Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls, creme de la creme style.

I seem to be on a bit of an old-school kick lately. It started with the Apple Crumble. I couldn't get over how the whole house smelt like when those apples were baking in the cinnamon-butter. Less than a couple of days later, I had one of those baking urges... it may or may not have been triggered by the fresh yeast I found at Nilgris.

Bread. Nothing like bread to help get over a stressful day at work. It feels like an accomplishment, when it's golden and soft and beautiful. When it flops, you'll feel like a failure, but that's just an occupational hazard.

How does one max the whole bread-baking experience to the extreme? Bring out the lovelies, of course-whole sticks of cinnamon and cloves and nutmeg; dark brown sugar that'll melt into the honey-butter to give out sizzling caramel and a bevy of nuts and dried fruit.

They all go and make the delicious wonder that are Cinnamon Rolls.

Cinnamon rolls are hard to come across in Madras. And when you do, they're an insult to cinnamon rolls. It makes you angry, almost, that these bakeries/shops can underestimate "uncultured Madrasis" and give us a sad, stale bun and call it a cinnamon roll. Eejits.

You can fight for your right for authentic cinnamon rolls. Or just make them yourself, already. Bet you knew that was coming!

So when it comes to searching for the recipe, I have two off-the-top of my head options. The Pioneer Woman has a kickass recipe for old-fashioned cinnamon rolls. Joy ups your regular cinnamon roll by dabbing on cream cheese. I took the goodness out of both the recipes, threw in my secret Spiced-sugar mix and used gorgeous, gorgeous fresh yeast in the place of Active Dry and oooh, baby. Bakery-style cinnamon rolls.

I made one batch healthy (relatively, at least), by cutting down the sugar and butter, replacing half the all-purpose flour with whole wheat and Nutralite instead of butter, the whole nine yards. The result was relatively delicious-a hot, fluffy bun you could enjoy with your morning cuppa that won't make you feel like your morning run went for a toss with two bites.

And the other batch, I went all out. Pecans, walnuts, raisins. REAL "cake" butter. Coorg honey by the spoonful. And white, white flour. Sticky, sweet cinnamon buns with caramelized nuts embedded between flaky bits of the roll. They need no frosting or glaze, but if you like Cinnabon and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, you could try coating it with glaze... And let me know once you crash from the sugar-high. I'm not judging; I'm a believer in the occasional sugar high.

I'll post the recipe for the uber-yummy batch. Mail me if you want the healthy one, don't be shy... told you I won't judge.

And the process might sound a bit complicated, so a full read-through could save you from potentially expensive disasters.

Cinnamon Rolls.


4 cups whole milk.
1 cup vegetable oil.
1 cup granulated white sugar.
9 cups All-purpose flour (maida)
2 packed tablespoons Fresh yeast (or 4.5 tsps Instant Dry Yeast)
1 tsp baking powder.
1 tsp baking soda.
1 tsp salt.

For the filling:

3/4 cup butter.
2 tablespoons honey.

1/2 cup brown sugar.
1-1/4 cups white sugar, powdered
1 whole cinnamon bark-roll (or loads of powdered cinnamon)
5 cloves.
1/4 tsp nutmeg, grated.
1/2 cup pecans, chopped.
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped.
1/2 cup raisins.


In a bowl, combine the milk, vegetable oil and sugar. Mix well and place over a medium flame. Just before it comes to a boil, take it off the heat. Cool it for 45 minutes to one hour.

Dissolve the yeast in a ladleful of the warm (NOT HOT) mix. Add it back into the pan. After a minute, add 8 cups of All-purpose flour and fold it into the milk. Cover the bowl, keep aside in the warmest area of your kitchen for an hour.

After an hour, it will look like this. Add one more cup of flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir the mix together. At this point, the dough can be wrapped with cling film and kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Making the spice mix:

Blitz the brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg together. To this powdered mix, add the chopped nuts and raisins. Keep aside.

Making the rolls.

Place half the dough on a well-floured clean work surface/marble-ish counter top.

Roll it out into a rough rectangle.

Roll the rectangle out some more until it's just a tiny bit thicker than you would roll for parathas.

Pour half the melted butter over it. Pour a tablespoonful of honey over the butter. Sprinkle half your sugar-spice mix.

Massage it all into the dough.

Start rolling the dough from left to right.

Cut it into slices.

Place the rolls in a well-greased and foil-ed baking tray. Leave enough space between the rolls. Let them rise for 30 minutes.

In the meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180 C or 350 F.

The rolls would have puffed up some more. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are golden and puffy.

You can sprinkle extra sugar-spice mix over the hot rolls or dab some cream cheese on them or making a simple glaze with a little buttermilk and icing sugar.

The only downside is that these have to be eaten in a day. I refrigerated the plastic-wrapped, unbaked rolls for a couple of days (remember to let them thaw out for 30 minutes before putting them into the oven) and they came out just as good great.

I know I've been posting errantly, thanks to the unholy hours of my new job. But if leaking out my cinnamon roll recipe isn't saying Sorry enough, I don't know what is.


  1. Oh, I just discovered - hummus, dal, strawberries sandwich = awesomeness. Why am I telling you this? Because people should know! Also, I was inspired by your 13 sandwiches thingy to try different combos. This was a success - others, not so much. And I was too lazy to try and find that post!

  2. Dal, as in sambar, and strawberries?! And here I thought tossing strawberries and spinach in a vinaigrette was brave!
    And all you need to do in order to find a post is use the Recipe Index or the search box!

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  4. No no.. the other kind. The dry one with sev. Actually, just strawberries, sev and hummus would be good.

    And you know me.. think I'll actually go look it up?