Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 20 - September 3, 2009

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

I cannot name one person that I know that doesn’t like cinnamon buns. The Cinnabon booth in the mall has sucked us all in at one point or another. It just smells too darn delicious to pass up. I crave them often but they are much too difficult to make here in our tiny apartment with its tiny oven. Back at home (our Canadian home, that is), I would dust off the old bread machine and pull out the rolling pin and get to work, but here, there is no room to store an appliance of that size and I wouldn’t dare buy a cheap wooden rolling pin when I have a beautiful marble one waiting for me at home. So, I searched for an alternative that would require less time and labour but would still curb those sweet cinnamon-y cravings.

We attempted this recipe last week and I thought I should share a few tips before you go trying this at home.

1. Yes, the recipe is quick and easy as its name suggests but it definitely doesn’t compare to a warm, gooey, cinnamon bun. The texture was more like a cake donut than a fluffy melt-in-your-mouth roll. (Aside: I hope I didn’t just dissuade you from trying this recipe. Oops!)

2. Do NOT let your husband mix in the final ingredients. Many men don’t know that over stirring can lead to a tough muffin. (Aside: I will be stirring the batter next time and that will hopefully result in a fluffier finished product.)

3. Only fill the muffin tins ¼ full (or ½ at the very most). The muffins will definitely rise (much more than I had anticipated).

4. Start by making only half the amount of topping, otherwise, as the muffins rise, you will end up with half the topping burning on the bottom of the oven.

5. Bake and enjoy a sweet treat in no time!

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Roll Muffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
2/3 cup warm milk (100-110F; low fat is fine)
3 tbsp vegetable oil or butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

3 tbsp butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground cardamom

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk or cream

Grease and/or line a muffin tin. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk and butter or oil.
Combine the milk mixture, vanilla extract, and egg into the flour mixture. Mix everything well, until it’s very smooth. Pour a bit less than 1/4 cup of the batter into each muffin cup in your prepared pan and let rest for 15 minutes.

While the batter rests, mix together the cubed, room temperature butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom in a small bowl using a fork or my preferred method, your hands, until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly.

Sprinkle the topping evenly onto the rested batter and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips or swirl in with a spatula. Place pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cakes are lightly browned at the edges and the center springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.

Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar and milk together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread. Serve warm if you can, but they’re great at room temperature or cold, too. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave as well.


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