Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting


Breads are actually pretty easy to make. You mostly let the machine do the kneading, then leave the dough to rise while you go about doing your chores, updating your Facebook status and checking out what's happening on Twitter, enjoy a cuppa etc. Then, it's time to roll out the dough and shape them into whatever you like, which doesn't really matter because after you let them rise again, they somehow bounce back into shape. I hardly make breads because I'd have to make a big batch, and they are best eaten on the same day.
 
These cinnamon rolls however, can be kept overnight refrigerated, about two days. All it takes is a few seconds in the microwave, and you've got fresh, soft and tasty cinnamon rolls all over again. I was never a big fan of cinnamon rolls as I find them a little too sweet and sticky for my liking. These, on the other hand, are not sticky nor overly sweet. It's the combination of that cream cheese frosting and the almost-savoury cinnamon filling that make this so addictive, and yet not too rich that you'd stop at one.



The kids came back from school one day saying that they had super-awesome cinnamon rolls in school, and that gave me the perfect excuse to make these. As they preferred their rolls plain, I skipped the frosting on half the batch. I must say, I was pleased with how they turned out. If you leave the frosting to set on the rolls for a few minutes, it leaves a thin crunchy layer on top, like Krispy Kreme frosting. The rolls rose beautifully despite the fact that it was a cold winter's day, and it helped to place the dough under the cooker hood lights for some heat.

The kids enjoyed the rolls although they still preferred the one from school, because those were sweet and sticky! Looks like I'll be making more cinnamon rolls this weekend, and I have just the perfect recipe in mind!


Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

3/4 cup milk, warm (slightly above body temperature)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dry yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cup plain flour, plus extra
1/4 cup potato flour
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

Filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp plain flour
1/4 cup butter, softened

Frosting:
3 tbsp cream cheese
3 tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup icing sugar
1 tsp milk (approx.)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

Method

Measure out the milk in a measuring cup and heat up in the microwave for 30 seconds until warm. Mix through 2 tbsp sugar and the yeast. Set aside for 15 minutes until it turns frothy and nearly doubled in height.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour in the yeast mixture followed by the egg, salt, plain and potato flours. Attach a dough hook and mix on low speed for 2 minutes until it's mixed through and almost coming together. Add the softened butter and mix on medium speed for about 10 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth. Add a few extra tablespoons of plain flour during kneading if the dough looks sticky.

Turn out the dough into a large lightly greased bowl. Cover with a cloth or clingwrap and set aside in a warm place (like underneath the warm lights of your cooker hood). Let it rise for about 1-2 hours until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and plain flour for the filling.

Lightly grease a large baking pan (or two small ones).

When the dough is ready, punch it down. Roll it out onto a lightly floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick, large rectangle. The short side of the rectangle should be parallel to you.

Use your fingers to spread the softened butter all over the dough, to within 1/2 inch of the border. Sprinkle and spread the filling mixture all over the butter. Then starting from the long side furthest from you, roll it up tightly and seal the edge with a little water.

Use a serrated knife to cut into 16 slices (about 1 inch thick). Arrange in the baking pans, spacing them out about 3/4 inch apart. Cover with clingwrap and set aside for an hour or so until it has doubled in size. Remove clingwrap.

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Bake the rolls in the oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, beat the frosting ingredients together, adding the milk last to thin it slightly to a spreadable consistency.

Remove rolls from the oven, and spread some of the frosting over each one. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then drizzle more frosting on top. Serve warm. Leftovers can be refrigerated, and heated up the next day in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.