I’ve an addiction to sugar and cinnamon.
When I was little, my parents would buy Saint Cinnamon rolls (Cinnabon-equivalent) for the family and it was a much-loved treat. That was until somewhere along life’s journey when they decided to leave Singapore for good — in other words also forcing our love affair to end.
But as with every relationship, if it’s worth fighting for, you never give up.
And so as I began my journey four months ago, sourcing for that same taste so cinn-fully delicious, I think it’s safe to say: I’ve finally found what I’ve been looking for.
With icing or without, it’s up to you. But one thing is for sure: no one can resist the smell of piping hot cinnamon rolls wafting from the kitchen, almost like a seduction of sorts.
Oh cinnamon roll, I could come up with ten things — or more — I love about you, but what’s my favourite part?
A hundred percent, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die: the chewy centre, loaded with all the gooey, sticky and cinnamon-sweet goodness in the world!
Don’t we all need that state of bliss?
Perfect Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Jessica’s recipe on Portuguese Girl Cooks
Yield: 16 rolls
For the Dough
- 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 4 cups plain or all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
For the Filling
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the Icing (optional)
- 1 ounce cream cheese, softened
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Few drops of vanilla extract
To make the Dough
1. Using a stand mixer fit with a whisk attachment (I use a Kenwood stand mixer), whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, melted butter and buttermilk until well combined.
2. While it is mixing, in a separate medium-sized bowl, mix together 2 cups of flour, the yeast and salt.
3. Add in the flour mixture to the egg mixture (I usually do this by the spoonful) until the mixture is moist and combined.
4. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Add in 1 1/4 cups flour, again in batches, and knead on low speed for about 5 minutes. At this juncture, check the dough. The dough should feel soft, slightly moist but should not stick to your fingers when you pull away.
5. If it is still sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time while kneading on low speed for another 5 minutes or so. I had to add about 4 to 5 tablespoons, but this really depends on the conditions under which you’re kneading so add accordingly. The end result should be dough that is smooth and elastic, like the picture shown below.
6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand for an additional minute then shape it in a round ball and set aside.
7. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough ball into the bowl and turn it to coat the ball in the oil. Cover and set aside (I put into the oven) for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Allow to double in size, (mine was almost overflowing ha ha) as shown in the pictures below.
To make the Filling
1. Just before taking out the dough, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt until combined. Set aside.
2. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish and set aside.
3. Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out into it. Use a rolling pin to shape the dough into a 12 by 18 inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving a 1/2 inch border along the length of the top.
4. Evenly sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar filling over the dough, leaving the 1/2 inch border free from the filling. Use your hands to gently press the filling into the dough.
5. Beginning with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough into a tight roll. (Make sure it’s tight! I didn’t do such a good job with this one, though. But oh, you should.) Once fully rolled, pinch the 1/2 inch border seam tightly to seal it.
6. Roll the cylinder so that it is seam-side down. Using a serrated knife or dental floss, cut the cylinder in half, then the two halves into half, and each quarter into quarters (confused now?). The end result should be 16 rolls. Arrange them into the baking dish, packed tightly. Cover with clear wrap and set aside to let rise for another hour. If baking the next day, store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
To bake the Rolls
*If baking on the same day, skip to Step 2.
1. On baking day, remove rolls from the refrigerator and place into an oven that is switched off. Fill a shallow baking pan 2/3 with boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let rolls rise for about 30 minutes until puffy. Remove rolls and pan of water before preheating oven.
2. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C (about 350 degrees F).
3. Glaze the rolls with either sugar glaze or egg wash (optional) before baking. Place the rolls on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
To make the Icing and assemble the Rolls
1. While the rolls are baking, make the icing. Using a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, mix all the ingredients on medium speed until well combined, light and fluffy.
2. Spread icing over warm rolls and serve. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, and don’t forget to eat down to the last bite!
**NOTE: Cinnamon rolls are meant to be eaten hot. If consumption is not immediate, reheat in the microwave oven for 15 to 20 seconds.
**ALSO NOTE: The icing portion is good enough for the normal person. But we do things a little different around here, and I make no apologies for liking my rolls extra sweet, so don’t be surprised I might have actually made almost twice the amount…
I went a little crazy with the photo styling this time and was in a total vintage, rustic mood. Glad to have found the old English teacup and saucer set, together with a used wooden spoon and the cute round plate which had a fading green edge.
A wooden picnic-worthy table sitting in the backyard made the perfect place to hold my (photography) party. The colours remind me of Christmas, don’t you think?
Which reminds me, festive entertaining with these rolls would be splendid! Cinnamon rolls are good for breakfast, brunch, tea, supper… Heck, just about any time of the day, imo. Make them a day in advance, and pop them in the oven for 30 minutes before your guests arrive.
Also the fact that the rolls didn’t all turn out identical — no shame in that! I just used it to my advantage because they look wonderful when all piled in the basket, like the perfect misfits.
Making and eating these cinnamon rolls brought me back to a precious part of my childhood. From the strong smell of cinnamon, to the eager mouth-watering anticipation of eating and finally to sharing them with the family. Looking back, I guess it’s true I’ve been a closet foodie for a long, long time.
But I’m happy to say, not anymore! So follow me on the re-discovery of my love for food and I promise you won’t regret.
And as for me and my cinnamon roll? Yup, we lived happily ever after. x