One of my all-time favourite baked treats is the classic cinnamon bun, and there are few things more satisfying than making your own. I’m reading Ruby Tandoh’s brilliant ‘Eat Up’ at the moment, where she talks about food, appetite and the cultural, gendered, social and emotional resonances food has. Along the way, she draws attention to various fads and the truths behind them – one being ‘breaditation.’ While mocking the privilege and pretentiousness behind such fads, there’s a serious point being made about baking as a form of therapy. There are surely few things more satisfying than losing yourself in the physical process of baking, bread making being the most hands-on. So next time you bake, enjoy the whole, mindful thing: put the weight of your worries into the knead (or watch the KitchenAid whirring, mesmerisingly); inhale the fresh cinnamon as you stir the spiced sugar; watch the filling bubble and ooze in the oven as your house fills with the most glorious scent; enjoy every bite all the more. The seasonal twist to these buns is a wee hint of rose flavour, which complements the spices perfectly. To make these rose and cinnamon rolls – adapted from Izy Hossack’s recipe for simple vegan cinnamon buns – you will need:
For the paste:
3 tbsp wholemeal bread flour
150ml lukewarm water
50g granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp fast action dried yeast
240g wholemeal bread flour
160g white bread flour plus more for dusting
3/4 tsp salt
30g olive oil or rapeseed oil
100g melted vegan butter
1/4 tsp rose extract
200g light brown sugar
A pinch salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tbsp boring water and 1 tsp demerara sugar
To garnish: dried edible rose petals.
First, make the paste (this avoids any need for egg as binding, hence making them vegan!): place the flour and water in a small pot over a medium heat. Stir together and cook until very thick. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool in the bowl of a stand mixer. Once cool, add the lukewarm water and sprinkle over the yeast then stir into the liquid. Add the sugar, both flours, salt and oil to the bowl.
Stir to make a rough dough then knead for around 6 minutes until smooth and elastic. Pour a little oil over the dough then turn to coat so it doesn’t stick to the bowl. Cover and set aside to prove for 1-2 hours, until double the size. Once risen, turn out onto a floured work surface and gently roll out to a rectangle 30 x 40cm.
Mix the rose extract with the melted butter and spoon over the top, reserving some for greasing your baking tray. Mix the brown sugar, spices and salt in a small bowl then sprinkle all over the buttered dough.
Starting at a short end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Cut into equal pieces (mine made about 12) and place the cinnamon rolls cut-side down into a greased 20 x 23cm baking tray (I baked the last three separately).
Cover loosely with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes to rise. After 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 180 C/ Fan 160C/ 350F. Once risen, glaze with 1 tsp of demerara sugar dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until golden brown, risen and oozing with molten spiced sugar.
Serve the rose and cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven with copious tea and relish every morsel.