After much deliberation and erratically indecisive behavior, I finally landed on a recipe to christen my new KitchenAid and cook book with. But lets back things up a bit first (don't worry, this isn't going to be another novel length post.) About a month ago, I won Leslie Mackie's Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook in a giveaway on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. Then, 2 weeks ago I received an email from Sarah, of TasteSpotting asking me to check out this link. A KitchenAid stand mixer...in my kitchen! I now own a stand mixer. I still can't believe it. Lola is sitting proudly on my cramped counter top. She's dethroned my other love, the coffee maker, Gabriel. When I get up in the morning I'm still amazed to see an actual stand mixer just looking back at me and grinning (what? You know they can smile.)
Because I'm a nut case, a Virgo, and recovering Catholic, this streak of luck has me slightly worried. Is the universe going to return some balance to my world in the form of some unlucky occurrence? Why can't I just enjoy things without worrying about a potential hammer coming down? Instead of over thinking/analyzing these perky events, I'm going to try and stay positive. Yes, I will stay positive about staying positive (does that count)?
Even though this recipe can made with a hand held, I had to use my KitchenAid! Holy cannoli, did she whip through those 3 sticks of butter like they were...well, butter. But she did it so gracefully and evenly! With my hand held, there would have been chunks of butter flying all over the kitchen. Another perk that came with Lola is my confidence with yeast. Maybe just knowing that my kitchen is complete is all that I needed to boost my baking prowess.
I used the same dough making technique for the Daring Baker's vol-au-vent last year so I knew what to expect with this recipe, and how stupid it was for me to make it during one of the most humid weeks of the summer. The 3 sticks are formed into a butter-block (isn't that term just heavenly?) The block is rolled into a yeasted dough, and given several turns with an hour of refrigeration time in between each one (the recipe requires patience) This rolling and turning produce those tiny air pockets, giving your croissant that beautiful flaky, buttery fabulousness. As if these would not have been good enough on their own, they are elevated to an even higher plane and transform into possibly the best cinnamon rolls in the world! I'm not exaggerating. Think of your favourite cinnamon bun morphed into a soft, delicately crisp-edged croissant. When you take a bite, you can feel all the flakes and nooks just before it melts onto your tongue. I'm not in the cinnamon roll fan club, but if they all tasted like these, I would gladly pay a high membership fee.
Thank you, Lola and Sarah!
Croissant Dough Cinnamon Rolls
(recipe slightly adapted from Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook)
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons of dried yeast
3 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons of pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt (or something coarser than table salt)
3 cups + 3 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
12 ounces (3 sticks) of unsalted butter, chilled
1) Pour the milk into a saucepan and warm over medium heat. Remove from stove when the milk is warm to the touch, taking care not to over-heat. Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Add sugar, and vanilla extract and mix with a whisk until dry ingredients are dissolved. Let sit for 5 minutes while yeast blooms (yet another lovely phrase.)
2) In a separate medium bowl, combine salt, and 3 cups of the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Add flour mixture to the bowl of milk and stir until all ingredients are incorporated. It's important not to over-mix the dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight. While in the refrigerator, the dough will almost double in size.
3) The next day, remove bowl of dough from the refrigerator and set on a counter.
4) Cut the chilled butter into 12 equal pieces. Place butter and remaining 3 Tablespoons of flour in the bowl of a standing mixer. ☺ Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for about 2 minutes, until butter is completely smooth.
5) Using a plastic scraper (or large spatula) scoop the butter mixture onto a floured work surface and pat into a 6-inch square (butter-block.) Lightly flour the top and bottom of the butter-block to make it easier to handle, then lift it onto a piece of plastic wrap and set aside.
* Before going onto the next step, it's important to make sure that the butter-block and the bowl of dough are the same cool temperature. If the butter gets too warm and soft, place it in the refrigerator until it's thoroughly chilled. If necessary, do the same with the dough.*
6) The next step is incorporating the butter into the dough. Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl of dough and lightly sprinkle with flour. The spongy dough will be sticking to the bowl, so coat your fingers with flour and gently release it from the sides of the bowl. Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat into a square. Stretch each of the corners outwards about 4-inches, creating an X shape and leaving a 7-inch square of dough in the center. Place the cold butter-block in the center of the dough and fold the stretched corners on top, overlapping them slightly. Pinch all the seams of dough together, completely sealing the butter into the dough. Sprinkle a little more flour onto your work surface and moving quickly to keep the butter from softening, gently roll dough into a 12 x 20-inch rectangle, about 1/2-inch thick. If the dough cracks open and butter starts to peek through, pinch the dough to re-seal it.
7) Once the dough has been rolled out, it's time to start the book-folds. This distributes the butter and dough into alternating layers, resulting in flaky dough, *If the butter gets too soft and seeps through the dough, place the dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.* Position the rectangle so that the long side is facing you and fold the left and right sides on top, meeting in the center. Crease the seam gently with your fingers to make the next fold easier. Next, fold the dough in half, bringing the left side over to the right so that it resembles a book. Lift the folded dough into a lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
8)After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit for 10-15 minutes (unless your house is very humid.) Remove the plastic wrap place the dough on a lightly floured surface, positioning the dough so that the open side of the fold is in front of you. Roll the dough, from left to right, into another 12 x 20-inch rectangle. Moving quickly, follow the above book-fold instructions a second time. Place the folded dough back onto the baking sheet, cover, and chill for another 30 minutes.
9) The dough still needs one more fold. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, let sit for 10 minutes (if needed) then follow the book-fold instructions a third time. Cover, wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
*Unlike pie dough, Croissant dough does not keep well. Try to prepare the pastries right away. Once the rolls have been formed, the should be baked within 24 hours, or wrapped well in plastic wrap and frozen.*
Cinnamon Roll ingredients
1 recipe for croissant dough (above)
1/2 cup of raisins (I didn't use any)
1 cup of chopped pecans
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of pure almond extract
2 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cocoa powder (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine sugars, almond extract, cinnamon, and cocoa powder (if using.) Mix well and set aside.
Take the croissant dough out of the refrigerator and remove plastic. Cut the dough in half and place 1 piece on a lightly floured work surface. Re-wrap the remaining dough and put it back in the refrigerator.
Roll the dough into a 12 x 20-inch rectangle and lightly mist the the dough with a spray bottle or slightly wet finger tips. Spread half the cinnamon mixture over the entire surface. Sprinkle half the pecans over the cinnamon. Starting with one of the long sides, roll the dough away from you into a log. The finished log should be about 3-inches in diameter. Repeat this process with the second piece of dough.
Using a sharp knife, cut each log into 6 equal rolls ( you will have 12 all together.)
Tuck the loose ends of each roll underneath themselves to the filling won't seep out. Place the rolls, tuck sides down, into oiled (I brushed my tin with canola oil) muffin tins. Cover with plastic wrap.
Let proof in a warm room, about 70F. for 1 1/2 hours. If your house isn't that warm, preheat your oven to 350F. Turn it off and wait a few minutes until it's cooled off. Place the muffin tin inside the now turned off oven. The rolls will rise slightly.
Transfer to the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight. The dough will continue to ferment while it's in the refrigerator, developing a slightly sour flavour that compliments the sweet filling.
The next morning, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let them sit, still covered, at room temperature for 1 hour. Don't worry, you're almost there!
Preheat the oven to 385F.
Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 40-45 minutes ( mine were ready in about 25 minutes.) The finished rolls will be a deep golden brown. Let them cool for about 5 minutes, then gently turn the pan over and remove the rolls. Don't let them sit in the pan for too long or the sugars will harden making the rolls difficult to remove.
Makes 12 cinnamon rolls.