The Kitchen Prep: Willowbird Baking Challenge: Cuban Sandwich "Cinnamon" Rolls

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Willowbird Baking Challenge: Cuban Sandwich "Cinnamon" Rolls

I'm sure it's pretty easy to surmise from reading this blog that I'm in the kitchen a lot. I can't even imagine the actual amount of hours I've logged researching recipes, mixing up batters, baking up goodies, and taste testing. {And let's not even talk about the actual amount of calories consumed. Yikes!}

When you do something that often, it's nice to have a little push from an outside source to get creative and challenge yourself to a new technique.

Except, ironically, most of my close friends aren't remotely as into cooking and baking as I am. I'd even say some have a slight aversion to it! And while they are all super supportive of my passion {and always willing to taste test the latest invention out of my oven}, I don't expect them to be nearly as obsessed enthusiastic about kitchen related matters as I am.

For inspiration and motivation, I read other cooking blogs. And there are SO many good ones out there. What I've found in all my reading is that, much like in the "real" world of interpersonal relationships, certain blogs appeal to me more than others because of the writers behind them.

When I read a blog, I like to get a sense of the person who is sharing such carefully crafted information, pictures, and stories with me. Some blogs I find intriguing because their writers live such a different type of life than I do that it's sort of fun to peek into a different world {voyeuristic much??}. With others I feel instantly connected to the author because I think to myself, "I would totally do/say/cook/feel that way!" in reading their adventures. You know how sometimes you meet someone {or browse their Pinterest boards} and you just know that you could be besties? Yeah, that happens in the blog world, too.

So anyway, all this rambling is just setting you up to tell you how I came to make these:

Cuban Sandwich "Cinnamon" Rolls


No, they're not as weird as they sound, I promise. And they don't even contain cinnamon, but I'm not sure what you call a cinnamon-bun-style savory roll-type-thing. {And aren't you glad I didn't decide to call them that instead?}

Julie from Willow Bird Baking, a blog that I stumbled upon a while back, challenged her readers to step outside the usual and innovate cinnamon rolls. {In case you are interested in seeing the video call-to-action, click here. She is just adorable.} Why? Well... why not?

If you take a look at her blog's tag line, it says right there across the top that part of the blog is about teaching "Kitchen Confidence". {Which I love and, am not going to lie, wish I came up with myself.}

So yeah, once I saw her challenge, I knew I had to take part in it. {Even though, seriously folks, I am up to my eyeballs in other things I should be doing right now. But whatever.}

After the initial thought of "Maple Bacon Rolls", which she totally mentions in her video, I came up with Cuban Sandwich Rolls... because, isn't that the next logical thought?

I have no idea what possessed me to think of such a thing {except for the fact that my family is Cuban, I live near Miami, and I love Cuban sandwiches, of course}, but I have to tell you that I am pretty sure you're going to love me for it. Or hate me. Because Julie's recipe for dough {which was a required element of the challenge} calls for shortening and we all know there is just no healthying that up.

Challenge yourselves, friends, and make these. Or if you're not into cooking, challenge yourself to do something new in whatever you consider your passion. Because growing and connecting is what it's all about.

And thank you, Julie, for fun and delicious challenge!

Cuban Sandwich "Cinnamon" Rolls
Inspired by Willow Bird Baking

For the Dough:

Click here for Julie's fabulous Cinnamon Roll Dough Base ... and try not to drool on yourself when you see the Coconut Almond version she made!

For the Filling:

2-3 tablespoons yellow mustard {nothing fancy, that's not how Cuban sandwiches roll}
About 1/3 cup dill pickles, roughly chopped
Approximately 12 slices of Swiss cheese
Approximately 1/4 pound deli sliced ham
Approximately 1/4 pound deli sliced pork
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Make the dough. {This recipe is an over-nighter so plan accordingly!}

*Note: I only used half of the dough this recipe makes. You can use the whole thing if you prefer, but you will need to double the amount of filling ingredients to ensure you have enough. If you'd like to save the other half of the dough, wrap it up in plastic wrap and freeze or use the other half to make another creative roll!}

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll out into a rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick.

Apply a thin layer of yellow mustard with an offset spatula leaving a 1/4 inch border all the way around so it doesn't squirt out the sides when you roll it up.

Sprinkle chopped pickles over the mustard. Lay slices of Swiss cheese side by side until the entire rectangle is covered. Repeat with ham and pork slices.

With the long side facing you, roll up the dough carefully, and place seam side down. With a very sharp knife, cut about 1 inch thick pieces. {I find the easiest way to do this is to cut the entire log in half. Then cut each half in half again, etc. until you have sliced it up into even slices.}

In the prepared baking dish, place the sliced rolls snugly next to one another. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean moistened dish towel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until they are just about doubled in size.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until browned on the top. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter, then bake for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve while warm and melty.


Gaby Godoy de Porras said...

I love them!!!! I made some MExican twist! Chiles en Nogada Cinnamon Rolls!!!! check it out!

I wanna try yours!!!

Kristina LaRue said...

these are so creative and looks scrumptious. I love the crispy tops of these! I don't know if I knew you were a FL girl...

The Kitchen Prep said...

@ Gaby - Thank you! I stopped by & checked yours out, too! They look great! :)

@Kristina - Thanks! I thought about sprinkling cheese on the tops as the "glaze" but decided to keep them as is... and it worked out! Yup, definitely a Florida girl, born & raised, with a short stint in Texas. :)

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LeAndra said...

My goodness, these look delicious! I wish I could say more, but they've stunned me speechless. Can't wait to try them!

chineka said...

They look great. 8-)

Amanda said...

I'm happy to see how you did this, because I'm just doing this challenge now and plan sausage, egg and cheese rolls. It was really helpful to see how you did it!

Stephen + Natalie said...

These look amazing! My husband is from Florida and he is obsessed with Cuban sandwiches... I just might have to make him some of these!

Gingered Whisk said...

Fantastic idea! I love that you took your "cinnamon" buns in a savory direction, and what great flavors, too! I would love to have one of these! And I agree, there are millions of awesome blogs out there, and sometimes I find myself connecting with certain ones more than others - its the people behind them that make them special!

shelley c. said...

Genius. Seriously, that was pure genius. I was tempted to go savory, and this post makes me wish I had. AWESOME job.

The Kitchen Prep said...

@Leandra - Haha! Thanks! :)

@ Chineka - Thank you!

@Amanda - That sounds delicious! Perfect for a breakfast or brunch!

@Stephen + Natalie - Thank you! I think we Floridians can't help but be head over heels for authentic Cuban sandwiches. Let me know how he likes them if you give them a try!

@ Gingered Whisk - Thanks so much! And yes, I totally agree... content & personality definitely make a blog! :) P.S. You totally had me at "Caramelized" for your rolls... mmmm!

@Shelley C. - Thanks! Your Pumpkin Brown Butter Apple Cinnamon Rolls {what a mouthful!} look divine, too! ;)

wallflourgirl said...

I love that you've transformed sandwiches into rolls--my interest was definitely piqued when I saw your entry on Julie's page, and if you don't mind my saying're on a roll, girl! (ha ha--sorry, couldn't resist!)

Amanda said...

These look gorgeous and so original!

The Kitchen Prep said...

@Amanda - Thank you! I was completely inspired. :)

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