Patricia has been asking me for months to be a guest blogger, and I’ve turned her down time after time with excuses: I was too busy; I didn’t take pictures of my creations, etc. However, this item is a proud achievement for me and I had to share. Here it is, at long last: my blogging debut.
My husband recently gave me a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for our anniversary. I know some of you out there might be saddened or upset about getting a kitchen appliance for an anniversary gift, but I was over the moon; I had been wishing and hoping for a mixer for quite some time. Now that I have one, I’ve been trying some new yeast dough recipes that just seemed impossible to do without a mixer. My latest trial: homemade cinnamon rolls.
I have fond memories of sweet rolls that my great grandmother used to make. They weren’t cinnamon rolls exactly, and they weren’t quite caramel rolls either, but some sort of cross between the two. My mom has a notebook of family recipes, but it only lists the ingredients and the amounts. I’m sure some of you know the kind of “recipes” I’m talking about. Now, I know my grandma knows exactly what to do with that ingredient list and it works great for her, but for a novice like me a list of ingredients just isn’t going to cut it. My sister and I have talked about getting Grandma to show us how it’s done, but that just hasn’t happened yet. So, I went in search of a cinnamon roll recipe that could give me the direction I needed. I think I found a pretty good one.
I started off by placing the warmed milk, warm water, vanilla, yeast, and butter into my stand mixer with the dough hook attached. I mixed it on the lowest speed while I continued to add the other ingredients. Next I added the beaten eggs, salt, sugar, and bread flour. I allowed the mixer to mix on low speed until all the ingredients were well combined and then I bumped it up to the second speed to knead the dough. I let the mixer do all the kneading for me, about 10 minutes. As the mixer was kneading, I noticed that my dough didn’t stay in a nice ball, it was sticking to the bottom of my bowl, so I added additional bread flour one tablespoon at a time until it got to a tacky consistency. From making other yeast dough recipes I knew it should feel a little tacky, but not stick to my fingers when I touched it. Now, I’m sure all of this can be done by hand; it just seemed too intimating to me to try mixing a thick dough recipe like this by hand. If you don’t have a stand mixer though, give it a whirl. These are so yummy the extra work would be worth it.
Once the mixer had done all the kneading for me, I took the dough out of the bowl and sprayed the mixer bowl with some cooking spray. I placed my dough back in the sprayed bowl, covered the bowl with plastic wrap and sat it on my counter to rise. The recipe says to let it rise until doubled in size. Well let’s just say things got a little hectic that night and I forgot about my dough until about 4½ hours later. I think it more than doubled in size, but hey things like that happen especially with a three year old in the house.
After the dough had finished rising, I buttered a 9”x13”x2” pan, set that aside, and started the assembly process of my rolls. Using my rolling pin I rolled and stretched the dough into a 15”x24” rectangle. I used an offset frosting spatula to spread the ½ cup softened butter from the cinnamon filling recipe onto the rectangle of dough (you could use a rubber spatula or even a pastry brush to do this). I made sure there was an even layer of butter across the whole thing. Then I mixed the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkled that over the buttered dough, making sure it was a nice even layer. Starting with the long edge, roll up the dough and pinch the seam to seal. Now the recipe I used had a note: Rolling the log too tightly will result in cinnamon rolls whose centers pop up above the rest of them as they bake. I didn’t think I rolled my log too tightly, but some of the centers on my rolls popped out. They still tasted good though :O)
Now that I had my long log of cinnamon rolled dough, I cut them into 1½ inch sections using a serrated knife. I sliced very gently so they wouldn’t squish. The recipe is supposed to make 15 rolls, but I must have rolled my dough into a slightly larger rectangle because I got 18 rolls. Place them in the prepared baking pan(s) (12 rolls will fit into the 9x13x2 dish; I placed my extras into a buttered round cake pan). The unbaked cinnamon rolls should not touch each other before rising and baking. Mine did touch a little, but what can you do? I covered my pans with plastic wrap and let them do their final rise in the refrigerator overnight. If you want to bake them the same day, let them rise on the counter for about 45 minutes to an hour or until doubled in size. After rising, the rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan.
The next morning I took my rolls out of the refrigerator and let them warm up a bit. They hadn’t completely doubled in size so I let them finish rising on the counter. Once they were the size I wanted, I preheated my oven to 350 degrees and baked them for about 20-25 minutes until they were a light golden brown.
While my rolls were baking I mixed up the frosting. Now my husband and daughter love frosting, so I doubled the frosting recipe which I think was a good idea for us. Once the rolls were done, I took them out of the oven and placed the pan on a cooling rack and frosted the rolls while they were still hot. Frosting them while still hot allowed the gooey frosting to slightly melt into the rolls.
Oh my goodness were these cinnamon rolls delicious! They weren’t my great grandmother’s rolls, but they were delicious none the less. Cinnamon rolls may have been intimidating to me in the past, but not anymore. They are a bit time consuming, but well worth the time and effort. Enjoy!
Heidi DeJong – Guest Blogger
- 1 cup milk (heated about 1 minute in microwave)
- ¼ cup warm water (110 degrees F)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- 3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
- 2 eggs, room temperature and beaten
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 5 cups bread flour
- Cinnamon Filling:
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 4 to 5 tablespoons cinnamon
- Frosting (I doubled this recipe):
- 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a large bowl or in the bowl of a 5-quart stand mixer, combine all the ingredients in the order given except the Cinnamon Filling and the Butter Frosting. Using a dough hook, mix everything together until a soft dough forms.
- Check the dough. It should form a nice elastic ball. If you think the dough is too moist, add additional flour (a tablespoon at a time). The same is true if the dough is looking dry and gnarly. Add warm water (a tablespoon at a time). If you can’t judge your dough by looking, stick your finger in and feel the dough. It should be slightly tacky to the touch.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly-oiled surface (I use a nonstick cooking spray), and knead until elastic, approximately 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size
- Butter a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan; set aside.
- After dough has risen, using your rolling pin, roll and stretch the dough into approximately a 15 x 24-inch rectangle.
- Brush the 1/2 cup softened butter (listed below in the Cinnamon Filling) over the top of the dough with a rubber spatula or a pastry brush. Sprinkle Cinnamon Filling over the butter on the prepared dough. Starting with long edge, roll up dough; pinch seams to seal. NOTE: Rolling the log too tightly will result in cinnamon rolls whose centers pop up above the rest of them as they bake.
- With a knife, lightly mark roll into 1 1/2-inch section. Use a sharp knife (I like to use a serrated knife and saw very gently) or slide a 12-inch piece of dental floss or heavy thread underneath. By bringing the ends of the floss up and criss-crossing them at the top of each mark, you can cut through the roll by pulling the strings in opposite directions. Place cut side up in prepared baking pan, flattening them only slightly. The unbaked cinnamon rolls should not touch each other before rising and baking. Do not pack the unbaked cinnamon rolls together.
- At this point, the cinnamon rolls can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight (I’ve actually made them two days in advance) or frozen for one (1) month. Before baking, allow rolls to thaw completely and rise in a warm place if frozen. I have found that I have to take the unbaked frozen cinnamon rolls out of the freezer 10 to 12 hours before planning to bake. I just put the frozen cinnamon rolls (container and rolls) on my counter (not in the refrigerator) overnight for 10 to 12 hours.
- If refrigerated, they can be either baked upon removing from the refrigerator or let come to a room temperature (I’ve done both ways). They do a slow rise overnight and it is not necessary to let them come to room temperature before baking. If you rolls are not rising enough after being refrigerated, your yeast may need to be tested. To overcome this, let them rise, while sitting on the counter, until you achieve the desired rising before baking.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size (after rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan).
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake approximately 20 to 25 minutes in a regular oven until they are a light golden brown. A good check is to use an instant digital thermometer to test your bread. The temperature should be between 190 and 200 degrees.
- This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. Originally designed for professional users, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world.
- Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Spread prepared Butter Frosting over the cinnamon rolls while still warm.
- Best served warm, but room temperature is also great!
Thanks to Heidi for making these and sharing! If she lived closer to me I sure would have been at her house for breakfast!
Let us know how you enjoyed these as well. We love to hear from you!!!
Patricia – Two Girls Cooking