It was a dark, rainy and extremely gloomy day. And these buns just lifted it up by ten folds. I cannot picture a day made better than by rolling this cinnamon roll and watching them rise beautifully in their baking dish, expanding and filling up every gap available for them to fill. It was probably the longest and fattest roll I'd ever rolled. At least a good 25-inches and 3 inches in diameter. But you know it's gonna be so good when it spirals that much. One word: Fluff.
I have attempted a few cinnamon rolls before but none ever like this. This was so different; sticky, soft, moist and flavourful but not a common flavour one can put his finger on. These buns I made came out with the fluffiest texture of all the cinnamon rolls I've made previously. I don't pretend to know all about bread-making or with anything yeast related but I think I did achieve something pretty gold with this and as far as home-baking is concerned, this is top and almost quite sellable.
The best part about my cinnamon rolls? It's an overnight roll. You could bake it almost instantly but if you wanted to have them fresh for breakfast in the morning, or to take them to a picnic, or basically whenever you want to have them served to your guests fresh, all you have to do is prepare the rolls a night before and bake them whenever you want them. This helps the dough firm up so it holds its shape better and also, the yeast continues to proof them even in the fridge so you get a slow fluffy rise in your rolls in a controlled and cool environment. That is what makes them extra pillowy soft.
With the use of molasses, I managed to control the sweetness of the sticky glaze on my cinnamon rolls. Added in some orange zest into the dough too and it married beautifully with that molasses-muscovado flavour. + the pecans, I almost felt like I was eating a pecan pie!! Imagine, a cross between a pecan pie and a cinnamon roll. You only have to make this and taste it for yourself.
It was a simple shoot with these cinnamon rolls because I had to run, with these babies in tow, for my weekly Game of Thrones Monday night. Tv shows + Cinnamon Rolls, I'd say I had a pretty un-blue start to my week. And I hope with this recipe that I'm presenting to you, you'd find yourself having better weeks ahead as well. ;)
Natalie's Sticky Molasses-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls:
(makes about 18 - 20 rolls)
For the Dough:
warm water - 1/4 cup
active dry yeast - 2 1/2 teaspoons
caster sugar - 1/3 cup
milk - 3/4 cup
unsalted butter (r.t.p) - 4 tablespoons
egg yolks (large) - 3 no.
all-purpose flour - 3 3/4 cups
salt - 1 1/4 teaspoons
zest of orange - 1 no.
For the Filling:
soft and moist light brown sugar - 1/2 cup, tightly packed
ground cinnamon - 1 tablespoon
softened butter - 3 - 4 tablespoons
For the Sticky Molasses Glaze:
light muscovado sugar - 3/4 cup
caster sugar - 1/4 teaspoon
unsalted butter - 4 tablespoons
wild forest honey - 2 tablespoons
glucose or corn syrup - 1 tablespoon
molasses - 1 tablespoon
coarsely chopped pecans - 1 1/4 cups
For the Dough:
Add one teaspoon from the 1/3 cup of sugar to the warm water and stir to dissolve. Add in the yeast and leave for 5 - 10 minutes till foamy.
In a bowl of a standing mixer, whisk 3 cups of flour and the rest of the dry ingredients together till homogeneous. Make a well in the centre and add in the milk, eggs, butter and foamy yeast mixture. Paddle on low speed till well combined. Change to a dough hook and knead on low speed.
Add in the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and knead on medium speed till you get a smooth, elastic and slightly sticky dough. It however, should not be too stick that you cannot work with it easily.
Lightly flour your work surface and form it into a ball and place it into a lightly greased bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
(During this time you can prepare your filling and your glaze)
When your dough has risen, punch it down slightly to remove the air and let it sit for about 15 minutes on your lightly floured work surface.
Start rolling it into the shape of a rectangle, about 12" x 18". Brush with the softened butter and sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture generously. Starting with the 18" side, roll the dough tightly till you get a cylindrical shaped roll. Seam side down and using a dough cutter, cut into 18 equal sized rolls and place them in your baking dish, over the pecans. The doughs should touch slightly but leaving enough room for them to rise. Clingwrap it and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (if baking instantly) for it to proof or leave it overnight till the point you want to bake them. Simply remove them from the fridge to stand at room temperature 20 minutes prior to baking.
Bake them at 190C without fan for about 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown on the top and around the sides. Overturn the baking dish over a piece of parchment paper (be careful as you do this) and leave till it's cool enough for you to handle.
Serve warm. Best fresh out of the oven.
For the Filling:
Mix the sugar and cinnamon sugar and set aside. Keep the butter separated.
For the Sticky Glaze:
In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients together, except for the pecans. Whisk on low heat till the mixture is liquid and the sugar dissolved. Pour it over your lightly butter baking dish and coat the bottom of it evenly. Sprinkle the pecans over and leave to cool.