Sunday, July 21, 2013

European Pastry Cinnamon Rolls and the 80/20 lifestyle

These cinnamon buns are buttery, sugary, flaky, and melt in your mouth delicious. They are also bakery beautiful. I couldn't believe how well they turned out. I don't eat this stuff on a regular basis, but I definitely indulge every so often, and I don't think it's going to kill me. I read about the 80/20 lifestyle, and feel like that describes how I eat quite well. Basically 80% of the time, I eat really healthy, and the other 20% I don't worry so much about it. To break it down, for 4 days, I eat really healthy, and on the 5th day, if I want to have one of these cinnamon buns or go out to eat and order something greasy, I do. I don't count the days either.  I just know that if I have a day where I indulge, for the next few days, I won't. On my treat days, I don't let everything go all day. I may have one or two treats that day and everything else I eat will be just as healthy as normal. Otherwise, I'd be packing on the pounds. Also, I still try to have something freshly baked, not packaged. If I'm going to have something unhealthy, I still like it to be made with fresh and whole ingredients, not things that I can't pronounce!

So that brings me back to these cinnamon rolls. They were to die for the first night I made them, but I didn't find they were as good when I cooked them from frozen. They are a lot of work, so save this for a special occasion where you have a lot of people. It makes about 20 cinnamon buns, and I would suggest making them all at once and skipping the freezing.

European Pastry Dough

very slightly adapted from Cinnamon Nut Rolls by Myra Goodman Food to Live By 2006

1 C warm almond milk
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 C all purpose flour
3 1/2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 C + 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1. Sprinkle yeast over warm milk, and let sit until it begins to foam.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg together with vanilla. Once mixed, add milk and stir.
3. Place dry ingredients in another bowl and mix to combine. Add 2 Tbsp of butter and blend in using fingers. It will be very dry and crumbly.
4. Add the mixed wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix. Then knead on a floured work surface for about 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth.
5. Place dough in a lightly floured bowl, and flour the top of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
6. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out into a large rectangle (14x22") on a floured work surface.
7. Spread the full cup of butter over the dough. Then fold the dough into thirds as you would a letter.
8. Roll the dough out into a large 14x22" rectangle again, then fold in thirds. Place dough on a lightly floured rimmed baking sheet, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
9. Remove dough from refrigerator and repeat step 8 two times.
10. Your dough is now ready to use for cinnamon rolls. It can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Cinnamon rolls
(makes 20-30 rolls)

1 recipe European Pastry Dough ( see above)
1 large egg
2 C brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp cinnamon

1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Roll dough into a large rectangle (14x22")
3 Whisk egg with 1 tsp of water, and brush over the dough.
4. Spread brown sugar evenly over the dough, leaving 2 cm on one long edge, and 1 cm on each short edge without sugar.
5. Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over the brown sugar.
6. Starting with the long edge covered in sugar, roll the dough into a tight roll. Moisten the edge with water and press to seal the dough.
7. Cut roll into 2-3 cm slices using a sharp knife.
8. At this point, you can freeze as many rolls as you like. First place the rolls in a single layer on a baking sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, individually wrap each roll in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for future use. Let the rolls thaw in the refrigerator overnight and continue as follows.
9. Place rolls on prepared baking sheet and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour. They don't actually change in size much.
10. Preheat oven to 350F. Place the rolls in the oven and decrease temp to 325F. Cook for 25-30 minutes. Let cool slightly and spread with icing if desired.

Yogurt Icing ( makes enough for about 8 rolls):

1/2 C icing sugar
2 Tbsp non fat Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat gently over low heat while mixing. Pour over warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy.

Best served warm out of the oven the day they are made.

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