Carrot Cake Style Cinnamon Rolls
Topped with Cream Cheese Cake Batter Frosting
and garnished with Marzipan Baby Carrots!
This year for Thanksgiving dessert I made a variation on the standard Cinnamon Rolls. That's what I do. I took my favorite carrot cake recipe which includes pineapple and spun it into the yummiest, tastiest cinnamon roll. And because of the carrots it was healthy, too! Ha ha ha ha.
Anyway, the funny things is all the guys at the table passed up this delicious treat. They turned their noses up to the carrots... their loss - because these were darn right tasty.
Here is how I made them:
Proof yeast, in a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons warm milk with 1 1/2 teaspoon yeast with 2 teaspoons brown or regular sugar. In a larger glass bowl, combine 1/2 cup warm milk, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg. In another bowl, combine 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot with 2 cups flour. Once the carrots are evenly distributed throughout the flour, add it to the wet ingredients. Add in the proofed yeast and up to another 1/2 cup of flour if necessary. Turn out onto floured surface and knead 5-10 minutes. Shape into ball. Put back into oiled glass bowl and turn to oil top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place (oven, if available - probably not available on Thanksgiving day though - I put mine right next to the oven to receive heat from the baking turkey) and let rise till doubled - usually takes about 1-2 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare filling. I used 1/2 a large carrot for the shredded carrot above in the dough. The other 1/2 carrot I cut into small pieces and put in a small pan with water to boil till soft. Then I added brown sugar - about 2 tablespoons, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and about 2 tablespoons butter, also 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and mixed it all together. Remove pan from heat and blended this mixture till smooth with my immersion blender.
When the dough has doubled remove to prepared surface to roll out into rectangle. I like shortcuts and easy clean up so I roll out the dough on baking parchment paper. Spread with carrot puree mixture and roll up into long log shape. Pinch seams if possible. I always have a hard time because this liquid fillings make such a mess. Do your best. Then cut into 8-12 equal slices. I got about 10 good size slices out this time. Put the slices into a prepred glass baking dish or if like me - I shape the slices into a circle and then pick up the parchment paper by the corners and lift into my pie tin and then I arrange the slices again evenly in the pan. Why, because I don't want to clean any extra pans or dishes... "shortcuts" remember!
Now let this rise for another 1/2 hour or so - until doubled. Right before I bake it I push down an indentation in each roll and spoon 1 heaping teaspoon of pineapple jam into each roll. (Because my favorite carrot cake recipe includes pineapple... this made the rolls so yummy, too).
Now, bake them in pre-heated oven 175-C degrees for 10-15 minutes. It seemed like my oven was taking forever to cook them, I thought it quit working after being on all day baking the turkey, that I turned the heat up to 200 and switched it to hot air oven - and after 2 minutes they were done.
Remove from oven. Prepare frosting. Whip together 1/3 cup butter and in 1/4 cup cream cheese. Mix in 1 cup powdered sugar. If it's not thick to your liking, mix in 1/2 cup yellow cake dry mix. Taste and adjust to your liking. Scoop large spoonfuls of frosting onto each roll.
At some point while the rolls where rising, second time, I made the marzipan carrots. I bought some reddish orange colored marzipan, opened the package and took off pieces of marzipan and roll them in my fingers till they were the shape of little carrots. Topped the rolls with them... and I don't really like marzipan but they did taste really good with this frosting. It was a nice touch to add them to the rolls. I would do that again!
At the end of Thanksgiving meal and a long day - it may seem like these rolls are a lot of work, but really, there is just a lot of waiting while they rise and stuff. It's not that bad to be the treat maker. I didn't have to make any of the other side dishes... so I got off easy :) It's good to be me!
What is your favorite sweet treat at Thanksgiving?