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The Maladroit Wife | Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Layered Dough
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Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Layered Dough

adapted from Saveur Magazine…


Note: I generally use the milk and eggs straight from the refrigerator, and cool
water – then let the dough rise in a relatively cool place (or overnight in the
refrigerator). This develops flavor and makes the dough easier to work with,
especially with the additional layering steps in this recipe. I f the dough is cool, it
helps if the butter is pretty soft.

1 4-oz. instant yeast [or use active dry and proof in the water]

2 Tbsp sugar

¼ cup water (cool)

1 2 cup milk (cold)

1 tbsp. light brown sugar

1 2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 egg (cold)

[1 egg yolk] (cold)

2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading if necessary

½ cup whole-wheat flour

3 4 tsp. fine salt

4 tbsp. soft unsalted butter, plus more for the pan


4 ounces whipped cream cheese at room temperature


[December 2010: I thought that slightly less filling would be better]

¼ cup soft butter

½ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup sugar

1 (+) tbsp. cinnamon

[M elted butter for brushing the baked rolls]

[FOR THE I CI NG (which I never use, though made with buttermilk it might be
more palatable):

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup buttermilk]

1. Make the dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a hook, combine the
flours, salt, sugars, and yeast. (If using active dry yeast, proof it separately in the
water with a pinch of sugar.)

Add the milk, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Combine by hand with the hook or a spoon
just to distribute the wet and dry ingredients fairly evenly. Mix on medium speed
until the dough just comes together. Turn mixer speed to medium-high and knead
dough for 4 minutes. Add the butter in three or four pieces and continue kneading
until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 6 minutes.
Remove bowl from the mixer, tuck the edges of the dough under, cover with a plate,
and set aside at a cool room temperature. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in
size and retains the impression of your fingertips (usually 2 or 2-1/2 hours).

2. Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine the sugars and cinnamon; cream together
with soft butter. Filling should be as soft as possible.

3. Work fairly quickly in through these steps; it’ s best if the kitchen is not too warm.
Cover the dough with a towel and let it rest for ten minutes or so if it does fight back
when you’ re rolling it (but it probably won’ t if it’ s cool and you handle it lightly).

Turn the dough out (no punching) onto a floured surface. Gently pat it into a 10”
square. Spread half of the cream cheese evenly over the dough square; then fold
square into thirds as you would fold a letter to fit it into an envelope; turn the
envelope seam side down, roll it gently into a rectangle about 7” x 21” and spread the
remaining cream cheese over 2/3 of the rectangle. Fold into thirds again, invert the
dough so that the seam is face down and, using the rolling pin, gently roll into a 10″ x

20″ rectangle.

4. Turn the dough so that the short sides are parallel to you. [For small rolls, place
long sides parallel to you.] Spread or crumble the filling over the dough, leaving a
border at top and bottom. Lightly press the filling into the dough. Lift the bottom
edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight cylinder. Place dough cylinder seam
side down, trim off the ends, and cut cylinder crosswise into 8 [or 16] equal-size
slices. Put the two ends together for an extra roll. Nestle the slices, cut sides up and
evenly spaced from one another, into a buttered [9″ x 13″] light-colored metal baking
pan. Tent pan loosely with foil and set it aside to rise for about 2 hours (fingertip
test). (Alternatively, the rolls may be refrigerated overnight – cover with lightly oiled
plastic wrap. They may weep a bit, but that does no harm. Take them out about an
hour before they go into the oven.)

5. Heat oven to 375°. Uncover the rolls. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick
inserted in the center of the rolls comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes for small rolls.

[6. Make the icing: While the rolls are baking, whisk together the sugar and
buttermilk in a small bowl until smooth.]

7. Transfer the pan of cinnamon rolls to a cooling rack; [brush with melted butter].
Let cool for 5 minutes. [Dip the tines of a fork into the icing and drizzle all over the

Serve immediately.

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