Cinnamon Sprinkled Croissant Rolls

Monday, March 7, 2016

I feel pretty confident in my cooking abilities generally, but occasionally, I encounter a doozy.
A few nights ago, I had a real hankering to make something after Fox went to bed.  Adam still had some lesson prep to do, and there was a croissant recipe I had been wanting to try out, but hadn't had time to do it.  I have made croissants a few times before with varying degrees of success, but I hadn't loved any of the results and this video made it look totally doable with incredible results.  

I felt confident as I began assembling ingredients. "This time," I thought, "surely it will work."  When I got the dough to the stopping point for the night (croissants almost always require an overnight rise in the fridge), I felt okay about the dough.  It didn't look as elastic and soft as my tutorial video showed, but it didn't look bad.  

The next morning, I got up early to get a jump start on the dough, and immediately encountered several problems.  The dough in the video was gorgeous and soft, and perfect for rolling out.  Mine was hard as a rock, stiff and a darker color.  Also, my butter was too soft for putting in the dough.  To try to counteract some of these issues, I put the butter back in the fridge, and took the dough out of the fridge to warm up a little.  45 minutes passed, and I tried again to roll out the dough.  As I rolled the dough out, the butter squirted out the sides, and stuck to the counter and generally made an mess.

As I tried turning and folding it to create the layers that are essential to a croissant, the dough got stickier and messier, and finally, I was so frustrated, I started beating the dough with my rolling pin. Adam could tell I was pretty upset about it, so he suggested I turn them into something besides croissants.  He suggested using a muffin tin to create swirls instead of the traditional roll.

After another rise period, I rolled out the dough with a little more success, and rolled them up like cinnamon rolls, actually putting cinnamon and sugar and cacao nibs in a few of them.

They were delicious!  They tasted like croissants, though were not as light and fluffy; but because I made them in muffin tins, that was totally okay.  I didn't expect them to be as light and fluffy.  They did have some layers, and it gave them a nice flakey texture.

Next time you are making croissants and they don't turn out, this a great option!  Or if you need a complicated, but delicious snack, this is a delicious recipe that will wow your friends and family!  And who knows, maybe your dough will turn out way better than mine did and you'll get fresh, homemade croissants!

Either way, read through the directions carefully before beginning, and if you get confused, watch the youtube video that this recipe is based on.  He has some helpful visuals and good tips.  Happy baking!

Cinnamon Sprinkled Croissant Rolls:  
Recipe adapted from Taste of Paris
Makes 12 rolls

1 cup warm water (He suggests 77°F)
4 tsp active yeast
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
3 tsp salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 1/2 Tbs softened, unsalted butter (he suggested cultured European butter)

16 1/2 Tbs softened, unsalted butter

Optional filling:
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbs cacao  nibs

In a small bowl, combine warm water and yeast, and add a pinch of sugar.  Mix briefly and let stand for 10 minutes, until the yeast is activated and fluffy (see full directions and photos for proofing yeast here).

Meanwhile, combine flour, sugar and salt in a medium-sized bowl.

Add the activated yeast to the flour mixture, and gently stirring with your fingertips to combine, working from the middle out.  Add the softened butter, and continue kneading with fingers.

When the mixture is just combined, move the dough to a clean un-floured work surface and knead the dough, stretching it out with your palm and smashing the dough back together to form a ball.  Do this for about 5 minutes.  Form a smooth ball with your hands, by cupping the dough in your hands, and rotating it until it forms a sphere.

Put it in a large, clean, greased bowl and let it rise for about 2 hours at room temperature (75-77 degrees), or until it has doubled in size.

Flour your work space and gently scoot the dough on to it.  Deflate the dough with your palm, form it into a rectangle and sprinkle it with flour.  Fold the rectangle into thirds, overlapping the two sides and covering the middle third, and press down on it, then fold that into thirds.  Place in a clean, greased bowl. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Before you head to bed, take your 16 1/2 Tbs of softened butter and put them in a small plastic ziplock.  With your fingers, spread the butter out until it completely fills the bag in an even layer.
Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove the butter from the refrigerator, and let it soften for a few minutes (he suggest 45 min.  I thought this was too long, but my apartment is generally pretty warm) It should hold its shape, but be soft enough keep a fingerprint when pushed on.  If it is there, cut the edges off the plastic bag and peel back the plastic sides of the bag to reveal the butter.

Remove your dough from the fridge, and roll it out into a rectangle that is 15x7".  Place the slab of butter on the half of the dough, and take the other half of the dough without the butter, and fold it over the slab of butter.

With the rolling pin, gently push down on the dough, making even sort of horizontal stripe indents in the dough, from top to bottom, to help meld the butter to the dough. Starting from the middle of the dough rectangle, gently roll out the rectangle.  Your butter should be firm enough to keep it form squishing out the sides.

(This part gets pretty complicated, so if you don't get it, watch the video.  I promise it will help!)
Roll out until you have rectangle that is 24" long and 8" wide.  Sweep excess flour off your work surface, and fold the rectangle of dough so that the piece folded over covers two-thirds of the way, leaving one-third exposed.  Take the one-third, and fold it in half, so that the dough has two layers across the new rectangle.  Gently roll out the dough to blend the seam of where the one-third and two-third folds meet.  

Fold that entire rectangle in half, like a book.  Then roll that out again to create a rectangle 24" long and 8" wide.  Take that rectangle and fold it into even thirds, by take the left third, folding it over the middle, and the right third and folding it over the middle third.  Roll out again into a rectangle, place it on a cookie sheet, and cover with plastic and let it refrigerate for an hour.

If this part has worked perfectly for you, continue on and make croissants!

If not, and you are as flummoxed as I was about your dough not working, remove your dough from the refrigerator, and divide in half.  Set aside one half for a minute.

Roll out one half into a rectangle that is 15" by 8" or so.  With a very sharp knife, cut the dough into wedges that are about 2 1/2" at the bottom, coming to a point at the top  You need 12 wedges out of this piece of dough, so plan accordingly.

To form the rolls, start with the 2 1/2" side of the wedge, and begin rolling your dough, ending with the point on the outside of the roll.  Take another wedge and place the point on the roll, under the first point, and wrap it around the dough until it forms another swirl around .  Put it in a greased muffin tin.  Repeat until you have rolled out 6.  Then repeat the same process with the second section of dough.

If you want to add cinnamon and sugar, combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl, and before cutting the wedges, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and cacao nibs if you like.

Cover and let them rise for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature until slightly puffy and spongy.  Preheat your oven to 400°F and cook for 10 minutes.  Lower your oven temperature to 375°F and cook for another 15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

Remove from the muffin tin and let cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Top with melted butter if you like, but it isn't necessary.  Enjoy!

1 comment

  1. I remember making a key lie pie once for a family Easter dinner. I ended up crying at the end because I was late, the meringue had peaked and settled and I couldn't get it stiff again because I had already added the sugar, and my boyfriend at the time was trying to be helpful but wasn't actually being helpful. I never made a key lime pie again after that..glad you managed to salvage your croissants!


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