flaky brown butter cinnamon roll pancakes
Inspired by traditional Chinese scallion pancakes which are made by rolling flat a coil of flaky dough layered with scallions, this cinnamon sugar variation is perfect for dessert. Tip: Make the brown butter the night before and leave it out at room temp so it's ready to go when you are.
- 6 TBSP brown butter (softened)
- 240 grams flour (2 cups, scooped into the measuring cup and leveled off)
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp whole nutmeg (freshly grated)
- 177 grams boiling water (¾ cup)
- 2 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 TBSP granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- 2 TBSP finely chopped walnuts
- 1 TBSP cinnamon sugar blend (1 TBSP granulated sugar + 1/2 tsp cinnamon)
Brown your butter. Cook 6 TBSP unsalted butter in a small shallow skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the milkfat particles on the bottom turn brown. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl or airtight container. Let cool to room temp. It should have a very soft, spreadable consistency. Stir a few times as it cools to evenly distribute brown butter particles.
Toast the walnuts. In a small, bare skillet over medium heat toast the finely chopped walnuts until aromatic and lightly browned. They'll toast quickly, so don't walk away! Remove from the skillet to a small bowl or paper towel to cool while you make the dough.
Make the dough. Whisk together flour, salt, and nutmeg in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the boiling water and stir until a shaggy dough forms, meaning the dough will have mostly come together but there might still be some patches of flour and visible dry bits in the bottom of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead until smooth and cohesive, about 5 minutes. Cover and set aside for at least 5 minutes while you make the filling.
Make the filling. Combine both sugars, cinnamon, and allspice in a bowl with a pinch of salt (optional) and set aside.
Divide the dough into quarters (use a kitchen scale to be precise) and shape each section into a smooth ball. Lightly flatten the dough against the counter then fold and tuck the edges up over the center of the dough creating a smooth surface against the counter. Then flip the dough balls over so the smooth side is facing up. Work with one dough ball at a time, leaving the others covered while you work so they don't dry out.
Roll one piece of dough into a large oval-y circle-ish shape on a lightly floured surface. Rotate the disc of dough as you roll to ensure it isn't sticking. When the dough is about 11-12" wide and very, very thin (almost translucent) you're ready for the next step.
Brush any excess flour off the dough. Then, use a small offset spatula or small silicone spatula with a flexible tip to spread a very thin layer of softened brown butter across the surface of the dough all the way to the edges. Be careful not to rip or tear the dough.
Sprinkle on a quarter of the cinnamon sugar mixture. You want a somewhat uneven application here — try to avoid big clumps, but it's okay if it's splotchy or slightly bare in a few spots. Then top with a tablespoon or two of the toasted walnuts. Less is more here!
Roll the dough circle up into a tightly coiled log tube. Pinch both ends of the tube shut. Then, coil the log tube into a tight spiral, tucking the open end underneath. Press down once, firmly, with your palm to flatten. Set aside, covered, while you assemble the other three pancakes.
Slowly heat about a ¼" oil in a skillet. While the oil heats up, gently roll the pancakes into ½" thick discs about 6" wide, starting with the one that has rested the longest. Some walnuts and cinnamon sugar might break through the dough — that's okay.
Test oil by dipping the edge of a pancake in it. It's ready if it immediately starts to bubble. Place the pancake in the oil slowly, bent at almost a right angle as you slide it in. This helps ensure the center of the pancake hits the oil as evenly as the edges, and that you don't end up with an air pocket under the center of the pancake. Fry each pancake 2-3 minutes per side, then remove to a cooling rack over a sheet pan lined with paper towels. While the oil is still hot on the outside of the pancake, dust both sides with cinnamon sugar blend. Serve hot.