Smells of the Season

Baklava Cinnamon Roll

Christmas is just around the corner, meaning there are only two weekends left to get your presents purchased, your stockings hung, and your menus planned. Menus planned? Yes. There must be something in the water – because at our house, food is the number one topic of discussion. Not talking about upcoming meals with the family, would be like forgetting to talk about the Panthers being 12-0 right now, how could this be ignored? Open mic items on the agenda usually include: holiday cookie varieties, Christmas Eve dinner, and (arguably the most important) Christmas morning breakfast. In the past, breakfast has been filled with Christmas cookies, steak and eggs, buttered biscuits, and hot cocoa. Every family has some kind of tradition for Christmas morning, but I’m thinking this year could be something a little different. In my opinion, one of the most exciting things to wake up to, Christmas morning or not, is the smell of fresh baked goodies roasting and bubbling away in the oven. These Baklava Cinnamon Rolls & White Chocolate Sauce from Brian Baker, writer of Knowing Full Well blog, are sensational. See the recipe below and add these sticky, sweet and nutty pull-a-parts to your holiday menu too!
Servings: 12 rolls
Cook time: 2.5 hours
Cinnamon Rolls:
1 pack dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups flour all-purpose; sifted
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp shortening melted
1 cup pistachios crushed
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
Honey Glaze:
1 cup sugar
4 oz Cloister Honey Cinnamon Whipped Honey
1/8 tsp cardamom
1.5 tsp rosewater
1 tsp lemon juice
White Chocolate Sauce:
6 oz baker's white chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream

Cinnamon Rolls:
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Mix flour, salt, and 3 tbsp of sugar in a large bowl. Add melted shortening to dry ingredients. Then add yeast and mix well with a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment on medium speed for approximately 3 minutes or until it comes together as a ball of smooth dough. You can alternatively knead the dough with your hand until you get this effect.

Form the dough into a large ball and place in an oiled mixing bowl. Cover the dough with a slightly damp towel and let rest for approximately 1 hour, or until it rises. Mix cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of cardamom, and 3/4 cup of sugar in a bowl and set aside. When the dough is ready, dust a work area with flour and place the dough onto the surface. The dough should be slightly sticky. Punch down the dough and roll it out with a dusted rolling pin to approximately a 15"x 9" rectangle. Spread melted butter all over the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mix over buttered dough, reserving a tbsp for later use. Sprinkle crushed pistachios onto the dough on top of the cinnamon sugar. Starting from the 15" side, roll the dough onto itself. Pinch the edge together to seal it. Cut the dough into approximately 12 equal slices.
Coat the bottom of a 9" round pan with butter and sprinkle on the reserved cinnamon-sugar mix. Place roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, approximately 40 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until rolls are browned. When buns are done, pour honey glaze on top and allow to sit for approximately 5 minutes. Then drizzle white chocolate sauce on top and serve.

Honey Glaze
Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Turn heat to low, but be sure to keep the syrup warm enough to remain loose and easy to pour.
White Chocolate Sauce
Bring heavy cream to a light boil over medium heat in a sauce pan. Be careful not to scald. Add chocolate and stir constantly while it melts. When chocolate is completely melted and mixed well, pour into a bowl and place in fridge to thicken for about 10 minutes.
Recipe Notes
The sugar amounts are kept separate in the ingredient list for easy following.

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