(Note: I have a back-log of several cakes and goodies to post, and I should really be blogging about those instead... But after making these rolls this morning, I just couldn't resist)
Months ago, I saw a post on Pioneer Woman's blog a post about cinnamon rolls. I swore I'd make them someday, then promptly filed it in my mental recipe box.
Serendipitously, this past Monday, Bakerella (another one of my blogger goddesses) posted about making them on her blog. It gave me a renewed urge to try it out (since both of these beautiful and talented ladies made them look so deliciously amazing).
I've been working a string of early mornings at the bakery lately (open, off, open, off, etc.) and I've really been trying to keep up a good early morning routine.
I got up at 4:30 this morning. I laid around for about 45 minutes, and then finally got up and made some coffee. I started making the cinnamon rolls around 5:30, 5:40ish and had them fully baked by a little before 9:00. So yes, they do take some time. But you know what? Most of that time is spent waiting. Over half, actually. And hey, good things come to those who wait. Keep that in mind.
So. I made a half batch of these rolls, like Bakerella did. A half batch makes 2 1/2 pans. I fit 7 rolls in an 8" round cake pan, and 8 rolls in a 9" round cake pan. I had 4 rolls left over, and didn't want them to spread out all over another 9" pan, so I put them in a muffin pan.
I'd never worked with dough before. Well, like making my own dough. Never ever. I was really, really worried they wouldn't turn out well. In the end, I was quite pleasantly surprised, and extremely proud of myself!
Start with 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup sugar.
Mix them all together in a saucepan over medium heat, turning it off before it begins to boil. Let it cool until lukewarm (around 45 minutes) and then add 1 package of active dry yeast.
Sprinkle it on top of the lukewarm milk mixture and then let it sit for one minute.
After that add four cups all-purpose flour. Stir until just combined…
Then cover with a towel and let sit in a warm place for an hour to let rise. After an hour, add another 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir together until thoroughly combined.
Then you can roll out the dough. Roll it into a large rectangular shape around 30 X 10 inches.
Mine looked like this:
Spread 1 cup melted butter, sprinkle 1/8 cup ground cinnamon and shake about a cup of sugar right on top.
Then, starting from the edge farthest from you, carefully roll the dough towards you tightly.
As you can see, I had copious amounts of buttery/cinnamony/sugary liquid oozing everywhere. I hear that's normal. While making these cinnamon rolls, that is... If it happens to you on a regular basis, you should probably get that checked out.
Once you have the dough in a nice, long roll, you can cut 1 1/2 inch slices (I started out with a sharp knife but found a butter knife to be easier) and place in a melted butter-coated pan (I actually just sprayed it all really well with Pam, and it turned out fine. If you don't want MORE butter on top of an already large amount of butter [close your ears, Paula Deen and Julia Child], Pam will do the job nicely).
These bake for about 13-17 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
While they are baking you can whip up the icing.
Bakerella made her half batch of rolls first with no icing, and then made a full batch with icing. I was doing really well with halving the icing recipe, but I did accidentally use the full amount of butter (See? Good thing I only used Pam on the pans, huh??) so my icing was more runny than the other ladies' was. I actually like that better, I think... It gave it more opportunity to seep into the cracks and around the edges. It made for a thinner cover overall, and as I'm not a huge fan of icing on anything, be it cakes or donuts or even cinnamon rolls, I welcomed this mistake.
To make the icing:
Whisk together 1 lb. powdered sugar, 1/4 cup milk, 3 tablespoons melted butter (unless you want thinner icing like I had, in which case use 6 tbs not 3), 1/8 cup coffee (whatever's leftover from your morning pick-me-up is fine) and a dash of salt.
Then add 1 1/2 tsp maple flavoring (or vanilla, or almond, or whatever you desire) and stir it all together.
I ended up substituting vanilla flavoring since there was no maple flavoring to be found in the spice cabinet. We have everything else (cherry, orange, rum, butter, vanilla, almond), and even multiples of a few of them, but no maple. The vanilla was just fine, though, and probably not as strong as the maple would've been. Again, I was OK with that. I may just stick to the vanilla when I make them in the future.
When the rolls are ready, remove them from the oven.
Here are my little masterpieces:
You may have noticed that over the course of these photos, two rolls from the muffin pan disappeared already... My family couldn't wait to dig in. :-) Just goes to show you're doin' something right, right?
Take a close look at these sweet golden brown rolls of love just cozied up in that pan full of icing and then try and tell me otherwise (pay no attention to the screams of despair coming from your hips, ladies).
And that's that! My first adventure with dough. And cinnamon rolls. Happily Ever After.