Cinnamon Rolls with a twist, of course. I had a few hours to myself on Monday and wanted to make a sweet bread. Then it hit me: cinnamon rolls!
Except I’d just made gingersnap dough, and goodness, the ginger had tasted amazing. Craving that gingery sharpness and some chocolaty sweetness, I decided to add both to my cinnamon rolls.
In short, I was improvising! Frankly, it was the most fun I’ve had baking in a long time – not that I’m implying that the other times I’ve baked weren’t fun. It’s just that improvising – having no idea what will happen – is more entertaining. I could end up with something delicious or something disgusting, and when I generally know what’s going to happen for most of my day, that uncertainty is a wonderful, exciting luxury.
So I mixed my ingredients together – out of order, of course, because I’m horrible at reading instructions – to form an enriched dough. Then I let it prove for about 90 minutes, keeping myself busy with making basic brownies while I waited.
Once it had proved, I pressed the dough out into a rectangle.
Now, here’s where I messed up – twice! First, I read the instructions wrong and thought I needed to slather the dough with 3/4 cup of softened butter, not the 3/4 of a stick that it specified. Second, I forgot the butter. I just left it out. I was so excited to add the cinnamon sugar and the ginger and the chocolate chips that I just forgot to add the butter. I didn’t even realize until I’d already rolled up the dough and pinched the seam, so I couldn’t even fix my mistake!
I really freaked out at first, because I thought I’d left out 1 1/2 sticks of butter. I relaxed a little when I reread the directions and saw that I’d only left out 3/4 of a stick of butter – but I only relaxed a little. That’s still a sizable amount of butter I forgot!
Alas, I forged ahead. I figured it’d probably still be okay, so I formed the dough into a ring and let it prove. This was NOT the shaping instruction provided by the recipe, but I decided I didn’t care and wanted to make a wreath rather than individual rolls.
I really improvised on this one.
After another 90-minute rise, I slashed the dough at semi-regular intervals and twisted to separate the segments.
Then I baked it for 40 minutes. Afterwards, I realized I should have given the wreath an egg wash to get a nice brown sheen; however, the bread still looked pretty festive (despite the chocolate leaking out the sides).
I improvised a glaze while the bread was baking out of powdered sugar, water, meringue powder, and vanilla, and once the bread was cool enough I piped it messily across the top! I was actually pretty proud, because the bread looked fancy! (Which, as everyone knows, is highly unusual for me.)
When I cut into the bread, it had a nice crumb and beautiful swirls of filling.
Plus, my filling tasted amazing: the ginger and chocolate went really well together and added wonderfully contrasting notes of sharpness, spiciness, and sweetness. I will definitely improvise a variant of this again!