~ Cinnamon 'n Raisin Bread Cinnamon-Swirl Muffins ~
There's nothing like waking up to the ethereal smell of freshly-baked cinnamon rolls. That said, if you're the cinnamon-roll baker, unless your family sleeps until Noon, "pulling that off" means getting up long before dawn -- yawn. My happy little twist on classic cinnamon rolls, which lets a pre-programmed bread machine mix and proof my recipe for cinnamon-raisin bread dough, will get you an extra 55-minutes of AM snooze time. Tick, tock. It's smooth and stress-free sailing after that. The super-manageable dough pats out easily, store-bought cinnamon-sugar gets sprinkled on top, roll, slice and in the muffin tins they go to proof. Poof -- bake and your done.
A super-easy to "pat, roll & slice" bread machine dough...
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces, preferably at room temperature
2 extra-large eggs, preferably at room temperature, lightly beaten
4 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
5 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar
2 teaspoons granulated dry yeast, not rapid-rise yeast (1 packet)
1 cup raisins*
5-6 tablespoons additional cinnamon-sugar, for sprinkling on prepared dough
no-stick cooking spray, for preparing muffin tins
* Note about adding raisins: Most bread machines have an "add-in basket" with a 1/2 cup capacity, which adds dried fruits and/or nuts during the baking cycle. Because the pizza dough cycle is used to knead and proof (not bake) the dough, the machine won't add them. Do not use the add-in basket.
~ Step 1. This is the rectangular-shaped bread pan that came with my machine. The paddle (which will do the kneading) has been inserted. The instruction manual said to always start with the paddle in this position before adding any ingredients, so I do.
~ Step 2. Cube the butter as directed and set aside to soften, about 30 minutes, or, quickly soften or melt it in the microwave. In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: the flour, salt, cinnamon-sugar and raisins.
~Step 3. In a 1-cup measuring container, heat milk and vanilla extract in the microwave until steaming. Add the butter cubes. Using a fork, stir until butter is melted. If milk is steaming and butter is soft, this will only take a minute. Add the liquid mixture to the bread pan. Using the fork, whisk the eggs in the 1-cup measuring container, then add the eggs to the bread pan too.
~Step 4. Add the flour to the bread pan, spooning it right on top of the wet ingredients. Do not mix or stir. Using your index finger, make a small well in the top of the flour (but not so deep that it reaches the wet layer). Add the yeast to the well. Insert the pan into the bread machine, plug the machine in, press the "Select" button, choose the "Pizza Dough" cycle, then press "Start". In 55 minutes, you'll have cinnamon-raisin bread dough.
~Step 5. While dough is kneading and proofing in bread machine, spread a bit of bench flour over the top of a large, 20" x 16" pastry board. Remove the proofed dough from bread machine (the pan won't be hot) and transfer dough to the bench-flour covered board. Using your fingertips, pat and press dough across the board, into a 1/2"-thick rectangle measuring approximately 18" x 14". I do this with my fingertips (this dough is extremely manageable). If you need the aid of a small rolling pin (which you should not), that's ok, just use a very light touch. Generously sprinkle 5-6 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar over the surface to within 1/2" of the perimeter on all four sides. Starting at the side closest to you, roll the dough, as tightly as possible, jelly-roll-style, into a cylinder. Position the cylinder, seam-side-down on an end-to-end angle, then, pat, form and stretch it to a even-sized-throughout length of 22"-24". This is ALL very, very, very (about 15-minutes-of-time) easy to do.
~Step 6. Spray the inside of 24, standard-size muffin cups with no-stick spray. Using a serrated bread knife and a light touch, cut the cylinder into 1" thick slices, placing the slices, one in each muffin cup, as you work. I yielded a grand total of 22 today. Cover with a lint-free kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 1 hour. Uncover and bake on center rack of preheated 325° oven, until "tops have popped" in their centers and rolls are lightly-browned, a short 14-16 minutes. Do not over bake. Remove cinnamon rolls from oven and immediately transfer rolls from muffin cups to a wire rack to cool completely, 1-1 1/2 hours, prior to glazing (if desired) as directed below.
2 cups Confectioners' sugar
3-4 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon caramel flavoring
Drizzle glaze over barely-warm or room-temp swirl muffins...
Special Equipment List: bread machine; paring knife; 1-cup measuring container; fork; large pastry board; serrated bread knife; standard-sized muffin tins, enough for 22-24 muffins; wire cooling rack; pastic squirt bottle, for applying glaze (optional)
Cook's Note: Can I interest you in a make-ahead breakfast casserole to go with your cinnamon-swirl muffins? My ~ Big Baked Denver Omelette Brunch Casserole ~, full of ham, cheese and veggies, is my favorite crowd-pleasing recipe.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2018)