I have this philosophy that so many good ideas begin in the bathroom. Not in a weird, gross way – it’s a thinking platform. I’ll get up to use the toilet and remember things I needed to tell TBG. He thinks it’s hilarious! Hey, you have to take the ideas however, whenever, and wherever they come to you, right?
What do you think of when you think of cinnamon, just as a spice? Just off the top of my head, I think pumpkin, apple cider, apple pie, and horchata… but nothing jumped out at me, so I headed to the “think tank”.
I had an idea that I could do a recipe (or describe the time a hairstylist gave me a Princess Leia hairdo for my uncle’s wedding. I wish I was kidding. Over 200 bobby pins – just saying), but I didn’t want to do plain cinnamon rolls. As delicious as they are, there are more than a fair share of recipes on the Internet and I don’t want to get lost in the search.
Also, I can cheat – a little. I have a bread machine to do most of the work for me.
I was mulling over things (and trying to remember where I put my bread machine) while soaping myself up with shower gel the other night, trying to think how it would all come together. Sometimes it comes together easy; other times, not so much. I mean, how to you write something that includes shower gel and cinnamon buns, unless your shower gel smells like a cinnamon bun (in which case I would not be allowed to buy it; I am not edible, despite what TBG thinks).
Cinnamon. Cinn-a-mon. Chai. Ding ding ding – we have a winner! Cinnamon is used in chai tea. Duh. Thus the flavor palette was conceived. But what goes with chai tea, besides milk? This is when the shower gel came into play (not literally – ewww). My kids’ bath soap was sitting on the edge of the bath and it happens to be a shea butter – honey blend. Honey! Yesssss.
My brain has decided to be generous with the ideas recently, for which I am grateful. And nothing fills a morning with more joy than homemade cinnamon buns. Hee hee – buns. No, that wasn’t the first time I giggled – just the first time I let you know I giggled.
Awww… did you think I was forgetting a word? Nope. I plan to infuse the traditional cream cheese with honey. Full circle. Boo-yah! Now, for the recipe:
Chai-Spiced Buns w/ Honey-Infused Icing
- 1 C milk, room temp/warm
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 1/3 C butter, melted
- 4 1/2 C bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 C granulated white sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast (active dry yeast)
- 1 C brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 C powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, clear (if possible)
- 1/2 C honey, more or less, to taste and consistency
- Put ingredients into bread machine in the order listed. If you do not have a bread machine, go here for a basic sweet roll recipe from Food Network. *please note that the ingredients and directions for the handmade dough are different and you’ll want to follow the directions over there – for the dough only
- Set machine to dough setting – should take about 1 hour 30 minutes. Nothing to do but wait at this point.
- When it has finished its cycle, plop dough out onto a floured surface. Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together brown sugar and spices in a small bowl. Cover and set aside. Butter/spray a 9×13 baking dish.
- After the 10 minutes, roll dough out with a rolling pin until it is roughly a 10×16 rectangle. Spread softened butter onto the surface of the dough.
- Sprinkle and spread out sugar/spice mix over buttered surface.
- Starting with the long side, roll dough tightly into a pinwheel. Using a sharp knife, cut pieces from the end that are roughly 1-2 inches thick. Place pinwheels in buttered dish. (I had enough for 5 rows of 3)
- If baking same day, wait 30 minutes to allow dough to double in size. If baking the next day, cover dish and place in fridge; take out 30 minutes before baking, to allow the dough to rise. (I found the best way to do this is heat oven to lowest temp setting, then turn it off and place rolls inside)
- The minimum recommended baking time is 15 minutes, but if you find the rolls haven’t cooked thoroughly, you can leave them in for a total 20-23 minutes. To avoid over browning of tops, once they have reached the golden color we’re looking for, take out and tent a sheet of tinfoil over the dish for the remainder of baking.
- While the rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, and honey. Spread over warm rolls before serving.
Om nom nom. Happy Breakfast!