Sunday, May 1, 2011

April Baking Challenge: Cinnamon Rolls

They're part of a complete breakfast.
Long, complicated recipes resulting in me finding flour behind my ears days later.  That was the sort of thing I was thinking when I came up with the idea of a monthly baking challenge.  Perfectly chewy bagels, impossibly light macrons, an intricate gingerbread house, these are all things that are coming over the next few year.  But first, cinnamon rolls.

On the rare occasion that I buy a cinnamon roll, it is almost always tough and dry when I want them to be tender, moist, and just the right balance between sweet and spicy.  Recipes abound on the internet and most are reasonably simple if you if you are comfortable making a basic enriched dough.  But this one from not so humble pie spoke to me.  Perhaps that it comes from the kitchen of a biological anthropologist.  Is it the slight condescension of only making dough by hand (I used the dough hook on my mixer - don't tell!).  Or maybe, probably, it was the cream cheese frosting.

Why have I been tolerating cinnamon rolls topped with an insipid glaze all of these years? The cream cheese frosting, lightened (in texture, not calories) by whipped cream is really what makes these rolls.  The contrast between the sweetness of the rolls and the tanginess of the cheese is perfect. I made a half recipe of the rolls and a 1/3 recipe of the frosting.  It was just right.  Someone in the comments said she served them with the frosting on the side - don't do that.

The rolls were perfectly tender the first morning with a cup of coffee and a big bowl of fruit to break up the decadence of the roll.  The next morning I microwaved them for about 20 seconds covered in a slightly damp paper towel before adding a dollop of frosting.  The texture is a a slight bit tougher, but I was surprised at how well they held up...and that we didn't polish them all off the first day.

Fruit makes the whole meal healthy ;)

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