Cinnamon whirls are a delicious sweet bread snack. This recipe makes a lot, but you can always half or quarter all the ingredients if you don’t want to make so many. I like to make a lot, they make an excellent breakfast on cold mornings re-heated in the oven at 170 °C (or 150 °C for a fan oven).
For the dough
500 ml milk
150 g butter or hard marg
800 g strong flour (bread flour)
1/2 tsp salt
7 g fast-action dried yeast (one sachet is normally 7g)
50 g demerara sugar
50 g caster sugar (or instead of demerara and normal sugar you can use 100g golden caster sugar if you have it available)
1 egg (to glaze)
(Optional) Icing sugar to add icing
For the cinnamon filling
150 g butter or margarine / vegetable fat spread
4 tbsp ground cinnamon
40 g demerara sugar
40 g caster sugar (or again you can use golden caster sugar instead of the demerara and normal sugar)
Cinnamon whirls recipe
To make the cinnamon whirls, start off by putting all the dry ingredients for the dough, i.e. the bread flour, salt, fast action dried yeast, and sugar into a large bowl.
Now warm the milk and melt the butter / margarine. You can do this in one go by putting them both in a jug and microwaving, or heating them together in a saucepan. Pour the milk and marg into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until it becomes a dough.
Flour a work surface, and tip the dough out onto the surface. The dough will probably be quite sticky at this point. Dust a sprinkling of flour onto the top of the dough as well, and then start to knead it. You may find you need to keep putting more flour down onto the surface to prevent the dough sticking to your hands as you knead it.
After ten minutes grease a piece of plastic wrap / cling film, and wrap up the dough. Leave the dough to one side while you make the filling.
To make the cinnamon filling you just put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together until blended well. If you’re using butter you might need to soften it first a little by warming it.
Take a large sheet of greaseproof paper / baking paper and lay it out on a work surface. Roll out the dough on the paper to around 7 mm thick, or 35 cm wide by 65 cm long.
Spread the cinnamon filling evenly over the dough.
At the longest edge fold the edge of the dough over against itself to start the whirl. Now take the long edge of the greaseproof paper and slowly pull it up, the dough will roll itself up into the whirl shape, like a swiss roll.
Put the rolled up dough into the fridge for at least half an hour (you may need to bend the dough roll to fit it in). This isn’t essential, but it makes cutting the dough a bit easier when it has been chilled.
While you are waiting you can prepare some cases for the cinnamon whirls. I prefer to use flattened muffin cases, though greaseproof paper / baking paper works okay as well.
When the dough is cooled take it out of the fridge and start cutting it up. Each slice should be around one to one and half centimetres wide.
Unless you managed to make your dough a perfect rectangle, you’ll probably find that at the ends the dough isn’t very well wound. So the first couple of whirls you cut, you may need to manually make the dough into a whirl shape. They will probably be really small as well.
As you make cut more slices though you should find that they get to look more like a proper cinnamon whirl. You’ll probably have the same problem with tiny whirls or the dough not being whirled properly when you get to the very end of the dough sausage as well.
Place each whirl that you cut onto one of the cases. It is best to do this as you cut them rather than cutting them all first and then putting them onto the cases.
Beat the egg and then use a brush to glaze each whirl with the egg. Put the cinnamon whirls onto trays, for a standard size tray 6 whirls per tray works well. Cover the tray with cling film / plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise for 20 minutes.
A ‘warm place’ is ideally 37 °C – the temperature yeast grows best at. I put my oven on the lowest temperature it will go (which is more like 40 – 50 °C) and that works fine. If you have two ovens, rise the whirls in the smaller oven and pre-heat the main oven to 220 °C (or 200 °C for a fan assisted oven).
Cook the cinnamon whirls for 8 minutes, and then put on a wire rack to cool. Repeat the rising and cooking process with the rest of the whirls. If you only have one oven that you are using for both rising and cooking, remember that you’ll need to leave it to cool after cooking one batch before you can use it for rising the next batch. If yeast gets too hot it will die.
When the whirls have cooled down a bit you can make up some icing and dribble it on top. This is an optional extra, but something I recommend.
If you used the full amount of ingredients you’ll end up with a lot of whirls. I suggest storing some in an airtight container and freezing others. Whenever you want one (or two) re-heat them in the oven for 5 minutes and they taste like they’ve just been cooked. Delicious!