Let me tell you what I have done (or, what has happened to me) so far in 2014.
I have been sick. Roll-up-in-ball, never-leave-your-room-again, sick. I’ll spare you the gory details and just say it was the worst.
I started drinking something new at Starbucks (courtesy of the bestie). Iced Green Tea Latte with Soy milk. In one word I would describe it as amazingggg. It tastes like green tea ice cream or those green tea flavored mochis. You should really try it.
I have also been brutally attacked by allergies. Itchy eyes. Headache. Really, just the works. Lucky me, huh?
I started working. Well, volunteering. But still, it’s kind of like work. I’m volunteering at a psychiatric hospital, which I’m ridiculously excited about. I’m even starting to feel more excited than nervous about my future. Maybe this grown-up thing isn’t as scary as I thought.
Oh, I also self-appointed myself best auntie around town. You see, I recently became an aunt to two of the most beautiful little things ever. Meet Archer (the lighter one) and Meeka.
I don’t mean to brag or anything, but my niece and nephew are pretty stinkin adorable. Don’t ya think?
Let’s switch this up. What haven’t I done?
Simple. I haven’t started dieting or made losing weight a New Year’s resolution. Everyone I know wants to shed a few pounds and eat healthier. And, that’s great. Except, it’s really not. You see, when everyone diets, they don’t eat baked goods. And, when they don’t eat baked goods, I have no one to bake for. And, when I have no one to bake for I either eat it myself (not good) or don’t bake (also, not good). Do you see my problem?
I’m all in for shedding a few pounds and eating healthy—I’m a huge fan of using cauliflower as a carb substitute these days—but, I believe in the concept of moderation. In my opinion, a little bit of dessert every once in a while isn’t going to kill you. You with me? My sister, Alana, (technically, my cousin, but who really pays attention to those technicalities) is one of those people who’s trying to eat healthier this year. And, I fully, one-hundred percent, support her. But, when she mentioned she was craving cinnamon rolls, I couldn’t help but get into the kitchen and start baking.
I’m calling these ‘healthy’ cinnamon rolls. Before you laugh and ask if that’s a joke, hear me out. Compared to normal cinnamon rolls these are smaller, less doughy, and not as sweet. Healthy, right? Okay, maybe not entirely, but definitely healthier than normal cinnamon rolls. One could even say these are cinnamon rolls in moderation. At least that’s what Alana and I are saying. Wanna join us?
Let’s talk flavor profile. These Cinnamon Roll Twists are crunchy on the outside from the cinnamon-sugar filling that caramelizes onto the dough while baking, and soft, flaky, and bursting with cinnamon flavor on the inside. The twists are then drizzled with Cream Cheese Icing and sprinkled lightly with cinnamon and sugar. Have I mentioned how easy and quick they are to make? Because they totally are. Almost embarrassingly easy. But, hey, sometimes easy is good, really good.
Cinnamon Roll Twists with Cream Cheese Icing
Yields: about 30 twists
Cinnamon Roll Twists
1 package puff pastry (2 sheets)
¾ cup golden brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ cup unsalted butter
all-purpose flour for dusting
Cream Cheese Icing
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
3-5 tablespoons milk (use as needed)
Cinnamon Roll Twists
Thaw puff pastry according to directions on the package.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two cookies sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine sugars and cinnamon. Mix until combined, and then set aside.
Dust your work surface generously with flour and lightly dust your rolling-pin.
Roll out puff pastry about 2 inches larger on each side—the dough will be thin—and cut crosswise into two rectangles.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and brush generously over one of the puff pastry rectangles—once you feel that piece is buttered up, lightly brush the remainder of the melted butter on the other rectangle.
Sprinkle about half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on the buttered up puff pastry piece.
Cover the cinnamon-sugar coated piece with the remaining lightly buttered piece of puff pastry and gently roll them together with a rolling-pin.
Cut into long strips (I used a pizza cutter and it worked wonderfully!) and twist. Place on lined pan and bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown—the thinner your strips are the less time they will need to cook.
Let cinnamon roll twists cool slightly before removing from pan, and then place them on a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Repeat process with the second sheet of puff pastry—make sure to keep just a little bit of the cinnamon-sugar mixture to sprinkle on the twists once they are iced.
Cream Cheese Icing
In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter, and sugar until smooth and combined.
Depending on your desired icing consistency, add a tablespoon of milk at a time—if you don’t want to add more milk and the icing still isn’t of drizzling consistency, warm up the icing in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.
Once the cinnamon roll twists are iced, sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar.