In anticipation of the Christmas season I was scrolling through my Christmas Pinterest board last week looking for ideas. This is the one time of the year that I can use my Christmas board so I want to fit in as many projects as I can before January rears its disapproving head!
I was surprised to discover that most of my Christmas pins are food based. Aside from the obvious Christmas dinner staples: turkey, Christmas pudding, brussel sprouts, there is a vast range of cookies, cakes, drinks and buns that lend themselves to the festive season.
First up on my pin board was a batch of cinnamon rolls. Rob was very enthusiastic about this idea, his mum used to make them when he was little so they hold a lot of good memories!
I had a scan round the internet and in my cook books to find a workable recipe. Paul Hollywood has a version but that included hours of proving time and sultanas. Rob is not a fan of sultanas.
In the end I went back to the good old BBC Food website. This cinnamon rolls recipe was much quicker and fairly simple to put together.
First of all I mixed the dry ingredients together and in a separate bowl mix the butter, eggs and milk. Then I combined the wet and dry ingredients together and did a very quick bit of kneading work.
I laid out a big rectangle of baking paper and sprinkled it and my rolling pin with a generous portion of flour.
I then had to roll the dough into a rectangle. This proved difficult. The baking paper kept sliding with the rolling pin and a couple of times it threatened to slip off the counter. Next time I must remember to weigh it down properly. I also struggled to roll a rectangle, instead I kept getting a perfectly shaped oval. Eventually I asked Rob to put the camera down and come rescue it. He deftly turned my oval into something more rectangular whilst I made up the filling.
The filling consists of melted butter, sugar and cinnamon. I would recommend using more butter that the recipe stated as you want something that is going to spread easily.
Once mixed together I poured the filling out in the centre of the dough in a long line down the middle. This made it easier to spread out evenly.
Now for the spreading I tried a few different tools: first I used a pastry brush that worked really well until the bristles started falling out into the filling. I then tried to use my fingers but they stuck to the dough so then I swapped to a plastic spatula that worked fine. Spatula is the way to go!
We got the filling spread all over the dough and was pretty pleased with how even it looked. Then it was time to roll it up! My lovely husband remembered that a contestant had used the baking paper to roll a swiss roll on the Great British Bake Off, so we tried out the same technique and it works really well. Get the roll started then lift the far edge of the backing paper and pull it gently towards you and it will roll the dough for you!
We ended up with this prettily formed log. I then had to divide it into eights. I grabbed hold of a ruler and scoured lines where I was going to make the cuts. Then I used the sharpest knife we have to cut it up.
I put the pieces in a round baking tin that was greased and lined. You don’t have to do it like this but I found that putting one in the middle and the rest around the edges formed a nice flower shape once it was done. I glazed the rolls with a little bit of milk on the top and then into the oven they went.
35 minutes later they were looking good and the house smelt of Christmas: well it smelt of sugar and cinnamon which is pretty much the same thing!
I let them cool and got to work on the icing. The BBC food website called for a cream cheese icing but I hate cheese, even in cream form, so I went back to Paul Hollywood to see what icing he used. Mr Hollywood recommended a lemon icing which sounded good to me. It was really easy to make: icing sugar, bit of water and grated lemon ride.
Then I got to do the fun part and drizzle the icing on the rolls. Let me tell you that this is the part where you can easily get carried away. It is such fun to spoon the icing in crazy lines across the buns that it takes real discipline to stop. I didn’t want to completely obscure the spirals of cinnamon in the rolls!
And voila! Here are the finished products.
I really liked the taste of these. The rolls are a strange mix of something that is a bit bready and a bit cakey all at once. The icing on top is sweet with a little zing from the lemon and the cinnamon filling is deliciously warming. They make a perfectly naughty breakfast treat with a cup of coffee, or if you are a child like me; a cool glass of milk!