A little heart-shaped baking coming right at ya, in the form of some delicious homemade cinnamon rolls. Now, I'm a lover of Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls (you know, the ones with the delicious Cinnabon frosting), but I got this tempting recipe from my BFF Rachel via Pinterest. The recipe is originally from the Don't Forget Delicious blog and I decided it was worth a whirl because they're called the "Fastest Cinnamon Rolls". I can't say I'm a total convert because they did take about an hour to make - granted, that's prep, baking, frosting, and cooling combined. But, for those special occasions, or when you have to show off, the following recipe (with a few modifications from the original) is totally worth it!
For the dough...
3/4 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup low fat buttermilk
1/4 cup sugar
2 oz salted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
9 oz flour (this was approx 2 heaping cups)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
For the ooey-gooey filling...
1 oz salted butter, melted
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the frosting...
2 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk (I used 1%, but any should work)
1 tsp vanilla extract
(be flexible with measurements of these ingredients to make it a nice frosting/glaze-like consistency)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 8-9" square baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Combine ricotta cheese, buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla in a food processor (I used a mixer) and mix until smooth - approx. 10 seconds. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and mix in short bursts just until the dough clumps together (don't over-do it...). The dough should be soft and moist, but still appear to be rather clumpy.
pic from Don'tForgetDelicious
3. Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it with floured hands until smooth (it took about a minute of kneading for me). With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12"x15" rectangle. No ruler required...it doesn't have to be a perfect rectangle, but aim to get it in a rectangular shape so it's easy to roll.
4. Now for the filling, brush the dough with melted butter (leave a 1/2" border of the dough unbuttered). In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture all over the buttered surface of the dough, then gently pat it down so it adheres to the dough.
5. Now, for heart-shaped cinnamon rolls, carefully roll both long sides (15" sides) toward the middle until they meet. After the log of dough is rolled up, use a sharp knife to cut equal slices, approx. 1" thick. I got 9 rolls out of my log of dough. (Sorry, I didn't take a good long roll picture of this, but the below picture shows how the rolls look after they're sliced)
(For traditional round cinnamon rolls, roll the dough jelly-roll style. Start with a long side and roll all the way across. Pinch the seal the seam.)
6. In order to form heart rolls, gently pinch the bottom (flat side) of each roll until it resembles a heart. I should mention that I got this idea from another pin on Pinterest...thanks Poppies at Play blog.
7. Place your rolls in the greased baking dish. They will be touching, but that's just fine!
8. Place in preheated oven and bake until golden brown and firm to the touch (this was 30 minutes for me).
(They don't look so much like hearts right now...but they will soon!)
9. Time to make the frosting! In a small bowl, mix the room-temp mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth. Add small amounts of milk or powdered sugar, as needed, to achieve desired consistency. Spread over the slightly warm rolls and let stand for a few minutes before serving (and devouring!).
Please let me know how they turned out for you! Any modifications or substitutions that worked well? Or, any other shapes you came up with? -Kristen