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Most Unexceptional Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Croissant Cinnamon Rolls

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The final rise of these rolls takes at least 2 hours, so if you want to serve them first thing in the morning, you will need to plan ahead. When we served these for breakfast at the inn, one of us would get over to the restaurant kitchen early and place the refrigerated buns in the oven with a
pan of boiling water to jump-start the rise. You can also make mini-cinnamon rolls by rolling the dough into an 8” x 24” rectangle and dividing each roll into 20–24 pieces.

MAKES 12 ROLLS

  • 1 cup (7.76 oz.) light brown sugar
  • 2 tsps. ground cinnamon
  • 1 recipe Traditional (p. 296) or Simple Croissant Dough (p. 300), refrigerated
  • 1 large egg

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out to a rectangle about 10” x 15”. Spread the cinnamon-sugar evenly over the dough, leaving a 1” border uncovered along the top. Starting at the side close to you, tightly roll the dough up. Press on the seam to seal. Trim off the ends. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Slice the dough into ¾ ” pieces. Place the pieces cut side down onto the baking sheet, leaving 2–3” between each. Tuck the end of each pastry underneath to prevent it from unravelling. Cover loosely and allow the buns to rise about 2–2 ½ hours until they are puffed and almost double in size (if you press on the dough, the imprint will remain).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk the egg with a pinch of salt. Brush the buns all over with the egg wash. Bake the buns for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar mixture evenly over the tops of the buns and bake them for 5–8 minutes longer, until they are evenly browned. Allow the buns to cool 5 minutes, then transfer the rolls to a baking rack. Cool 5 minutes longer before serving.

Make Ahead Tip: Make the croissant dough and freeze it until 2 days before assembling the rolls. Defrost it overnight in the refrigerator before rolling out. The individual buns may be frozen on a baking sheet and placed in a Zip-lock bag to bake off at a later time. Defrost the frozen buns in the refrigerator overnight, then allow to rise as described above before baking.

Almond Croissant Rolls

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This is a variation on the cinnamon rolls filled with almond cream, which has a thick consistency so it will not run out of the croissant rolls during baking. These rolls require at least 2 hours for the final rise, so plan accordingly if you want to serve them early in the morning.

MAKES 12 ROLLS

  • 9 tbsps. unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup (3.5 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (3.35 oz.) almond flour
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup (1.1 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1 recipe Simple (p. 300) or Traditional Croissant Dough (p. 296), refrigerated

Combine the butter, sugar and almond flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and mix until light and creamy, about 3–4 minutes. Add the all-purpose flour and beat on low until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out to a rectangle about 10” x 15”. Spread the almond filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1” border uncovered along the top. Starting at the side close to you, tightly roll the dough up. Press on the seam to seal. Trim off the ends. Wrap the
log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Slice the dough into ¾ ” pieces. Place the pieces cut side down onto the baking sheet, leaving 2–3” between each. Tuck the end of each pastry underneath to prevent it from unravelling. Cover loosely and allow the buns to rise about 2–2 ½ hours until they are puffed and almost double in size (if you press on the dough, the imprint will remain).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake for 12–15 minutes, until golden brown. Allow the rolls to cool 5 minutes, then transfer them to a baking rack. Cool 5 minutes longer before serving.

Make Ahead Tip: Make the croissant dough and freeze it until 2 days before assembling the rolls. Defrost it overnight in the refrigerator before rolling out. The almond filling may
be made up to 5 days in advance and refrigerated until ready to assemble the rolls.

Raisin Cream Croissant Rolls

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A variation on traditional raisin croissants, these rolls require at least 2 hours for the final rise. As with the other croissant recipes, you will need to plan accordingly if you want to serve them first thing in the morning.

MAKES 12 ROLLS

  • 2 ½ tbsps. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz.) half and half
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup (1.8 oz.) granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • 1 recipe Simple (p. 300) or Traditional Croissant Dough (p. 296), refrigerated

Set a bowl over a second bowl filled with ice and water.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch and ¼ cup (2 fl. oz.) half and half until smooth. Whisk in the egg and set aside.

Combine the remaining ¾ cup (6 fl. oz.) half and half, sugar and vanilla bean paste in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Add the flour mixture and whisk vigorously. Whisk until mixture has thickened, about 2–3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and transfer the custard to a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool and refrigerate until needed.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out to a rectangle about 10” x 15” (long edge toward you). Spread the custard filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1” border uncovered along the top. Sprinkle the raisins evenly over the custard. Starting at the side close to you, tightly roll the
dough up. Press on the seam to seal. Trim off the ends. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Slice the dough into ¾ ” pieces. Place the pieces cut side down onto the baking sheet, leaving 2–3” between each. Tuck the end of each pastry underneath to prevent it from unravelling. Cover loosely and allow the buns to rise about 2–2 ½ hours until they are puffed and almost double in size (if you press on the dough, the imprint will remain).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 12–15 minutes, until golden brown.

Make Ahead Tip: Make the croissant dough and freeze it until 2 days before assembling the rolls. Defrost it overnight in the refrigerator before rolling out. The custard may be made the day before and refrigerated up to 24 hours.

Apricot Orange Sweet Rolls

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I love the combination of apricot filling encased in sweet roll dough, finished with an orange-scented cream cheese glaze. You can also make this with the Simple Brioche Dough.

MAKES 12 ROLLS

  • 1 cup (11.3 oz.) apricot fruit spread
  • 3 tbsps. Grand Marnier or Cointreau (or substitute orange juice)
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsps. orange juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1 cup (4.23 oz.) confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 recipe Sweet Roll Dough
  • 1 large egg

In a small saucepan, combine the apricot spread with the Grand Marnier. Bring just to a boil over medium heat and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Blend the cream cheese, butter, orange juice, vanilla, orange zest and confectioner’s sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Cover and set aside.

Lightly grease a 9” spring-form pan (or use a 3”-deep tart pan with a removable bottom) and place it on a baking sheet.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press it into a rectangle. Roll the dough out into a 15” x 9” rectangle. With the long side toward you, spread the apricot orange mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1” border at the top uncovered. Starting at the long side close to you, tightly roll the dough up. Press on the seam to seal. Cut into 12 even pieces. Place 9 pieces evenly around the outer edge of the pan, cut side down. Arrange the remaining 3 pieces in the center about 1” apart. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 ½ –2 hours, until doubled in volume, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap from the pan. Whisk together the egg with 1 tbsp. water. Brush the egg wash all over the rolls. Bake for 25–30 minutes until golden brown. Cover the pan loosely with foil for the last 10 minutes if necessary to prevent over-browning. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the rolls to a baking rack. Drizzle with the cream cheese glaze. Allow the glaze to set up for 5 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead Tip: Make the Sweet Roll Dough and glaze 2 days before and refrigerate until ready to assemble the rolls. The rolls may also be assembled the night before and allowed to rise in the refrigerator overnight.