Out with the old and in with the new. That’s what made me finally try a different recipe for cinnamon rolls. I had been making the same cinnamon rolls for years. I’ve changed the recipe to include pumpkin puree at times, but other than that, my homemade rolls have always been made the same way. Many moons ago, my cookbook library consisted of one book and that was The New Basics. The New Basics does not have a recipe for cinnamon rolls, and that’s why my collection grew to two books. Note: that book does have a recipe for sticky buns, but I wasn’t smart enough to think of checking for that at the time. I was at a bookstore, flipping through a few different general cooking types of books, and bought the tenth edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook because it did have a recipe for cinnamon rolls. It served me well for years until I decided it was time to try the Saveur cream cheese cinnamon rolls that Joy the Baker made. The key ingredient, cream cheese, is in the dough not the frosting.
After trying these twice, I didn’t completely sweep out the old. I realized there were a couple of details from my stand-by method that I couldn’t abandon. The dough ingredients were much like those for my old rolls other than the use of cream cheese, but there was a difference with the butter. For the new rolls, the butter was to be softened to room temperature and then kneaded into the dough with a dough hook on a mixer. It didn’t work itself into the dough very well, and the first time I ended up kneading a bit by hand to be sure the butter was incorporated. The second time, I warmed the butter to almost but not quite melting as I always did in the old version and then didn’t have to knead by hand. Then, after the dough had doubled in size, it was rolled into a ten inch square, and this is where the cream cheese was added. Softened cream cheese was spread on the square of dough, and the dough was folded almost like folding butter into homemade puff pastry which I still haven’t attempted. So, the dough was folded into thirds like a letter and then turned and folded again. Then, it was rolled out into a large rectangle to be topped with fillings. This new recipe suggests brushing the dough with melted butter, but again I reverted to my old ways with the butter. The first time around, the melted butter seemed to run out of the rolls and the bottoms browned too quickly as they baked. So, the second time, I spread very soft but not melted butter on the dough just like old times. A topping mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, maple syrup and granulated sugar was spread on the buttered dough, and I included pecans and raisins one time but not the other just to mix it up. Then, the dough was rolled and cut and the rolls were placed in a buttered baking dish. You can either let the rolls rise for two hours and bake them, or you can place them in the refrigerator overnight. If refrigerated, they should come to room temperature before being baked.
Old recipe or new, it’s hard to beat the aroma of homemade cinnamon rolls in the oven. When they were baked and cooled, they were topped with a simple confectioner’s sugar frosting with some maple syrup in it. This is a richer version of a cinnamon roll than my old recipe, and the dough was tender and incredibly good. In the end, I don’t think the old will be thrown out since it almost seems like a light recipe now, but I’m definitely keeping the new.
I’m submitting this to Yeastspotting where you’ll find some seriously well-made bread.