By Jason Shriner, The Aubergine Chef
When we think of Valentine’s Day and food we often think of romantic candlelit dinners. Why wait until the end of the day to celebrate? Starting the day off with a handmade surprise breakfast can make the entire day more romantic.
One great thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t require yeast. This means you can make them quickly because there is no resting or fermentation period. Without the yeast they still taste fantastic, but if you really miss that deep flavor you get from fermentation and have the extra time replace up to one cup of the milk with one cup of beer. I recommend Guinness because of its rich flavor.
Shaping the cinnamon rolls into hearts is easier than it looks. If you’ve ever had palmiers, also known as elephant ears, you may have noticed that it looks like two spirals connected to each other. It’s the same idea and the shapes are made the same way.
Traditionally you roll a cinnamon roll all in one direction to form a log. To make hearts, start on each end and roll them at the same time toward each other. When you slice the log, you’ll have two spirals. To make them more heart-shaped place them on the sheet pan to bake then mold the piece of dough connecting the spirals into more of a point. Even though the dough spreads and rises during baking it will retain the heart appearance well.
Jason Shriner owns the baking & pastry blog The Aubergine Chef, which contains free tutorial videos and recipes. He also teaches baking classes at the Manassas Park Community Center. You can visit his blog at www.TheAubergineChef.com.
Cinnamon filling (recipe below)
3 ¾ cups all-Purpose Flour + 1 cup more for kneading
3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
1 ¼ teaspoons Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
2 cups Whole Milk
2 sticks of Unsalted Butter, separated per stick and melted
2/3 cup Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
2 – 3 teaspoons Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt
1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, room temperature
Cream Cheese Icing
8 ounces of Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 stick of Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
2 2/3 cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons Whole Milk
1. Combine all ingredients for the cinnamon filling together and mix with your hands until the mixture resembles wet sand.
2. Preheat oven to 400-425 degrees F. Prepare desired pan: pyrex glass casserole dish, 9 inch round cake pan, or sheet pan. Grease well with pan spray.
3. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift to help break up any chunks of baking powder. Whisk ingredients together to blend them well.
4. In a separate bowl, microwave together the milk and 1 stick of butter to melt butter. Whisk and allow to cool.
5. Create a well in the flour and pour in the milk mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until absorbed.
6. Knead the mixture with extra flour. You can do this on the table or in the bowl. Knead until smooth.
7. Press dough out into a 12” x 15” rectangle using your hands. Be sure to check to make sure it’s not sticking to the table as you do this.
8. Brush the dough with half of the melted butter. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the filling, leave a ½ – 1 inch border. Press firmly into the dough.
9. Roll the dough up into a tight log, jelly roll style, ending with the seam on the bottom. To make a heart shape, roll the dough from both ends at the same time.
10. Stretch the log if necessary to make it even. Cut about 1” pieces.
11. Place the pieces onto the prepared pan (you may need to reshape the heart shaped pieces a little after moving them) and brush with the remaining butter. You can bake them very close to each other if they’re round, but if you’re aiming for a heart shape make sure to place them at least 2” apart. Bake until the edges are golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
12. Remove from pan and place on plate for serving. Ice cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting while still hot to have it drip and ooze all over the rolls – then serve.
13. To make the cream cheese icing, combine all ingredients together and blend until smooth.
14. Warm in the microwave to make more fluid if desired – do not add additional liquid.