Category Archives: cinnamon

Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts

Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsA few weeks ago, there was a Facebook poll going around asking if a cinnamon roll is a doughnut. I don’t know where or why it started, but I compulsively swiped it every time it came up on my feed just to make sure everyone I know understands that cinnamon rolls are not doughnuts.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Rolls = baked pastry.

Doughnuts = fried* pastry.

*Baked Doughnuts = muffins in disguise.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsOf course, there are exceptions to every rule and, oh, do I love finding an exception. Today’s recipe, Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts, are exactly what they sound like: fluffy, brown sugary cinnamon rolls made from doughnut dough, fried ‘til golden and dunked in a classic sugar glaze. They are both cinnamon roll and a doughnut and they are exactly as delicious as they sound.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsThe inspiration for these comes from my childhood doughnut shop, Dale’s Donuts #9.* They made (and I assume that they still make) a version of these, and since I didn’t grow up with much home baking, I just assumed that all cinnamon rolls were doughnuts. As has been established, they are not, but I didn’t know at the time and I don’t think I would have cared…unless there wasn’t one left for me after a Sunday doughnut run.

*I have never encountered Dale’s Donuts #1-#8. If you ever do, please tell me. I would love to know they exist.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsAnyway…I’ve since learned to make great cinnamon rolls and doughnuts, but the cinnamon roll doughnuts of my youth have eluded me. I’ve looked for something comparable in every doughnut shop I’ve encountered over the years (which has been a lot), but have come up empty-handed…so I figured it out myself.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll Doughnuts are as simple to make as any of my other yeasted doughnuts. They begin like many sweet rolls and doughnuts do: by making a dough and letting it rise slowly in the refrigerator overnight. This makes for prime gluten development (critical for softness and chew) and nuanced flavor, and it means you don’t have to get up at 5am to make doughnuts in time for breakfast.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsThe next day, the dough is punched down, rolled into a rectangle, filled with cinnamon & brown sugar, rolled back up, and sliced.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsThen the rolls are then pressed down with the heel of your hand and the ends are secured with toothpicks before a short second rise. These steps will keep them unraveling while rising and frying.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsAnd speaking of frying, this is when these rolls take a decidedly doughnut-esque turn. Each one is fried in hot oil until golden and fully cooked in the middle. Some filling will escape during frying—that’s the nature of the beast—but trust me when I say your doughnuts will still be plenty cinnamony.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsOnce they’re all fried and golden, the Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts get a dip in a sugar glaze. You could spread them with cream cheese frosting instead, but I really love the contrast of soft doughnut, buttery cinnamon filling and shattering sugar glaze.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsIt tastes like childhood and doughnut victory and a very delicious exception to the rules. The best.Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts

Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts
makes 16 doughnuts

Doughnut Dough:
2 cups bread flour*
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I used Red Star Platinum)
1 cup buttermilk,* room temperature
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature
2 quarts shortening or frying oil (like peanut, safflower, or canola), for frying

Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Glaze:
2 pounds confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup hot tap water

For Assembly:
parchment
wooden toothpicks

Make the dough the night before. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together bread flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, nutmeg, salt, and instant yeast. Set aside.

Combine buttermilk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Warm until hot to the touch, about 115F. Use a silicone spatula to fold liquid into dry ingredients. Fold in eggs until a sticky, shaggy dough forms. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, until dough is smooth. Shape dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, cut a large sheet of parchment into 16 4-inch squares. Place squares on two rimmed baking sheets. Place a separate whole sheet on a third pan.

Fill the dough and form the rolls. Remove plastic wrap from dough and punch down. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14×17-inch rectangle. Use a pastry brush to apply butter to the surface of the dough. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Sprinkle over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Starting with the long edge furthest from your body, tightly roll filled dough toward you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 16 rolls. Place each on a square of parchment.

Flour the heel of your hand and press each roll down so that it’s flat and squat. Use toothpicks to secure the end of each roll and use another toothpick to secure the other side of the roll. Do not skip these steps.

Gently lay plastic wrap or a sheet of wax paper over the tops of the pans and allow doughnuts to rise in a warm, draft-free environment* for 45 minutes. Once puffy, remove doughnuts from oven.

Place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet, and set in close proximity to the stove.

Heat shortening or oil to 375F. Working in small batches, fry doughnuts 1.5-2 minutes per side, until deeply golden. Remove to rack. Continue with remaining doughnuts.

Make classic doughnut glaze. In a large mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Pour glaze into a shallow dish. Dip one doughnut at a time before transferring back to rack. Repeat with all remaining doughnuts. Glaze will set after 15-20 minutes.

Doughnuts are best the day they are made. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about a day.

Dipped doughnuts are best the day they are made.

Notes:

1. If you do not have bread flour, you may substitute an equal volume of all-purpose flour. Your doughnuts will not have as much chew as those made with bread flour, but they will still be delicious.
2. If you do not have buttermilk, you may make a substitute with lemon juice (or vinegar) and milk. Pour 1 tablespoon of vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Pour in milk until the liquid reaches the 1 cup mark. Let sit for five minutes before proceeding with the recipe as written. Whole and low-fat milks are fine, but I do not recommend skim or nonfat.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll Doughnuts

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Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Classic Cinnamon RollsI have put a lot of sweet rolls on this blog, but have somehow never posted a recipe for classic cinnamon rolls. Consider that oversight rectified. And in time for holiday breakfast season, no less.Classic Cinnamon RollsNow, I know there are a gazillion cinnamon roll recipes out there. You probably have one you love. Why take a chance and switch it up? What makes these cinnamon rolls special?Classic Cinnamon RollsWell, I like to think *all* cinnamon rolls are special. I have never been disappointed to be offered a cinnamon roll in all my 33.5 years. Not once. Not even by the one I ate at a Roy Rogers in rural Connecticut at 8am that one time eleven years ago.

(Don’t ask me why I remember what I ordered at a Roy Rogers in rural Connecticut eleven years ago because I honestly don’t know. It’s just garbage taking up space in my brain and now it’s taking up space in yours.)Classic Cinnamon RollsBut, um, back to these cinnamon rolls, which are infinitely better than anything you could possibly find at a fast food restaurant in New England. They’re made with the same dough I use for my kolaches. It’s enriched with eggs, whole milk, butter, and sour cream, so you know it’s good. It produces cinnamon rolls that are super soft, tender, and rich.Classic Cinnamon RollsThis dough works best with an overnight chill in the fridge. Immediately after mixing, it’s very soft and sticky—very frustrating to roll. After a chill however, the butter has set up enough that the dough rolls without sticking, making it ideal for slathering with brown sugar-cinnamon filling. This overnight method is also the ideal way to get scratch-made cinnamon rolls on the breakfast table without having to get up and start baking when it’s still dark outside. Sleep > baking.Classic Cinnamon RollsOnce the dough has been filled, roll it into a cylinder and slice it into pieces.Classic Cinnamon RollsClassic Cinnamon RollsLet them rise and bake them until they’re brown.Classic Cinnamon RollsAnd then slather them with a thin coat of cream cheese frosting. Or double the recipe for a thick coat. Whatever floats your cinnamon roll boat. <—hey, that rhymes.Classic Cinnamon RollsAnyway, you don’t need me to talk you into wanting fresh cinnamon rolls (unless you hate them like my sister…weirdo). Take some time to make a batch this holiday season, and you might be surprised to find they are as pleasurable to bake as they are to eat.Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12 rolls

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature

Filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened to room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

The night before you want to eat kolaches, make the dough. Cut butter into 8 pieces.Combine butter, whole milk, and sour cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt together, stirring occasionally, until mixture is warm to the touch (about 115F). Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to prove for 5 minutes. Mixture will have just a few small bubbles.

Add 1 cup of the flour, the cinnamon, and salt to the wet ingredients. Fold together. Fold in beaten eggs, followed by 2 1/4 more cups of flour. Dough will be very soft and a bit sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes before forming into a ball. Dough will be very soft and sticky—use a bench scraper for easiest kneading. Grease a mixing bowl with oil. Place dough ball in the bowl, being sure to grease it on all sides. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the dough. Refrigerate overnight, about 8-12 hours.

In the morning, make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together softened unsalted butter, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon, until it’s completely combined. Set aside.

Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish, line the bottom with foil, and butter again. Remove dough from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14×17-inch rectangle. Use an offset icing spatula to spread filling over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Starting with the long edge furthest from your body, tightly roll filled dough toward you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free environment for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes, tenting the rolls with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Let rolls cool 5-10 minutes.

Make the cream cheese frosting. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and butter together until fluffy and lighter in color. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla and continue to mix until incorporated.

Drop spoonfuls of the frosting over the tops of the rolls and use an offset icing spatula to spread it into a thin layer over all the rolls.

Slice and serve.

Cinnamon Rolls are best the day they are made, but will keep covered at room temperature for up to 48 hours.
Classic Cinnamon RollsClassic Cinnamon RollsClassic Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Buttercream

Cinnamon ButtercreamThe official cake-count has now been brought up to sixteen since last Monday. Oy. But in keeping with this week’s theme of taking it easy, I’m not giving you a new cake recipe today—this post is all about the Cinnamon Buttercream.Cinnamon ButtercreamI did break my own step-by-step photos rule though. #sorrynotsorryCinnamon ButtercreamCinnamon ButtercreamWhen cakes #14 & #15 were picked up on Monday afternoon, my client paused before driving off to say how much he loved a vanilla cake with cinnamon buttercream that I had made last month. While he had ordered the cake, he couldn’t decide which flavors he wanted, so he let me surprise him.Cinnamon ButtercreamCinnamon ButtercreamI could have gone in many directions: chocolate, Oreo, malted, coconut, cream cheese…but instead I went for my secret favorite buttercream flavor: cinnamon.Cinnamon ButtercreamNow, I have never had someone ask for a cake with Cinnamon Buttercream. Not once. But every time I have put it on a cake, I get texts and emails like you wouldn’t believe. People love butter, sugar, cinnamon, and cream whipped until fluffy and slathered between layers of cake.Cinnamon ButtercreamDo you know why?Cinnamon ButtercreamIt’s because butter, sugar, cinnamon, and cream are freaking delicious!Cinnamon ButtercreamAlso delicious? My buttery vanilla cake. It’s a crowd favorite.Cinnamon ButtercreamIf you follow me on social media, you may have noticed I’ve been into piping recently. If you’re not, you can use more buttercream between layers and on top of the cake.Cinnamon ButtercreamOr just keep a little bowl of Cinnamon Buttercream in the fridge and eat it with graham crackers. Not that I’d know anything about that.Cinnamon ButtercreamWhile this particular combination of cake and frosting is great on its own, a little extra flourish of cinnamon-sugar never hurts.Cinnamon ButtercreamThere. Now it’s perfect.Cinnamon ButtercreamI think I’ll call this one Sweet Sixteen.Cinnamon Buttercream

Cinnamon Buttercream
makes enough for 1 fully-frosted 3-layer 9-inch round cake

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
5 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons (6 teaspoons) ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons heavy cream

For the cake pictured:
1 recipe Vanilla Layer Cake, cooled (3 layers, baked 26-28 minutes)
1 tablespoon coarse sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon in three installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, followed by vanilla. Add heavy cream until desired consistency is reached.

For the cake pictured, frost and layer cake layers as desired. For cinnamon-sugar topping, mix together coarse sugar and cinnamon. Scatter over the top of the frosted cake.

Assembled cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Cinnamon Buttercream