Last September I mentioned I wanted to do a "cinnamon roll master class" on my blog. I've noticed that every time I make a point of writing what I plan to post on my blog, I never follow through. I think all that means is, I'm telling you my plan because I don't care enough to write about it now, so what makes me think I'll write about it later? Also, my Dad and I have this rivalry when it comes to cinnamon rolls. He thinks his are better than mine. I don't think he's ever tried mine, but he's sure his are better and I'm not qualified to teach a "master class." The jury is still out on the first part, but I'm sure the second is true. So we'll just call it a "cinnamon roll class."
The recipe for the roll dough comes from my good friend Beckie Codd. She made me cinnamon rolls once when we both lived in Utah and after that I had to have her recipe.
1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup warm milk (105-110 degrees)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter (softened)
4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
about 1/3 cup butter, softened
Mix 1/2 cup warm milk with 1 Tbs sugar and dry yeast. (I usually heat my milk in the microwave on high for 40 seconds.) Within five minutes, your yeast mixture should become spongey like you see on the left.
In the meantime, pour the other 1/2 cup of warm milk, softened butter, 1 tsp salt, eggs, sugar, and 2 cups of the flour into the bowl of your electric mixer. When the yeast is ready, add it to the bowl and mix with your dough attachment until all the ingredients are wet. Add 1 cup of flour and mix. Add flour again, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until the dough clings to the dough attachment and your bowl is "clean."
Take the dough out of the bowl and give it a good knead. I'm pretty sure this is my favorite thing to do in the kitchen.
Pour a teaspoon or so of vegetable oil in a clean bowl and swirl around. Add your dough and place a kitchen towel over the top of the bowl. My cinnamon roll dough always takes a long time to double in size. This last time I boiled some water, turned on the oven light, and placed the dough bowl inside the oven with the pot of boiled water so the steam would help the dough to rise. That really helped things along.
Once your dough has doubled, place it on a well-floured surface and roll out in a big rectangle (approx 21 inches by 16 inches). The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread the softened margarine all over the dough. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. Sprinkle that evenly all over the dough, then take your rolling pin and lightly roll it over the cinnamon sugar, to help it cling to the dough. Working carefully from the bottom, roll the the dough to the top.
Cut your log into 1 1/2 inch slices. Use dental floss. Now this tip comes by way of my aunt Cindy. Place your piece of floss under the log where you want to cut it, cross the two sides of floss across the top and pull and you will have a clean and precise slice. I'm including pictures just in case my description is confusing.
I bake mine in a stoneware dish, but if you are using a 9x13 dish or pan, be sure to grease with shortening or butter. Cover dish with plastic wrap. Allow rolls to rise for a while, 1 - 1 1/2 hours, and then bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Now for the icing.... the icing recipe comes with a story. Last summer, when I first made these rolls with this icing, I was in the mood to bake and I made these and Ina's fabulous coconut cupcakes. (They are SO GOOD!) Rather than make two different recipes for cream cheese frosting, I opted to use the coconut cupcake frosting recipe on the cinnamon rolls as well. This frosting has a very small amount of almond extract in it that makes it taste like heaven. And I think it's impact is even more impressive on cinnamon rolls. It makes you make that face. You know the face, when you scrunch up your face and look off into the distance and try to pinpoint that delicious and familiar taste in your mouth. You know what it is, but you just can't put your finger on it.
Here is the recipe, adapted of course since the original calls for one pound of cream cheese:
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1/3 of a stick butter
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- just over 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 2 1/2 -3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool for 10-15 minutes, then spread frosting on cinnamon rolls while still warm. Then come back here and let me know what you think.