Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls

A few weeks ago, my parents went to a family friend's for dinner and came home with a ziploc bag full of Jersey blueberries. I was never a fan of any blueberries until I tried these. They were freshly picked and tasted tart, sweet, and juicy. I thought all blueberries would taste just as bland and chemical-y as the store-bought ones, but was I wrong or was I wrong? Wanting to get some of our own, my mom found out the address of the farm where the berries came from and decided to go on a morning when it wouldn't be too hot. Twice were her plans foiled due to the rain. Finally, last Saturday when the forecast showed no rain, my mom and I headed out.

It's a 40-minute drive from our house. The farm probably has other fruits and vegetables planted, but the blueberries seemed to take up a majority of the place! We were provided with a huge plastic container to place our picked berries into and guided to two rows that had not been picked yet. It was my first time picking blueberries, or any fruit for that matter, and it was so much fun. The blueberries came off the branches very easily and gently. They seem fragile but are actually quite tough as they don't get too damaged when tossed into a pile. I'm sad I didn't think to take a picture of the unpicked berries, but we'll be going again next year.

After an hour, we left the farm with 24 pounds of blueberries. You know what the best part is? It was only 90 cents per pound. You can never get blueberries that cheap at any store around here!

Freshly Picked Jersey Blueberries

Aren't they beautiful? :)

Of course, I had to bake with these. Though I never ate blueberries by themselves before, I did eat them in baked goods. I think blueberries are at their best when baked into something. They add such moisture to whatever you put them in. A few days after our blueberry adventure, I saw a recipe for Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls. I immediately bookmarked it to make it when I have a free morning.

I have made only two things with yeast before: buns filled with red bean paste and bagels. The buns turned out great! Though they didn't rise quite as much as I would have liked them to. And the bagels... Eh. Great only when slightly warm and flatter than a bagel should be. I was nervous about how this would turn out!

Blueberry Cinnamon RollsBlueberry Cinnamon Rolls
Blueberry Cinnamon RollsBlueberry Cinnamon Rolls

I let the ball of dough rise for 2 1/2 hours and rise, they certainly did! I kept sneaking peeks and was so happy that it was rising. Then it was rolled out and topped with cinnamon sugar and blueberries. I should work on my cinnamon bun rolling skills because I didn't roll it tightly enough. The buns turned out extra wide with gaps inside the spirals. I should also remember that if I'm going to halve the amount of sugar for the glaze, I should also halve the amount of milk! Why the glaze is clear. For my first attempt though, I think they turned out pretty darn okay! They may not be the prettiest things, but I can work on that. I've got my notes to help me. I'd add more cinnamon, too. I couldn't taste it at all with the given amount. I definitely should not have left out the lemon. Forgot to buy it, but it would've been a nice addition.

Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls

Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Annie's Eats

For the rolls
- 6 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 1/2 tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 tsp rapid rise yeast
- 1 cup + 2 - 4 tbsp buttermilk, at room temperature

For the filling
- 3 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries

For the glaze
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 6 - 7 tbsp milk

1. Cream together sugar, salt and butter until smooth. Mix in egg until incorporated. Mix in flour, yeast and milk until a dough forms. Use dough hook on electric mixer to knead for 8 minutes or use your hands until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky.
2. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
3. Roll out dough into a rectangle with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the dough with flour if needed to keep it from sticking (about 12x14 inches for larger rolls or 9x18 inches for smaller rolls).
4. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix to blend. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the berries over the top evenly of the dough.
5. Starting with the wide edge, roll up the dough into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon sugar spiral as you roll. Pinch the seam shut, and with the seam side down, slice the log into your desired number of rolls. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, placing the rolls about 1/2 - 1 inch apart.
6. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 75-90 minutes, until the rolls have grown into each other and have nearly doubled in size. At this point, the rolls can also be covered and retarded in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Pull the pan out of the refrigerator 3 - 4 hours before baking to let the dough proof.
7. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool in the baking about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Whisk together the glaze ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth and then swirl over the top of the cinnamon rolls. Let cool at least 15 - 20 minutes before serving.

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