I’ve been wanting to put a giant skillet cinnamon roll on here for ages. Like, since before regular cinnamon rolls were published here. But I never quite got around to it. I kept thinking about it, but it just never happened. Well, here we are. And it’s not just any giant skillet cinnamon roll. It’s the most epic giant skillet cinnamon roll of all, made with a stupid simple dough that requires only 30 seconds of kneading, and can be made up to 5 days in advance. The recipe is from my friend Zoë’s new book - Holiday and Celebration Bread in five minutes a day. This is Zoë’s fifth book, written alongside Jeff Hertzberg, M.D, and I can’t wait to bake my way through it.
The concept of the book is super simple (and super clever) - there are a bunch of base bread recipes, which are all incredibly versatile, and can be prepared in 5 minutes of active time. There are accompanying recipes for each base bread recipes (in a lot of cases you can use multiple doughs to make the same recipe), and the dough can be stored in the fridge, so one quick batch of dough will yield multiple bread projects. I’ve never made an overnight dough that is as easy to work with as these, and it doesn’t require the use of a mixer or loads of kneading. It’s just genius. The focus of this particular book is Holiday and Celebration breads, so it is jam packed full of holiday themed breads from different cultures.
This giant skillet cinnamon roll is pretty similar to the standard cinnamon roll recipe - except instead of rolling the dough up into a log and cutting rolls, you cut the dough into strips, and wind them into a tight spiral, forming one giant cinnamon roll. Once it is baked, it is loaded up with a dreamy cream cheese icing. The whole thing is perfect - super simple to make but an amazing twist on the traditional cinnamon roll. I know what I’m making for Christmas morning. I hope you pick up a copy of the book - there are so many incredible recipes in there, and it is a great introduction to bread if you haven’t made it before, as the base bread formulas and the overnight rest in the recipes produce a dough that is dreamy to work with and produces beautiful bread as a result.
A few wee tips:
The bread recipe here makes enough for two of these cinnamon rolls, or there are a whole heap more recipes in the book you can use the dough for. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also halve the recipe if you like.
I tweaked the method slightly - using a little more dough than Zoë calls for, as she made the roll in an 8” skillet and I only had a 10”.
I also added in a wee step just to help keep the roll tight when forming the roll - once the dough is rolled out, you pop it onto a piece of parchment, then add the butter and sugar mixture. The whole thing is then quickly placed in the freezer just to help the dough firm slightly, which makes it a tiny bit easier to work with. You can skip this step if you like, it just makes the dough a bit harder to roll up.
To make this recipe into regular cinnamon rolls, you can roll out the dough, spread with the cinnamon mixture, then roll from the long side into a log, before cutting into rolls, placing into a buttered skillet, and proofing and baking in the same fashion as the giant roll.
If you can, make the recipe by volume - you can literally measure everything directly into the mixing bowl, which reduces dishes.
I used a Danish dough whisk to mix up the dough, but you can use a mixer with the paddle attachment, or a strong spoon.
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing
- Makes one giant cinnamon roll -
Reprinted with Permission, from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a day
340g (1 1/2 cups) Lukewarm water (100˚f / 37˚c)
10g (1 Tbsp) granulated yeast
17g (1 Tbsp) kosher salt
340g (6 large eggs) eggs, lightly beaten
170g (1/2 cup) honey
340g (1 1/2 cups, 3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the pan
990g (7 cups) all-purpose flour
Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water, for brushing.
45g (3 Tbsp) melted butter, cooled slightly
75g (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) dark brown sugar
75g (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Cream Cheese Icing
225g (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
50g (6 Tbsp) powdered sugar
60ml (1/4 cup) heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- PROCESS -
Mix the water, yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter in a 6-quart bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container
Mix in the flour without kneading, using a Danish dough whisk, a spoon, or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour. The dough will be loose but will firm up when chilled; don’t try to work with it before chilling.
Cover (not airtight), allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours, and then refrigerate.
The dough can be used as soon as it’s thoroughly chilled, at least 3 hours. Refrigerate the container and use over the next 5 days.
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off an 800g piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the dough a quarter turn as you go.
Knead the dough lightly for 30 seconds or so, then leave to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a rectangle approximately 12” x 17” in size. Add more flour as needed to stop the dough from sticking. Place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet dusted with flour.
Brush the surface of the dough all over with melted butter. In a small bowl, mix together the sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Spread the mixture over the butter-topped dough. Use your hands to make sure you have an even coat of the sugar.
Transfer the dough on the baking sheet to the freezer, and freeze for 15 minutes. While the dough is in the freezer, butter a 10” skillet or cake pan.
Remove from the freezer, and slide the parchment paper and dough off the baking sheet and onto the work surface. Trim the sides of the dough using a ruler and pastry cutter or sharp knife, so the edges are straight, then cut the dough lengthways using a ruler and pastry cutter into 1 1/2” strips.
Roll one of the strips into a tight coil. Place the coil on the next strip and roll that strip around the coil, connecting the two ends together. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough until you have a giant coil of dough. At some point, you will have to lay the coil in the skillet and wind the dough strips around the outside of it, or it will get too large.
Once you have finished coiling the roll, cover and allow to rest for 75 minutes. 20 minutes before the resting time is up, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Brush the roll with egg wash and bake for about 35 minutes, or until set in the middle. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, then ice with cream cheese icing.
CREAM CHEESE ICING
In a bowl using an electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine all ingredients together and mix until well combined.
Store leftover cinnamon roll in an airtight container. Best reheated slightly in the microwave before eating.
Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five minutes a day is Copyright © Zoë Francois and Jeff Hertzber, M.D