Cinnamon rolls are an American classic. It ranks right up there with banana bread as an iconic baked treat, so I wondered to myself, why not combine the two? A nice banana-infused dough wrapped around a spiced sweet filling full of bananas and walnuts and topped with a healthy drizzle of browned butter icing. Browned butter is butter that is cooked until the milk solids inside are toasty brown and smell perfectly nutty.
Browned butter makes banana anything sing. It takes a little care to make it as it goes from richly perfect to burnt in a second. The trick is to watch the butter (it only takes about 3 minutes) and remove it from the heat once you smell a toasted nut aroma and the butter turns golden brown. If your butter is black than it’s gone to far. As a bonus, you can make these banana rolls in one mixing bowl if you decide to skip the browned butter glaze and go for a classic milk and powdered sugar glaze.
Ingredients for 15 servings
1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/2 stick
0.75 oz (20 g) instant yeast, 1 packet
⅓ cup (65 g) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
4 ½ cups (560 g) all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter, 1 stick
1 cup (220 g) brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup (85 g) honey
1 cup (100 g) walnuts, chopped
- In a large, microwave-proof bowl, combine the milk and melted butter. Microwave for 40 seconds, until the milk mixture reaches 110˚F (45˚C). Add the yeast, then let sit for 10 minutes.
- Add the granulated sugar, salt, mashed bananas and stir.
- Add 3½ cups (435 g) of flour, ½ cup (60 g) at a time, stirring between each addition.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 3 minutes, adding more flour ¼ cup (30 g) at a time if the dough is sticking to your hands or the surface. Form the dough into a ball.
- Add the oil to clean large bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight, until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, roll it out to a ¼-inch-thick (6-mm) rectangle about 18×12 inches (20×30 cm).
- Make the filling by mixing the melted butter, granulated sugar, and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
- Spread the filling evenly over the dough. Roll up the dough and slice into 15 1½-inch (4-cm) thick slices (discard the ends).
- Make the caramel sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, and honey. Keep stirring to prevent the sugar from sticking to the pan. Bring to a gentle boil, then remove the pan from the heat.
- Pour the caramel sauce into a 9×12-inch (23×30-cm) baking dish and sprinkle the walnuts on top of sauce. Arrange the rolls in the dish so there are 3 rows of 5 rolls.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 15 minutes, in a warm place.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C).
- Remove the plastic wrap and bake the cinnamon rolls for 40 minutes, or until light golden brown.
- Let cool for 20 minutes, then invert the rolls onto a serving platter. Leftover cinnamon rolls can be stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or oven.