Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Rolls

I saw this idea floating around Pinterest and thought I'd try it.  They turned out nicely.  The buns do lose their shape a bit when baking, but a little frosting in the right shape helps you see the heart.  This is my favorite cinnamon roll dough! As a note on the recipe, you need a total of 9 Tbs of butter, 4 of which is melted.  I split it up in the recipe.

Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe adapted from Peter Reinhart

6 1/2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbs butter
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp lemon extract (not lemon juice!) or lemon zest
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tbs butter, melted
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (7 Tbs sugar plus 2 Tbs cinnamon)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs milk
2 Tbs butter, melted
1/4 tsp lemon extract or vanilla extract

In a mixer, cream together sugar, salt, and 5 tbs butter on medium-high with the paddle attachment.  Whip in egg and lemon until smooth, then add flour, yeast, and buttermilk.  Mix on low speed until dough forms a ball.  Switch to the dough hook and increase speed to medium.  Machine knead for approximately 10 minutes or knead by hand for about 15 minutes, until dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky.  You may need to add a little extra flour to achieve the right texture, but don't add more than 1/2 cup.

Place kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl.  Spray the top with oil and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise for about 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size. If you put the dough in a warm (90-120F) oven, it will rise faster.

Punch the dough down. Spray the countertop with cooking spray and transfer the dough to the counter.  Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until you have a rectangle about 2/3" thick and 14" wide by 12" long.  Don't roll too thin or the rolls will be tough instead of tender.

Spread or brush the 2 Tbs melted butter over the surface of the dough.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dough all the way to the edges.  Roll up the dough, beginning with the bottom long side, up to the center.  Roll the top of the dough down to meet the other roll.  It will look like a scroll.  Using a sharp knife, bench scraper, or some dental floss, cut the scroll into 12 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches thick.  Place each roll, cut-side down, 1/2" apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Pinch the bottoms out so they look like hearts.  Mist the dough with cooking spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap. 

Let rise for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, or until large and puffy and almost touching. 

Preheat oven to 350F.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.  Let cool slightly while you prepare the icing.

In a small pan combine powdered sugar, 2 Tbs melted butter, lemon or vanilla, and 1 Tbs milk. If the glaze is too thick, add more milk, a teaspoon at a time, until a thick but pourable glaze is created.  Put the icing into a pastry bag or a ziplock-type bag with the corner cut off.  Pipe the icing onto the buns in a heart shape, following the swirls in the dough as a guide.

Makes 12 heart-shaped buns.

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