I must admit that I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I do enjoy baked goods on occasion. Since moving to Cape Breton, I’ve discovered a taste for molasses cake, gingerbread, scones, pork pies, and sweet cornbread. However, one of my favourite treats has always been cinnamon rolls and I’ve included several tips and variations this week. Because of their shape, we call them cinnamon snails in Denmark. They make great snacks anytime of the day together with a steaming cup of tea or coffee.
Just as you can jazz up a pizza with your favourite toppings, cinnamon rolls allow for the same versatility. The dough and preparation technique is almost the same, so you can also make sweet rolls or nutritious rolls, or both at once. Once you master the technique of making cinnamon rolls, you can substitute the cinnamon with dozens of other fillings. (In the recipe section, you will notice that I’ve supplied two dough recipes. One is without sugar for the snack rolls and the other recipe is for the sweet rolls.)
For the snack rolls, these can be nutritious snacks, or served as a light lunch with a side salad. Purchase your favourite ingredients to “roll” into the dough. Store them in small containers in the fridge so they are close at hand. Some of my suggestions for fillings that work particularly well and are tasty include: fine-cut black olives, goat or feta cheese, anchovies, fine-cut peppers, salami, pepperoni, tuna, sun-dried tomatoes, or hot chili mixed with baked beans. The nice thing with these baked rolls is that you can make them in advance and keep them in your freezer for that special occasion. And like cinnamon rolls, you can decide on the size when you cut the stuffed dough: large, medium or as hors d’oeuvres.
You can use whole wheat, white, multi-grain, or corn flour. Add some dried spices like marjoram, basil, or Italian seasoning to your dough and if you like garlic, add that too. If you like some colour, use turmeric, saffron or paprika. However, if you’re using the same dough to make both snack rolls and cinnamon rolls, you might want to stick with white flour.
Like many recipes or tasks in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to make a big batch of dough at once. It can be stored in the freezer for later consumption or quickly defrosted and prepared for unexpected guests.
Rather than making individual rolls you can roll out the dough into a rectangle, but not too thin. Place the dough on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Fill the centre of the dough with your favourite filling, fold the sides, and pinch the dough together. Let it sit for another half hour to rise. Cut small air-vents on top and bake in a 350F oven for twenty to thirty minutes. Let cool. Cut and serve with mixed green salad and a dollop of sour cream on top. This saves you time and it’s also less messy, since all the filling stays inside the dough, whereas the individual rolls sometimes lose some of their fillings. You can apply the same baking technique to the sweet versions, filled with apples, raisins, and cinnamon.
Dough for snack rolls
0.25 oz dry yeast
10 fluid oz. lukewarm water
1/2 a tsp. Salt
2 tbs. olive oil
2 1/2 cups of flour
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add salt and olive oil. Mix with flour and knead until smooth.
Set aside to rise for one hour. Give it a light kneading and divide into three pieces. Roll out the dough.
Sweet dough for cake rolls
1 oz dry yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/2 a tsp. Salt
1 tbs. Sugar
3 tbs. Soft butter
2 cups flour (withhold some for rolling)
Heat the milk until lukewarm and dissolve the yeast. Mix all the other ingredients together and knead until smooth. Set aside to rise for half an hour. Knead lightly and divide into three pieces.
1 portion of the snack dough
1/2 cup green or red pesto
Spread the pesto on the dough, roll, and cut in the size you want. Place on a greased baking sheet and set aside to rise for twenty minutes. Bake in 425F oven for fifteen minutes.
1 portion of the snack dough
2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbs. Olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 tbs. Finely chopped parsley
Sauté the mushrooms in the oil with the garlic and parsley. Set aside to cool. Spread on the rolled out dough and cut in the size you want. Place on a greased baking sheet and set aside to rise for twenty minutes. Bake in 425F oven for fifteen minutes.
1 portion snack dough
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Mix cheese with egg, spread on top of the rolled out dough, and cut in the size you want. Place on a greased baking sheet and set aside to rise for twenty minutes. Bake in 425F oven for fifteen minutes.
1 portion of the sweet dough
2 tbs. Raisins
1 tbs. Red cocktail cherries
1 tbs. Green cocktail cherries
2 tbs. Candied orange peel
1 tbs. Currants
Chop all the fillings and mix with the egg. Spread on top of the rolled out dough and cut in the size you want. Place on a greased baking sheet and set aside to rise for twenty minutes. Bake in 425F oven for fifteen minutes.