One of the first moments I can recall feeling ‘grown up’ as a teenager, was going to a Starbucks, ordering a coffee and a cinnamon roll. I absolutely adore cinnamon, in everything! Cinnamon rolls are the perfect embodiment of that adoration.
Cinnamon has a real nostalgic feeling for me. Virtually everything Nanna and I baked as a child had cinnamon in it. I love it in cakes, drinks, and I even used to use it on meat (before I stopped eating it, of course!) Nothing is quite as good as the sweet, spicy taste of a fresh cinnamon roll, though. Its tart, lemon icing cutting through the sweetness perfectly.
For me, a cinnamon roll has four key elements: soft enriched dough, lots of cinnamon sugar, lemon icing, and… raisins. Pockets of juicy sweetness, rolled into the dough. Perfection! As for the icing, well: I know a lot of people say you have to have a creamed cheese icing on cinnamon rolls but I prefer a thick glacé icing. I want my icing to be gooey but with a slight crust once it dries. I do not want icing all over my face and fingers!
My cinnamon rolls are easy to make, do not require a lot of skill, but are definitely full of flavour! As a bonus, if you want to have them freshly-baked in the morning: Simply make the dough for the cinnamon rolls an hour before bedtime, fill and roll, then place them in the fridge for their second prove overnight. By placing the rolls in the fridge, you are slowing the proving process. The rolls will be ready to bake first thing in the morning, straight from the fridge! Perfect cinnamon rolls, fresh from the oven, in the morning!
For the dough
- 450 g strong white bread flour
- 14 g instant yeast
- 50 g caster sugar
- 150 ml warm milk
- 50 g butter
- 1 egg
For the filling
- 100 g dark brown sugar
- 50 g white sugar
- 1½ tbsp cinnamon ground
- 20 g butter
- 75 g raisins
For the icing
- 150 g icing sugar
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- 3-4 tbsp milk (approx.)
First, the dough…
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast and sugar; mixing thoroughly before making a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
- In a saucepan, warm your milk and butter. You want the milk to be lukewarm and the butter to be melted.
- Pour the melted butter and warm milk into the well you made in the dry ingredients and mix a little before adding the egg. This will prevents the egg from scrambling in the warm milk.
- Fully combine the wet and dry ingredients to form a sticky ball of dough.
- Now, knead the dough on a floured surface for 12-15 minutes (by hand) or 5-6 minutes on a medium speed in a stand mixer. We want a springy dough that has elasticity.
- Place the kneaded dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Prove for one hour.
- Once proved, knock back the dough and roll out into a square measuring approximately 30x30cm. Tack the edge furthest away from you to the work surface by pressing down along the edge and pushing away from you. (This is to edge of the dough to the work surface so that you can pull it a bit taut when you come to roll it up.)
Time to fill!
- In a bowl, mix together the brown and white sugars with your cinnamon.
- Spread the butter over the whole of the dough, leaving a one-inch border along the edge you've tacked down to the work surface.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the buttered dough liberally before spreading with raisins.
- Roll the dough up by folding the edge closest to you over onto itself. Pull gently then roll, so that you are pulling the dough taut as you continue to roll the dough up.
- When you reach the end that was tacked-down, use a bench scraper to release the dough from the work surface, and seal the edges.
- Cut the rolled dough into nine equal pieces (cutting into thirds, then each third into further thirds, to create nine rolls.)
- Place the buns, swirl side up in rows of three, into a greased and lined 8” round cake tin.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and prove the cinnamon rolls for a further 20 minutes.
- After the buns have proved, place in the oven for 35 minutes, reducing the heat to 180°C after 15 minutes. The buns should be a golden brown colour, but not burnt!
- After they're baked, leave to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes.
Ice, ice, baby…
- Whilst the cinnamon rolls cool, it is time to make the icing.
- Combine the icing sugar, lemon extract, and two tablespoons of milk. You want a thick icing that barely drops off the spoon. If it doesn't drop at all, add another spoonful of milk and try again (repeating until the desired consistency is achieved.)
- Spoon the icing over the still-warm cinnamon rolls.
- Allow to cool further and serve.