Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adventures in Cooking - Cinnamon and Applesauce Scrolls of Deliciousness

Monday was Little House on the Prairie Day at Chez Boredom Abounds. I made baked goods with yeast from scratch in the kitchen while my husband worked the land (well, he sucked up all the leaves in the driveway with his electric leaf sucker thingie and raked shit up out the back while listening to his iPod). So, it was kind of Little House on the Prairie in the twenty first century. Although we DO have an over-abundance of mosquitoes just like in the books when they eat all that watermelon from down near the river or something, but we haven't caught malaria yet. Yay!

Anyway. I have been wanting to make a bread-type thing from scratch for a while now, but I don't eat a lot of bread. So when I found a recipe for Cinnamon Scrolls, I thought "I can get on board with that." Sugar, cinnamon, apple sauce. Sounds delicious, and it doesn't even try to sound healthy, which I like when I'm baking. I was worried about cooking with yeast because I've never done that before and I'm not great at making scones, so I was worried about making dough and getting it to rise properly. But, if you read on, you'll see that my fears were unfounded!

4 cups of plain flour
1/3 cup of caster sugar
2 x 7gram sachets of dry yeast (you can find this in the supermarket near the flour and bread mixes)
300ml milk, warmed slightly
100grams unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
250gram jar of applesauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup warm water
Extra cinnamon and sugar for dusting

Total prep and cooking time: about two to three hours (intermittent though - don't worry)


Combine the sifted flour, sugar, yeast and cinnamon in a large bowl. I've never seen dry yeast before, and it was interesting. Kind of like really, really tiny beads of sand or something. It definitely seemed sort of 'alive.'

Melt the butter. Combine it with the milk and the beaten egg in a smaller bowl and stir it around a bit.

Pour the butter/milk/egg mix into the dry ingredients and mix it around. Sprinkle the cinnamon into the mix. It will start to become kind of sticky and dough like, which is what it's supposed to do.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about five or ten minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic (ie. not sticky).

Er....this is me kneading. I did have to add a bit more flour to the bench top, probably about a handful because I found it took a bit longer to get the dough to not feel so sticky.

Put the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl. I just sprayed my bowl with a bit of olive oil spray. See how low it is in the bowl?

Now leave it on the bench covered with a tea towel for about 30 - 45 minutes. It will rise to double it's size, like this. I had to leave mine for about 45 minutes because it took a while to get rising (that sounds like a 90s pop song. Get Risin' by 5ive!) Punch your fist into the centre of the dough while it's still in the bowl. It will deflate slightly and you'll be able to peel it out of the bowl easily and back onto the bench top. I lightly floured the bench top again just to make sure it didn't stick. 

FYI, punching the dough and seeing it deflate a bit was really cool.

Roll the dough out on the bench top into a large square/rectangle, about 30 or 40 centimetres long/wide.

Spread the square with the applesauce, and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and sugar over it - not too much, just a pinch of each.

Now, this is the messy part. Take the bottom of the dough and start rolling it over itself into a nice snail tube. 

Cut the roll of dough into 2cm wide slices and place in a tin lined with grease proof baking paper. 
Set aside for another 30 minutes to let it rise a bit more. It really will rise a bit higher, even though it's in the tray. At this stage, preheat the oven to about 180 degrees Celsius (fan forced) or 200 degrees Celsius for the other kind of oven (mental blank). Brush the tops of the scrolls lightly with milk and slide it into the oven for about 20 minutes. In my fan forced oven I cooked them for 15 minutes at 170 degrees, then for another 15 minutes at about 150 degrees. 

They should become golden brown on top and feel hollow when you tap them once they come out of the oven.

At this point, your house will have the most delicious, pastry cinnamon smell. I can't even describe how freaking amazing it smells.

Once the scrolls are out of the oven, mix up about 1 cup of icing sugar, half a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon or so of warm water into a very basic icing mix. Drizzle it with a spoon over the scrolls while they're still in the tray.

 Et voila!
(Disclaimer: this may be the worst finished product photo I have ever taken. My hands were sticky, the camera battery was dying - or so I thought. Turns out I was looking at the wrong symbol - and it was time for Glee. I'm sorry)

Serve them warm or at room temperature. Soooo delicious.

You can replace the applesauce with some jam or fruit mince for a different flavour. If you do this, leave the cinnamon out and instead, sprinkle the tops of the scrolls with slivered almonds just before you pop them in the oven. You will need about 400 grams of jam if you do that though.
You could also scatter sultanas or dried fruit through the dough for a bit more texture and to go with the jam flavour.
It's a time consuming recipe, but ultimately it's not that fiddly - it's mostly just the waiting around for the dough to rise that takes up a lot of time. This is a good recipe for a Winter weekend afternoon when you're hanging around at home. It's easy to make and keep an eye on while you're doing other things around the house.
I did have to stick my scrolls back in the oven after I cut them apart because the dough seemed a bit soft in the middle, so I cooked them for another 15 minutes at about 130 degrees, keeping a close eye on them. This was actually a good thing because it made the icing harden up taste even more yum.
I also probably would use a much wider tray next time, because the scrolls spread out and stick together when they're in the oven and you have to sort of cut them apart with a knife gently.

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Kiki Chaos said...

These sound amazing! I can practically smell that beautiful cinnamony baking aroma :) I think I will have to give these a go when the weather gets cooler.

Julia R said...

Kiki, they are definitely an Autumn/Winter delight! Nice with a rich hot chocolate and a good book on a Sunday afternoon.

Anonymous said...


I LOVE Little House On A Prairie ahahahaahahahaa your description was hilarious.

These scrolls sound amaaaaazing! Love bread that's straight from the oven.

Merrin said...

We had Cinnamon scrolls in Hartford once - Angela bought them in a cardboard tube and they were delicious. Yours looked very much the same only bigger and juicier.I bet your kitchen smelled wonderful! P.S.Now you have mastered yeast you can make pizza bases.

Julia R said...

Blithely Unaware, thanks for reading! Yes, it was very Little House. I felt just like Ma in the kitchen!

Merrin, I know, I feel so much more confident now! I found a recipe online today for a cinnamon toast loaf and it looked fantastic. Something to try in Winter!

Hannah said...

There is nothing else to say about this but PHWOAR. If only I weren't so scared of yeast!

Melanie B said...

These look delicious Julia. Isn't it funny how we are scared of cooking with certain things... I run a mile when I see anything involving gelatin or a sugar thermometre! Also not a fan of making pastry unless the recipe advocates making it in the food processor

Julia R said...

Hannah, soooo delicious! And the yeast was so easy - just chuck it in and mix it up!

Melanie, I know. I've been wanting to make a mango mousse with gelatin for a while now, but the idea of it seems so difficult! Pastry I don't mind as much, but it is hard to get exactly right.

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed said...

holy moly this looks incredible! mmmmmmmmm I so want to make this, I am eyeing off cinnamon scrolls for easter :) loving this post as a reference point, thanks!
Heidi xo

Julia R said...

Heidi, they weren't too difficult to make. I probably would have cooked them for longer at a lower temperature though. Good luck!