Saturday, April 16, 2016

BBB Bakes Up Cinnamon-Free Swirl Rolls

No cinnamon rolls allowed for this challenge!  Cinnamon buns are a dime a dozen, so our challenge was to come up with something else to roll up in our pans.  It could be sweet or savory, whatever we could imagine.  No big surprise I went with sweet.  

Our secondary challenge was to figure out why (or even if) this recipe needs the three different forms of leavening for which it calls.  This particular recipe has appeared in numerous places around the internet, most notably in the Pioneer Woman's kitchen.  It calls for yeast, baking powder, and baking soda.  My take on the three leavens is this:  the yeast is your standard roll dough raiser and flavor enhancer, the baking powder is there for extra insurance and lift in the oven to make the rolls extra fluffy, (but only if you use double acting), and the baking soda is there to tenderize the crumb and perhaps aid browning.  There is no added acid in the dough so the soda does not really do much if anything to raise the rolls.  Too much and it could make the dough taste soapy.  There is enough sugar in this dough to ensure nice browning, so I would say it is not really necessary.  According to my test panel, they preferred the batches that were less fluffy anyway, (bready was the term used), so the extra leavens are probably not necessary.  It's personal preference though, because I really liked the fluffy batch!

So the flavors I ended up going with were, in no particular order: Maple Bacon Gingersnap Stuffed Rolls, Raspberry Cream Cheese Ricotta Twists, and Caramel Apple Fritter Rolls.  Believe me, I had many more flavor ideas, including savory, but the half batch of roll dough that we made divided nicely into three little pans of seven rolls.  So, three it was.  I really want to make a spanokopita filled roll, and one that uses the garlic filling, (mashed, to spread easily on the dough), of Dan's Garlic Bread!  So I can't wait to see the other Babes' takes on the rolls because I know there are quite a few savory options that will be presented.  This is a fun challenge, so if you want to bake along with us this month, take a picture or post on your blog.  Then send the results to our host kitchen at Bake My Day! before the 29th of this month to receive an honorary Buddy Badge and be included in the wacky roll round up!

Swirled Rolls
18-21 rolls

480 ml (2 cups) milk
120 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil or melted butter (I only used ¼ cup melted butter)
95 gr (½ cup) sugar (depending on the rolls you make, I only used ¼ cup even for my sweet rolls)
2 to 2½ tsp yeast (2 is more than sufficient for the instant yeast I use)
520 gr (4 cups) all purpose flour
65 gr (½ cup) all purpose flour (extra, reserve to add later)
½ tsp heaping baking powder
½ tsp scant baking soda (I would use ¼ tsp or omit)
½ tbsp (9 gr) salt
melted butter

In a saucepan, heat milk, butter/oil, and sugar until the butter is melted.  Cool to lukewarm.  If you want to use active dry yeast that needs to activate in liquid, wait until cooled before adding yeast.  Otherwise add instant yeast to flour.

Combine milk mixture and the 4 cups of flour and yeast in a large bowl.  Stir until combined, cover and let rise on the counter for an hour.

Add baking powder, soda, salt, and the remaining ½ cup flour.  Stir very well to combine.  Chill for at least an hour or up to three days.

Divide dough into two or three equal parts if you want more than one flavor.  Or just to make it easier to work with.  Roll the dough out fairly thin, into a rough rectangle on an oiled counter or floured pastry cloth.  For standard style rolls, divide into two parts and roll to preferred thickness.

Drizzle and spread with melted butter and/or whatever filling you choose to use.

Roll up lengthwise and pinch seam closed.  Slice evenly into desired number of rolls and set, cut side down, in baking dish.  Cover and let rise for 20-45 minutes before baking.

While the rolls are resting, preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC.  Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and done in the middle.  Cool on a wire rack.  Rolls are best eaten slightly warmed.

Here are the fillings I came up with:

Caramel Apple Fritter
3 apples (use a firm, sweet-tart apple that will not turn to mush when cooked)
½ tbsp lemon juice
½ c brown sugar (muscovado)
½ tsp vanilla
1 tbsp butter
½ tsp cinnamon (it wasn't the main filling so I allowed it)
½ tbsp starch (I used tapioca starch, but corn is okay if you don't have an allergy)

Cook mixture until apples are somewhat tender and filling is thickened.  Pour into a bowl and set aside, covered, to cool.  (Makes enough for one pan of seven to nine rolls, double for more rolls.)

Spread filling over dough (melted butter from original recipe optional) and roll up and slice as directed before baking.

     Caramel Glaze
     ½ cup butter
     1 cup brown sugar (muscovado)
     ½ tsp salt
     2/3 cup half and half
     ½ tsp vanilla
     2 cups powdered sugar

Bring butter, brown sugar, salt, and half and half to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat and cook for a minute until the mixture is completely homogeneous.  Remove from heat.
Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar.  Cool slightly and drizzle over warm rolls.
(This glaze makes more than you will need for a pan of seven rolls, may be halved.)

Raspberry Ricotta Danish Style Twists
2-4 oz. raspberries (frozen is fine)
2 tbsp cane sugar (recommend 4 tbsp for 4 oz raspberries)
2 tbsp brown sugar (muscovado)
2 tbsp butter
¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool.  (Makes more than needed for seven rolls.)

Cream Cheese Ricotta
½ cup whole milk ricotta, drained
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp lemon curd (store bought is okay)

Mix together the cheeses until creamy and no lumps remain.  Stir in the honey and lemon curd.  Cover and chill.

Spread a layer of the cheese mixture over dough.  (Omit the melted butter from the original recipe)  Pipe and/or spread a thin layer of the raspberry sauce over that.  Roll up or cut into twists.

(Don't use too much raspberry sauce or it will get very messy!  This method was adapted from the lazy daisy coffee cake twist that just uses apricot preserves)

I spread my cheese first with an offset spatula, then piped on the filling from a sandwich bag with the tip cut off.  I ended up with way too much raspberry because you flip the pieces over on each other and twist them together and curl up for the daisies.  I wonder whether it might be better to cut the lines out from the glass 
first and then pipe the fillings on every other petal to avoid overfilling.  At any rate, I scraped up the extra filling that oozed out and taste tested it.  I would also recommend shaping this one on parchment so you don't have to move it.  Very messy!

     1½ cups powdered sugar
     2 tbsp butter, melted
     ½ tsp vanilla
     1-2 tbsp milk

Stir ingredients together until smooth and creamy and of drizzling consistency.  Drizzle over cooled rolls.

Maple Bacon Gingersnap
6 slices of bacon, reserve 3 tbsp of the rendered bacon fat (I loved it, but some of my testers did not prefer the hickory smoke flavor of my bacon)
1¼ cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter (add a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter)
6 tbsp brown sugar (muscovado)
6 tbsp cane sugar
2 oz. cream cheese
2 tbsp + 2 tsp molasses

Melted butter
Brown sugar

Cook the bacon and reserve 3 tbsp of the rendered fat.  Finely chop four slices of the bacon, and chop the remaining two in a larger dice for garnish.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, bacon fat, and sugars until creamy.  Mix in the cream cheese fully.  Then add the molasses and mix.  Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and gradually add to the creamed sugar mixture.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until fairly firm.

Brush the dough with the melted butter from the original recipe.  A generous sprinkle of brown sugar over the butter is recommended if you don't want the rolls to be too salty savory.  Pinch off pieces of chilled gingersnap dough and spread evenly over the roll dough.  Sprinkle the finely chopped pieces of bacon over the dough.  Press in lightly.  Roll up the dough and slice as directed.  Reserve the large bacon pieces for garnish after baking.

     Maple Glaze
     2 tbsp butter
     ¼ cup maple syrup
     1¼ cups powdered sugar
     Reserved bacon pieces for garnish

Melt butter and maple syrup together over medium heat until combined.  Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar.  Drizzle over warm rolls and quickly sprinkle with reserved bacon pieces while still wet.

My notes and tester reactions:

I found that the first batch of buns, rolled straight out of the fridge, had the best appeal from a dough perspective for my tasters.  Those were the apple fritters and the overall winner for taste and texture.  Next was the raspberry, which really was more like a Danish with the amount of filling and the way I shaped them.  The filling was nice and tart-sweet, but a tad more sweetness would not go amiss for this application.  It was more like pie filling tart, which I like.  If using the larger amount of raspberries, I would recommend an extra 2 tbsp sugar.
My dough for the maple bacon sat out the longest before rolling out and they seemed fluffier to me.  I really liked them, but then I absolutely adore maple bacon bars from the donut shop.  It's a flavor combo you either love or hate I think.  My family thought they were good to okay, but they weren't the favorite of my other testers.  I think more sweetness in the filling might have been better for the masses.

Next time I would probably only divide the dough in half for two flavors, to give a thicker, more standard cinnamon roll type texture.

Verdict on the three leavening items:  Yeast is necessary, baking powder is okay if you want an extra lift, baking soda is unnecessary.


  1. Oh my gosh Kelly!!! Wow. Wow.Wow. So many great flavors! Love the twists too!

  2. All of the different combinations you made sound fabulous! I tend to agree with your summation a well. I don't think the extra leavening was necessary, but this was a fun challenge and I liked watching the dough bubble up from the baking soda.

  3. You win!!! Three fillings... they all sound good but I am intrigued most by Maple Bacon Gingersnap.

    Now I wish that I had split the dough in half to see what happened to the one that didn't have the extra leaveners in it. Because it looked fabulous with just yeast. (It kind of broke my heart to add the baking soda and baking powder - good thing it didn't spoil the flavour...). But I think I'm allied with your test panel - bready is preferred.

    Still, I think you might be onto something that with a sweet filling, a more cake-like texture works really well.

    Fun experiment though, wasn't it?

  4. ... Maple Bacon Gingersnap Stuffed Rolls, Raspberry Cream Cheese Ricotta Twists, and Caramel Apple Fritter Rolls ... AWESOMENESS every one of them! You have proof positive here that Three is Charm.

  5. So.... one for breakfast, one for mid-morning coffee and one for afternoon tea. Yup that works... Now to decide which is first. All are gorgeous!

  6. You're a star making not one but THREE fillings! Without having tasted them I'd say apple too. (I'm not into bacon as it the biggest part of the rest of humanity)
    I agree with you on the leavening agents, I'll just take yeast next time, that'll do the trick just nicely for me.


Thanks for commenting, I love hearing from you! If you have any questions I will do my level best to answer them for you.