Spirals are fascinating. Think of spiral staircases spinning up and down, the spirals in a shell found on the beach, the curl that can add charm when it escapes the updo and froths around the neck or ear or forehead.
Another spiral that I love is the one created when you roll things up jelly-roll fashion, including jelly rolls themselves. For Christmas I made some amazing spiral swirled cinnamon rolls using a family recipe of a friend. If I get her permission I'll post them. Like the successful after-Christmas-party herb rolls using the same roll-'em-up, cut-'em-off techniques and thawed frozen bread dough, I once tried doing it with cinnamon roll ingredients. Awesome!
You can do this one even if you are unsure of your bread dough skills...the frozen dough makes it easy and your family and friends won't know it isn't totally from scratch if you don't tell them. Just try it and take a bow.
Cinnamon Buns the Easy Way
2 1-lb portions frozen bread dough, thawed
1/4 stick (4 tablespoons) soft butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup raisins or currants, plumped**
On a large flat clean workspace like a breadboard, granite, marble or melamine counter, dust work surface generously with flour. Place the two thawed portions of dough side by side. Using a floured rolling pin or your hands spread the dough out into a 14 x 16-inch rectangle, pinching the two mounds of dough together where they meet, to create one rectangle. If the dough resists spreading, walk away for a minute or two, then try again.
Spread the rectangle with the softened butter, leaving a 1/2 inch space around the edges free of butter.
In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Once combined sprinkle the mixture evenly over the dough rectangle, keeping it within the buttered part. Over that sprinkle the nuts and raisins or currants (or you could substitute another dried fruit here). Roll up jelly-roll fashion along the long side of the rectangle. Don't roll too tightly. When the end is reached, pinch it to the roll to seal.
Using a sharp knife or dental floss, cut into 16 rolls, about an inch thick. Place half of the rolls in each of two greased 9-inch cake pans, leaving some room between the rolls for rising and expanding. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F while the rolls are rising.
Bake risen rolls 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove pans from oven and let cool on a wire rack.