Christmas is all about food right? I mean, that’s what the holiday season centers around isn’t it?
Close your eyes for a minute and conjure up some thoughts about Christmas. I’m betting that for most of you, food is definitely a prominent feature. That’s because food is such a key part of almost all social things we do, particularly celebrations. Wow would you look at that, I started this post with the intention of giving you all the most amazing cinnamon roll recipe, and here I am going down the sociological route. I guess my sociology professor will be proud at least!
Back to the point, there’s a reason why people say ‘food is love, food is life.’ And at Christmas time, food is just that much better. Or is that just me? I think it’s because of all the amazing recipes that we haul out specifically at this time of year, and how we also get the excuse to eat our body weight in meals and treats that are only ‘available’ this time of year. Sure, we could make glazed gammon, gingerbread biscuits and mince pies all year round, but is that really the same? No because I think with all the joy and festivities in the air, all those foods have an extra special taste so you need to take advantage of that during the holiday season.
There are so many Christmas foods that I love, and I wish I could eat them all year but I can’t for two reasons. Firstly, because too much of a good thing is never great and secondly because then I’d just grow into a big round ball and I don’t think gorging on Christmassy treats are worth that. Did I just say that?
With all of these Christmas posts I’m doing, I thought it just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include at least one festive recipe. That would be just embarrassing on my behalf. Now it was quite challenging trying to decide what recipe to choose from, but thankfully my flat helped me decide. I’ve always loved cinnamon rolls, and considering cinnamon is quite a Christmassy spice, I figured they would be perfect (especially since they turned out really well when I made them the first time, and my flat has been asking me to make them again). So, my Christmas recipe for all of you this year is for the most delicious cinnamon rolls in the world. Watch out Cinnabon because I think these might just be a dollop of cream cheese icing better than yours!
For the dough:
- ¾ cup milk (low fat or 2% is the best, but you can use full cream)
- 2.5 teaspoons of yeast (the quick rise or active yeast)
- ¼ white sugar or castor sugar
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk (at room temperature)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups of strong white bread flour
- ½ teaspoon of salt
For the filling:
- ⅔ brown sugar (you can just use normal light brown sugar, or dark sugar or even muscovado sugar but I prefer to use light brown sugar)
- ¼ cup of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons of cinnamon (for a more general Christmassy spice feel, you can also add 1.5 teaspoons of ginger and ¾ tablespoon of nutmeg)
For the icing:
- 125g softened cream cheese
- 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- ¾ cup of icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Pour the milk into a microwaveable bowl and heat it until it’s lukewarm. It should take roughly 45 seconds in the microwave and should feel like warm bath water. Pour the milk into a mixing bowl, if your microwaveable bowl will be too small to make the dough in. Sprinkle the yeast lightly on top.
- Add in the sugar, butter (melted), egg and egg yolk and mix them together gently until well combined. Stir in the flour and salt with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to come together into a dough.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a well-floured surface. Knead the dough with your hands for 8-10 minutes (you can use this as your workout for the day because kneading dough takes a lot of upper body strength). If you don’t want to use your hands, you can use a dough hook in a mixer, and knead it on a medium speed for about 8 minutes. I prefer to do this by hand though. The dough should form a nice ball that’s a little sticky, but if it’s too sticky then you can add a bit more bread flour.
- Move the dough ball into a lightly-oiled bowl (you don’t want too much oil but enough for it to be well-coated). Cover it first in cling wrap, then with a warm dish cloth/kitchen towel. Leave the dough to rise until it has doubled its size (between 1 hour and 1 hour 45 minutes).
- Once the dough has risen, move it back onto a well-floured surface and roll it out into a rectangle. Roughly 36-40cm by 22-26cm. Spread the softened butter over the dough (I highly recommend using your fingers very lightly to do this). You can leave a 0.5cm margin around the edge but you don’t have to, as that means sacrificing the end of your roll and one less cinnamon roll, and who wants that?
- Mix together the sugar and cinnamon (and other spices if you’re using them) in a small bowl until well combined, then generously sprinkle it over the buttery dough. Gently rub the sugar mixture into the butter.
- Roll up the dough tightly, as if you’re making a swiss roll/yule log or rolling up a yoga mat, starting from the smaller side. Place the seam down and make sure that you seal the edges of the dough as best as you can (it is challenging so don’t worry if it doesn’t seal that well). If you want, you can cut the ends off because they might not be as full of the cinnamon sugar mix but if you don’t mind a little less sugar and spice, then you can save the ends and end up with two extra cinnamon rolls. Whichever you prefer.
- Cut the dough into 1.5cm slices with a sharp knife. You can also use dental floss. You should get between 9-12 pieces, depending on how big you made your rectangle and if you kept the ends or not.
- Line the cinnamon rolls in a greased baking pan/glass oven dish. I’d highly recommend putting in some baking paper too just in case the filling leaks out (it also makes it easier to take the cinnamon rolls out and clean the dish). Cover with cling wrap and a warm towel again and leave to rise AGAIN for about 45 minutes.
- Have the oven heated to 180 degrees C. Take off the towel and cling wrap, and bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes. They should be just golden brown on the edges and a little bread crust should have formed on the top, but you want to underbake them just a little so that they are still soft in the middle.
- Leave them to cool for about 5-10 minutes while you make the icing.
- For the delectable cream cheese icing, mix the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and vanilla together in a bowl until it is smooth, light and fluffy. You don’t want any lumps of icing sugar left.
- Drizzle the icing (very generously) over the cinnamon rolls and eat them immediately.
And voila!! Honestly these are one of the most delicious things in the world and I don’t know why I haven’t baked them more often. Actually, I know why. Because they are that good that I will eat a million of them and end up a giant cinnamon roll myself so I try to be good. At least with lots of eager taste testers it means there are less around for me to indulge in (which is good!!). I hope you enjoyed this recipe post. If it made your mouth water then I hope you plan to try these out, or at the very least go and buy yourself a cinnamon roll. Believe me you deserve it – just be careful when you bake them. They are highly addictive.
Thank you all so much for reading today’s Blogmas post! I hope you’ve been enjoying them so far and they are putting you in the Holiday spirit. If this post hasn’t given you an urge to go and treat yourself to some delicious Christmas treats, then wow I am impressed by your self-control. What is your favourite Christmassy baked good? Do you have any Christmas recipes that you bake every year?? Be sure to let me know in the comment section, and how your cinnamon rolls turn out if you decide to make them.
Lots of Love, and Merry Christmas
Blondey on a Mission xxx