Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cinnamon Roll Biscuits

I've been wanting to make cinnamon rolls for several months now.  Not sure why I got such a random urge -- probably that it seemed like a fun, festive treat for the holidays.  However, the problem with the holidays is that there already seems to be enough sweet stuff that I never really found a good time to make them.  Also, as delicious as they are, they seemed like a lot of work (even the overnight ones we love that require yeast).

So finally last weekend, I looked up the idea of cinnamon roll biscuits.  I think I had seen a recipe several years ago and the idea stuck with me.  And what do you know, Cook's Illustrated had come up with a version! It has no yeast and is super easy and fast to make. I just got up one morning, found a recipe, and got to work. My guess is that it took about 20 minutes for everything to come together and then 20 minutes to bake the biscuits.  In 40 minutes, we had a wonderful cinnamon roll breakfast!

The texture of the dough isn't the same as yeast-based cinnamon rolls -- it creates more of a flaky biscuit than a smooth dough.  But the flaky biscuit texture was delicious and the flavor was exactly right.  Also, I love that it created the same soft, cinnamon-sugar center just like the traditional roll. (Isn't that the best part?) 

Actually, looking at these pictures makes me want them again. And with them being so easy to make, we could easily have them again sometime soon!

Cinnamon Roll Biscuits
Taken from: Cook's Illustrated via Brown Eyed Baker
Makes 8-9 biscuits -- serves about 4

For the Biscuits:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (I think next time I will increase this to 1-2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream (I ran out of heavy cream so I probably did 3/4 cup cream and 1/2 cup whole milk)
For the Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the Icing (we don't like much icing so I drastically reduced this)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar (I used 1/8 cup instead)
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk or cream
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cream and stir with a wooden spoon until a rough dough comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly-floured surface. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds, or until smooth. If the dough seems dry, add more cream 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Roll the dough into a 9x12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter. Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, then sprinkle evenly over the surface of the dough. Starting at one of the long sides, roll the dough into a cylinder. Cut the cylinder into 8 equal pieces. Press down on one side of each piece to flatten slightly, then transfer to a pie plate. Repeat with all the pieces.
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk (and vanilla and cinnamon, if using) and drizzle the icing over the biscuits. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.


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