Traditional Cinnamon Rolls are great, but they take so long. It requires more than 2 hours of waiting for the rise and strong muscles for 5 plus minutes of kneading. Naw, homie ain’t no body got time for that. But I got the remedy. Instead of yeast leavened bread, allow me to introduce to you biscuit rolls. I’ve seen these style of rolls a few times, but I got this recipe from browneyedbaker.com. I added my own touches to the original recipe of course, but because I borrowed heavily from her for this I thought I’d give her a shout out.
Before you dive head first into caramel making, I want to elucidate the essence of caramel. The simplest way to describe caramel is burnt sugar dissolved in water. Delving deeper into caramel, we learn that it is actually an amorphous (noncrystalline) candy. It is formed by heating a supersaturated solution of sucrose until pyrolysis (degradation of molecules due to excess heat) occurs (320F).
The main pitfall involved in caramel making is crystallization. If sucrose crystals enter the caramel, the crystal will attract dissolved sucrose molecules causing them to precipitate out of the caramel. To prevent this it is best not to stir the caramel sauce once a boil is reached. Instead leave the mixture alone and if there are crystals on the side of the pot use a wet pastry brush to knock them into the pot. I typically cover the pot until boiling occurs so that condensation does the job for me.
To further prevent crystallization, interfering agents can be added to the mixture. Invert sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and honey are common examples. These agents are made up of monosaccarides which dissolve more readily than sucrose. In addition, they get between sucrose molecules inhibiting crystallization.
Invert sugars are formed by an acid catalyst driven reaction in which sucrose and water are heated. The sucrose is broken down into glucose and fructose units, which interfere with crystallization. The slower the cooking time the more invert sugar will form, so it is best to prepare caramel at a slow to medium speed. Fortunately, most caramel recipes include cream of tartar and other interfering agents to control crystallization.
For the Biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp of cream of tartar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon gray sea salt, crushed or kosher salt
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, cream of tartar and water over medium-low. Cover and wait until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble. Then stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Transfer the caramel to a heat-resistant container or mug to cool on counter.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cream and stir with a wooden spoon until a rough dough comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly-floured surface. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds, or until smooth. If the dough seems dry, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Roll the dough into a 9×12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter. Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, then sprinkle evenly over the surface of the dough. Starting at one of the long sides, roll the dough into a cylinder. Cut the cylinder into 8 equal pieces.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
- Glaze with caramel sauce.
Makes 8 cinnamon rolls.