Friday, April 8, 2011

Jerry's Cinnamon Rolls

"What's Brunch?"
"You'd love it, it's not quite breakfast, it's not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end."

I love brunch. I live for brunch. I've spent years wearing down my family into celebrating every holiday or occassion with brunch (incidentally, this is my biggest complaint about Thanksgiving). Unfortunately, brunch is not extremely healthy. Of course, I tend to not worry about when I'm scarfing down pigs n' blankets, amish cassarole, and cinnamon rolls, but I'm always on the lookout for ways to make breakfast healthier without sacrificing taste.

For instance, I make a mean scrambled egg white with turkey in it, and my whole wheat pancakes are one of my specialities. Once in a while, however, it is fun to mix things up. That is why I was so excited when I came across a recipe for Jerry's Cinnamon Rolls in the December issue of Shape Magazine. I really like cinnamon rolls, and they are one of my boyfriend's favorite breakfast dishes, so I thought I would give them a try! I was a little turned off by the pureed vegetables in them, but apparently that is how Jerry Seinfeld and his wife Jessica trick their kids into eating vegetables. I figured, if kids can eat it without gagging, so can I!

Yields: 16 servings

1 1/2 cups - lukewarm nonfat milk
1/4 cup - orange juice
2 - 1/4-ounce packets active dry yeast
1/4 cupe - granulated sugar

2 cups - all-purpose flour
2 cups - whole-wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup - nonfat milk powder
3/4 tsp - salt
1/2 cup - carrot puree
1 - large egg
3 tbsp - trans fat-free margarine
cooking spray
1/2 cup - packed light or dark brown suger
2 tbsp - ground cinnamon

1/4 cup - cauliflower puree
3 tbsp - confectioner's sugar
1 tsp - pure vanilla extract
1 tsp - orange juice

TO MAKE THE SPONGE, place the milk in a small glass bowl and microwave, on high for 40 to 50 seconds or until lukewarm. Stir in the orange juice, yeast, and sugar. Set aside in a warm place for about 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly frothy.

TO MAKE THE DOUGH, in the bowl of a standing mixer using a dough hook, combine both types of flour, the milk powder, and salt, and mix on low until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the sponge mixture, carrot puree, and egg. Increase speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes.

Add the margarine and run the mixer for 1 minute more until the dough becomes sticky. With floured fingers, remove the dough and place it in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size. After the dough has risen, place it on a cutting board with floured hands. Cut the dough in half.

Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray and place half the dough on it. Flatten the dough out with your fingers, patting the edges to make them even. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with half of the brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon.

Roll the longest edge of the dough away from you to form a log. With a serrated knife, slice the dough into 1-inch rounds and flip them swirl-side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Preheat the oven to 350[degrees]F while the rolls rise for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, start MAKING THE GLAZE. Whisk all the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and set aside.

Bake the buns for 18 to 20 minutes or until they are cooked through but still soft to the touch. Remove and cool before drizzling with the glaze.

Hannah and I decided to try our hand at these cinnamon rolls last Friday after we went running, and let me tell you, they were disgusting. We were baking these until roughly 2am, and they were definitely not worth it.

To be fair, I am pretty sure a lot of the problems were due to user error. First, we didn't quite know how to steam the vegetables in order to make the purees. Then, my blender wouldn't puree them as fine as we would have liked, so the carrots and the cauliflower were pretty chunky. Next, I'm pretty sure we let the yeast sit in the sponge too long before combining it with the dough, partially because we were having trouble pureeing in a timely manner, so the dough barely rose. It was still sticky and not dough-like, so we couldn't even spread it out to make the rolls. Instead, we had to resort to just making loaves of cinnamon rolls (notice the clearly visible chunks of carrots). The real clencher, however, was the glaze. Let's forget for a moment that it involved visible and sizable chunks of cauliflower, but even just the sugar and vanilla mixed together made me want to barf, not from nausea, but out of spite for this disgusting glaze. To make it worse, the overpowering stench of the pureed cauliflower, that had now been sitting out for a while, was making me a little nauseous. I definitely had no appetite for these rolls by the time they were finished.

Now, once we threw out the glaze (seriously, what was up with that?), and stopped thinking of these loaves as "cinnamon rolls," they tasted a lot better. Eating them as "breakfast cinnamon carrot bread" made it much more acceptable, and actually, my parents like them!

But as far as cinnamon rolls are concerned, I will probably be sticking with Pillsbury from now on.

What extremely dissappointing healthy cooking experiences have you had? Have you been able to incorporate pureed vegetables without it being pretty gross? Can you place where the quote at the top is from (extra points if you can!)?

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