My husband and I rang in his birthday (he’s a quarter of a century old, people!) the best way we know how, with food! I would have loved to take him on an adventure on that beautiful Midwest autumn day, but seeing as he is a medical student and spends the majority of his time studying at his desk, I instead decided to make that day special with some specially crafted foods. He loves “fun” food, which allows me to frequently create new flavor combinations. Since the day would consist of lots of yummy foods I wanted the breakfast to be on the lighter end while still being a classic food item. I knew I wanted to use the French culinary lavender that I recently purchased at a local farmer’s market, so I balanced its strong flavor with a light and refreshing citrus flavor. Say hello to my orange lavender cinnamon rolls! These cinnamon rolls will have you eager to wake up in the morning and start your day.
ORANGE LAVENDER CINNAMON ROLLS
Makes 16 cinnamon rolls
1. In a Pyrex measuring cup, heat until warm (105 °F – 110°F):
1/2 cup water
(Note: Be sure that the water isn’t too hot, otherwise the yeast will die)
2. Stir in:
1 teaspoon sugar
(Note: sugar is not required for the yeast to activate, but it serves as a helpful indicator as to whether or not the yeast is viable)
3. Sprinkle on top of the warm water:
1 packet active dry yeast
4. After 1 minute, gently stir in the yeast (note: all the yeast will not dissolve immediately, give it time). Let stand for 10 minutes. If the yeast is viable you should see bubbles (Carbon dioxide is produced when the yeast consumes the sugar that was added to the mixture) and the mixture should have doubled in height. If your yeast isn’t viable, redo this step with a new yeast packet.
5. Pour the yeast/water mixture into a KitchenAid bowl. Using the paddle attachment, mix in until well incorporated:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk, warmed
1/4 cup orange juice, warmed
Zest of an orange
Pinch of salt
6. Gradually mix in, adding 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup at a time:
4 cups flour
7. When the dough turns sticky, switch to the dough attachment. Mix the dough on low to medium speed, occasionally scrapping down the sides. If the mixture remains sticky add an additional tablespoon of flour at a time. Turn off the mixer once the dough springs back when you poke it with your finger.
8. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 1-2 minutes. Lightly grease a large bowl with oil, and transfer the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place the bowl in a warm place for 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
9. Grease two 8” cheesecake pans or a 9”x13” baking pan and set aside.
10. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough into a 10” x 15” rectangle, making sure that the dough is even in height.
11. For the filling: spread the on the dough surface:
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
(Note: butter is to be softened, but not melted; otherwise the filling will seep out the bottom when baking.)
12. In a small bowl combine, then sprinkle the mixture over the butter:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
8. Roll the dough into a tight roll, starting with the long side, and pinching tightly as you roll. Using a piece of floss or a sharp knife, cut 16 1” slices. Place the slices cut side up in the greased pan. Allow the dough to rise for about 45 minutes at room temperature until it has doubled in size. When the dough is almost done rising, preheat the oven to 325°F.
9. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
10. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the glaze.
1. In a small bowl, combine:
3 Tablespoons orange juice, warmed
1 Tablespoon orange zest
1 1/4 teaspoons of dried culinary lavender
2. Let the lavender steep in the orange juice for 10 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the mixture into a small to medium sized bowl, pressing down on the zest and lavender to make sure you get all of the liquid.
3. Sift in, and mix well:
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
4. If the mixture is too runny or too thick, add small amounts of confectioner’s sugar or water, respectfully, as needed to obtain the desired pouring consistency.
5. Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before pouring glaze on. Serve warm. Store leftovers in a plastic bag to prevent drying out for up to a week.
MAKE AHEAD RECOMMENDATION:
If you wish to make this recipe the night before, alter step #8. Instead of allowing the sliced cinnamon rolls to rise in the baking pan(s) for 45 minutes, cover the pan(s) with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rise overnight. In the morning, remove the cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator, and let them sit on the counter for an hour. Preheat the oven to 325°F and continue the recipe instructions with step #9.