I always have ideas for new bread recipes running through my mind. In fact, I keep a running list of ideas jotted down on paper. Boy, does it make me happy when I get an opportunity to experiment with one of my ideas.
Our daughter Robin and her husband Ray took over having the family holiday dinners when they had their boys. She always does such a great job. I'm more than willing to pitch in and help make things to add to the meal whenever I can.
She decided to do a brunch for Easter this year and asked if I would make cookies and some kind of sweet rolls to have with all the regular breakfast items. SURE! She left it up to me to decide what kind of rolls I would make. She and her family love the Cinnamon Twists I've made for years, but this time, I wanted to make something different.
Since I'm trying to use up baking supplies I have on hand, I went digging around in the cupboards to see what would go together to make a knock-it-out-of-the-park sweet roll. When I came upon cheesecake instant pudding, graham cracker crumbs and dried blueberries, I knew I had my answer....cheesecake in a sweet roll.
I've made a few bread recipes-both quick breads and yeast breads-using instant pudding in them before and love the outcome. The bread stays so nice and soft.
I decided to add instant pudding to my yeast dough, substitute cream cheese for butter and add some cream cheese emulsion that Linda had sent me to bump up the cream cheese flavor in the bread.
I knew regular blueberries would only work if I used them in the filling of the rolls, which I didn't want to do, so I chose to use dried blueberries instead-they would work the same as raisins do in the cinnamon raisin bread.. The packages of dried blueberries weren't big enough to give me the 2 cups that I wanted, but I did have a bag of blueberry flavored Craisins that tasted exactly the same as the dried blueberries...perfect to give me the little bit more I needed. That's a good thing to know in case the grocery store stops carrying dried blueberries-that and the blueberry Craisins are less expensive than dried blueberries too.
In order to carry through on the cheesecake theme, I needed to incorporate graham crackers somewhere in those rolls. I decided to mix the same ingredients I would for a graham cracker crust, but use it as a filling in the rolls rather than a cinnamon/sugar filling.
Everything went together as planned, from start to finish. The rolls came out of the oven looking just like I pictured them in my mind. All they needed was a light drizzle of glaze flavored with a cheesecake oil that my friend Cyndy had sent me to seal the deal.
The flavor of these rolls is everything I dreamed of and more. They're soft with a beautiful crumb, the flavor of cheesecake is there but not overpowering and the dried blueberries add the perfect touch of fruit flavor. The glaze adds just enough sweetness, along with a touch more cream cheese flavor.
Everyone that had them at brunch loved them. I think this is one of my best creations yet.
I can't wait to try something new.......yes indeed-the idea wheels are still turning!
Thanks again, Linda, for allowing me to be a guest on your wonderful blog,
BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE TWISTS
2 c. cold milk
1 (4 serving size) pkg. cheesecake instant pudding mix
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
2 (1/4 oz. each) pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water (100-110 degrees)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. butter extract
1 tsp. cream cheese emulsion
Grated rind of 1 lemon
6 1/2-7 1/2 c. bread flour
2 c. dried blueberries (blueberry flavored dried cranberries may be substituted)
2 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
12 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 c. confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. clear vanilla OR pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cheesecake oil
2-4 Tbsp. milk
For the dough, combine the cold milk and pudding mix in a medium bowl. Whisk for 2-5 minutes or until the pudding is smooth and slightly thickened. Set the mixture aside-the pudding will thicken more as it sits.
Measure the 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar into a small bowl. Remove 1 teaspoon of it and add it, along with the yeast, to the warm water. Stir, then set the mixture aside to allow the yeast to dissolve and the mixture to get foamy, about 3-5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, the remaining granulated sugar and salt until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, butter extract, cream cheese emulsion, lemon zest, yeast and 2 cups of the flour. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Add the pudding and 1 cup of flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in just enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead, using some of the remaining flour, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Knead in the dried blueberries until they are evenly dispersed in the dough.
Place the dough in a large greased bowl. Turn to grease the top. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
While the dough is rising, make the filling. I usually make the filling in 2 batches, dividing the ingredient amounts in half so that I know that each rectangle of dough will have the same amount-it's not necessary to do it that way, but it works best for me. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter until well mixed. Set the filling aside.
Spray 3-4 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Punch the dough down and divide it half. I weigh the dough on my digital scale to make sure each half is the same size.
On a lightly floured surface, roll one half of the dough into an 18x14-inch rectangle. Spritz the dough with water. Spread half of the filling evenly over the dough, then press the mixture into the dough lightly to help adhere it to the surface. Fold the dough in half to make an 18x7-inch rectangle. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into (12) 1 1/2" wide strips. Twist each strip 2-3 times and place them on the prepared pans.
Scoop up any of the filling mixture that remains on the work surface and sprinkle it over the tops of the each twist.
Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Cover each pan of twists and let them rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
When the twists have almost doubled in size, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Uncover the rolls and bake @ 350 degrees for 11-15 minutes or until they are light golden brown and cooked through.
Remove from the pans and place on wire racks to cool completely. Again, if any of the crumb mixture remains on the baking pans, scrape it up and sprinkle it over the tops of each twist.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and cheese cake oil in a small bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons of milk, then stir in additional milk until the mixture is smooth and reaches the desired drizzling consistency.
Drizzle the glaze over each roll. Allow the glaze to set before storing. Makes 24 rolls.