On we go with the fourth round of The Great Cinnamon Roll Project. I had high hopes for this recipe. It had two intriguing features: a butter-brown sugar base and a frosting containing vanilla bean. Alas, it fell short of my expectations.
I had a clue as I rolled out the dough. The OBB girls had said that cinnamon roll dough needs to be pretty soft and somewhat difficult to handle in order to produce a tender roll. So once I took the Picky Cook dough out of the mixing bowl in which it had risen, I suspected trouble. It was extremely easy to roll out, making a smooth, thin rectangle. This made the rolls very pretty--elegant spirals with several layers to them once they were rolled--but when baked, they were quite tough. The recipe said to bake the rolls for 30 minutes, but mine were quite done at 25 minutes.
They also tasted undersalted and not very cinnamon-y. I have decided that I definitely prefer a filling with brown sugar to one with white sugar.
Now, about that base--the recipe asks you to melt brown sugar and butter together, add vanilla and pour the mixture into the baking pan, then place the rolls on top to rise. This sounded exciting! I imagined the rolls would develop a sticky, chewy bottom as they baked; what could be better? But it ended up not doing much for them at all.
So--tough rolls, not much flavor. The frosting was admittedly delicous. The scraped out goodness from the inside of a vanilla bean did make a wonderfully fragrant and tasty icing. But it wasn't enough to save these rolls. Anne had to be coaxed to finish hers--that's how unexciting they were.
I've looked ahead at the next recipes on my list, and after examining them, I've decided that neither Martha Stewart's nor Paula Deen's rolls are worth my time. The recipes look quite similar to those I've tried that have failed. I'm therefore moving ahead to the Tyler Perry/Oprah rolls, the first recipe to call for vanilla pudding as an ingredient. Stay tuned!