This is kind of easy one—who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls? The mall and airport chain that shall not be named* (but can be smelled ubiquitously) is proof. But you know you can do better. Cinnamon rolls deserve to be a home-baked indulgence, not a descent into low-self-esteem eating.
Fertig puts cinnamon rolls where they belong—in your kitchen. She begins with cinnamon roll anatomy: the all-important pan sauce, at its most basic a mixture of butter and sugar, the filling again simple sugar and cinnamon, but just wait for her variations—from pineapple upside down to schneken—and her toppings, from a sprinkle of sugar to full-fledged frosting.
But as all carbo-loaders know, it’s about the dough. Fertig starts with basic recipes for roll dough. If you’re dough impaired or in a rush, she doctors up hot roll mix into a respectable Easy Cinnamon Roll Dough. But you really should dive into the real thing, whether it’s a yeast-risen Traditional Cinnamon Roll Dough, enriched with eggs or strudel style, whole wheat, and even gluten versions. For real indulgence, try her Danish Pastry Dough, laminated with layers of butter.
As for fillings, Fertig is inspired by the fact the cinnamon rolls, in one form or another are an international tradition, from franzbrotchen in Germany and Austria to skillingsbollen in Norway. But she ventures farther than Europe for flavors. Mexican Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls—the words alone are enough to make you salivate—but how about Szechuan Pepper Cinnamon Rolls with Fresh Ginger Glaze or Festive Orange-Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls. All of a sudden every morning is Christmas. Bacon, pineapple, rocky road, coffee, pumpkin all make an appearance. And rolls morph from simple spirals to pull-apart monkey bread, shnecken, tea rings, rugelach, and crescents.
It’s cold, it’s dark, how are you going to face the day without a cinnamon roll?
*the link is to Louis CK; you know what to expect.