Sunday nights & cinnamon scrolls

Sunday nights are still the weekend, and my new Bethnal Green family certainly knows how to make the most of them. As per mini-tradition, we invited our all friends round, cooked dinner and settled in for a night of wine, X-Factor and Downton Abbey. It sounds nerdy, but when there are 10 of you in a living room hooting and hollering at the TV, it’s really raucous and fun.

cinnamon bun

I contributed to the evening by making cinnamon scrolls. They received rave reviews, if I say so myself – so here’s the recipe should you ever want to win friends and influence people. They take a bit of work to make, but boy is a plate full of homemade cinnamon scrolls delicious, and impressive!

Cinnamon Swirl Buns with Cream Cheese Glaze
{Lazily adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s recipe in Bon Appetit, March 2008}

1 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
Nonstick vegetable oil spray


3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Making the dough:

Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed. Pour into bowl, adding 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. The lucky among you may have a beater with a paddle attachment, otherwise it’s time to get out a wooden spoon and start stirring.

When the mixture starts resembling a shaggy mess, add 2 1/2 cups flour. Keep beating until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Put dough on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.

Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. If you are in a hurry, like I was, put your dough to bed in the hot water cupboard, which speeds things up.

Shaping your scrolls:

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl. Punch down dough. Transfer to a floured work surface – I used the kitchen table. Roll out to 15×11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, slice dough crosswise into 18 equal slices. The easiest way to do this is halve the log, then halve the half and so on.

Spray two baking trays with nonstick spray, then divide rolls between trays. Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C, then bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Making the glaze:

Combine cream cheese, icing sugar, butter, and vanilla in a bowl. Beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Enjoy served warm or at room temperature. Microwaving the leftover scrolls for breakfast the next day is also advisable!