It took me two goes to get these right. The first time the dough was far too stiff, and the yeast didn’t act properly, so they didn’t rise well and were tough and dry. But they smelled so lovely when they were baking, and tasted nice too, so I decided to try again. Success — they rose beautifully and the crumb was soft and light.
The recipe is from my Taste & Create partner’s blog: Fun Foods on a Budget! I liked the title of this blog because one of my favourite standby books when I was an impoverished student was Good Food on a Budget, a fat — and soon food-stained — paperback organised by month in order to make the most of seasonal and hence cheap ingredients.
Like that book, Stephanie’s blog showcases simple, family-friendy recipes which are cheap, filling and generally easy to make. There were quite a few recipes I liked the look of: I hovered over the lemon sugar cookies, the pull-apart loaf, and the parmesan potatoes, but in the end I plumped for these cinnamon rolls because they sounded so good despite Stephanie’s problem with them not rising. It was worth persevering! Once you get the quantities right, they are easy to make.
Update: I stored the left-overs in the freezer, and later used them to make a nice cinnamon-flavoured bread and butter pudding; slice in half or thirds crossways, then cut diagonally in half to make triangles. Then proceed as usual.
My metric conversions follow. The second time, I pre-soaked the yeast in a little warm water to make sure it was actually working, and added only just enough flour to stop the dough being sticky.
500 g flour (I used brioche flour, which is enriched with dried egg)
50 g sugar
1 tsp salt
1 sachet easy-blend yeast
220 ml warm milk
40 g soft butter
1 large egg
40 g soft brown sugar
1 tsp spices (I used cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and 4-épices)
20 g butter, melted
a few sultanas (optional)
apricot glaze (optional)
Mix about half the flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast (pre-soaked if necessary, depending on the type of yeast you use) in a large bowl. Add warm milk, butter, and egg. Beat with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon till well blended and smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make dough easy to handle — if not using an electric mixer, you’ll need to use your hands once it gets too stiff for the spoon.
Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Place dough in a large lightly greased bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in warm place for about an hour and a half or until doubled in size and very springy.
Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Flatten dough with hands or rolling pin into 15×10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Brush dough liberally with melted butter. Combine brown sugar and spices and sprinkle over rectangle of dough. I scattered over some sultanas too. Roll rectangle up tightly, beginning at 15-inch side. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Stretch and shape until even. Cut roll into 15 1-inch slices with dental floss or a sharp serrated knife (I made 12, because I didn’t have a tin large enough for 15, but as Stephanie says, 15 would be better; mine were very generous portions!). Place slightly apart in greased 9×13 tin. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for about 30 minutes; the rolls will plump up and touch each other.
Bake in a pre-heated 170C oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to cool on a wire rack (you might need to use a knife to gently separate the rolls).
Stephanie iced hers with cream cheese frosting, but I felt they were rich enough already, so I just drizzled them with shiny apricot glaze (you can make this by heating sieved apricot jam and thinning it with a little water if necessary). Or make the vanilla glaze in Stephanie’s post.