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Baklava inspired cinnamon scrolls



I love baklava and its close relatives. Baklava is Turkish in origin and refers to a very particular kind of pastry – diamond shaped, layered with honey and pistachios/cashews. It’s close relatives refer to anything from finger shaped pastry, bird’s nest shaped pastry, semolina cakes etc. While it is Turkish in origin (or so says Wikipedia), you will find it regularly at Greek, Lebanese and Moroccan restaurants so I suspect it is more a regional dish than a country-specific one.  Some of the flavours I associate with these sweets are rose water, orange-blossom water, sugar/honey (lots of it) and cinnamon. These flavours are what inspired this experiment of mine.

Enough about baklava and more about the scrolls – I was chatting with a friend on Google Talk when I saw him chomping on some cinnamon scrolls that his wife had made for him. It reminded me of “Cinnabon” in American and their stonkingly sweet buns full of sugar and cinnamon. I thought that I could give them a try and actually control how sugary I make them and then thought of making them with rosewater and nuts, like a baklava.

So I went searching for a recipe and found the pioneer woman’s recipe. Ree’s words about the impact this dish would have on its consumer was so very inspirational that I set off on my own journey to conquer the hearts of all I know.Boy, was I disappointed. The rolls were too crispy, too crunchy and not at all like I’d been imagining them all day. I couldn’t really taste much of the cinnamon which was also disappointing.

I don’t think it is the recipe that was at fault – just some of the things I did that I shouldn’t have. Hope I can pass on some tips that will mean that your scrolls are a lot fluffier and tastier than mine turned out. I baked these in March this year and it has taken me this long to gather the courage to write about them. Learn from my mistakes and tell me if you make a fluffy baklava-inspired cinnamon scroll!

Baklava inspired cinnamon scrolls
Baklava inspired cinnamon scrolls


1. This is not a quick recipe. It took the better part of my Sunday morning so start early or the night before if you want them for breakfast.

2.  I would recommend  using 1/4 of the ingredients used by the source of this recipe as it makes a LOT of rolls.



1. I halved the ingredients used in the recipe.

2. I used honey instead of sugar and added chopped hazelnuts to the filling/centre.

3. The icing was made with icing sugar and rose water (picture 10).

4. I activated the yeast separately to the milk (pictures 1 & 2). The dough still fluffed up quite well (picture 8 below).



500 ml milk

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

1/2 cup of sugar

1 packet (7 gms) of active dry yeast

4 cups standard flour (plus more for dusting)

1/2 a heaped teaspoon of  baking powder

1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 tablespoon of salt

100 gms of melted butter – Picture 5

1/2 cup of cinnamon sugar ( 3 sticks of cinnamon and 1/2 cup of sugar blended together) – Pictures 3 & 5

1/2 cup of runny honey – Picture 5

1 cup of roasted hazelnuts, chopped – Picture 4


For the icing:

1 cup of icing sugar

2-3 tablespoons of rose water (depending on how much you like it)

water to make a smooth paste


Where I perhaps went wrong:

1. I rolled the filled dough along its short edge rather than its long edge (pictures 18-22). This might have produced more layers than intended and made the scrolls crispy.

2. I cut the individual rolls too thin – 1/2 inch (1.25cm – picture 23) instead of 1 inch (2.5cms). This again might have been why my scrolls weren’t fluffy!

3. I was trying to be healthy and use honey and less butter than recommended (Pictures 16 & 17). As Ree says on her website, this is not a recipe for you if you are on a calorie watch. So, be generous with the butter.

4. I didn’t realise how much cinnamon I’d need and grinding it with sugar meant it was diluted out (picture 18). Use ground cinnamon straight out of a bottle – or two.

5. I didn’t use a baking sheet on the bottom of the tray so some scrolls got stuck and they stuck well (pictures 24 & 25) !  My poor partner struggled while washing up the next day.

6. Finally, I think I baked them for too long at 200ºC. I do have a dinky oven but still, my concentration lapsed at the end and I produced rather brown  scrolls as you can see from the pictures (main picture and picture 26).



Baklava inspired cinnamon scrolls:
1. Sprinkle yeast on warm water 2. Warm the milk and sugar on the stove 3. Mix together 2/3rds of the flour and cinnamon for the dough 4. Finely chop roasted hazelnuts 5. Prepare melted butter, cinnamon sugar and honey along with the nuts 6 & 7. Add the yeast and milk to the flour and mix well 8. Let the dough rise in a warm place 9. Add the remaining flour and mix well 10. Add rose water to the dough and mix well 11. Knead the dough into a smooth dough 12. Roll the dough into an approximate rectangle 13. To make a better rectangle, fold the uneven ends inwards 14. Flip the dough to make it more rectangular 15. The dough is 6-7mm thick only 16. The first layer is the butter – be generous 17. The second layer is honey – again, be generous 18. The third layer is that of cinnamon sugar – again, be generous 19. Finally, sprinkle nuts over the dough 20. Roll the dough from the end furthest away to that closest to you. 21 The ends of the roll display many layers of the cinnamon scroll 22. Cut ½ cm thick scrolls 23. Place them on a king sheet/tray with a little gap between them 25. Allow the rolls to rise again in a warm place so as to fill all the gaps 26. Bake until brown and cooked.

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