Decadent cinnamon rolls flavored with cardamom, orange, apricot, currants and chocolate.
We need company, pronto; and LOTS of it! Otherwise, we're going to eat all these decadent cinnamon rolls ourselves...
This month, I decided to hop on board the ABC (Avid Baker's Challenge) for some baking fun. This year the group is baking from Abby Dodge's book, The Weekend Baker, and each month we all bake the same recipe, make changes, and post our results. I'm not sure I qualify as an avid baker - that conjures up for me someone who can make extravaganza cakes with ease and grace - but I love to bake bread.
As luck would have it, this month's ABC Challenge is bread: Glazed Cinnamon Rolls. If you want to give yourself a treat, and don't want to spend the money for a day at the spa, this is my recommendation:
- Make these rolls.
- Select a good book you've been wanting to read.
- Brew a pot of piping hot tea or coffee.
- Set out a plate of a couple of these rolls, fresh from the oven, along with some butter. Have your pot of tea at hand.
- Grab an afghan, curl up on your sofa, pour some tea, butter a roll.
- Relax, and pretend you have all the time in the world.
This recipe wins top marks for ease to make, texture, and dough flavor; but I preferred them without the glaze. I like a cinnamon roll that's all about the dough and filling. If the first thing I bite down on is glaze, it tends to dominate. Just my opinion.
Changes I made from the original recipe:
- I infused orange and cardamom flavors into the dough.
- I amped up the filling with apricot jam, currants, chocolate and cardamom.
- I added a little cream cheese to the glaze.
Soft Orange Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 long wide strips of orange peel
- 1 teaspoon smashed cardamom pods green pods
- 3 ½ cups 15 ¾ ounces all purpose flour
- 2 ¼ teaspoons 1 packet instant or Rapid-Rise yeast
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup confectioners sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan, combine the milk, the butter, orange peel and smashed cardamom pods. Set over medium heat to melt the butter. Once the milk starts to bubble at the edges (about 130º F), remove from the heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, yeast, and sugar. Whisk until well-blended. Return the milk and butter mixture to the heat and heat back to 115º - 125ºF. Strain out the orange peel and cardamom.
- Fit the mixer with the dough hook. With the mixer on medium-low speed, slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the flour mixture, and add the egg and salt. Mix until the flour is completely incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic, and pulls away from the bottom of the bowl, about 5 minutes. If the dough begins to climb the hook, stop the mixer and scrape the dough back into the bowl. Repeat as needed. Don't venture too far away while the dough is mixing, as the mixer might dance around on the counter because of the large amount of dough.
- Scoop up the dough and shape into a ball. Lightly grease the bowl and pop the dough back into it. cover the top securely with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot of the kitchen free of any drafts. Let rise until the dough has nearly doubled in size, 45 - 50 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the sugars, flour, cinnamon, cardamom and orange zest. Warm up the apricot jam, strain it and add the butter. Stir until the butter is melted. Reheat if necessary. Set aside. Lightly butter a 9 X 13 inch baking dish.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and press down gently to deflate it. Roll out the dough into a 12 X 17 inch rectangle, using your hand to stretch the dough gently when necessary. Pour the apricot / butter mixture onto the dough and use a rubber or offset spatula to spread. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the butter, spreading with your hand, if necessary. Sprinkle the currants and chocolate chips evenly over the surface.
- Starting on the short side, roll up like a jelly roll, slightly lifting as you roll due to the currants and chips. Pinch the long seam of the dough to the roll to seal. Position the roll, seam side down, on the work surface, and slice into 1 inch wide slices. Arrange the slices, cut side up, in the prepared pan, forming 3 rows of 4 slices each. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise in a warm spot until they're about 1 ½ times their original size, about 40 minutes.
Rolls and Glaze
- Heat the oven to 350° F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the rolls until they are puffed and well-browned, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the baking dish to a rack and let cool slightly as you make the glaze.
- In a small bowl, combine all of the glaze ingredients, and stir until well blended, smooth and thick. It should form a thick ribbon when dropped from a spoon. Serve the rolls with a thick ribbon of glaze over each roll.