Evenings hold a sacred bond with tea. It is a tradition that has been going on for years and as is the case in my household as well. Just when the light blue clouds cover the scintillating sun, my parents rush to the lawn to commence their tea party. And, of course, my love for food serves as an advantage to them.
Every few days, I like to put on my apron and experiment in my little food laboratory, commonly known as a kitchen. So I stir up some dish and that usually ends up as their hi-tea snack.
Their latest favourite is my cinnamon rolls. Even though I sometimes get bored of making them over and over again – not that these are not delicious or difficult to make, I just like making something new every time – but their love for these heavenly soft rolls keeps on growing with each passing day.
On a different note, the story of how I started making them is quite interesting as well. During my last visit to Dolmen Mall, I came across an irresistible sweet and appetising smell. I sniffed and trailed along the aroma that led me to a famous cinnamon roll house in the mall. That was the day I decided to make cinnamon rolls.
For me, cinnamon rolls are the first step towards making bread. First, you have to make the dough and then the filling. Once you make the rolls and let them rise, you can freeze them for future use as well. All you have to do is defrost them half an hour before My freezer is always decked up with these divine rolls, since our family really can’t survive without them. PHOTO: STARTRIBUNE and bake till its amazing smell envelops your house. My freezer is always decked up with these divine rolls, since my family really can’t survive without them and is a crucial part of their evening tea time.
For the dough:
Flour – 3 ¼ cups
Sugar – ¼ cup
Water – ¼ cup
Milk – ¾ cup (whole milk)
Margarine – ¼ cup (softened)
Yeast – 2 ¼ tsp (instant)
Egg – 1
For the filling:
Brown sugar – 1 cup
Margarine – ½ cup
Cinnamon powder – 1 tbsp
Some important tips to remember – firstly, while using yeast in baking, the most crucial aspect is that every single ingredient you use, even flour, should be room temperature. Otherwise, your yeast will not work properly. Using yeast can be quite tricky. Sometimes, people complain that the yeast does not work or the dough gets hard, but that is because the yeast has died. Always ensure that the yeast you’re using is straight out of the packet or from an airtight jar in a suitable environment.
Secondly, using whole milk is not a necessity; I myself being health conscious am not a fan of whole milk, but it works exceptionally well for this recipe.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.
2. Pour half of your flour (two cups), sugar and yeast in a bowl and mix.
3. In a sauce pan, add milk and margarine, and stir over low heat until the margarine has completely melted.
4. Add your water, margarine mixture and egg to the flour mixture, and mix it well with a spoon.
5. Slowly add in the rest of the flour, half cup at a time. When it’s nicely mixed, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
6. Knead the dough for five to 10 minutes till it doesn’t stick to the surface anymore.
7. Cover the dough with a towel/cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, prepare your filling by mixing the margarine, cinnamon powder and brown sugar in a bowl. You can always reduce the amount of sugar in case you think it will be too sweet. However, the amount mentioned works perfectly well for me.
9. Remove the towel and grab your rolling pin. Flatten the dough with your hands and then roll away until its 16 by 21 inches or as thick as your smartphone.
10. Evenly spread out the filling on top of the dough. In the case of the picture below, ignore the sides and cut them off.
11. Neatly roll up the dough into a roll, like you would roll a scroll.
12. Once you’ve rolled it up, slice it up into pieces. I like to butter the knife before cutting as it makes the cutting process easier and smoother.
13. Place these rolls in a greased glass casserole or muffin tray. Make sure they are evenly spaced and not too close to each other as they rise and require space.
14. Cover them with aluminum foil and keep it in a warm place, like an oven (not switched on), for almost 90 minutes or until they have risen to be twice their original size. Once they have risen, brush with a little butter.
15. Place the tray in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees.
Trust me, these will be hardest 40 minutes of your life and the wait will get harder as their heavenly aroma gets stronger.
Meanwhile, you can prepare your tea or coffee, but I personally believe it is best served with an iced coffee. A little tip for making a perfectly brewed coffee is to blend it with a hand mixer or blender.
After the wait is over, take these freshly baked rolls out of the oven. What you see is undoubtedly one of my favourite sights.
These soft and fluffy rolls cut like clouds and you can serve them on a medium-sized plate with a little brown sugar dusting.
The last step is to change into your sweatpants and get ready to gain a few pounds, because once you take that first bite, it will be hard for you to resist.
All photos: Mahrukh Nadeem
from The Express Tribune Blog http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/29350/say-hello-to-these-delicious-and-heavenly-aromatic-cinnamon-rolls/