03 December 2011

Cream Cheese Infused Cinnamon Roll Dough, filled with Gula Merah (Dark Palm Sugar), Choc Chips and Apple Bits.

There are usually lots of things on my mind. Aside from being a female and as occupied as that already is, I tend to think even more. I think ahead and as far as that goes, i forget whats right in front. Hence, when someone told me that metabolism rate increases with the work of your brains (aka thoughts), I would have to politely scoff.

With that amount of brain-work, comfort food, dessert bingeing and random tubs of ice cream nights are mostly necessary rather than an inability to control (maybe not but its a good excuse). The only problem is when these cravings necessities affect the people around you.

Because, sweeties from all around the globe, when you're on your baking experiments, (and seeing as how delicious your works of art are) people eat. When people eat, they gain weight. When they gain weight, they blame people. Who else to blame but the person who thinks "hmm, chocolate with chocolate would taste great" (they are a match made in heaven by the way). 

You might then question yourself, "but we eat the same goodies as well or even more". Good news for all of us, we may have gotten used to it! Yay! So, let's get down to business. 

Recently, as much a craze I have for chocolate, I have been addicted to using Dark Palm Sugar or Gula Merah (translation for Red Sugar in Bahasa Indonesia). This sugar easily melts at body temperature. When baked, it turns into a nice browned crisp with a gooey inside and of course, the smell is just intoxicating. Surprisingly, unlike how it seems, it is  not as sweet as our usual white sugar. 

I added plenty amounts of dark chocolate chips just to give it that bitter cocoa bite. I have apple bits in there as well, after all, they're cinnamon's best friend. However, i keep the fillings to personal choice. Instead, I'm here to introduce this amazing Cream Cheese infused Cinnamon Roll Dough by Joy the Baker
For clearer instructions, please visit her link, they're much better looking as well.
Cream Cheese infused Cinnamon Roll Dough by Joy the Baker
For the Dough:

1 – 1/4oz package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon, plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for kneading
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

1. In a bowl combine yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 cup water heated to 115 degrees F.  Stir and let sit until frothy and foamy, about 10 minutes.
2. To it, add remaining sugar, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk.  Beat until well combined.
3. Add the flour and salt and mix until the dough just begins to come together. Knead the dough for 4 minutes.
4. Add the butter and continue to knead for about 6 minutes. The dough will be wet and sticky. 
5. Knead about additional 1/3 cup all-purpose flour into the dough. Don’t worry, the dough still might be a little sticky.
6. Set the dough to rest in a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
7. While the dough rises, make the filling. 

For the Filling: (adapted)
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark palm sugar
2/4 cup dark choc chips
1/4 cup apple sliced into small cubes
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Combine everything except the chocolate chips and cream cheese, and heat it up on a skillet. Caramelise the apples until its gooey and set it aside.
2. When the dough has doubled in size, dump it from the bowl onto a heavily floured work surface. Gently knead the dough until it is no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed. About 3 Tablespoons of flour.
3. Work the dough for about 1 or 2 minutes.  Once it’s no longer sticky, place a kitchen towel over the dough and let rest for 5 minutes before you roll it out.
4. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10 x 10-inch square.
5. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese until it’s smooth and spreadable. Spread the cream cheese evenly over the dough square.  
6. Fold the square into thirds like you would fold a letter to fit into an envelope.  Take the open ends of the rectangle and fold into thirds again, to make a smaller dough square.
7. Invert the dough so that the seam is face down and, using the rolling pin, gently roll it into a 10 x 20-inch rectangle.  You may find that some cream cheese sneaks through. Be as gentle as possible with the dough, but continue to work it until you reach the size you need.
8. Turn the dough so that the short sides are parallel to you. You’re going to roll from the short sides of the dough.

9. Spread the top of the dough with butter.

10. Pour all of the filling onto the dough. Spread evenly, leaving a 1-inch boarder at one of the short edges of the dough so the roll can be properly sealed.  Lightly press the filling into the dough. Drop the choc chips as evenly as possible.
11. Using your hands, lift up the bottom edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight cylinder.  Place dough cylinder seam side down on a cutting board.  Using a sharp, thin knife, trim off the uneven edges.
12. Cut cylinder into desired thickness. Evenly space the slices in a buttered metal baking dish. Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to let rise for 2 hours.  You may also refrigerate rolls overnight.
13. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover the rolls. If you refrigerated the rolls, let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking.  Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Let's get to how it tastes. At first, I was surprised by the crisp hard edges of the dough. However, as i took a bite, the above picture tells it all. The dough was moist and in between each layer that the dough was divided, you can taste that slight tangy feeling of cream cheese. The pairing of  dark scented palm sugar with bitter sweet chocolate chunks is a no brainer. Lastly, cinnamon and soft apple bits that are already combined ahead of time makes perfect sense. The play of flavours in each bite comes together into a soft moist and comforting texture, with a brave and surprising kick of a taste, altogether, enveloped by cream cheese dough.

Play hard,


  1. The flags are cute and a very good idea! :) It looks like you could use some light too!

  2. That cream cheese dough looks like a little bit of heaven. Wow!

  3. These look so pretty and I'm sure they are delicious as well! I will have to use this recipe for some early morning baking!

  4. mmmmm. I want one. Nice pictures too. :]

  5. @ Kelvin: Actually they were pretty bright... but I wanted a darker ambience to the pictures... Sloppy editing got me to this T_T

    @ freeeatsfood: Thank you! they're a change to the usual butter in a dough..

    @ sweet road: They do take time here and there... but it's worth it :)

    @ Yammie: The pictures are not as good as it could be, i'm still learning.. (slowly and lazily :p)

  6. Hi Jesica...first time here and am loving your blog already, so many delicious recipes..I have bookmarked your chedder cheese cookies to try and may bake them for CNY if they are well received! :)

  7. Hi Jesica! Thank you for stopping by my blog. I ought to tr my hand at some cinnamon roll!

  8. These look darkly delicious, sticky and absolutely divine. I love cinnamon rolls but don't make them enough...this post has convinced me to get in the kitchen and get baking now! :-)

  9. haha...I must agree- chocolate and chocolate is an amazing combination! :) I love the taste of palm sugar (I think the one I'm using at home right now is dark palm sugar?) but we use it for cooking rather than baking- I must have try it in something baked one day because it sounds so good! Your rolls look amazing too! ;)

  10. @ Jeannie: Thank you for visiting back! The cheese cookies are easily "grabable" (aka, people take seconds and thirds easily) they're thin and crisp and not too sinful ;)

    @ Sook: Thank you!

    @ Mrs Ergul: They're tempting indeed.

    @ thelittleloaf: Can't wait to see your version! I bet they'd be beautiful!!

    @ Von: in Indonesia, they're mostly used for desserts. Their fragrance just changes everything. It's like a special version of vanilla sugar :)

  11. Oh my - where are you able to find dark palm sugar? I never saw it before (to be fair, France isn't the most sugar-diverse place!). These look amazing - I just love the idea of infusing the dough with cream cheese and the final product itself... wow. Crispy and sugary, yet soft inside... oh how good :)

    By the way, I tried to subscribe to your RSS feed but it didn't seem to work for some reason :/ Would you happen to know the precise link to your feed?

  12. Those cinnamon rolls look so yummy! Your photos are great, too!

  13. @ Charles: Dark Palm Sugar, hmm... On the contrary you have thousands types of butter there, no? ;) The precise link seems to be: http://feeds.feedburner.com/pencilkitchen (but I'm dumb with technology, I apologise if there's any hassle)

    @ nancy: Thank you!

  14. I was just thinking of making some sort of Cinnamon Roll. This is definitely a sign that I should!

  15. @ Yadsia: We all "should" make cinnamon rolls! :p (just my addiction to these stuff)

  16. @Jesica - yes... that link worked! Subscribed :) Thanks a lot! It's weird because I have a little bookmark from Google Reader which I click when I'm viewing a blog and it detects the feed automatically but it couldn't find yours!

  17. @ Charles: Yeah... i couldn't find it either :( i tried to fix it and only the alternate feed works. Thanks for subscribing :)

  18. Whoa. Yum. These look like flaky perfection! And those tags are so cute.

  19. @ Megan: Thank you :)

  20. I totally want to take a bite out of my screen. These look so good

  21. @ Heather: Steve jobs should have invented those!!

  22. One of the best cinnamon rolls I have ever seen...

  23. @ Cristina: I wouldn't give myself that credit, but thank you!


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