Tuesday, July 12, 2011
A Cinnamon Roll Kinda Day
Some days are good. Some days are not so good.
And some days just call for homemade cinnamon rolls. Yep, they sure do.
Days where the whisper of cinnamon sugar is in the air, beckoning you to roll up a pan of goodness, bake up a dozen pieces of heaven, and devour them all yourself. Or, if you're feeling especially selfless, to share them with your family whom you love ever so much.
Incidentally, some days are brownie days around our house too. Actually, a lot of days are. Cinnamon roll days are much fewer and far between, and must be respected when they arrive.
Today I heard the call. And I answered.
I think everyone has a favorite recipe that they love. Me, I'm more of a "It's What You Do With It" kinda gal. I'll try all manner of recipes, snatching a bit from this one and adding a skosh from that one. I love trying each one out to see if I can build my own Perfect Recipe.
The following recipe is one of those mismash conglomeration of multiple recipes. Is it the end all be all heavy weight champion of the cinnamon roll world? That's for others to decide. But it has become a favorite around here.
1 1/3 cups milk 2 1/2 TBS butter
2 eggs 3 TBS sugar
2/3 tsp salt* 4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp yeast**
Filling: Mix together
5 TBS sugar 2TBS cinnamon + extra for shaking on
2/3 cup melted butter
*A trick I learned when dealing with thirds of things is this: 1/3 tsp is a heaping 1/4 teaspoon.
**I make so much bread around here that I keep jars of yeast, which make measuring a breeze. If you're using the packages, 1 packet is 2 1/4 tsp of yeast. I recommend buying yeast at the price clubs because it's cheap. As in 4 bucks cheap. And you get a brick of it. I keep a jar of it in the fridge and keep the rest tightly wrapped in the fridge so it's ready to go when I need to refill the jar. It stays good for a long time, is fresh when you need it, and is oodles and oodles cheaper than the packets.
Whew. Aren't you glad I said all that??
So, I cheat and use my bread machine to do this. Using that method, I add all wet ingredients and then add the dry stuff, saving the yeast for very last. I select the dough cycle, press Start, and sit back for an hour and half, which is when the dough will be done. Check your machine rules though because I know some require the dry ingredients to be put in the pan first.
If you're using the mixer method, activate your yeast first by warming up 1/3 cup of the 1 1/3 cups of milk. It should be warm but not hot. Add 1 TBS of the sugar, and 1 TBS of the flour, and then stir in the yeast. Let that sit for a few minutes until it gets foamy; at that point it's ready to use.
In a mixing bowl, mix your yeast mixture, eggs, butter, remaining milk, and sugar until combined. Add the salt and remaining flour until mixed. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes until smooth and elastic (I use the dough hook for this). Place your dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rest until doubled...(30min-1hour). Yes, I know that's vague. But dough will not be rushed. It won't be. When it's doubled, it's ready; if that happens in 30 minutes or 60, it takes what it takes. A good hint is to let your dough rise in a preheated LOW (170 degree) oven with a dish of water set on the bottom. If you have a proofing cycle on your oven, that's even better.
At this point, whether you used a bread machine or a mixer, you should be ready to create the rolls. To do this, roll your dough out into a rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon/sugar mix. Now, I happen to think that in a cinnamon roll the predominant flavor should be the cinnamon. It's a quality I admire about a cinnamon roll, actually. Anyway, if you feel the same way, you'll want to do this next step. Remember that +extra cinnamon part of the ingredient list? This is where it comes in. Sprinkle your dough with the cinnamon as much or as little as you'd like. Now roll it up like a jelly roll, from the long side.
Cut your dough into 1 1/2-2 inch wide slices and place them in a greased pan or pans. Cover them and let them rise. Again, I use my oven for this, preheated to 170 but turned off. They should double in 20-30minutes.
Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Start checking for over browning after about 10 minutes. Cover with foil if you feel they're getting too brown. When done, allow to cool. You can then glaze them with a milk/powdered sugar glaze while they're still slightly warm if you'd like. Sharing is recommended, but completely optional.