For the past few months, it seems like every day off I’ve had from my full-time job has been filled with errands, events, birthdays, and other commitments. Did I mention I work in retail? For any of you who understand that life, you know holidays are not a time to relax and cozy up next to the fireplace. It’s a time of lines, multiple americanos, long hours, and absolute chaos. But in all honesty, for someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, there is something rewarding about being available during that time to help others enjoy the holidays with their loved ones.
After the new year, I knew I would hopefully have more free time to document recipes, work on the blog, and other projects. The other night I was leaving work and realized I’d be off the next day. I had a serious craving for something sweet and not many things are more satisfying to me on a day off than a late breakfast of a warm cinnamon roll with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Maybe it’s the simplicity of cinnamon rolls. A few simple flavors that complement each other so well. Maybe it’s because I’ve heard my mom reminisce on the “cinnamon rolls” my grandmother used to make for her and her siblings. Even with the limited pantry my grandmother had living in a refugee camp, she managed to make the best of what they had. She’d roll out fresh made dough, cover it in olive oil, sugar and cinnamon, and bake off the rolls as a sweet treat for her family. I know she would be happy seeing that two generations later, the women of her family are still loving and enjoying food as much as she did.
I wanted to take on making my own cinnamon rolls versus just buying the prepared type, but I also did not feel like making my own dough. I thought about how I can still make some fresh cinnamon rolls without the extra work. Then the light bulb flickered a bit and finally lit up…Pizza Dough! Why couldn’t I just use ready made pizza dough?
I checked in with someone at the bakery counter at work. She explained that pizza dough, since made with bread flour, might not fluff up and rise as much as the dough typically made for cinnamon rolls. But she suggested if I just bake the rolls at a lower temperature for longer time, they should still turn out fine! She didn’t have to tell me twice. With a little too much excitement, I grabbed a roll of prepared pizza dough from the prepared foods department and headed home.
This recipe is great to make on your next day off, when you want to relax and stay in your pajamas all day. You need some time to let the dough rest at certain points in the recipe, so grab a few loads of laundry to do in between the steps and treat yourself to a decadent cinnamon roll when you’re done!
Serious Cinnamon Rolls
Prep Time: 90 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Yields: 12 small rolls or 6 large rolls
- 22oz pizza dough, room temperature
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature and soft
- 1 1/3 cup turbinado or raw sugar
- 1/8 cup maple syrup
- 3-4 tablespoons cinnamon
Instructions: Place your room temperature pizza dough in a lightly-oiled bowl and put it in a warm part of your kitchen to proof for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough to about a 1/4 inch thickness and into a rectangle shape, depending on the quantity and size you want your rolls to be. If you want larger rolls, roll the dough out longer and less wide. If you want smaller rolls, roll the dough out wider and shorter in length.
With your hands or a spatula, spread the butter all over dough. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon evenly across all the dough. Drizzle a line of maple syrup across the dough and gently mix it into the sugar and cinnamon.
Gently roll up the dough, starting from the bottom. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into individual rolls and place them into a round 9-inch cake pan that has been coated with butter, oil, or cooking spray. Leave some room between the rolls.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Place the pan of rolls in a warm area of your kitchen to allow them to proof again for 30 minutes. After, you will see that they have increased in size. Bake them for 15-20 minutes, until you see they are golden brown. Allow them to cool and carefully scoop them out of the pan to serve. Scoop any sticky sauce at the bottom of the pan over the cinnamon rolls while still warm!
Here’s how it all came together:
Most of the photos on this post were taken by my mom. It was her first time using a DSLR. I think she did pretty amazing and caught some beautiful shots! Look out for more work from Mama Najjar in future posts!