This morning, thanks to the Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll team, I got to have a virtual breakfast with Sandra Lee. It was fun! I dialed into a number they gave me, put the phone on speaker, and listened to Sandra chat with the hosts about how she incorporated Pillsbury cinnamon rolls into her family’s Sunday morning routine.
Sandra talked about the cinnamon roll creations she’d already tried, but she seemed to be brainstorming as she spoke and made a few more suggestions on things you could do with the dough. One off the cuff remark was how the rolls might work as cookies – sliced thin, maybe double baked. She had to move on to another topic, but I got stuck on the cookie idea. As soon as the webinar was over, I went out and bought a small roll of the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls.
First, I tried making the cinnamon roll dough as biscotti. It worked perfectly on my first try. The biscotti were crispy on the outside and a little softer in the center than typical Italian biscotti, but they still tasted good and were kind fun to make.
1. Remove rolls from can and arrange them the same way they were in the can on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Squish them together a bit to form a log about 2 1/2 inches across. Because they’re designed to come apart, the seams will want to open. Just do your best to pinch them together.
2. Bake the log at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let the log cool for about 10 minutes. Due to the seams, the rolls will still be trying to extract themselves from their neighbor, but just ignore that because you will be cutting them anyway. Also, at this point what you have is a nice pull-apart bread so you may want to just stop here or come up with a new idea.
3. Reduce oven heat to 325 F. With a serrated knife, cut the log cross-wise into 10 cookies, making cuts through the center of the rolls and at the seams. You biscotti won’t be as elongated as other biscotti, but they will still be cute.
4. Lay the cut rolls back on the parchment and bake at 325 for 18 to 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. When you take them out of the oven, they should be slightly browned and crispy. If they’re not completely crispy, don’t worry. Just let them cool on a rack.
5. When biscotti are cool, soften the icing a bit if necessary — 5 to 10 seconds in the microwave will do it. Spoon up the icing, hold the spoon about 5 inches above the biscotti, and lightly fling it over the cookies on the rack (put something under the rack, of course). Let icing set. There you have it. 10 stubby but cute little biscotti.
The second experiment involved slicing the cold (imperative!) dough into 3 thin circles and baking. I wasn’t sure what the proper temp would be or if I’d have to twice bake, but 350 degrees F for 10 minutes did the trick. These cookies were quite a bit simpler than the biscotti and almost as cute. They’re not as sweet as normal cookies and the texture is a little different, so I need to come with a name that implies they are different…like something something “rounds” or something something “bites”. Directions below.
1. Make sure the dough is cold. If not, chill it. Set roll dough on its side and slice each roll into thin slices. You will noticed that the top slice has the most cinnamon bits on it. Move some of those over to the cut slices so that each slice has cinnamon bits.
2. Lay the sliced rolls on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
3. Cool cookies on a rack.
4. When cookies are cool, soften the icing a bit in microwave (5 seconds or so). Spoon up the icing, hold the spoon about 5 inches above the cookies, and lightly fling it over to make beautiful patterns. You should get 10 cookies that look sort of like the ones above.
After both versions of the iced cookies had set for a while, the centers softened up a bit. The outsides were still crispy and they still tasted good, but they weren’t as crisp as a normal cookie. They were still tasty, though. I’d make them again for myself. I may try making them with the orange flavored rolls.