Are there too many words in this post title? Maybe. But if you had to pick one to leave out, which would it be? You can’t choose, right? Me neither.
Now, as the name suggests, these things are freaking delicious. But if I had to describe this particular batch as something besides that, the first phrase that comes to mind would be “hot mess.” See, I have this problem where I tend to disregard things like directions and pan sizes if they don’t jive with what I currently have at my fingertips, especially when I really want to make something. “Oh, this recipe calls for a 9 x 9 pan, but I have an 8 x 8. Ehh, it’ll be fine!” As you might be able to tell from the picture above, there were a few…casualties. Poor little rolls. Otherwise destined for sticky greatness. Stuffed between their slightly larger brothers, who then eclipsed them in the oven. Poor, sunken, gooey things.
So, why was I so hell-bent on making these, aside from the obvious? Well, I have a couple belated things to celebrate, and I’d had my heart set on making these for over a week. First, the blog turned 2 in September — I completely missed that! It wasn’t until I was writing my credit rant last week and reflecting back on how long I’d been at this that I realized my oversight. (Also, I would like to say thank you so much to all of you who chimed in on that post with advice, stories of your own, and reassurance that I’m not crazy.) And the second reason for celebration: My birthday was this past Sunday! And I turned a nice, round number — one that involves a three, and a zero. Eep! So yeah, I needed some cinnamon rolls. 9 x 9 pan be damned!
Also, I’d just like to take a moment to say that I had an awesome birthday. My image use frustrations earlier in the week were dwarfed by an unexpected request from Sam Dean at Bon Appétit to feature my Homemade Sriracha post in his online Kookery column. (I was so excited, I took a screen shot of my name on their homepage. I am a dork.) Saturday night was good drinks with great friends. Sunday was dinner at my favorite restaurant. But best of all, one of J’s presents to me was a day of prop shopping (better know in some respects as “antiquing”). Apparently there are a lot of great shops in the area. (An abundance of antique shops in Vermont, whoddathunk?) If found so many amazing things, and had a really hard time picking and choosing what I wanted most. But here’s a little sample. I can’t wait to start incorporating them into my photographs!
And now, enough about me. Let’s talk about cinnamon rolls! Normally, I prefer my cinnamon rolls with icing. So when I started making the glaze for these, I was skeptical. And even more so when I accidentally added a little bit too much vanilla extract, and the whole thing smelled like a horrible candle. But I let it cool, took a taste, and it was DELICIOUS. And now that I’ve tasted them, I don’t think they’d be at all better with icing. The glaze lets the tangy, caramel-y chai flavor permeate every last little bit of the rolls, making them more like a sticky bun. They are awesome. A wonderful mess to eat.
yield: 16 rolls
- 1 cup of pumpkin purée
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup of warm water
- 1/4 cup of butter, softened
- 4 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour (plus more, as needed)
- 1/4 cup of nonfat dry milk
- 1 tbsp of pumpkin pie spice
- 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp yeast
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of buttermilk
- 1/8 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced
- 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 chai tea bags
Combine dough ingredients and knead until a soft, smooth dough forms. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
When is nearly ready, mix together brown sugar and spices for the filling. Turn dough out on a lightly greased surface and roll out into a 14 x 22″ rectangle. Brush with melted butter, then evenly spread sugar/spice filling over surface, leaving an inch on one long edge free of filling.
Starting with edge that is covered with filling, roll dough up into a log. Trim off ends, then cut into 16 even slices. Place slices in a greased 9 x 9 pan. Cover and let rise for at least 1 hour at room temp, until doubled in size. (Alternatively, you can leave rolls in the fridge overnight, then let them rise on the counter the following morning.)
Preheat over to 375°. Bake rolls for 25–30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Remove from oven and let pan cool on a rack.
Warm buttermilk and butter in a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan, until butter is melted. Steep chai tea bags in mixture for 5–10 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeezing out all excess liquid into the pan. Add all of the remaining glaze ingredients EXCEPT for vanilla extract to the pan, then bring to a boil. (As mixture begins to boil it will double in size, so you want a fairly deep saucepan.) Boil for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until mixture begins to reduce slightly and is a dark amber in color. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract, then set aside and let cool slightly.
Remove rolls from the pan. Liberally drizzle glaze over them, then give it a moment to seep into every nook and cranny. Enjoy, and be prepared to get sticky!