Pissing off the Doughboy

Cinnamon rolls fall into two camps for me: there are the fluffy, buttery, white-bready kind, whose gooey, drippy centers make my mouth water but whose exteriors are often dry and disappointing. Then there are the more consistently flavorful but not as fluffy kind, which I prefer; their doughy swirls don’t have as marked a decrease in thickness as they wind toward the center of the bun, and the dough is even moist at the very edge. I’m a fan of glaze, but not a fan of white icing, unless it comes artifically flavored with orange, from Pillsbury, but that’s another matter entirely.

I was pretty comfortable with the two-camp theory until I tried a recipe for cardamom rolls from Sunset’s November 2006 issue. (And WHY, pray tell, are there Triscuits floating across that page?) It blew the whole cinnamon roll concept wide open. Cardamom! Not cinnamon! I made them again with whole wheat (the original recipe calls for all white flour), and then got to thinking. Why must cinnamon rolls be boxed in by the All-American baking spice? Why not clove rolls? Why not Chinese five-spice rolls, made with almost half whole wheat flour? Oooh, I bet the Doughboy would be SO mad.

So here they are, with double the orange-tinged glaze, (I mentioned my first attempt here; it didn’t have nearly enough glaze for my tastes). They might be on the edge of what we Americans consider a morning sweet roll (five spice powder typically consists of equal parts cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise, and szechuan peppercorns), but we loved them. You can chicken out and use cinnamon if you want.

Also, this recipe calls for making the dough the night before you bake it, but you could also bake it directly after forming the rolls – note that they may take a little less time to bake.

Try them as is, or with just white flour, if you want something a little fluffier.

Whole Wheat Five Spice Rolls, Unglazed

Playing with Whole Wheat Five Spice Rolls 2

Recipe for Whole Wheat Five Spice Rolls
Recipe 32 of 365

Adapted from a recipe in the November 2006 issue of Sunset Magazine, this dough rolls out beautifully. If the dough starts to spring back to a smaller shape while you’re rolling it, let it rest for five minutes, then try rolling again.

This recipe makes 16 rolls; I always prepare them in two glass pie plates (with 8 rolls each), and freeze one batch, wrapped tightly in plastic. To bake the frozen rolls, transfer them to the refrigerator about 24 hours before baking, then continue as directed, and make a new glaze. The glaze below only covers 8 rolls, so if you want to bake both batches at once, you’ll need to double the glaze recipe.

TIME: 30 minutes active time, plus rising and baking
MAKES: 2 batches of 8 rolls each

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
5 teaspoons Chinese five spice
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering pans
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, salt, and 1 teaspoon of the five spice together until blended. Set aside.

Stir the yeast into 1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees), and let sit until bubbly, about five minutes. Set one stick of butter aside to soften. Melt the remaining stick of butter (in the microwave or a small saucepan) and transfer it to the work bowl of a standing mixer. Add the sugar, milk, and eggs, and whisk to blend, then stir in the yeast mixture. Add about a quarter of the flour mixture, and whisk again to blend. Switch to the dough hook attachment, and with the machine on low speed, add the remaining flour mixture a little at a time until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Meanwhile, butter two 9-inch pie plates or cake pans (or any combination of pans that fits 16 rolls with some room for expansion). Mix the remaining 4 teaspoons five spice with the brown sugar in a small bowl, and set aside.

When the dough has doubled, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough into a 2-foot square of even thickness. Spread the softened butter evenly over all of the dough, and sprinkle the sugar/spice mixture evenly over the butter. Roll the dough into a log (starting at the shorter edge if you didn’t get it quite into a square). Trim off the rough ends. Cut the log first into 2 equal pieces, then cut each shorter log into 8 equal pieces. Arrange the dough (swirls up) in the pie plates, seven rolls around the edge of each plate and one in the center of each. Cover one pan with plastic and refrigerate overnight; wrap the other tightly in a few layers of plastic and freeze for later use.

Before baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (Let the rolls come up to temperature on the counter while the oven heats.) Bake the rolls for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and the center swirl has risen up a little.

Meanwhile, stir the sifted sugar, juice, and zest together in a small bowl to make a glaze. (You can make the glaze the night before, just be sure to stir it before using.) Right when the rolls come out, spoon about half the glaze over them. Let the rolls cool for 10 minutes, and top with the remaining glaze. Serve immediately.

1 Comment

Filed under bread, Breakfast, recipe

One response to “Pissing off the Doughboy

  1. Noah

    DANG those look good. And I’m not much of a cinna-roll type of guy, but I LOVES me some food porn, and that last picture just hit the spot. I’ll be over in a couple of minutes to pick up a batch…🙂

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