Flirtations with Cinnamon Rolls, Part I

This year, I decided I wanted to make cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. Many people have this tradition, apparently; though I jumped on the bandwagon not for the sake of conformity, but rather just because I wanted to make cinnamon rolls. And I knew that many people make them for Christmas morning - so it was the perfect excuse.

For my first time making them, I used this recipe from 101 Cookbooks. Gathering ingredients went smoothly enough, though a lot of extra work went into the ground cardamom. I had to take each of these little guys apart with a meat hammer, peel the shell off and turn out the spicy goodness inside. Then go on to further grind said spicy goodness into finer bits suitable for a cinnamon roll dough.

It was a lot of work.

But moving on, things went great all the way through kneading (which I extremely enjoyed; forget punching pillows or practicing Zen, just knead dough). It was only when I set the dough aside to rise that things started going wrong. I came back to check on it after an hour, as the recipe instructed - and it hadn't budged an inch. So, I left it for another two hours.

It wouldn't rise.

I then stuck the bowl inside the oven at a very low temperature, just warm enough that the yeast should have been happy as a kite.

It wouldn't rise. At all.

Interject horrible groans of agony, frustration and yes, even a few tears. In the most melodramatic state of melancholy ever seen to man, I continued with the dough as the recipe instructed, trying to blank out the fact that it was only half of what it should be. And truth be told, once they were formed into rolls, they didn't look like such bad little cinnamon rolls at all. I froze them until Christmas Eve, and then baked them Christmas morning.

The verdict? For not having risen at all, they turned out surprisingly well-formed and tasted fine. Their biggest fault was with the cardamom; it was slightly overpowering, and practically blocked out any taste of cinnamon. However, the bread was soft, and had I made some icing for the tops they would have been very nice cardamom rolls indeed.

And thus, I am still on my search for the perfect cinnamon roll recipe. Maybe next time will yield the results I hoped for!


Nicole said…
For future reference, you can find ground cardamom at Real Foods. I've had similar frustrations with cinnamon-roll dough not rising. If you use yeast, you do need to let it in liquid until you see the yeast explode (yes, this really does happen). :)

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