Recipe: Whole wheat cinnamon rolls

(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Whole wheat cinnamon rolls

Total time: About 1 hour, plus rising time

Servings: Makes 1 dozen rolls

1 cup buttermilk plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature

Zest of 1 orange

2 eggs, at room temperature

2 cups (9 ounces) whole wheat flour

2 cups (8.5 ounces) and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided, plus extra as needed

1/4 cup sugar

2 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons plus 3/8 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

Kosher salt

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) softened butter, cut into cubes, plus 6 tablespoons melted butter, divided

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon orange juice

4 tablespoons milk

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, orange zest and eggs. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, yeast, baking soda, three-eighths teaspoon cinnamon, 1 ¼ teaspoons salt and the softened butter. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and mix over low speed until the mixture comes together, about 1 minute. Place a towel over the top of the mixture and set it aside to rest for 15 minutes.

3. Increase the speed to medium and continue to mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes, adding a little flour if the dough is too wet (up to one-quarter cup).

4. Scrape the dough from the bowl and form it into a ball — it should be very soft, like brioche dough — and place the dough in a large, buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

5. While the dough is rising, make the filling. In a small bowl, sift together the brown sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons cinnamon, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon salt.

6. When the dough is risen, remove it to a well-floured work surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle one-fourth inch thick, and approximately 17 inches long and 12 inches wide. Brush the dough with one-fourth cup (4 tablespoons) melted butter, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over it, keeping 1 inch clear along one of the long edges. Loosely roll the dough into a long tube, pressing the clear edge along the length of the dough to seal the tube. Place the tube, seam-side down, on the work surface.

7. Cut the tube crosswise into 12 evenly sized rolls using a length of unflavored floss (slide the floss under the roll and then pull both ends tight, which doesn’t squash the dough as much as a knife would). Place the rolls, spiral side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced approximately one-half inch apart.

8. Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap and set aside until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour. Half an hour into the rise, heat the oven to 375 degrees.

9. Bake the rolls until puffed and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the tray and cool on the parchment paper.

10. Meanwhile, make the icing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice, milk, remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and a pinch of salt. The icing should have the consistency of very thick syrup, add additional milk or sugar as needed to adjust the consistency. Ice the rolls by dipping a whisk into the icing and drizzling over the rolls. The rolls can be iced either warm (the icing will melt and spread a bit) or cooled.

Each cinnamon roll: 442 calories; 8 grams protein; 76 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 67 mg. cholesterol; 43 grams sugar; 284 mg. sodium.

To make ahead:

After the rolls have been cut and placed on the baking tray, wrap them tightly with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, at take the rolls out of fridge, loosen the wrap and let them rise on the top of the stove for an hour, the last 20 minutes or more while the oven heats. Bake and frost as directed in the recipe.

Filling variations:

Blackberry jam rolls: Instead of filling the rolls with the cinnamon sugar, spread the rolled-out dough with 1 cup of blackberry jam and bake as directed.

Walnut-cardamom rolls: Instead of filling the rolls with the cinnamon sugar, combine 1 cup of finely chopped walnuts, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, and ½ teaspoon salt together in a small bowl. Spread the rolled-out dough with the nut mixture and bake as directed.

Ginger rolls: Instead of filling the rolls with cinnamon sugar, combine 3/4 cup of brown sugar, ½ cup of minced candied ginger, 1 tablespoon of freshly ground ginger, 1 teaspoon of dried ginger, 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour, and ½ teaspoon salt together in a small bowl. Spread the rolled out dough with the nut mixture and bake as directed.