Quick Cinnamon Rolls

Very few things will get me out of bed at 7 am on a Sunday. (I don’t even get up this early for church.) One of those things is the World Cup… mostly because M and our friend B are crazy about this tournament and will wake up really early just to watch. If we didn’t live in a 700+ sq ft apartment with our bedroom open to the living room, I may have been able to sleep through it (thought it would not have been easy). I am a sucker for making breakfast though, and forcing those two to attempt to be quiet during any sports game is like trying to hide a triceratops in your bathroom. Not possible.  

If I had prepared in advance, I would have tried Alton’s overnight Cinnamon Roll recipe, but dinner and a movie last night nixed that opportunity. So, I searched for a while to try and find a dough recipe I could make and then proof in the fridge overnight. I found a few recipes for this, but didn’t have the desire to get up an extra hour early just to let the dough come to room temperature – then wait even longer for them to rise before baking. On with the search. I ended my search after I found a few recipes for quick cinnamon roll like biscuits. There were good reviews, so I thought I’d give it a try. 

I combined various ingredients from three different recipes to make the one below. I think they turned out well for quick cinnamon rolls. They are no match to the overly fatty cinnamon rolls sold in malls across the us, but I felt better eating more knowing that there is hardly any fat in the dough. 4 tablespoons of butter is nothing compared to the 2 sticks that some other recipes called for! They remind me a little of pillsbury rolls from the tube, but less greasy. I’d definitely make these again. I usually have all of the ingredients on hand anyways, and if I didn’t have buttermilk, I would use milk and vinegar instead. A great treat for overnight guests. This would have been a good Father’s Day treat too! Too bad we don’t live closer. Happy Fathers Day Dads! 

Cinnamon Roll “Biscuits” 

For the dough: 
3/4 C thick non fat yogurt (I used Mountain High)
1/3 C buttermilk
1/4 C sugar
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1 t vanilla extract
2 C unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
1 T baking powder
1/2 t table salt
1/4 t baking soda

For the filling:
2 T unsalted butter, melted
2/3 C packed light brown sugar
2 t ground cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 C chopped pecans (optional)

For the glaze:
2-1/2 oz cream cheese
2 to 3 T milk or buttermilk
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 t pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease the sides and bottom of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with cooking spray.

Make the dough:

In a food processor, combine the yogurt, buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Process until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and pulse in short bursts just until the dough clumps together (don’t overprocess). The dough will be soft and moist.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and dust it with flour. Knead it 4 or 5 times until smooth. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12×15 inch rectangle. If the dough springs back and will not stay in a nice rectangle give it a few minutes to rest and try again. 

Make the filling:

Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving a 1/2 inch border unbuttered around the edges. In another bowl, whisk the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle the mixture over the buttered area of the dough and pat gently into the surface. Sprinkle the nuts over the sugar mixture if you are using them. Starting at a long edge, roll up the dough jelly-roll style. Pinch the seam to seal, and leave the ends open.

Using a 12 inch length of waxed dental floss, cut the roll into 12 equal pieces. (Slide the floss under the log, bring the ends up on top, cross and twist the floss to cut the dough). Set the pieces, cut side up, in the prepared pan; they should fill the pan and touch slightly, but don’t worry if there are small gaps.

Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, 25-28 minutes. Let the rolls sit in the pan for a few minutes before removing the side. Transfer the rolls to a serving plate. You can also use a round cake pan, or an 8 inch square pan. 

Make the glaze:

In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, 2 Tbs. milk, and vanilla to make a smooth glaze. It should have a thick but pourable consistency, so add up to 1 Tbs. more milk if necessary. Drizzle the glaze over the rolls. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

Cranberry Orange Scones

I like scones. They are my favorite item to order with coffee, so it’s about time I mastered them for myself instead of spending 1.95 for mass produced breakfast biscuits. Lemon walnut is a close tie so I’ll be attempting this one soon.
These scones turned out really well. I found a recipe by Ina Garten (what a funny man, but I love her) and I changed it to suit my style. I liked this one because it had a glaze that wasn’t overpowering like some can be. The dough was a little sticky and I was a bit concerned that they wouldn’t rise, but they rose beautifully! I haven’t had great success with some scone recipes in the past, but this one is worth keeping. I was thinking it might make a good base scone for fruity additions like lemon or blueberry.
Of course they were best the night I made them, but they kept fairly well the next four days we ate them. Oh, scone you make me happy in the morning.
Cranberry Orange Scones
adapted from Ina Garten, Food Network
2 C flour + 1/4 C and more for shaping
2T sugar
1 T baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt (or sea salt)
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
1 stick butter diced
2 eggs + 1 yolk + enough milk to make 1 C
1/2 C cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 T water
1/2 C powdered sugar
3 tsp fresh orange juice
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. In the bowl of a mixer, add dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add orange zest and mix well. Add butter cubes and mix until the butter pieces resemble peas (or a little larger). Add eggs and yolk to a measuring cup and add enough milk to make 1 cup. I used soy milk because we had some. Using a higher fat milk is good too. Add this mix to the flour mix on medium speed until it just comes together. Add the cranberries and the 1/4 C flour and stir to combine. Plop the dough out onto a well floured surface and shape it into into a 8-9 inch round about 1 inch high. Cut the dough with a sharp knife into 8 pizza wedges. Place all of these onto a baking sheet. Mix the egg and water and brush across the tops of each scone. Place them into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. They should be a lovely shade of golden brown and Ina says firm to the touch.
Wait for them to cool a little on a wire rack and drizzle some glaze on top. Eat them right, hovering over the rack until they are cool enough to handle. They are best this way, otherwise you could be a little more civilized and put them on a plate or serving dish for guests. Serve with coffee or tea (or take them to work with you and eat them at your desk while savoring a morning latte).

Biscuits are Heavenly

I had not had a biscuit for a long time until I ate at a trendy little southern style restaurant here in San Francisco. Farmer Brown knows fried chicken and it is quite an indulgence every now and then. They recently opened a to-go window near my office which I finally tried this week. They serve a range of chicken lunch boxes and waffles and chicken + waffles, and they all come with what they call their “Angel Biscuits”. One of my co-workers gobbled it up on the way back to our office repeatedly saying, “it’s so good!” and it got me thinking… I haven’t made biscuits since I have no idea and I have a lot of good recipes to try…. hmmm.
For dinner I made grilled chicken, roasted green beans and finished the meal off with a pretty little biscuit. I adapted 2 recipes to create what I find was a perfect accompaniment to a simple dinner. They came out well, though not as tall as I imagined, and were really tasty. They were nice and flakey, moist, and not too sweet for a dinner biscuit. They are also quick to pull together if you find you have no bread component for your meal.
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours (and a little insight from Paula Dean)
2 C flour
1 T baking powder
1 heaping tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
8 T butter
3/4 C buttermilk
1/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 425* and center rack in oven. Whisk together dry ingredients and cut in butter until it resembles oatmeal and pea size pieces. Add milk and stir together with a fork. Knead once or twice in the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll to 1/2″ thick and cut as many biscuits as possible with a 2″ round. Gather the scraps and working the dough as little as possible pat into 1/2″ thickness and cut again. (mine yielded 11) Lay cut biscuits on a silicone mat lined baking sheet (or freeze biscuits) and bake for 14-18 minutes until puffed and golden brown.
I made mine with buttermilk because I had it on hand. If you don’t have it, just substitute for whole milk – or at least 2% – and don’t add baking soda. They were delicious just plain and I they are a fine compliment to tea with jam and honey!
ps. roasting green beans is amazing!