to overhype things. Be it llao llao or superga (disclaimer: i have nothing against those things!!!), everything nowadays is so great that you don't quite know what is or isn't worth investing the emotional effort into anymore. It's getting hard to distinguish between the good, and the really good. The kind of good that is worth the extra effort for. So everything becomes good.
But let me assure you: these rolls are worth the extra effort. Every little bit of it. Although they're actually really simple to make and not worth very much effort but they're definitely worth any bit of effort you put into it. The only painful part about this recipe is the stickiness of the dough. Stephanie, from iamafoodblog says that this is due to the 69% hydration of the dough and that it is a necessary evil.
I guess it is possible for evil to turn good, though - the resultant bun is incredibly soft and pillowy, just how I like my buns. As a number of my family members are not part of the cinnamon-loving-fan-club, I made some Nutella rolls instead; substituting the cinnamon-sugar mixture for a few dollops of the well-loved chocolate hazelnut spread.
This is just one of the many things I love about this recipe, or just rolls in general. They are just so versatile! As I was saying to a friend of mine earlier this evening, all you need is a base recipe and from there, whatever you make is only limited by your imagination.
Initially, I had wanted to make citrus rolls. I even bought the oranges and tried making marmalade with them. Halfway through cooking, I added earl grey tea leaves due to a sudden burst of inspiration, hoping that this would be one of those magical experiments that resulted in a beautiful mess. Alas, it was only a mess.
So, cinnamon rolls and nutella rolls it was. I made this recipe more than once, just to assure myself that this recipe is just that good, which it is!
adapted from here
for the dough:
- 280g + 5 tbsp bread flour (and more for dusting)
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 50g granulated sugar
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp + 1 tsp whole milk
- 40g butter, melted and cooled
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- whisk the bread flour, instant yeast and granulated sugar together.
- whisk the milk and cooled butter together, then add in the egg and mix thoroughly.
- add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a wooden spoon (or whatever works for you) until it comes together in a slightly sticky dough. cover with a tea towel and proof for two hours.
for the filling:
- 70g butter, softened
- 100g brown sugar
- 2 tbsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp nutmeg (optional)
- mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg (if any).
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- by now, the dough should have risen quite significantly!! lightly flour the surface of your workstation and the surface of your dough. roll the dough into a rectangle, as best as you can. (note: dusting the surface of your dough with flour is very very important!! if not, the dough will be too sticky to roll properly.)
- with your hands, spread the softened butter around the rectangle. it's a lot of fun, but do remember to wash your hands first!
- sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of the butter as evenly as possible.
- roll the dough up tightly, starting from the side furthest away from you. take a sharp knife and cut into equal rolls.
- butter your baking pan, and place the rolls in the baking pan (i used an 8x8 for this recipe). cover with a tea towel and let proof for one hour.
- while proofing, preheat oven at 176 degrees celsius.
- just before baking, brush the tops with the lightly beaten egg (egg wash!!)
- bake for 30-35 minutes (mine usually take 30). they should be done when the tops are brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. frosting is optional, they're good enough as they are!!