The celebration for Chinese New Year starts this Thursday, February 19th and continues for fifteen days. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2015 is the Year of the Sheep. It’s a year of kindness, serenity, sensitivity, gentleness, and stability. I love this year already.
I’ve never celebrated Chinese New Year before, but when I received a supply of mandarinquats from my friends at Frieda’s Produce and learned more about the qualities associated with the Year of the Sheep, I decided I wanted to celebrate.
When I think of calmness, I think of being in my kitchen with the people I love most. I think of the first time I ever made cinnamon rolls – I was 13 and my grandma was visiting from out of town. She bakes and cooks the way most grandmas do – not by following a recipe, but by trusting her gut – she knows when there’s enough butter and if the recipe needs more milk. She’s got great instinct.
These cinnamon rolls are different from Grandma’s original recipe. This recipe calls for sesame oil, a common ingredient used in Asian cuisine, as well as mandarinquats -- a hybrid of mandarins and kumquats, which can be eaten whole, rind and all!
I hope this recipe brings you calmness in the kitchen. But, more importantly, I hope you feel calmness, kindness, and serenity both in and out of the kitchen all year long.
Mandarinquat Sesame Cinnamon Rolls
With its hint of sesame oil, dense consistency, and marmalade-like flavor, these are a unique, yet special take on your typical cinnamon roll recipe.
1 (1/4oz) envelope of active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon mandarinquat juice
1. Blend whole mandarinquats in food processor until pureed.
2. Warm 1/2 cup of puree in small bowl to about 110 degrees. Stir in packet of yeast and allow to stand for at least 10 minutes.
3. Beat together softened butter and sugar in a large bowl or stand mixture.
4. Add eggs, salt, and the mandarinquat-yeast mixture.
5. Add flour, one cup at a time, until soft dough forms.
6. Place dough in large lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow to proof in a warm area for 2 hours.
7. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle about 9"x18".
8. In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and sesame oil.
9. Spread filling over the dough, and gently roll up starting on one long side.
10. Cut into 12 slices and place into a lightly greased 9" round baking pan, cover, and allow to proof in a warm area for 1 hour. *
11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover rolls and bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown.
12. Combine powdered sugar and mandarinquat juice in a small bowl. Pour over rolls after removing from the oven.