This autumn, I found the most stunning spread at Trader Joe’s: fig butter. If fig butter was a person, I imagine she would be a classy grandma beating everyone at bingo — heavenly sweetness and witty, with an indescribable depth. Fruit butters are made by slowly cooking down a fruit with sugars, an acid (like lemon juice), pectin (a thickening agent) and spices until there is no water left, only godliness. Last autumn, I spent six hours waiting for a dozen apples to become apple butter. I did not want to wait for figs to metamorphose this year. I’d rather spend the time making this fig butter cinnamon roll recipe.
- 1 cup of unsweetened milk of choice (I used oat milk)
- 2 ½ teaspoons instant dry yeast
- ⅓ cup of butter (melted and cooled at room temperature)
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- ½ cup of granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup of butter (partially melted)
- 1 jar of Trader Joe’s Fig Butter
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons of cinnamon
- Microwave your milk until warm to the touch (about 30 seconds) and a wispy, not aggressive, steam forms. If it is screaming hot, pour out (or save and drink later) part of your milk and substitute it with cold milk. We do not want to kill our yeast.
- Stir in a pinch of sugar and instant dry yeast. The sugar helps the yeast activate, giving it something to fart from. Set aside to let it proof and grow foamy for about 5 minutes or until your cup looks like a beer pint.
- With a spatula (or in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment), mix the yeast mixture with the melted butter and eggs. Try not to get any egg shells in or your rolls might come out crunchy.
- Fold in the sugar, salt and flour (one cup at a time to avoid any “poof cloud”) until the dough comes together. If you oil your hands, the dough will not cling to them as dramatically. If you do not have a stand mixer, on a floured surface, use your elbow grease and knead the dough until the dough is smooth, shiny and elastic for fluffier rolls.
- Cover the dough baby with cling film and/or a clean kitchen cloth and let it rest for an hour. Put it near a warm surface (like in an oven that is not on or on top of an oven that is on) to proof. If your dough is in a chilly environment, it will not fluff up as fast.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the partially melted butter with the fig butter until it reaches a smooth, homogeneous consistency and set it in the fridge to thicken.
- In another small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough baby into a super thin rectangle a fourth of an inch thick.
- Using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, brush the fig butter evenly on the rectangle. It is not a pizza, so smother all the edges with the mixture.
- Sprinkle cinnamon brown sugar evenly and, if you want, use the pastry brush or the back of the spoon to smooth it out more.
- Gently roll the dough with the longer side. To prevent the filling from coming out, lift and tug the roll upward when you roll.
- With a sharp and clean knife, cut into one-inch slices. You can reroll the cinnamon rolls to tighten the roll at this stage.
- Place the cinnamon rolls in a greased pan. Make sure to space them an inch apart because we do not want them to rise into each other too dramatically. Cover the cinnamon rolls with the same cling film and/or cloth and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how thick your rolls are and how many you put in the oven at once.
Enjoy with coffee or tea on busy school mornings. You are welcome to add the frosting of your choice, but it’s sweet enough without!
A version of this article appeared on page 10 of the December 2, 2021 print edition of the Daily Nexus.