Win at Valentine's Day Brunch With These Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Rolls
Homemade cinnamon rolls (in a heart shape, no less) really show your bae how much you care.
Valentine's Day is on a Sunday this year, so you get the best of both worlds: You can pull off a romantic gesture but still sleep in. (After all, you've already found the perfect gift for your best girl or favorite guy, right?) The plan: Valentine's Day brunch, with these heart-shaped cinnamon rolls you can make ahead of time in the center of the table. Mimosas optional, but...not really optional.
Make the Dough
Pick your favorite classic cinnamon roll recipe to get things going. Cinnamon rolls start with a basic sweet roll dough, which includes eggs, butter and milk to make it extra-rich.
Make This: Basic Sweet Roll Dough
Some keys to success: Temperature matters. Yeast is activated by liquid (warm milk, butter and sugar in this case) but too-hot liquids will keep it from rising at all. A thermometer is your BFF here — you're looking for about 110 degrees F, or warm, not hot, to the touch.
Mix the warm milk mixture with the flour and yeast, then blend. Add as much flour as possible with an electric mixer, then turn onto a cutting board or clean work surface to knead. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl for about 1 hour, or until it's doubled in size. Keep in a warm spot and cover with a clean towel to speed up the process.
Prep the Dough
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down to remove air bubbles. Then, divide into two equal rounds. Cover one with a towel and set aside.
No time to make your own dough? You can still do this. Pick up a roll of bake-your-own crescent rolls and follow along from here.
Roll It Out
Flour your work surface, then roll one half of the dough into a 10- by 18-inch rectangle. For the crescent roll option, unroll the dough, being careful not to tear, and roll out a to the same size.
Add the Filling
Ah, the sugary, cinnamon-y goodness. This mix is granulated sugar, lots of cinnamon and softened butter. Use a butter knife to spread the filling, leaving about an inch border around the edge.
Make This: Cinnamon Roll Filling
(Cinnamon) Roll Them Up
Next, the secret to your heart-shaped rolls. Starting from each edge, roll the dough into two spirals that meet in the center. Using a serrated knife, gently cut the rolls to keep the layers separate. Cut each roll about 2 inches thick.
To finish the heart shape, press the sides of each spiral to create a point on the end. Place the rolls into a greased pan. At this point, you have two choices: Let them rise one more time for about 30 more minutes, or cover them up and refrigerate overnight.
Ready to Bake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If you stored the rolls in the fridge overnight, take them out and bring to room temperature until they've puffed slightly, like in the photo below. For a golden brown finish, brush the tops with a little heavy cream just before baking.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they spring back when pressed. Ooh, they're done:
I sort of think they're too pretty to ice, but if your Valentine is all about a frosted cinnamon roll, now's time to add it.
Make This: Vanilla Glaze
Slice and Enjoy
Serve up the cinnamon rolls while they're hot and fresh out of the oven. If that's not love, I don't know what is.
If you love this adorable recipe, find three more cute breakfasts for Valentine's Day here: