For the past two months, I’ve been wanting to make baklava. But because I want to do justice to the Middle Eastern dessert and give credit where it is due, somehow, I’ve never gotten around to it. Then the kids started making noises about cinnamon rolls during the weekend. So, I thought, why not marry the two and make baklava cinnamon rolls.
In another lifetime, when the US was home, I visited (embarrassingly often) a fabulous Middle Eastern bakery - Shatila. They had the yummiest Baklava I’ve had the pleasure of relishing. So many years have passed, but I can still taste them!
The inspiration for these sticky rolls that borrow the essence of baklava comes from those memories. One of these days, I will make authentic baklava. Till then, I’ll have to make do with treats reminiscent of its flavors.
How to make baklava cinnamon rolls?
Pillowy soft dough intertwined with nuts kissed with floral notes of honey and rose water, the dough for these sticky cinnamon rolls is one I’ve used for ages.
The original recipe for the dough is by The Pioneer Woman and it is a keeper. Trust me. Save it, bookmark it, print it, and use it again and again.
- Begin by warming up milk, oil, and sugar just enough that the sugar dissolves. You don’t want the mixture to come to a boil.
- Let it cool a bit. When it’s lukewarm, add yeast.
- Once the yeast is bubbling, whisk in your flour till everything is well combined.
- Cover the dough and place it in a corner of your kitchen that is draft-free.
- When the dough has doubled in volume, sprinkle some more flour along with salt, baking soda, and baking powder and mix.
You can now start making the rolls, but I prefer to chill the dough for half an hour. A cooled dough is much more joyful to work with!
Baking the baklava cinnamon rolls
- While the oven preheats, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface.
- Make a large-ish and thin rectangle, and brush it with olive oil.
- Sprinkle brown sugar followed by a thick layer of chopped pistachios, walnuts, and almonds.
- Top with a liberal amount of cinnamon and a hint of nutmeg for that extra spice and aroma.
- Now slowly roll the dough, starting with the long side that is away from you. Make sure the line is straight, and the roll is tight.
- Pinch the seam to close and then cut the rolls. I like to keep them about an inch and a half thick.
- Place them on a well-greased tray with some breathing room in between them and allow them to rise once again.
- After 15 to 20 minutes, slide them in the oven and bake till golden brown.
Use a sharp knife to chop the nuts finely. If you rely on a food processor, keep checking so you don’t churn them into nut butter.
Garnishing the baklava cinnamon roll
I was gunning for that rich, complex yet delicate taste of baklava. So, the sticky rolls got doused in a honey glaze.
- Mix honey with a tiny amount of warm water to get the right consistency.
- Add a teaspoon or two of rose water.
- Pour the glaze as soon as the rolls come out of the oven.
- Garnish with more nuts and dried fruits and serve!
It may seem like the cinnamon rolls are drowning in the glaze, but don’t worry. The rolls will soak it up. Plus, the notes of both honey and rose water are too subtle. They do not make them overly sweet.
Substitutes for ingredients
- Olive oil: butter will work perfectly fine here. It is, after all, the typical choice for cinnamon rolls.
- Milk: regular milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or any milk you prefer is a good choice.
- Flavors: orange zest or lemon zest will bring more dimension to the flavor profile – something I highly recommend.
- Glaze: make the baklava rolls more fragrant by increasing the amount of cinnamon powder.
- Nuts: You can stick to just one type of nut or try a combination, as I did. Pander to your palate. Pecans, hazelnut, pine nuts - any nut of your choice will do.
The only rule here is to chop the nuts finely. You want a mouthful of soft fluffy cinnamon-embraced bread with ribbons of delicious nuts running through. Eating baklava cinnamon rolls should not be an exercise for the jaws. It should be a melt-in-your-mouth experience that makes you go, ‘oh my god!’
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Baklava Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup Almond milk You can use any milk you prefer
- 1/4 cup Olive oil You can use any oil you prefer or buttter
- 1/4 cup Raw sugar You can use regular white sugar
- 1.5 tsp Dried active yeast
- 2 cup All-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp Baking powder
- 1/4 tsp Baking soda
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 cup All-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup Olive oil You can use melted butter
- 1/3 cup Brown sugar
- 3-4 tsp Cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg powder
- 1 cup Nuts, almonds, pisatchios, walnuts, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup Honey
- 1-2 tbsp Warm water
- 1-2 tsp Rose water
- Dried rose petals, Chopped nuts
- Heat milk, oil, and sugar in a small saucepan. Don't let it come to a boil. Take off the heat and cool.
- When this mixture is just warm, sprinkle over the yeast. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until the mixture is bubbly.
- Whisk in the 2 cups of flour. Cover and place in a draft-free place for 1 hour or until the dough is doubled in size.
- When the dough has doubled in size, add in the extra 1/4 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Mix well. The dough is now ready for use immediately. You can refrigerate it for 30 minutes or up to 2 days. I chilled the dough for 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 200 C. Keep a greased baking dish handy.
- For the ease of managing the dough, I divided it into 2 halves and worked with one half at a time. You can work with the full dough if you wish.
- Sprinkle flour on your work surface and roll out the dough into a large rough rectangle. I like to keep the thickness around 1/8".
- Brush liberally with olive oil. Sprinkle over the brown sugar evenly. Top this with the chopped nuts, cinnamon powder, and nutmeg powder.
- Starting with a long side of the rectangle, start rolling the dough tightly. Pinch the seam together and make sure the seam is facing down.
- Cut into 2" slices, place cut side down on your baking pan. Make sure there is some room between the rolls as they will expand.
- Let the rolls rise for another 15-20 minutes. Bake for 20 minutes until they are golden brown on top.
- Pour the glaze over the warm rolls. Let the rolls soak the glaze ( 5-10 minutes). Sprinkle with some dried rose petals and nuts. Serve warm. Enjoy!
- In a small bowl, combine the honey with warm water to make a slightly loose syrup. Mix in the rose water. This is your simple honey glaze for the rolls.