Tag Archives: cinnamon rolls

How to Par-Bake Cinnamon Rolls {Make Ahead Method!}

How to Par-Bake Cinnamon Rolls {Make Ahead Method!}​

Coming from a Christmas morning breakfast casserole family, I’ve never really understood why so many people make cinnamon rolls on that day of all days.

I mean, have you made cinnamon rolls from scratch? They are not a quick recipe, clocking in at a minimum of three hours start-to-finish (slightly less if you do the rise overnight). My family is all adults so we start our Christmas morning at a leisurely 9am, eat around 10, then get to the gifts around noon. If we wanted cinnamon rolls for breakfast, that would require the baker (me!) to be up and functioning at 7am. Big no thank you. And if you have kids or people who get up for gifts at 6am or earlier…3am? Earlier? Forget it!

But what if I told you that you could have warm, fluffy, homemade cinnamon rolls on your table on Christmas morning in under an hour? Yes, it’s possible, thanks to a little technique called par-baking.

You’ve definitely heard the term “par-baking” on here before in association with pie crust. It means to partially bake, which is exactly what we’re going to do to these rolls: partially bake them ahead of time, then finish the baking on Christmas. This method will work with any yeast-raised cinnamon roll recipe you love. I wouldn’t recommend this method for any rolls with fruit in the filling (i.e. not these) as it might degrade during thawing, but I think nuts would be okay.

How to Par-Bake Cinnamon Rolls {Make Ahead Method!}​

Now, this isn’t a magic trick. You do have to plan ahead to do about 2.5 hours of mixing/kneading/rolling/rising at some point to make this work. But (but!) the bulk of the work can be done anytime between now and Christmas (or whenever you want cinnamon rolls).

The process is simple. Make your cinnamon roll recipe up to the baking step, then bake for about half the baking time (15 minutes). At this point, your rolls should be risen, puffed and pale. Where you would normally continue baking them until brown, resist that urge and remove them from the oven.

Let your rolls cool to room temperature and then triple wrap in plastic, cover in foil and freeze until the night before you need them. If you don’t want to have your 9×13” pan out of commission for any length of time, you can bake in a disposable aluminum baking pan, then tuck it into your freezer for up to six weeks.

The night before you want cinnamon rolls, move the par-baked rolls from your freezer to your fridge to thaw out. In the morning, simply uncover and bake your rolls for the remaining 15 minutes, until golden. Finish with cream cheese frosting and voila! Fresh homemade cinnamon rolls on your table in under an hour, and you didn’t have to sacrifice sleep to make it happen.

How to Par-Bake Cinnamon Rolls {Make Ahead Method!}​

Call it Christmas magic. Call it whatever you want. Just call me for breakfast.

Par-baked Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from Dana Velden

cinnamon roll recipe of choice
9x13-inch baking pan (disposable aluminum, if desired)

Follow your yeast-raised cinnamon roll recipe up to the baking step.

Preheat your oven to 375F. Bake cinnamon rolls for 10-15 minutes, until risen, puffed and pale.

Remove cinnamon rolls from the oven and allow to cool completely in their pan on a rack. Triple wrap the pan in plastic wrap, then wrap in foil. Freeze for up to 6 weeks.

The night before you want cinnamon rolls, move the pan of frozen rolls to the refrigerator. Let thaw 8-12 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. Unwrap rolls; discard foil and plastic wrap.

Bake rolls for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Top with cream cheese frosting (or whatever your recipe says) and serve warm.

Friday Favorites: Apples

Friday Favorites: Apples​

It’s apple season and I am here for it! They were littered everywhere when we were leaving Maine a couple of weeks ago, and it took everything in me not to scoop them up and bring them home to bake! While I wouldn’t trust apples growing in NYC parks (much less on the ground), I definitely trust the ones at the markets! Whether they’re tucked into a pie, folded into a buttery cake batter, or rolled up in yeast dough, baking with apples is one surefire way to get in the seasonal spirit! Here are a few of my favorite apple recipes from the archives.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Cranberry Apple Pie

This recipe is from the first few weeks of this blog’s existence, but I remade it last year (she needed some Glamourshots), and I’m here to tell you: it’s SO delicious. Sweet and tart and perfectly spiced, this is one to make when cranberries start showing up in a few weeks!

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple & Pear Galette

I love pie, but the ease of galettes wins me over every time! Here apples and ripe pears are nestled into a rustic free form pie crust. It’s a perfect autumnal dessert if I’ve ever had one!

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

Want the flavors of apple pie for breakfast? Make yourself some Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls! These were my second post ever, and having remade them for a photoshoot recently, I can confirm that they still make all my apple pie breakfast dreams come true.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple Turnovers

I love turnovers! They’re like pop tarts for grown ups. This apple version is made with my go-to rough puff pastry and folded on the bias for the flakiest little triangles of apple goodness you’ve ever had.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

French Apple Cake

This is easily the most popular recipe on this blog, and for good reason. Its pure, buttery cake base and chunks of soft apple have no pie spices to detract from their balance of flavors. I clearly love apple pie things, but this simple favorite is something really special.

What’s your favorite way to bake with apples? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Wherever you are this week, I hope you’re safe, warm, and have enough to eat!Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsWhen I was a kid, I had a friend whose mom hated to cook except for Saturday breakfast. A lot of the meals I ate with this family were takeout, but come the weekend, there were eggs and bacon, orange juice, blueberry muffins, and cinnamon rolls from one of those cans you have to thwack against the edge of your countertop. Little me thought it was the best ever (Puff Pancakes obviously excepted).Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsI had one complaint though, because of course I did. Every once in a while the cinnamon rolls would be the orange kind, and while everyone in that family loved them, I deeply did not. I kept my mouth shut—#manners—but I hated them. In fact, I still do, but only because I hate fake orange flavoring.Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsTurns out, I love Orange Cinnamon Rolls made with real fresh oranges. Like really, really love them. I mean, what’s not to love about fluffy, buttery, orangey cinnamon rolls?!Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsI’m over the moon for these, y’all. There’s orange zest in the dough and cinnamon filling, and orange juice in the glaze and the icing! Yes, you read that correctly, these babies have a glaze *and* an icing! I did this on last year’s Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls for maximum citrus flavor, and it works just as well here. Fresh orange flavor alllll over the place.Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon RollsJust after you pull your rolls from the oven, paint them with the orange glaze so they get glossy and soak up all that sticky orange flavor. Let that absorb for a few minutes and then hit them with a simple orange icing. This goes without saying, but yes, you can double it.Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsAnd then, well, you know what to do.Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls

Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12 rolls

I recommend having 3 large (or 4-5 medium) oranges on hand before beginning this recipe. Better to have too many than too few.

Dough:
2 3/4-3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature

Filling:
2 tablespoons orange zest (about 1 large navel orange)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Glaze:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 large navel orange)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Icing:
1 cup confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (most of 1 large navel orange)

Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish or rimmed baking pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until hot to the touch, about 110F. Stir in orange zest.

Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold milk mixture into dry ingredients, followed by beaten eggs. Add more all-purpose flour in 2 tablespoon increments until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Flour a surface and your hands. Knead dough 5-6 minutes until smooth, then form into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes (you may do this in a bowl, but I just do this on my surface).

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together orange zest, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt and butter, until completely combined. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12×18-inch rectangle. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Use an offset knife or the back of a spoon to spread filling mixture over the dough, keeping a 1/2-inch perimeter on all sides. Starting with the long edge closest to your body, tightly roll filled dough away from you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes (mine took 27), tenting the rolls with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

While rolls are baking, make the glaze. In a small bowl, use a fork to stir together orange juice and sugar. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until the sugar has dissolved (45-60 seconds total).

Remove rolls from the oven. Let cool 1-2 minutes, then use a pastry brush to paint glaze all over all exposed pastry. Use all glaze. Let sit 5 minutes while you make the icing.

Make the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Add more juice by the teaspoon (up to 3 teaspoons) until icing is thick, but pourable.

Spoon/pour icing over the rolls and use an offset icing knife or the back of a spoon to spread icing over the rolls as desired. Serve.

Fresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls re best served the day they are made, but will keep covered at room temperature for a day or so.

Fresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon RollsFresh Orange Cinnamon Rolls

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

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