Cinnamon and other sticky sweet rolls

Since I filled that cinnamon sourdough bread with peach jam, I've been playing with the idea of filling some cinnamon rolls with it - though I suppose we can't call those cinnamon rolls then, but the dough and the shape is the same. So I tried it, using up the rest of my peach jam on the experiment. It worked out well, the sourdough flavour and the peach went together nicely. Or so I hear, I didn't actually get to try any. Alternatively they were so terrible my kind friends disposed of them for me so I would not have to bear the disappointment of discovering the failure the peach rolls were. If so, the joke is on them. I filled the next batch with blueberry and blackberry jam!
The alternative name for these is "Blueberry Murders" got messy

So after attempting blueberry/blackberry (I ran out of blueberry jam...), I joked about using Nutella somehow - and Krista turned up with cherry preserves. So there was only one thing to do: Combine the two as a filling, for a cherry-chocolate delight! Or disaster, depending on how you see these things.I thought this looked rather good. It may look better when you realise there is chocolate involved.

As a safety, the second roll was "regular" cinnamon roll. Just in case things went terribly wrong. Or someone showed up that was deathly allergic to cherries. Or just wasn't in the mood for adventure.

So, a few notes. When using jam, you may not need to butter your rolled-out dough. I did twice, didn't with the last one, I think the jam stuck better when I didn't. Of course, the Nutella might confuse that, so there is obviously only one way to clear it up, and it involves more jam!
Also, when using jam, you need a lot less than you think you need. I think I still need to use less than I did. To compare:

This was the cinnamon roll dough. When you put too much on, it just forms a caramel layer that can be quite pleasant, even if it reminds you less of a cinnamon roll after baking and more of candy held together by something baked. Also, transferring it to the baking sheet after cutting is not that bad. It rarely gets all that messy, the melted butter has cooled and sugar at least is dry. And busy sticking to the butter. Plus people have some idea of how much one puts on already.

On the other hand, jam we like spreading on toast. Or eating with spoons. Generally, most of us like it in larger quantities. The same goes for Nutella. So this really looks a bit stingy, doesn't it?

You can see dough through it! The poor thing is practically naked! Kimberly, how could you leave it so bare?
As it turns out, when I rolled it up, I still had a wave of jam preceding the roll. So, it's still too much. Next time I will start with half, though I think two-thirds of what I used should be about right. (And really, there isn't all that much more cinnamon-sugar on the other one. We (or I should say I do this) just think about jam very differently. Sugar is clearly to be used sparingly, and is gently sprinkled on toast. Jam is applied in generous layers.).
Overall though, better than my blueberry attempts, which I did not manage to photograph (having managed to cover my hands and utensils thoroughly in jam, I didn't think picking up the camera was a good idea. I also forgot, but "too sticky to touch anything but the soap and water" seems like a better excuse. Also it happens to be true). In terms of mess, that is. Taste-wise it probably comes down to preference and mood. I enjoyed both.

Not all that terrible, as messes go

Then, once again, after putting them together, I covered them and went off dancing. Well, mostly sitting in my case, but fun all the same.

All covered up and ready to rise

By the time I got back (6 hours later) the dough had risen nicely. Though, oddly enough, in the case of the cinnamon rolls, up more than out. The chocolate-cherry ones spread and rose a bit, but they did not achieve the fantastical shapes the cinnamon rolls did. Here they are baked and covered in sugar:

The chocolate-cherry ones were a little less bouncy:
I took the photos the next morning, as the light at night did not manage to capture them - a few had gone missing by then.
The chocolate-cherry ones were exactly that: Chocolate with a bit of cherry, and preserved cherries in between. To get a stronger cherry flavour I will try adjusting the proportions, half and half (by volume, roughly), is what I used here. It was quite satisfying and delightful, it all depends on what you are looking for in the end. I'd like to try to bring out a stronger cherry flavour, so I'll probably go with two-thirds to three-quarters cherry preserves next time, to try to play with that a little more.More experimentation is needed!

Here is the closest thing to a recipe this has come so far:

Basic dough:
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups warm milk(room temperature to lukewarm)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups sourdough starter (or 2-4 teaspoons of commercial yeast of your choice)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Mix together the flour, sugar, salt. Melt the butter in the milk, and add to the dough with your starter. (Or add the commercial yeast to the milk, stir, let it sit for a minute to hydrate, and then pour that in). Mix it until it starts coming together in a ball, then switch to kneading it, adjusting flour and milk as needed to form a smooth but slightly sticky ball. Roll this ball in a lightly-oiled bowl, and cover that whole thing with plastic wrap. Let it sit for a few hours until it starts rising, then refrigerate it overnight. (Or let it sit for a few hours, forget about it and leave it there overnight. I tried that by mistake, and at least as the sourdough version it was forgiving...refrigeration means you don't have to worry about it climbing out of the bowl and taking a walk all over your kitchen floor in an attempt to make a run for it though, so make sure you have a big enough bowl that doubling in size won't allow this to happen.).
The next day, take the dough out of the fridge, cut it in half and give it an hour or so to warm up, then start rolling out the dough.
If you conveniently left it out overnight, skip the warm-up and go straight to cutting it in half and rolling it out, as close to a rectangle as you like, to a size roughly the size and shape of most baking sheets.
Brush on/spread on/sprinkle with the filling of your choice and roll it up from the shorter end of your rectangle. Slice into roughly 12 pieces, and place these on a baking sheet lined with parchment, cover with plastic wrap and wait 2 hours or until the rolls have come close to or are touching each other.
Then remove the plastic (this would taste terrible baked), and bake the rolls at 325 on the upper rack, for 20-30 minutes, or until they are lightly brown on top (and hopefully not burned to charcoal on the bottom). Rotate once after 15 minutes or so if necessary to get them about evenly baked.
Remove from the oven, wait a few minutes, then cover them with frosting if you like - if not skip straight to the "Enjoy with tea" bit.
Enjoy with tea.

Brush dough with about 2 tablespoons of melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixed to your preferred ratio of the two.
Spread 2-4 tablespoons of jam across the dough, you probably won't need as much as you think you'll need. Try to imagine it's sugar, it that helps. Or maybe I am the only one with excessive jam-consumption and layering issues. So far we've shown that peach, blueberry and blackberry jams still taste good when you eat them in roll form.
Warm up 2 generous tablespoons of cherry jam in the microwave (30 seconds worked for me - the idea is just to warm it so it mixes a bit more easily), then add in 2 generous tablespoons of nutella. Mix the two, and spread all over. Keep in mind I just managed to show that this makes too much (or I just showed I need to roll out my dough thinner to fit more on it). So consider having pancakes on hand for the spare filling, add to your morning yoghurt or just spoon the stuff. Or, make a little less. That works too. Or spread it all over anyway and enjoy the excuse to chase any and all room-mates with sticky chocolate-jam hands.

2 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk, water or juice (depending on the roll and your preference)
Mix them together to a smooth and spreadable consistency, add more liquid if needed to make this happen. Then smother (or gently drizzle over) the warm rolls.

Next I think I will try substituting peanut butter for some of the butter in the dough. Or mixing it into fillings. Or both. Peanut-butter and jam rolls, anyone?


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