Do we really need another scone recipe? And is one more cinnamon roll recipe needed? The answer is yes and yes, especially that this recipe features the two in one.
Scone vs. cinnamon roll
You might think it isn’t a big deal at all as there is not so much difference between cinnamon rolls and scones. Arguably, whether you swirl your pastry or cut it into rounds should not matter much. And yet, there are purists (especially the Devon-Cornwall cream tea warriors) who would say the twain should not meet.
Scones are not very sweet and rather doughy; you wouldn’t often serve a scone for dessert. They are closer related to bread than cake, at least in my view. The famous cream tea procedure is celebrated mid-morning, i.e., for brunch, or in the afternoon, in its time-honoured slot.
Cinnamon rolls on the other hand are either flaky and made from laminated pastry which makes them croissants’ cousins; or yeast-leavened, like honey buns or brioches. Which means they are ideal for a continental breakfast.
Should we call these cinnamon scrolls then? A cross between a scone and a roll, with cinnamon flavour? Remember that you read it here first!
The pastry and how to shape it
The pastry/dough (after years and years of baking I’m sometimes still uncertain which I’m working with) crosses the scone-roll boundary with copious quantity of butter added to the basic scone recipe. The butter is dispersed but only just, and the folding exercise provides the slight flakiness. It’s rich, crumbly and delicious.
And then the fun begins: out of a flat rectangle an enormous cinnamon wheel is created. How to go about it?
The pastry folded once and rolled out again into a wide, short rectangle is covered with the classic cinnamon roll filling: lots of brown sugar mixed with melted butter and – you guessed it – plenty of ground cinnamon. Option: beat the sugar and spice into softened, rather than melted butter; it might facilitate cutting.
Cut the pastry horizontally into four strips. Imagine those strips lined up into a looong snake and rolled up into an enormous scroll, filling side in. That’s precisely what you need to achieve.
The easiest way is to roll up the first strip and place it flat on a parchment-lined tray. Then you need to lift the next strip – it’s messy – and join it onto the wheel, filling side in.
Continue in the same way with the other two strips until you get to the big wheel. And now if you press it all over with your hands – a rolling pin is too brutal – the filling will beautifully blur and meld the layers.
Chill, bake and glaze
Chilling is necessary, it’s partly a laminated dough after all. Just before baking, the big wheel is cut into eight wedges. Pull them a tiny bit apart so they have space to rise though they won’t lift an awful lot. Out of the oven, cool without moving them from the tray or you risk a spectacular falling-apart mess.
Glaze is optional; personally I like them for breakfast so not too sweet but it’s your choice. Simple vanilla flavoured icing will do well if you do like your glaze.
They keep longer than scones without going dry – it’s all that butter. They will last a few days in a cake box or a covered cake stand, to display them prettily.
The original recipe is Erin Gardner’s, via New York Times Cooking.