19 Jun2006

Cinnamon Rolls

by Marketman


The day after I arrived from our month-long trip to Europe, I vowed to cut back on the intake of calories and increase the amount of energy burned through exercise. cin2My target was to lose roughly 10 pounds in 3 months so that I could finally visit my heart doctor around my birthday after avoiding him for a year and at least fall below his threshold of “acceptable weight.” Hahaha. It’s a month later and I have gained another 3 pounds and I am taking more than a second look at those humongous ads for liposuckers on EDSA. Now I have two months left and 13 pounds to lose. Considering that I voluntarily ate half a dozen tortas one day, then a few days later baked these cinnamon rolls, I shouldn’t be at all surprised. Prior to the age of 35, I was always thin as a reed, ate anything I wanted, and always thought I could use 10-15 pounds more. Now, I consciously consider what clothing I purchase as I am convinced a good eye and fit can cut 10 pounds off your perceived weight. But calories be damned for a while and here is the cinnamon roll recipe…

Make the ensaimada dough painstakingly outlined in an earlier post. But instead of the voluminous amount of egg yolks, just use 5 egg yolks so that your dough isn’t too rich. cin3Then when the dough has completed its second rising (after punching it), divide the dough into 3 or four portions and roll it out into a thin rectangle. Slather each rectangle with about ½ a pound of softened butter. It sounds like a lot but it could use even more. My sister said if it looks like enough butter, go get more and add it on! Then sprinkle generous amounts of fresh cinnamon powder on the butter. Don’t scrimp on the cinnamon or you won’t taste it. But don’t overdo it either, as it can be overpowering and cloying. Next, sprinkle a LOT of granulated sugar on the butter and cinnamon, perhaps 2 cups or more per rectangle. It sounds like an obscene amount but if you don’t put enough sugar you will have dry, less gooey and tasty cinnamon rolls. The more butter and sugar you put, the more syrupy and moist the rolls will be.

Roll up each rectangle carefully and slice it with a knife or pastry cutter and place it in pans lined with greased baking paper. Leave room for it to grow a bit (say 45-60 minutes) before you put it in the middle rack of a pre-heated 350 degree oven. I like to cook them in round pie pans so cin4that it’s easy to give away 8 cinnamon rolls at a time to friends as presents or make it easier to wrap up and store in the freezer for when there is unexpected company. Some folks like to drizzle the rolls with a powdered sugar glaze that takes it totally over the top! I also tried a variation with chopped walnuts and raisins that had more character, mouth feel and taste than the plain rolls. But remember to soak your raisins for at least 3 hours in water, rhum or brandy (then drain before using) or they will seriously dry out while baking. Spread the chopped nuts and raisins over the sugar THEN roll up the rectangle of dough and slice the rolls. Be careful to watch your rolls while baking as the gooey mess at the bottom of the pan can burn… Enjoy these utterly delicious high cholesterol wonders with a cup of coffee or strong tea. I add more unsalted butter when I eat the rolls warmed up… Yum!



  1. Jean says:

    Holy smokes! First to post! Lovely.;) Great recipe MM! My 17 year old son loves this stuff. Need to make some… Btw, have you ever considered using potato as a starter for your dough? I’ve heard that it produces a softer bread. Just a thought.

    Jun 19, 2006 | 11:14 am


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  3. Jean says:

    Ps. Try using Flax seed and oil into your recipes. It supposed to help one’s cholesterol. May be nasty at first but you can get used to it. If you cannot find it there then give me a ringy dingy, be happy to send you some. :) Also got a yogurt recipe to send if you are interested.

    Jun 19, 2006 | 11:20 am

  4. Katrina says:

    This was NOT a post I wanted to see on the week I’d decided to finally return to my diet and gym routine! ;-) I heart-heart-heart cinnamon! For me, Cinnabon is the best commercial brand; Cinnzeo and (UGH!) St. Cinnamon just don’t measure up. I was ecstatic when Cinnabon came to the Phils., and when they closed their Rockwell branch (I rarely leave Makati), I was devastated. And yes, I like it with the sugar glaze too.

    I do think cinnamon’s one of my favorite spices. I even like it in savory dishes. We used to have a cook who made lasagna with a dash of cinnamon! Sounds strange, I know. It wasn’t something you actually tasted, but it added a certain depth and roundness of flavor that really complemented the meat.

    Jun 19, 2006 | 12:01 pm

  5. Kate says:

    I totally agree that drizzling cinnamon rolls with powdered sugar glaze like they do here in the US is too much. We Filipinos often say we like sweet things, but I find that for us, the bottom line is balance. How often do we hear each other say of a dessert, “Masarap. Hindi masyadong matamis.” American desserts seem much sweeter to me than Filipino ones.

    Thanks for the recipes for (and stories about) cinnamon rolls and ensaimada, MM (and MM’s sister)! Can’t wait to try them. If there’s anyone who knows old-time Spanish pastries and cakes, it’s the Cebuanos. I still drool at the memory of silvanas from Cebu.

    Here’s a question: did your Lola make taisan? Do you have a recipe for it? Thanks!

    Jun 19, 2006 | 12:16 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    Jean, potato starters is beginning to sound more like those unibomber uber natural hearth bakers…heehee, I’m kidding. No, I have never tried potatoes… my sister used to keep a live starter in her apartment for YEARS but I think she gave that up. Gotta read up on flax seed. I have a yoghurt maker but the thought of fermenting my own milk cultures in near 100 degree tropical weather with 80% humidity still scares me… I could be breeding serious amounts of bizarre bacteria! Katrina, I would have to temporarily stop marketmanila posts if I were to get serious about a diet again! Kate, taisan is a bit like mamon I think, but I have never made it. Will have to ask my sister but she’s on a trip for a few weeks…

    Jun 19, 2006 | 12:41 pm

  7. Kate says:

    Thanks, MM! No hurry at all. The reason I ask is because my aunt used to make tons of it before the annual clan reunion, keeping the paper-collared cakes in big bakery lard tins until we all arrived from Manila. These lovely, tender cakes had a faint smokey flavor because she baked them in a wood-fired oven. Ah, the memories of childhood. My aunt, our clan baker, is now in her 80s and her memory isn’t what it used to be. I hope to interview her when I come home sometime soon.

    Jun 19, 2006 | 1:58 pm

  8. Kate says:

    Oops, my mistake. It’s not taisan my aunt used to make. It was marquesotes. Does that ring a bell?

    Jun 19, 2006 | 2:26 pm

  9. Mila says:

    MM, flaxseed and flaxseed oil has lots of omega 3 fatty acids, good for the heart and cholesterol. I don’t find it too difficult to swallow myself, the ground flaxseed is rather nutty, probably good with any breads so if you add it to your cinnamon rolls, it will add to the fiber content. Plus make it heart healthier (although with that amount of butter I don’t know. Kind of like eating a slice of cake with diet coke). It’s locally available, Healthy Options has it, just store it away from direct light. Add it to yogurt or sprinkle it on cereals.

    As for dieting, I’ve been away from the gym for so long and I’ve made up all sorts of excuses not to exercise. The only way I balance it out is to avoid eating late at night, drink lots of water and tea during the day, and eat at least 5 apples or pears. Haven’t gained a pound in a month but that’s a constant battle of the bulge. Ah well, at least I can eat vicariously through your posts.

    Jun 19, 2006 | 4:13 pm

  10. Apicio says:

    I can only agree with you that just about the only way one can ameliorate excess girth is by diet, exercise and staying away from outfits that give you the “suman sa ibus” look. Or if it were just easy enough to turn around and harness our approach of total abandon to food and cooking to diet and exercise… You know, I look askance at individuals who claim they eat like horses and still don’t gain an ounce and always view them only with excessive suspicion.

    Btw, I find Southbeach diet’s approach seems to work well with my (culture ingrained) rice dependence. Just changing to measured amounts of brown rice and sugar alone appear to have done the trick for me. But those (cinnamon) buns are lovely.

    Jun 19, 2006 | 8:28 pm

  11. Liz says:

    Yes, I admit, I am usually a lurker. But for cinnamon rolls, I will speak.

    Marketman, you are an inspiration. Thank you for taking the time to compose your blogs, for articulating your thoughts, and taking wonderful photos, for providing insight, etc., etc., etc. Thank you for your generosity in sharing so much of yourself to so many people.

    Thanks for this post, as it reminds me to try out your ensaimada recipe and go for cinnamon rolls. As a beginner in the realm of baking, cinnamon rolls are one of those things I’d like to perfect. So far it has been hit-and-miss. Fortunately my family is forgiving and eats anything I pull out of the oven.

    Jun 19, 2006 | 11:19 pm

  12. Wilson Cariaga says:

    Marketman, one of the chefs i know put a small amount of pineapple juice in the pan after greasing it. . . I really don’t know what it does. . . and I don’t remember asking him. . hehe

    Jun 20, 2006 | 7:24 am

  13. Maricel says:

    For extra gooeyiness, I melt 1/3 cup of butter then stir in 1/2c packed brown sugar and 2 T corn syrup until dissolved and then spread it on the bottom of the pan before putting in the rolls. Remove the rolls immediately from the pan after baking or else the caramel will harden.

    Jun 20, 2006 | 8:04 am

  14. chick says:

    i like cinnabon’s chocobon & cinnabonstix!

    baguio country club & starbucks’ cinnamon roll are yummy too!

    red ribbon’s okay, i like it better than goldilocks’.

    Aug 16, 2007 | 3:29 pm


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