A Daring Baker's Challenge
The Daring Baker's have graciously allowed me to join their ranks. The idea behind the Daring Baker's is that we all make the same recipe, without any changes in order to challenge ourselves as bakers. There are certain exceptions to not making any changes though and the one that applies to me is needing to make changes in the ingredient list for a medical condition, allergies or intolerances, etc.
Many people who can't eat gluten have other health issues as well, such as allergies, other food intolerances, diabetes, thyroid problems, and more. As for me, I do fall into the category of having other health issues, such as an intolerance to dairy and soy, a mild intolerance to nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers) and a new challenge in reactive hypoglycemia. For my first Daring Baker's challenge, I needed to make a few changes in the recipe, first I used agave syrup in the dough to reduce the sugar content, I used lite coconut milk instead of cow's milk, I used 2 packages of active dry yeast (gluten free), guar gum as a binder and I used a combination of gluten free flours.
This month's recipe challenge was for Cinnamon Rolls or Sticky Buns which comes from Peter Reinhart's book The Bread Baker's Apprentice. It is considered to be a classic on bread baking and was named a cookbook of the year in 2002 by the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the James Beard Foundation. Peter is a baking instructor for Johnson & Wales University and was a co-founder of Brother Juniper's Bakery in Sonoma, California. He has a new cookbook that came out in August called, Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor.
Cinnamon rolls and sticky buns find their origins in our ancient past beginning with the Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans, continuing into Medieval Europe and present day America. Modern day cousins to these ancient breads can be found in coffee cakes and galettes or with doughnuts and fritters. According to Dr. Ronald Wirtz from the American Institute of Baking, believes that cinnamon rolls owe some of their history to the English Chelsea Bun and German Schnecken.
The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Hebrews and Romans all knew and prized cinnamon which was considered fit for a royal gift. Where cinnamon came from was a mystery to the western medieval world, as it was brought to Egypt by Arab caravans. From there it was purchased by Venetian merchants who held a spice monopoly in Europe. When the trade routes were disrupted by the rise of other powers in the Mediterranean, many Europeans began the search for other ways to obtain spices. By the end of the fifteenth century Portuguese traders found Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and began a monopoly on the production of cinnamon that lasted one hundred years. By 2005, most of the world's cinnamon now comes from Indonesia. In the United States most of the cinnamon you purchase in a grocery store is actually cassia, a cousin of cinnamon.
Cinnamon rolls and cinnamon are part of our shared food history. When you make this recipe, you think of nothing other than their warm spicey goodness that is infinitely satisfying.
4 1/2 Tb Agave Syrup
1 Tsp salt
5 1/2 Tb vegetable shortening
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 1/2 tsp guar gum
2 packages gluten free active dry yeast
1 1/8 to 1 1/4 lite coconut milk
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 Tb granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon or orange extract
6 Tb to 1/2 cup warm lite coconut milk
1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the vegetable shortening, agave syrup and salt. Pour in the beaten egg and the lemon zest. Stir until the mixture is smooth.
2. Slowly add the gluten free flours, guar gum, yeast and coconut milk. Stir until the the dough forms a ball. Then cover and allow it to sit at room temperature for approximately 2 hours.
3. Lay out a large piece of parchment paper on the counter. Pour out the dough into the center of the paper. Place another piece of parchment paper over the top of the dough. Using a rolling pin roll out the dough until it is in a rectangle (about 12 x 14 inches) that is 2/3rds of an inch thick. Don't roll the dough too thin or the rolls will break apart while they are resting and they will be a bit tough and chewy.
4. Slowly peel the top piece of parchment paper off the dough. Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar recipe over the the rolled dough. Lift a long edge of parchment paper and ease over the edge of the dough until it begins to make a curl. Then slowly continue easing up the parchment paper until you have a long roll. Slowly peel back the parchment paper and using a sharp knife cut the dough with the seam side down into 12 to 16 pieces. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the rolls on the paper so that they are close, but not touching.
5. Allow the cinnamon rolls to rise for about 45 to 60 minutes or until it appears as though they won't rise anymore.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 20 to 30 minutes. Allow the rolls to cool for at least 10 minutes before glazing them so that the fondant doesn't melt off the rolls.
7. Fondant Glaze: Sift the powdered sugar into a large bowl. Add the extract and slowly add 6 Tbs to 1/2 cup of warm lite coconut milk. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the fondant is a thick smooth paste.
8. Using a spoon scoop out the fondant and slowly drizzle it over the cinnamon rolls.
What did my family think of the cinnamon rolls? All of us enjoyed the flavor of the rolls. The flavor of the fondant wasn't a hit with my kids. They would have preferred it to be flavored with vanilla. My husband said the next time I make these rolls, he'd prefer just a little drizzle of fondant. I agreed with him and decided that I'd make much less fondant the next time. In the end, could I eat the cinnamon rolls? I couldn't eat too much of the ones I had put fondant on, there was still too much sugar. However, I could eat a lot more of the ones without the icing.