Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cinnamon Chip Twists

Hershey's makes cinnamon chips, which I recently found at my local Albertson's store. It's a seasonal item, apparently, so if you like them you ought to stock up and freeze them. You can also purchase them on Amazon in batches of 6 bags at a time. I have been wanting to duplicate the yummy cinnamon chip bread at Great Harvest, so when I saw them at the store, of course I had to buy several bags. So far I have tried them added into snickerdoodles, and today I used my standard cinnamon roll dough recipe and added them in. They came out pretty good, though the texture and flavor of the cinnamon bits isn't quite the same as Great Harvest's. I asked a baker there once where they get theirs, and he scratched his head and replied, "out of a bucket?" Online I found King Arthur brand chips that look better (more expensive, of course), which I just may have to try...

Here's my standard quick cinnamon roll dough recipe:

1/3 cup sugar

2 T. yeast

1 1/4 cups warm water

1/3 cup oil

3/4 t. salt

1 egg, beaten

4 cups of flour

In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, water, sugar and oil until well combined. Let stand for 15 minutes, then stir in the egg, salt, and as much of the flour as you can. If you are adding cinnamon chips, this is the time to do it - I added 3/4 of a cup (about half a package). I'd recommend putting them into the freezer for a few minutes first because they melted slightly and colored the dough a bit as I kneaded. Knead in enough additional flour until the dough is smooth and elastic. Allow the dough to rest for 20 or so minutes, then divide into 18 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 10 inches long, fold in half and twist. Place on a greased baking sheet and let rest for 20-30 minutes while the oven heats up to 350 degrees. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden. In small bowl, mix 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 t. vanilla and 2-3 T. of milk until the icing reaches drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the warm rolls and serve immediately.

I use this dough without cinnamon chips all the time to make regular cinnamon rolls. Usually I slather on the brown sugar, butter with a bit of vanilla mixed in, cinnamon, cloves, currants and pecans. I've also made caramel sauce by simmering 1 cup of cream, 1 cup of brown sugar and half a stick of butter until it's ooey gooey and delicious, then pouring it on the bottom of the pan, layering pecans, and then the rolls on top. As soon as it's removed from the oven, invert it onto a serving platter so the caramel can drip down. Mmmm : ).

Last of all, I use this dough to make strombolis. I divide the dough into chunks about the size of a big plum, roll them out into a 6 inch circle, place 5 or so pepperonis and half a cheese stick in the middle (or your choice of other meat and cheese combinations). Fold in the sides and roll it up nice and neat, pinching to seal. Bake for 12-15 minutes and serve with marinara sauce.

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