cinnamon rolls. They are one of Zack's favorite things to eat and mine too when I think about it. I have to admit I've fallen down on the job when it comes to earnestly pursuing the perfect specimen. This weekend though, I had a breakthrough.
On Thursday, Ashley and I taught a cooking class on Thanksgiving - my favorite holiday - as I've often shared here. After the class, there were a number of leftover items. Everyone knows that leftovers are one of the best things about Thanksgiving. I had a batch of Moravian Lovefeast Bun dough that I'd demonstrated in class. This is the best dinner roll you will ever eat. I will not be challenged on this topic. It is perfection. Tender, slightly sweet, deep flavor, golden brown. I also had quite a bit of Gingered Cranberry Sauce. Fast forward to Saturday and I'm preparing for a party. On a whim, I decided to make cranberry cinnamon rolls, using the leftover dough and sauce. The resulting confection was something truly special and I couldn't wait to share it with you.
This dough recipe makes the best cinnamon rolls I've ever made and the second best I've tasted. (The very best can be had at Skillet Diner, but only on Saturday or Sunday. I warn you, one of theirs is the size of your head.) You can use this dough to make classic cinnamon rolls, or doll the whole thing up with cranberry sauce or raspberry jam or carmelized apples, etc etc. Really whatever you can imagine! The basis for every good cinnamon roll is the dough, and as I've now said in triplicate, this dough is amazing. Here is the recipe for my cranberry cinnamon rolls, but just leave out the cranberry for a very classic variation. I also like to make my glaze with maple flavor (syrup), something I learned from Zack's Mom Suzi. Maple and cinnamon are perfect companions.
GINGER CRANBERRY CINNAMON ROLLS WITH MAPLE CINNAMON ICING
For the dough:
1 recipe Moravian Lovefeast bun dough (made the day before use)
For the sauce:
8 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
2/3 cup dried sweet tart cherries (such as Montmorcey)
2/3 cup sugar
zest and juice of one small orange
⅓ cup minced crystallized ginger
1 cups water
In a large saucepan, combine cranberries (no need to thaw if frozen), cherries, zest, juice, sugar, and water.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes, then add ginger, continue 5-10 minutes more until most berries have burst and liquid is syrupy, 20 to 25 minutes total. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
For the glaze:
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup grade B pure maple syrup (substitute milk here if you want a classic white glaze)
2 cups confectioners sugar
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon (to taste) (or none for classic white glaze)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Whisk together until well incorporated and to desired consistancy. Add a bit of milk for thinner glaze.
For the Assembly
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
Mix sugars and cinnamon together in a small bowl.