Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls (from scratch)

These are so yummy, and actually pretty easy to make- just a little time consuming. You can make them the night before and let them rise in the refrigerator if you'd like to enjoy them on a Sunday morning without the fuss.


2 packages (5 tsp) active dry yeast
1 cup milk (whole, or add a tbsp of butter to give it the fat), heated to 105-115 degrees F
1/2 cup plus 2 tsp sugar
3 Large eggs
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus enough for work surface
1 tsp salt
1 tsp orange zest (I used dried, they come out fine without it)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves (optional)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar (more if it looks like it needs it)
2 heaping tsp cinnamon
pinch of clove
dash of nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, room temperature and soft

I make a basic frosting, usually with about 1/4 cup butter (melted or room temperature), 1/4 cup milk, and 1/2 tsp vanilla, adding powdered sugar until it reaches the consistency I like. You can add more milk, substitute, and play around with it.

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, and let it stand until it gets foamy. Usually this takes about 5 minutes. (see below) I typically add about 2 tsp of sugar to the yeast to feed it.

While the yeast is activating, I put the sugar, nutmeg, cloves, and other small dry ingredients in a bowl so I can add it to the yeast mixture when it's ready.
Once the yeast has activated, add the sugar mix, eggs, and butter. Slowly add in 5 cups of the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon just enough to blend some of the ingredients. You are going to get your hands dirty, so take off your rings.

As you add the flour, a rough mass will form. Once it is relatively solid (like above) you're ready to knead and scrape it out on your work surface (make sure it's lightly floured!).Start kneading the dough, working in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Make sure your work surface stays floured, you don't want the dough to stick. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes. If your dough is too sticky, add a small ammount of flour (it is easier to do this while you are kneading. Make sure that you keep adding flour to your work surface and you should be fine).

Form your dough into a ball, and put into a lightly oiled large bowl. I always run my hands with oil on them over the dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rise for about 1 1/2-2 hours, or until double in size. While the dough is rising, make the filling.

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until it is consistint and ready to spread. Set aside while you are waiting for dough. I would not recommend putting it in the fridge as that would make it hard to spread, but you may want to cover it with plastic wrap.

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and cut it in half with a sharp knife or pastry scraper. Set half aside, and roll out half of the dough until it is 10x16. If I have extremely odd edges, I cut off the excess dough.

Spread half of the cinnamon mixture on the dough. I usually avoid 1/4 inch on each side of the long way, as that usually gets cut off and thrown out. Once you've spread the mixture over the dough, roll one short end toward the other. Cut the rolled up dough into 8 slices about 2in thick. Put the cut side up (it looks nicer) on your baking pan so they are just slightly touching. If you want crispier rolls, space them further apart. Repeat with the other piece of dough.

Cover the rolls with a kitchen towel, and let rise for 30-40 minutes until they are doubled in size and spongy feeling to the touch. (You can also put the rolls in the fridge and leave overnight to rise).

Make sure your rack is in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees F.
I brushed my rolls lightly with a beaten egg to give them the shine.
Bake until golden brown. A tooth pick inserted in the center of a roll should come out clean, about 20-25 minutes.
Just before the rolls are ready, make the icing. Let the rolls cool slightly before icing. Serve warm.

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