Hungry Hound: Bittersweet

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cinnamon rolls are usually a favorite treat for a Sunday brunch.

He says it's only been available for about a month-and-a-half at one of the city's premier bakeries and for now, it's only available on the weekends.

Bittersweet celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and the Lakeview bakery shows few signs of age. They still make some of the city's best special-occasion cakes, as well as tarts, cookies and macarons - before those were cool.

But they've recently added cinnamon rolls. And you'd be hard-pressed to find a better, more satisfying, more decadent version, anywhere in town.

The cinnamon rolls at Bittersweet - a bakery and cafe in Lakeview that's been satisfying indulgences for a quarter century - can't help but demand your attention.

"Ever since I started working here at Bittersweet in 2005, I thought, why don't we have a cinnamon roll? I love cinnamon rolls. It was a big part of my childhood," said Mindy Gohr, one of the managers and owners of Bittersweet.

Gohr knew it had to begin with a great dough.

"I make a dough that contains a little bit of corn starch that cuts down on the gluten formation and let that rest until it's double in size," she said. "I knew that I needed something tender, something sweet, something with just the right amount of cinnamon."

Room temp butter is spread evenly across the top with an off-set spatula; once covered, she sprinkles on a combo of brown sugar, Chinese cinnamon and salt; again, all the way to the edges. Then the careful process of rolling it up into a log - being careful to keep the thickness even. Measured and sliced into two-inch pieces, they're frozen so they'll hold their shape. Once firm, they're lifted with tongs and partially dipped into clarified butter, then into that same brown sugar-cinnamon-salt mixture, and finally, placed into a pan, where they'll rest and rise another hour or two.

After 20 to 30 minutes in the oven, they smell amazing. She flips them out and turns them over, and while still warm, douses the rolls in homemade icing.

"It's good to put the cream cheese icing on while the cinnamon rolls are warm because it melts into the little crevices that happen when it bakes," Gohr said.

But wait, there's more.

"Everybody can make a cinnamon roll, not everybody has a giant blowtorch," she added.

And so she uses it to caramelize the icing, turning it into a brulee, and adding yet another dimension of flavor.

"Gives it a little more caramelized flavor and it really gives it a cool look," she said.

1114 W Belmont Ave
(773) 929-1100

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Extra Course: Our Hungry Hound shows you one of Bittersweet's most popular items - it's been available every day since they opened in 1992.

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