Scones but rolled up after a cinnamon roll fashion. Flavoured with lots of orange zest and cinnamon, with optional icing drizzled over, they are an old fashioned but gorgeous treat.
What’s for breakfast?
I don’t eat breakfast during the week these days. I’m trying to cut down my overall calorie intake and I find it is the easiest done in the morning.
I usually feel energised enough (unless I’d had a particularly bad night’s sleep) to do my daily yoga practice first thing, and then get on with work. I have coffee and lots of it but I’m not especially hungry. I’d eat, sure thing, but it’s effortless enough to delay the gratification of breaking the fast until midday.
But at the weekend, boy oh boy! I don’t half let it rip.
It’s eggs: a generous omelette or a breakfast frittata. Sometimes it’s indulgent porridge or at the very least overnight oats with fruit and extra honey.
But the most decadent and also the most favourite is to have cake for breakfast.
It’s not just me! Italians, Romans especially have their ciambella for breakfast: a kind of baked doughnut cake.
Of course it shouldn’t be anything creamy or overly chocolatey and preferably eaten with your fingers rather than a spoon or a fork.
In fact the best breakfast cake is not a cake but a scone: I’m partial to cream breakfasts. Don’t judge.
This is officially called ‘orange roll’ in the NY Times Cooking section, where the recipe comes from, but they won’t fool me: it’s a scone all right. They don’t know much about scones and cream teas on the other side of the water, which is the only reason they don’t call it by its proper name.
It starts like shortcrust pastry: dry ingredients stirred together, into which fat is cut in. In this case it is, ingeniously, some butter and some cream cheese. Excellent: my next English scones will be made with cream cheese.
Once that mix resembles coarse breadcrumbs (it never really does but all the recipes say it. It always resembles just flour, only a little bit clumped), milk is added, old fashioned scone recipe style.
It is perfectly fine to mix the dough by hand and give it some light kneading with your fingers until it just comes together.
Chilling and rolling
The resulting dough is very sticky and tacky so impossible to roll out immediately – it needs to chill. Don’t we all?
You can leave it in the fridge for an hour and up to overnight, or, if you want to get them done quickly, place the dough in the freezer for fifteen minutes, wrapped in cling film.
Then, on a flour-dusted surface, roll it out to a wide rectangle, about 30 by 12 centimetres.
From now on, it’s cinnamon rolls territory: softened butter spread over the dough followed by the reserved orange sugar, mixed with spices, lavishly.
Roll it all up into a log and cut into eight pieces, using a serrated bread knife.
What containers for baking?
You can bake them all in a cake or brownie tin if you have a crowd to feed.
But the beauty of these is that they are happy to sit in the fridge overnight or even for a couple of nights and be baked straight from the fridge.
They won’t stand quite as straight as baked on the same day but who cares if it’s the matter of a breakfast of a scone warm from the oven?
So I like to place them in smaller, buttered gratin dishes or even individual ramekins. Off into the fridge and the following morning it’s just a half an hour’s wait for a feast.
Who doesn’t like icing? A weird question, I know, but actually, I don’t – not for breakfast.
Cake for breakfast is all right but a layer of sugar on it is a bit du trop, like a drink before lunchtime. So I usually skip it but if your batch is meant for afternoon tea, by all means go for it.
Just drizzle some orange juice into icing sugar and beat till smooth. Dribble the icing (or slosh it generously) over the rolls about five minutes out of the oven.
More sweet breakfast treat recipes
Buttery and barely sweet brioche, home baked breakfast fit for a king. Paper-thin glossy crust and the softest, meltiest crumb hiding inside, waiting only for a lick of good jam.
Chocolate braided bread, made from two-coloured dough. This braided chocolate brioche is very much like chocolate babka, braided and cut to reveal the coloured swirl. Chocolate brioche braid can be baked into a wreath as well.
Honey and apricot brack, inspired by traditional Irish bread with raisins and currants aka barmbrack, this one is full of dried apricots, sultanas and walnut chunks.
More scone recipes
Fruit scones, light and fluffy, with a good raisin count are perfect for a cream tea. The secret: don't twist the cutter and don't overbake the scones.
Giant cinnamon roll scone cut into wedges is a cross between scone and cinnamon roll. Shall we call it cinnamon scrolls?
Banana scones made from just one overripe banana make excellent breakfast. Especially delightful toasted and buttered.