Maple bacon cinnamon rolls

Time1 hour 40 minutes
YieldsServes 12
Maple bacon cinnamon rolls
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
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These are like traditional cinnamon rolls but a little bigger, with a sweet maple syrup mixture brushed onto the soft, yeasted dough before rolling and a generous amount of crumbled bacon beneath the drizzle of rich cream cheese glaze.

Once cut into the individual portions, you can refrigerate it until ready to bake. Make them the day before, if you’d like, then take them out first thing in the morning, when you’re nursing your first cup of coffee, to warm them up slightly before baking. Out of the oven, drizzle them with a rich cream cheese glaze and you’re ready to serve.

From the story: Civilized brunch with sweet rolls, bread pudding and granola parfaits


In a small pan, heat the milk over medium heat just until warmed. Remove from heat and pour the milk into a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir in the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar, then set aside until the yeast is activated and the milk is foamy, about 10 minutes.


Whisk two of the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Stir in the yeast mixture and remaining sugar until fully incorporated.


With the mixer running, add the diced 10 tablespoons room temperature butter, one or two pieces at a time, until all of it has been incorporated.


In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups of the bread flour and the salt. With the mixer running, add the flour mixture, a spoonful at a time, until all of it has been incorporated into the dough.


Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until it is soft and elastic with a silky texture, 5 to 7 minutes. Knead in additional bread flour as needed, up to the remaining one-half cup. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 11/2 hours.


While the dough is rising, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently so the bacon cooks evenly and does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and drain the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate, saving 2 tablespoons of bacon grease for the glaze and the rest for another use.


In a small saucepan, warm the melted butter with 2 tablespoons maple syrup, then remove from heat and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and cinnamon.


When the dough is doubled, punch it down and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 12-by-18-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the butter-maple syrup mixture. Sprinkle over the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture, then the bacon bits, 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.


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.


Loosely cover the rolls with plastic wrap and set aside until almost doubled in volume, 45 minutes to an hour. Alternatively, loosely cover and refrigerate the dough overnight; remove from the refrigerator about 1 hour before baking for the dough to come to room temperature.


About halfway into the rising time, heat the oven to 375 degrees. If the rolls are coming out of the refrigerator, set them out for 30 to 45 minutes to warm them slightly, heating the oven halfway through the rising time.


In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon maple syrup with the remaining egg. Brush the egg wash over the outside of the rolls. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the rolls until puffed and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through cooking. Remove the rolls from the baking sheet and cool, still on the parchment paper, on a rack.


While the cinnamon rolls are baking, make the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons each bacon grease and maple syrup. If the glaze is too thick, thin with milk, whisking in 1 tablespoon at a time.


Drizzle the glaze over the warm cinnamon rolls before serving.

Grade B maple syrup is recommended for this recipe; the syrup is less filtered so it has more pronounced flavor. The cinnamon rolls can be made through Step 10 the night before serving; loosely cover and refrigerate the dough overnight, then warm at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.