Sunday, February 18, 2007

(Not As) Dark and (Even More!) Dangerous Cinnamon Buns

With the play performances looming in a week, we are into crunch time on our practices. So faced with double rehearsals this weekend, I didn't think I'd have time for any big food projects. But then I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Culinary in the Desert (or it might be Culinary in the Country now that they've moved from the Southwest to the East Coast), and damn them, they sucked me in with their cinnamon rolls from the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Book! They just looked too good not to try. I was very curious as to whether a whole-grain cinnamon roll could maintain a desirably soft interior. And guess what? It can! I credit that to the potatoes and milk in the dough, and perhaps the honey, too. And I love the addition of rolled oats...yum!

Of course, I ended up making some adjustments due to the ingredients that I had on hand. But they really turned out well--certainly equal to the traditional cinnamon rolls that I've made in the past in terms of texture, and I believe more flavorful overall. The main difference was that instead of using part whole wheat and part whole wheat white flours, I used all whole wheat white, as I had LOTS of that on hand and needed to use a good bit of it up. So these are not as dark as the original version. (I will try it that way in the future, to be sure.) Also, they seemed to be making an attempt to make the rolls lower in fat but omitting butter in the filling, but I cannot support that! I want my cinnamon buns rich, decadent, and life-threatening, or why bother? Moreover, I am all about a cream cheese frosting, so I converted their icing recipe as well, just to make it that much tastier...and deadlier. ;-) However, I will reprint the original version of the recipe below for you to try, and just note my changes. Then you can decide which way you want to go.

Dark and Dangerous Cinnamon Buns (Adapted from KAF Whole Grain Baking Book via Culinary in the Desert/Country)

For the dough:
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water (I needed an additional 2 T making a full cup)
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
5 tablespoons honey
1 large egg, yolk and white separated (I used the whole egg)
4 tablespoons butter, softened, cut into chunks
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (I used all whole wheat white=3 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dry potato flakes
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast

For the filling:
1 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used light)
1 large egg white (I used this in the dough)
2 tablespoons cinnamon
scant 1/8 teaspoon salt

*softened butter (optional)

For the icing:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste and extract)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
pinch of salt
2-4 tablespoons milk
*I added 4 oz. softened cream cheese and only needed 1-2 T of milk

To make the dough :
In a large mixing bowl, mix together water, orange juice, honey, egg yolk (or egg), butter, flours, oats, potato flakes, dry milk, salt and yeast just until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Cover the dough and let rest for 45 minutes so the flour can absorb the liquid and the yeast can get a head start.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until you have a medium-soft and smooth dough. Place in a large lightly greased bowl and cover - let rise until it is very puffy, but will most likely have not double in size - about 1 to 2 hours. (I almost gave up after 2 1/2 hours and was ready to pitch the non-rising dough. But after FOUR HOURS, it was perfectly doubled.)

To make the filling:
In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, egg white, cinnamon and salt until completely combined. (I omitted the egg white, spread the dough with softened butter instead, and then sprinkled on the cinnamon-sugar-salt mix.)

To assemble the rolls:
Gently punch down the dough and place it on a lightly greased surface. Roll the dough out until it is a 12 x 16" rectangle. Scoop the filling onto the dough and use an off-set spatula or wet fingers to spread it evenly over the dough, leaving a 1" margin along one of the edges. Roll the dough into a log (not too tight to allow for rising), starting with the long end that has the filling all the way to the edge, turning it so the seam will be flat against the surface. Use plain dental floss and cut the dough into 16 1" pieces. You can use a very sharp knife, but the dental floss makes for clean cuts without smooshing the dough.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Evenly space the buns into a 9 x 13" baking dish lightly coated with nonstick spray. It is okay if they don't touch each other. Cover and let rise for 1 to 1 1/4 hours - they will not double in size, but should rise by about half as large as they started out. (I let my rise in the refrigerator overnight instead.)

Place in the oven and bake until they are a deep golden brown on top, about 24-28 minutes. Remove the pan and set on a wire rack for about 3 minutes. Carefully turn the rolls out onto a wire rack and then flip them back again (so the tops are up) onto another wire cooling rack. (I just left mine in the baking dish and did not turn them out before icing them.)

To make the icing:
In a large mixing bowl, mix together confectioners' sugar, vanilla, butter, salt and 2 tablespoons milk (and some cream cheese if you like). Add in additional milk, if necessary, to achieve a creamy spreadable icing. Spread the icing over the baked rolls while still warm.

Makes 16 buns.

1 comment:

Randi said...

I'm so glad you made these. I've wanted to make them since I bought the book. Whenever I go to the mall, I crave those cinnabuns but I know they are just terrible for me.