Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

This was my first attempt at cinnamon rolls. Sure they take a while from start to finish, but that's just because of two rise times. The actual work is really nothing. On a Saturday when I'm home cleaning and being otherwise domestic, it's easy to get these made. I just have to stop what I'm doing and move on to the next step when it's time.

Of course, if you're just dying to have warm rolls for breakfast and don't want to wake up at 5 a.m. then you can do everything up until the baking the night before. After the rolls are shaped and cut, put the pan in the refrigerator. In the morning, the rolls will need to warm up and they may need a bit more time to rise. You can speed this up by doing it in a warm oven. Heat your oven to its “warm” setting, then turn it off and put the rolls in the oven. They should be warm and ready to bake in half and hour or so. With minimal waiting time and almost no work at all, you can have a fantastic treat for breakfast!

I liked this recipe because it was pretty straightforward. Not to gooey or buttery, not slathered with a ton of frosting or icing. It was just a basic recipe, which is what I needed for my first try!

Cinnamon Rolls

Dough:
½ cup milk
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons yeast)
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg, plus 2 large egg yolks
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4-4 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface

Filling:
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon melted butter

Glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted to remove lumps
1 ounce cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons milk

1. Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until the mixture is lukewarm (about 100 degrees).

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the water, yeast, sugar, egg, and yolks at low speed until well mixed. Add the salt, warm milk mixture, and 2 cups of the flour and mix at medium speed until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Switch to the dough hook, add another 2 cups of the flour, and knead at medium speed (adding up to ¼ cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary) until the dough is smooth and freely clears the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a round, place it in a very lightly oiled large bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

3. Mix together the filling ingredients in a small bowl. Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

4. After the dough has doubled in bulk, press it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, shape the dough into a 16 by 12-inch rectangle, with a long side facing you. Mix together the filling ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border at the far edges. Roll the dough, beginning with the long edge closest to you and using both hands to pinch the dough with your fingertips as you roll. Moisten the top border with water and seal the roll. Lightly dust the roll with flour and press on it ends if necessary to make a uniform 16-inch cylinder. Cut the roll in 12 equal pieces and place the rolls cut-side up in the prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

5. When the rolls are almost fully risen, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of one reads 185 to 188 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the glaze ingredients together until smooth. Glaze the rolls and serve.

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