“From the Ashes of Disaster…
Bloom the roses of success.” (If you haven’t seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, you should. It’s a classic!) So my husband was scrolling Instagram and ran across a friend’s post of her cinnamon roll hearts. They looked amazing and he decided that we should try and replicate these using our Johnson Bread recipe for Valentine’s Day. I was all in and didn’t stop to think that we could possibly have any issues recreating these from a mere picture…overconfidence, that’s just how we roll. (Get it?…cinnamon roll…Ok, I’m done.) Well, our attempt at cinnamon roll hearts was a complete bust (hearts went into the oven, we’re not sure what shape came out), but from the ashes of our cinnamon roll heart failure bloomed success, aka cinnamon roses!
Roses Are Red
Now the cinnamon roll hearts that we saw were typical cinnamon roll color…brown. We all know hearts can’t be brown, so we decided to up our cinnamon roll game and make them red! Now I’m not a complete health nut (obviously we are making cinnamon rolls), but I have fairly high standards and at this point in my life I’m really turned off by artificial coloring. No red dye 40 for these rolls! What to do?? Juice some beets of course! After some discussion, my husband and I, hoping for the best, decided to experiment with adding beet juice to our bread recipe. We juiced 3 beets with our handy dandy juicer and ended up with exactly 1 cup of beautifully dark, red beet juice. We used this to replace 1 cup of water from our bread recipe.
Isn’t it lovely? We didn’t know what to expect…
…but as you can see we got a gorgeous and very Valentine’s appropriate colored dough. (Note: For this recipe we didn’t use any whole wheat flour, just white.) Our dough was a little stickier than we were used to, but we went with it. We let the dough rise and then divided it into two batches, one for bread (because we didn’t need 45 cinnamon rolls) and one for cinnamon rolls. This is where things got interesting. We divided the dough for cinnamon rolls into two batches intending for one to have brown sugar and one to have coconut sugar. We went through the cinnamon roll rolling and cutting process (which we will show you below) on the first batch and attempted to make some of our spiraling beauties bend to our will and become the hearts they were meant to be. They were so cute…until they came out of the oven. Wah, wah, wah. They were a mess, but don’t worry. They still got eaten. Yum! The ones that we left alone, however, looked to me like roses. So we gave up on our hearts scheme and went with roses. And there you have it folks…the birth of cinnamon roses. It’s not a glamorous beginning, but they’re going to have a long life in the Johnson household.
Stop and Roll the Roses
After our failure with batch one, we started on batch two. No hearts this time. We rolled out the dough nice and thin. The thinner the dough the more layers you get, which means more area for cinnamon and sugar, which means a tastier rose.
We rolled out the dough into a rectangular shape and brushed it all over with butter, lots of butter. Butter is so good.
Then we heavily sprinkled on the brown sugar. We used coconut sugar on the first batch and I loved the flavor, so both work well.
After spreading the sugar out, next came the deluge of cinnamon. The more the better in my opinion. They’re called “cinnamon rolls” for a reason!
Then we let the good times roll!
My very smart husband created our cutting tool for the next step. All you need is some dental floss (mint free is preferable) and two utensils, sticks, or pencils. Easy peasy!
Once all our roses were cut out and put onto the well greased pan we popped them in the oven and watched. We didn’t know how long they’d take, so we took them out a few times to test them. Overall they need around 20 minutes to bake.
And here they are in their rosy glory! Now you can leave them plain, make a glaze, or frost them…whatever makes you happy. We went with cream cheese frosting because it’s delicious. Not only did they turn out beautiful, they were delicious! And they must be healthy, right? They have vegetable juice! We had a lot of servings of vegetables that night.