Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

As many times as I’ve made yeast dough, up until the morning I made these, I don’t recall ever making cinnamon rolls. I have wanted to try making them for a long time, but it is hard to justify a whole batch of rolls for two people. My parents coming to visit for a weekend gave me the push to try. While I had thought of trying an overnight cinnamon roll recipe, I couldn’t pry myself away from our exciting card games to make the dough. I figured that spending time with my family was more important that cinnamon rolls, so I figured we’d just go out to breakfast the next morning or eat cereal or pancakes.
Luckily for me, however, our little puppy starts waking up for the day around 6:30 am. I actually love having our puppy as my alarm clock on the weekends because I can wake up and get my day started and it’s a great time to spend some time with the puppy without him being too hyper. I played with him a little bit, and then Cody decided he’d much rather lay on his mat and chew his bone than play with me. With a couple hours to kill before everyone else started waking up, I figured this would be a perfect time to make my cinnamon rolls.
The process was pretty simple, but still managed to misread the instructions the first time around. Thankfully, the recipe is forgiving. After having the wet and dry ingredients mixed, I realized I’d forgotten 2/3 cup of milk. So I just dumped it in and mixed until it was combined. Easy peasy. I blame that one on the fact my coffee hadn’t kicked in yet.
The other problem with making yeast dough so early in the morning is that because I didn’t want to disturb everyone with the whirr of my stand mixer, the only tools I used were my metal mixing bowl, a wooden spoon, and my hands. I love my stand mixer, but I forget how relaxing kneading dough by hand can be. There is something really fascinating about how the texture changes in the dough as you keep kneading it.
And please, for the love of pete, don’t be like me and let butter and sugar bubble over the edge of your dish and burn onto the bottom of the stove. Put something underneath to catch any stray filling that may ooze out. (I will say that I finally had an excuse to test out the self-cleaning feature of my oven, and it was like the spill never happened, it was amazing!)

They were finally finished around 9:15-9:30ish. And while it was a little painful waiting that long to eat breakfast, it was definitely worth it. They were superb. Soft and slightly eggy, with a rich cinnamon-butter-brown sugar center oozing out. And no cinnamon roll is complete without some sort of frosting or glaze. I’m not a huge fan of a confectioners’ sugar glaze, so I used up the cream cheese in my fridge and made a cream cheese frosting.
As for storing them, I kept the icing and the rolls separate, since I knew we couldn’t finish the eight rolls between us in one morning. I figured they would reheat much easier without the icing. These do get a little hard after cooling, as many cinnamon rolls do, but I heated a leftover cinnamon bun for breakfast the next day, and after a minute in the microwave at 40% power, I could barely tell the difference between that one and the one fresh out of the oven the day before. I slathered it with some of the leftover icing, and it was pure heaven, for two mornings straight.

Cinnamon Rolls
Joy of Baking


4 1/2 - 5 cups (630 - 700 grams) all-purpose flour
1 package (1/4 ounce) (7 grams) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) milk
1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) salt
3 large eggs


3/4 cup (160 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cold (cut into pieces)
1/2 cup light raisins (optional)
1 tablespoon half-and-half (light cream)

Cinnamon Rolls: In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, combine 2 1/4 cups (315 grams) of the flour and the yeast.

In a small saucepan, stirring constantly, heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt just till warm (120 -130 degrees F) (49 - 54 degrees C) and the butter is almost melted.

Gradually pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, with the mixer on low speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat this mixture on high speed for 3 minutes. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook (or do the kneading by hand), and knead in as much of the remaining 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups (315 - 385 grams) flour until you make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes). (Dough will no longer be sticky to the touch.)

Shape into a ball. Place the dough into a greased bowl, turning once. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double (approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours).

When the dough has doubled in size punch it down. Place onto a lightly floured surface, cover with a clean towel, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the filling. In a medium-sized bowl place the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender, or two knives, until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

After about 10 minutes, roll the dough into a 12 inch (30 cm) square. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the rolled out dough and top with raisins (if desired). Carefully roll the dough into a log and pinch the edges to seal. Slice the log (roll) into eight equal-sized pieces. Arrange dough pieces in a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch (33 x 23 x 5 cm) baking pan.

Cover dough loosely with clear plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise. At this point you can refrigerate the dough for anywhere from 2 to 24 hours. If overnight, the next morning remove the rolls from the refrigerator, take off the plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. (If you are making the cinnamon rolls immediately, don?t chill dough. Instead, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let dough rise in a warm place till nearly double, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.)

Break any surface bubbles with a toothpick. Brush dough with half-and-half or light cream. Bake in a 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes or till light brown. (Can tell if done by inserting a toothpick into one of the buns, and it should come out clean. Also, if you lightly tap on the top of the buns it should sound hollow.)

If necessary, to prevent over-browning, cover rolls loosely with foil the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. Remove rolls from oven. Brush again with half-and-half or light cream. Cool 5 minutes and then invert onto a baking rack and re-invert onto a serving plate or platter.

Can drizzle with the Powdered Sugar


Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 rolls.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 c confectioners' sugar
2/3 c cream cheese
3 Tbsp butter

Mix together until smooth. Smear onto warm buns.


PG said...

Oh yum -- I can practically smell the cinnamon. It sounds like you're a morning person -- I don't think I've ever baked anything, let alone finished it, before 10am.

Nice to find your blog -- got here through Hopie's Kitchen (she's our adopted blog...from way back...so I guess that makes you our adopted grandblog.

Caroline said...

The cinnamon rolls were a labor of love, but I guess that is what happens when you love to eat! :)
Those were definitely worth waking up for!

Always nice to meet someone from my adoptive blogging family! Thanks for stopping by to say Hi!

Flourchild said...

I just love cinnamon rolls on a cold winters morning! Im glad you enjoyed them, they sure look yummy!

Emily said...

Those look AMAZING! I can never get my cinnamon rolls to look like that. I have to know your secret. :)

Cathy said...

There aren't many things more wonderful than smelling cinnamon rolls baking on a weekend morning. Yours rose perfectly and look so delicious.

Caroline said...

Flourchild, if I could, I think I'd eat these every morning. The topping alone I think I could eat with a spoon.

Emily, thanks! I got really lucky with how these turned out, but the dental floss trick to cut them really helps me out, I can never cut them neatly with a knife!

Cathy, I was so giddy when they rose like they did (though it may have been a lack of coffee as well) but I love when yeast doughs work like they should, it is so much fun to work with!

oneordinaryday said...

I still haven't made my own cinnamon rolls, though I have a bunch of recipes bookmarked. Yours look delicious!

Caroline said...

I'm the same way in bookmarking recipes, I don't want to spend all that time to be disappointd with the results. These did not disappoint, for sure!

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