Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Best Baked Baptism Buns (yes I did that...)

In our low cal house - a party is a welcome chance to make something tasty.  We had back to back parties.  One for Bronwyn's birthday and the other for Nicholas' baptism.  The balance doing this is making sure not to tread too hard on your family asking them to bring food - even if they offer.  My sister-in-law Allison makes amazing Cinnamon Rolls, but she was bringing something the night before - so I decided to make cinnamon roll cookies instead.
I made the dough a few days before - in effort to time save.  When I made it - I was worried.  The dough is not the kind of supple lovely dough you can roll out, slice away and make beautiful cookies.  It was sticky.  SO sticky.  I ended up rolling it between parchment paper and praying.  After the filling was added, I used the parchment paper to help me roll up the dough into a log, plopped it in the fridge and prayed.
 A day before the party, when I sliced these cookies, it sliced better than any slice and bake I've ever made.  The slices were firm and cut cleanly.  They even puffed up more than I gave them credit!  After the icing was painting on, these cookies were winners.  Andy can attest to their awesomeness... or maybe it's been so long since he's had a baked good these tasted extra good.  No... I'm taking it as a compliment.  These are good cookies.  As good as a real fluffy cinnamon roll?  Are you out of your mind?  No.  As an awesome cookie?  Oh my yes.
Crud... now I want cookies and cinnamon rolls.  Hrm.  Carrot stick anyone?

Cinnamon Bun Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

for the cinnamon smear
5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

for the glaze
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon water

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugars, salt, zest, and vanilla together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg, beating well to incorporate.

Turn the mixer down to low and add the flour, mixing until just barely combined.

On a sheet of wax or parchment paper (whatever your preference), roll the dough out to approximately 12" square (or more if you want to get more spirals – see my comment above). When it comes time to roll into a log, the paper makes it easier to lift the edge and handle the dough.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all of the cinnamon smear ingredients and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 or 3 minutes.

Spread the cinnamon mixture on top of the rolled out cookie dough.

Roll the dough into a log shape. Once you get an edge started rolling by just folding it over slightly, you can simply lift the paper edge and use it to guide the dough to continue rolling. There's a video here that shows what I mean about lifting the paper edge to create the roll. The ends of the log will likely be a bit sloppy, so you can just smoosh them in to form a flat edge. The first slice from each end will not have the pretty spiral, but there won't be any wasted dough.

Wrap the log in plastic wrap or the parchment paper you used to roll it out and gently squeeze the log to ensure there are no air pockets inside. You can then roll the log a few times to smooth it back out if necessary.

Transfer the dough to the freezer for at least 15-20 minutes, until firm.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Remove the dough log from the freezer and using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/4" slices. Give the log a quarter roll after each cut so it doesn't develop a flat edge from constantly pressing on the same side.

Transfer the cut slices to your prepared cookie sheets and bake for about 12-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until they’re lightly golden around the edges. Allow to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before removing the cookies from the pan and allowing them to cool completely.

Combine all the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and whisk together. Add additional water if it seems too thick. Using a pastry brush, apply a thin coat to the top of each cookie. Allow to sit at room temperature to dry completely.

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