Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cream cheese cinnamon rolls with blueberries and white chocolate icing

I've come across many recipes for cinnamon rolls, from yeast-free doughs to the fancier ones using buttermilk or cream cheese. The key to a good cinnamon roll (or scroll/bun) is to use good quality cinnamon and in the right proportion to the sugar filling. The addition of a syrup (like maple syrup) makes for a sticky cinnamon roll, and you can add nuts or fruits to that as well. In my "search" for cinnamon, I learnt that there are hundreds of types of cinnamon, but the main ones are Ceylon Cinnamon, Chinese Cassia Cinnamon, Saigon Cinnamon and Indonesian Korintje Cinnamon. In this recipe, I've used Indonesian cinnamon which has a strong aromatic flavour that is sweet and spicy, and perfect for cinnamon rolls. Make sure you check the label on your bottle of ground cinnamon to see where it's sourced from.

In this recipe, which I have adapted from Saveur, I made a few changes and substitutions. I've made Anna Olson's Soft Blueberry Stick Buns a few years ago, and loved the addition of cream cheese in the dough which gave it a creamy and soft texture. I've also added potato flour to help retain the moisture in the rolls. These rolls are best served warm on the same day. Leftovers can be gently heated in the microwave before serving.

Cream cheese cinnamon rolls with white chocolate icing
Adapted from Saveur


1 (¼-oz.) package active dry yeast
½ tsp. plus 2 tbsp sugar
½ cup milk, at room temperature
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted, plus more for kneading
1/4 cup potato flour *
¾ tsp. fine salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

½ cup sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. good quality ground cinnamon *
½ tsp. fine salt
2 tbsp. maple syrup
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dried blueberrries (optional)

1/2 cup icing sugar (confectioners' sugar)
1 tbsp milk (or substitute with plain milk or hot water)
60g (2 oz) white chocolate, melted


1. Make the dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a hook, combine yeast, ½ tsp. of the sugar, and ¼ cup warm water heated to 46°C (115°F). Stir to combine and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add remaining sugar, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Beat on low speed until thoroughly combined, 1 minute. Turn mixer off and add the flour and salt. Mix on medium speed until the dough just comes together. Turn mixer speed to high and knead dough for 4 minutes. Gradually add the butter followed by cream cheese, and continue kneading until dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 6-10 minutes. Sprinkle more flour into the bowl if necessary. Remove bowl from the mixer, place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place. Let the dough rise for 1 ½–2 hours, until it has doubled in size.

2. Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine the sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter in a large bowl; stir to combine. Stir in the maple syrup. Set filling aside.

3. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a heavily floured surface. Gently knead the dough until it's no longer sticky, adding more flour as necessary, about 1 minute. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10" x 20" rectangle, with the short sides parallel to you.

4. Spread the reserved filling over the dough, leaving a 1" border at the edge farthest away from you. Sprinkle with blueberries if used. Lightly press the filling into the dough. Using your hands, lift up the bottom edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight cylinder. Place dough cylinder, seam side down, on a cutting board and, using a thin, sharp knife, trim off the ends; cut cylinder crosswise into 8 equal-size slices. Nestle the slices, cut sides up and evenly spaced from one another, into a buttered 9" x 13" light-colored metal baking pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to let rise for 2 hours. (Alternatively, the rolls may be refrigerated overnight.)

5. Heat oven to 190°C (375°F). Uncover the rolls. (If refrigerated, let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.) Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the rolls comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.

6. Make the icing: While the rolls are baking, whisk together the sugar and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Whisk in the melted chocolate.

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

* Cook's notes:

1. I have substituted some of the plain flour with potato flour which helps keep the bread moist
2. Use good quality ground cinnamon. Indonesian cinnamon (Korintje) is ideal with its spicy sweet aroma.