The sixth graders at our local middle school are assigned a project called SDL: Self Directed Learning. They choose something they want to learn, find a mentor to help them and create a presentation about the experience. Ben, a neighbor of mine, decided he wanted to learn how to bake. Love that!! I was thrilled when Ben’s dad emailed me to ask if I would be Ben’s baking mentor. What an honor! I’m guessing The Cake Boss wasn’t available.
Ben’s dad, coincidentally, was also my daughter’s 3rd grade math teacher. He worked math magic with her that year and I will be forever grateful. So I was delighted to help a young person learn to bake and to return a little teaching magic. A win win baking situation!
Ben’s directions were to make a recipe twice, so we settled on two variations of the same dough: cinnamon rolls and sticky buns. Now, I decided to get in on the fun and make an “experimental” roll of my own; Banana & Nutella Cinnamon Rolls. My friend Cathy at The Dutch Baker’s Daughter had just made some Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls and they intrigued me. I wondered if you could fill them with Nutella…mmm! Who doesn’t love a little Nutella with your banana?
I started with my trusty Betty Crocker Cinnamon Roll Recipe (Betty Crocker’s New Cookbook, 1996) that I’ve tweaked a little bit over the years. Instead of adding the yeast to the dry ingredients, I proof it first with the warm milk and butter. I also like to use some whole wheat flour in the recipe. In the Banana Nutella Cinnamon Rolls I used a blend of white whole wheat flour and bread flour. Ben used all bread flour in his sticky buns and cinnamon rolls.
Baking with Ben
Banana Nutella Rolls
Banana & Nutella Cinnamon Rolls
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups bread flour plus additional for rolling surface
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm milk (115-125 degrees)
- 1/3 cup butter melted & cooled
- 3 ripe bananas
- 1 large egg slightly beaten
- 2/3 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
- additional butter for greasing pan
Banana Buttercream Glaze:
- 1 ripe banana
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Mix together 2 cups white whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup bread flour, sugar and salt in medium bowl.
- Warm milk and butter to 115 - 125 degrees. Place in large bowl.
- Sprinkle yeast over warm milk and gently swirl.
- Allow to sit about 5 minutes to proof. The yeast should look a little foamy and smell "yeasty".
- Use a spoon to press the bananas through a sieve. You should have about 1 cup of banana puree.
- Add the banana puree and the egg to the yeast mixture then add the dry ingredients.
- Mix by hand or use an electric mixer to combine. Stir in enough remaining flour to make the dough easy to handle (should still be a little sticky).
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. You can sprinkle in a little more flour if needed.
- Place in a greased bowl, turn greased side up and cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
- Let rise in a warm place until doubled - about 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Punch down dough and place on lightly floured surface. Use your hands or a rolling pin to make a rectangle about 15 x 10 inches.
- Spread dough with Nutella spread and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll rectangle up starting from the 15-inch side.
- Cut roll into 15, 1-inch wide pieces and place in a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan.
- Cover and allow to rise in warm place for about 30 minutes or until double.
- Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden brown.
- While the rolls are baking, make the banana buttercream glaze.
- Press the ripe banana through a sieve with a spoon to make about 1/4 cup banana puree.
- Use an electric mixer to combine banana, butter and vanilla until smooth.
- Add sugar and mix until well combined. Allow the rolls to cool for about 10 minutes then spread with the glaze. Serve the glazed rolls warm.