About a week and a half ago, my friend's husband told me he wanted to make cinnamon buns. He took out his phone and pulled up the recipe that he wanted to use so that I could take a look and see if it looked like a good one. We discussed yeast, bread making, glazes, fillings... it was actually a pretty funny conversation.
As a result, he went home and started baking, and made cinnamon rolls that, according to my friend, were so good they should be illegal. And according to her husband, were the best things he's ever made.
As a secondary result, I've been totally craving cinnamon rolls.
Unfortunately, daddy's been on a low-carb diet. Which, in case you're curious, is working tremendously and is really fascinating, from a food perspective.
But cinnamon buns, at least the kind I wanted to make, are decidedly un-low-carb. So I haven't wanted to make them. Because I didn't think it would be fair.
But the other night, I just couldn't resist anymore. So I whipped up a batch of my favorite sweet dough and set to pondering about what kind of filling I should make.
Chocolate? S'mores? Berries? Biscoff?
And then it hit me.
I have become addicted to homemade chai tea and just knew that the spicy, sweet flavor would make the perfect filling for my sweet rolls.
Now, I don't have any process-photos for this, since I prepared them at night. And since I was really making them on a whim and not thinking about blogging...
But the next morning when I took these out of the oven to come back up to temperature, I kind of knew I was on to something cool.
And after taking them out of the oven, I was darn sure of it.
Now, no cinnamon bun is complete without some glaze, so I quickly heated some coconut milk with a hint of chai masala and a dash of vanilla extract and used that liquid to make my glaze.
Holy deliciousness. Sweet with a touch of heat from the pepper in the chai masala, these were amazingly delicious. Especially accompanied by a nice, hot cup of... yeah... chai tea.
Ooey and gooey, warm and delcious... perfect for a cold winter morning.
And to make sure that they weren't around tempting daddy too much, I boxed a few up for the friend who inspired all of this in the first place. And a couple for one of my zumba insstructors. And a couple for the secretaries at little miss's school.
And now I want to make more.
Chai Spiced Cinnamon Rolls
For the dough:
1 cup milk (I used coconut milk)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, sugar and butter. Heat until slightly warm to the touch then remove from heat and stir in the yeast. I found that I had to let the milk mixture cool a bit before adding the yeast, as the milk got pretty hot in order to dissolve the sugar. Once the yeast has been added, let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Mix in the eggs, oil and the yeast mixture. Mix until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Grease a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of oil. Place the dough into the bowl and turn once to coat. Cover and let stand in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.
For the filling:
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons chai masala
Mix chai masala into brown sugar until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
To prepare cinnamon rolls:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Once the dough has risen, gently deflate it.
Roll the dough into a big rectangle.
Spread the butter over the dough.
Sprinkle the spiced brown sugar mixture over the butter. You will likely not need all of it, but that's okay.
Starting with one long end, roll the dough into a log.
Cut the log into 12 pieces, and place each piece, cut side up, into a 9" x 13" pan.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place it into the refrigerator overnight. (Or, let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes and proceed to the baking directions.)
In the morning, take the tray out of the refrigerator and allow it to come up to temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the cinnamon buns for 25-30 minutes.
For the glaze:
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon chai masala
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat all three ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until heated through, allowing the coconut milk to soak in the flavors of the spice and vanilla.
Combine 1 cup of confectioners' sugar with a few tablespoons of the heated milk mixture, stirring until a glaze forms. Add more of the milk mixture if you need to make a good drizzling consistency.
Drizzle the glaze over the warm cinnamon rolls.