I’m on a mission I guess you could say. A mission to recreate mall snacks. Well, not really, but I found this recipe and one for a certain type of soft pretzels, and while I was figuring out which to make first it dawned on me that they were both frequently sold in malls. I’m told of course by the authors of these recipes that both of them are better than those mall delicacies. I can only vouch for this one so far, and honestly I can’t compare it to Cinnabon because I’ve never eaten a Cinnabon cinnamon bun. Truth! I can only say that these are freakin’ to die for. Die. D.I.E.
I put an asterisk (*) next to the items I omitted. They aren’t by any means required, and I prefer my cinnamon buns/rolls without tons of raisins, nuts and crunchy items. I also did NOT use the cloves. I don’t really like cloves. Cloves don’t have any place in my cinnamon buns. But if you love cloves and nuts then by all means add them. Hah, I said nuts.
The cream cheese between layers makes them so moist and incredible it should be mandatory to smother cream cheese in the middle of everything. Well, no. Just cinnamon rolls. ‘Cause pizza with cream cheese would be gross.
And now I give you the recipe for cinnamon rolls made with cream cheese, courtesy of Saveur.com. They take a while to make, but they’re SO worth it.
CREAM CHEESE CINNAMON ROLLS
MAKES 8 ROLLS
FOR THE DOUGH:
- 1 1⁄4-oz. package active dry yeast
- 1⁄2 tsp. plus 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 1⁄2 cup milk, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
- 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 3⁄4 cups flour, sifted, plus more for kneading
- 3⁄4 tsp. fine salt
- 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1⁄4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped pecans*
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped walnuts*
- 1⁄4 cup raisins*
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 tsp. fine salt
- 1⁄8 tsp. ground cloves*
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE ICING:
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1⁄4 cup buttermilk
- Make the dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a hook, combine yeast, 1⁄2 tsp. of the sugar, and 1⁄4 cup water heated to 115°. Stir to combine and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add remaining sugar, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Beat on low speed until thoroughly combined, 1 minute. Turn mixer off and add the flour and salt. Mix on medium speed until the dough just comes together. Turn mixer speed to high and knead dough for 4 minutes. Add the butter and continue kneading until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from the mixer, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place. Let the dough rise for 1 1⁄2–2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine the sugar, dark brown sugar, pecans, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, salt, and cloves in a large bowl; stir to combine. Stir in the maple syrup. Set filling aside.
- Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a heavily floured surface. Gently knead the dough until it’s no longer sticky, adding more flour as necessary, about 1 minute. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10″ x 10″ square. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese with a rubber spatula until it’s smooth and spreadable. Spread the cream cheese evenly over the dough square; then fold square into thirds as you would fold a letter to fit it into an envelope. Take the open ends of the resulting rectangle and fold into thirds again, to make a smaller dough square. Invert the dough so that the seam is face down and, using the rolling pin, gently roll into a 10″ x 20″ rectangle.
- Turn the dough so that the short sides are parallel to you. Brush the top of the dough with half of the melted butter. Drizzle the reserved filling over the dough, leaving a 1″ border at the edge farthest away from you. Lightly press the filling into the dough. Using your hands, lift up the bottom edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight cylinder. Place dough cylinder, seam side down, on a cutting board and, using a thin, sharp knife, trim off the ends; cut cylinder crosswise into 8 equal-size slices. Nestle the slices, cut sides up and evenly spaced from one another, into a buttered 9″ x 13″ light-colored metal baking pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to let rise for 2 hours. (Alternatively, the rolls may be refrigerated overnight.)
- Heat oven to 375°. Uncover the rolls. (If refrigerated, let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.) Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the rolls comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
- Make the icing: While the rolls are baking, whisk together the sugar and buttermilk in a small bowl until smooth.
- Transfer the pan of cinnamon rolls to a cooling rack; brush with remaining melted butter. Let cool for 5 minutes. Dip the tines of a fork into the icing and drizzle all over the rolls. Serve immediately.
Wowee. I can almost feel the weight attaching itself to my ass whilst eating these. I can’t believe that Cinnabon could be better, or even as good as these. No way. But when I make the pretzels, they will have a lot to live up to because theres nothing like a buttery, really-bad-for-you-in-a-good-way Auntie Anne’s mall pretzel. Better yet, screw getting one at the mall… theres nothing like getting one while waiting for your LIRR train in Penn Station on the way home from work/school. Yum. Nice, warm, greasy Auntie Anne’s pretzel on the way home. Prepares you for the hellish and torturous commute that the MTA forces upon you by cheering you up slightly. And then they up the fare charge and rape you further, so in actuality you need a friggin’ caseful of Auntie Anne’s.
Back to the topic! Anyway, now for the nitty gritty: I almost had a FAIL! moment while making these. My dough was really sticky, and while it rolled out just fine for the first roll, after the cream cheese it just didn’t go as planned. The cream cheese oozed out of parts and it stuck to the counter. And the dough wasn’t very firm so when I cut them into slices they weren’t round they were squashed. But that didn’t affect the taste any. I’m thinking maybe I screwed up the flour and added too little? I was distracted by watching ‘Dancing With the Stars‘ so I might’ve left out a bit. Heh. So they weren’t a fail but could’ve come dangerously close. They really ended up a total success. When I say these are amazing, please trust me- they’re AMAZING. These are so amazing you will try and sell your first born for a second piece. Really. I tried to and I don’t even have a firstborn! Then I realized I made them and they’re mine so I can have a second piece without selling a child.
Oh- and before I go I have another announcement! Sometime during the month of December I will be a guest blogger on ‘Cupcakes Take the Cake‘! Stay tuned for specific dates, etc. Isn’t that exciting? I have to think of what exactly I’m going to write about. Maybe lousy cupcake recipes? Lousy looking cupcakes? Hm. What to do, what to do… any suggestions?!