Friday, April 10, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Whirls

I made these for a group of nurses visiting our mosque. I could not be present during their visit, but found out later that the whirls were very well-received. In fact, some of the guests realized that they were homemade, and asked for the recipe which we emailed to them. The headmistress of the nursing school replied back, thanking and informing us that they made copies of the recipe and distributed them in class. The recipe is adapted from California Culinary Academy's Breads book.

When I made these, I rolled the dough into 2 18" by 7" rectangles instead of a 18" by 14" rectangle, thus making 24 smaller whirls rather than 12 larger ones. Also, 1/3 c of butter seemed too generous to spread inside the whirls, so I used less.
  • 2 packages (4 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 c warm (105 to 115 F) water
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2/3 c warm (105 to 115 F) milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c (8 tbs) softened unsalted butter
  • 5 to 5 1/2 c flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c butter, softened (i used less)
  • 1 c raisins
  • Powdered Sugar Icing (Combine 3/4 c confectioners' sugar, 1 tsp softened butter, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract in a small bowl; gradually blend in 1 to 1 1/2 tbs water until icing is of drizzling consistency.)
  • Cinnamon Sugar (mix 3/4 c sugar with 1 tbs ground cinnamon)
Sprinkle yeast over warm water in your mixer's bowl. Let stand until the yeast is soft (about 5 minutes).

Add remaining sugar, milk, salt and the 1/2 c softened butter.

Add 3 c of the flour. Mix to blend, then beat at medium speed until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Seperate one of the eggs; reserve the white for glaze. Beat in egg yolk and whole egg, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in about 2 more cups of flour to make a soft dough.

Turn dough onto a board dusted with some of the remaining 1/2 c of flour. Knead until dough is smooth and satiny and small bubbles form just under surface (12 to 15 minutes), adding just enough flour to prevent dough from being sticky.

Turn dough in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hrs).

Punch down dough. Cover with inverted bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll dough out on to a floured surface into a 14" by 18" rectangle. Spread evenly with the 1/3 c butter (i used less), then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Sprinkle evenly with raisins. Starting from the 18" side, roll dough jelly-roll fashion; moisten a long edge and pinch to seal. Cut roll into 12 equal slices.

Arrange slices, cut sides down, in a well-greased 9" by 13" baking pan. Cover lightly with waxed paper. Let rise until doubled in bulk (45 minutes to 1 hour). Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a small bowl, beat reserved egg white with 1 tsp of water. Brush lightly over rolls. Bake until well browned (25 to 30 minutes.) Drizzle warm rolls with Powdered Sugar Icing, then serve warm or at room temperature.