They were really, really good.
The sad part was I did not make enough icing. My New Years resolution is to make more icing next year.
The icing was the most important part. Tangy and sweet and pomegranatey. The soft, slightly sweet, vanilla flavored bread is the foundation to the deliciousness of the tangy pomegranate icing. It is a lovely contrast, one that I love much. I kind of have a thing for tangy sweetness.
Want to know more?
We should start with the dough recipe. This is a milk bread recipe that I have used for years to make cinnamon rolls, cinnamon bread and other sweet breads. It a yeast bread that has whole milk, butter and an egg in it. When I am making cinnamon roll dough I may add vanilla or cinnamon (or another sweet spice) that will complement the filling and icing I am in the mood for. This time I chose only vanilla to add and used cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins for the filling. I love this dough because it is soft and light and is a perfect foundation for other flavors like the pomegranate icing I am made for these.
Pomegranate Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12 buns
Dough recipe: (or use your favorite milk dough recipe, I adapted this one from Joy of Cooking)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
3 tablespoons warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 cup of warm whole milk (105 to 115 degrees)
5 to 6 tablespoon of melted butter
3 tablespoon of white sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups of all purpose or bread flour
Cinnamon sugar and raisin filling:
4 tablespoon of butter, melted
1/2 to 3/4 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 cup of golden raisins (optional)
About 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
Pomegranate Icing: (this recipe is twice the amount I made!)
4 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses (see note below)
1/2 of pomegranate seeds and juice
2 to 3 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups of powdered sugar
Place the dry yeast and the warm water in a warmed bowl. Stir and let it stand until the yeast is dissolved and frothy on the top, about 5 to 10 minutes. Frothy means the yeast is alive and is active. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast and the dough will not rise.
In a mixing bowl, place the milk, melted butter, sugar, egg and salt and mix together. Add the activated yeast and stir together. Stir in 2 cups of flour. Add the remaining 1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour until it is smooth and only slightly sticky and moist. Put the dough hook on the mixer and knead for 10 minutes. My dough does not really form a ball, instead it falls to the bottom of the bowl. This always works out for me. Don't keep adding flour or the dough will not have a soft, delicate texture. Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand but be careful of adding too much flour to keep it from sticking to your hands for this will change the light texture of the dough.
Place the dough in a bowl that has been oiled or buttered. I used butter. Turn the dough to coat and put plastic or a slightly damp towel over the bowl and place in a warm spot (75 to 85 degrees). I put mine in an oven with the oven light on. Allow to rise for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Spray or butter a round or square pan, 10" X 10". Punch the dough down on a floured board, let it rest for 5 minutes and then roll it into a rectangle, roughly 15 inches by 10 inches.
Spread the butter on the dough leaving and inch boarder around the edges. Sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon and then the raisins. (If you like more gooey buns then increase or double the butter and sugar).
Roll the dough snugly into a log about 15 inches long. Cut into 10 to 12 pieces and place and inch or so apart in the greased pan. Place plastic over it and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size for an hour or so. The rolls probably will fit tightly together after rising.
Note: You can make the dough the night before and place them in the refrigerator covered in plastic. In the morning, take them out of the frig and allow them to rise then. It will take one to two hours. Some rising will take place over night.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the rolls with melted butter or milk/cream and place in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. They should be golden brown.
While the rolls are baking make the icing. First remove the seeds and juice from the pomegranate half by squeezing it onto a plate. Remove the seeds that don't come out with a spoon. Remove any of the pomegranate shell that may have come out. Place the seeds in a separate bowl and reserve the juice (up to a tablespoon) on the plate.
Mix all the ingredients including the reserved juice for the icing until smooth. If it is too thin add a bit more powdered sugar and if it is too thick then add some pomegranate molasses, pomegranate juice or a touch of cream a little at a time until it is the consistency you like.
While the cinnamon buns are still warm, pour the pomegranate icing over them to coat the tops and run into the cinnamon bun crevices. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the top. Yum. Seriously folks!