Bread is simply not my forte. My wheaten past has been peppered with numerous failures in the dough department, whether it be temperamental yeast, or simply a rock-solid final product. However, if there ever was something that would persuade me to reattempt the humble yeast-risen dough, cinnamon rolls are it. There's something about the way the snail-like scrolls ooze with fragrant cinnamon goo that sends me wild, and let's be honest, is there any more appropriate time to smother your kitchen in the aroma of warm cinnamon than the festive season? Wheat gives me rashes, but for this gorgeous globule I will stubbornly endure the itchy after-effects.
Cinnamon rolls are certainly not something to be tampered with in terms of ratios of ingredients, however the shape is something that can be modified. To me, everything tastes better in wedges, and what better way to achieve the geometric masterpiece of a perfectly angular triangle morsel than to bake one giant cake-resemblant roll? Just call me Einstein! I've forgone the sickly sweet powdered sugar glaze in favour of a more luxurious maple-spiked and vanilla-speckled coconut cream; partially out of guilt for having crammed the roll with copious amounts of brown sugar, and partially out of my fondness of all things fatty and syrup-laden. I would recommend you serve this on Christmas Eve with a steaming mug of eggless eggnog, but just between us, I'd keep this to yourself. How else will you be able to endure the arduous task of late-night gift wrapping?
Adapted from Oh, Ladycakes' Small Batch Cinnamon Rolls recipe
Do remember to chill the tin of coconut cream the evening before you plan on making this recipe! It's also very important to ensure that you get the first step in this recipe spot on - the activation of the yeast. If your mixture is not foamy after 20 minutes, you will need to start again. Feel free to substitute ingredients as you deem necessary, however I cannot promise that it will turn out as delicious as this sugar-laden treat.
1 teaspoon of fast-acting yeast
1/2 cup of tepid water
2 1/2 teaspoons of golden sugar
2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted
4 tablespoons of plant milk
2 cups of high-grade flour
Pinch of sea salt
CINNAMON BUTTER FILLING
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of almond butter
1 tablespoon of golden sugar
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
MAPLE VANILLA CREAM
1/4 cup of coconut cream (from a chilled tin)
2 teaspoons of pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste
Crushed raw almonds
The evening before you plan on making this recipe, place a can of coconut cream in the refrigerator to chill.
Turn on your stereo, insert 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' CD, turn the volume up, and put your favourite festive apron on.
In a small bowl, place the yeast and tepid water. Add a pinch of golden sugar and a tiny bit of flour, then set aside to activate for 20 minutes or so. After this period your yeast mixture should have a thin foam atop - if this doesn't happen, it may be a little too old or simply a dud lot. Try to rectify this, or else you'll end up with a very solid lump of dough.
In a medium-sized bowl add the plant milk and sugar, and whisk for a few minutes until smooth. Add in the plant milk, stir well, then add the yeast mixture and combine.
Into the same bowl add the flour and salt, and use your hands to knead into a soft ball. Scoop out onto a work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes - use flour only as you need it, as this may change the texture of the final product. I find having damp hands dusted with flour a sure way to minimise dough-stickage.
Oil a medium-sized bowl and place the kneaded dough into it, then cover tightly with cling film and place in a warm area for at least 30 minutes, or until well expanded.
In a bowl stir together the ingredients for the filling - the melted coconut oil, almond butter, ground cinnamon, brown sugar, and golden sugar.
Roll your puffy dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and flatten into a rectangle that almost covers a baking sheet (approximately 30x60cm). Take your filling mixture and sprinkle it evenly across the dough, pressing lightly to create little dimples that will later be pockets of sweet cinnamon goo.
Take a sharp knife and cut your rectangle into four strips lengthways, then take the first strip and roll it up gently into a spiral. The trick to making a giant cinnamon roll is to adjoin the end of that roll onto the next piece of dough, roll, and repeat. This snowball effect will leave you with one enormous, doughy cinnamon roll!
Take a springform cake tin and line the base with parchment paper, then place your giant cinnamon roll in the centre. There should be a little room around the sides. Cover tightly with cling film and place in a warm area for another hour. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius bake.
Once risen, place your cinnamon roll (still in the cake tin) into the oven and bake for approximately 20-30 minutes. This will vary based on how how well your yeast works, so it's best to check every few minutes from 20 minutes onwards.
While the roll is cooling slightly, make the maple vanilla cream by opening the chilled tin of coconut cream and pouring out the coconut water. Take the leftover cream and scoop into a bowl, and stir until smooth. Add the maple syrup and vanilla, whisk lightly, and set aside.
Turn your cinnamon roll out onto a plate or board and drizzle with the cream, then sprinkle with crushed almonds and extra cinnamon. Enjoy warm wedges with sticky fingers!