Cinnamon Rolls

Ok, so technically these may be more breakfast than dessert, but there’s more sugar in these than in some of my other desserts, so we’ll just agree to disagree here.

Cinnamon rolls are the kind of breakfast that made me a chubby kid, and are still what I go back to if ever given half a chance.  I have a friend in Chicago that I sometimes visit and whenever I go I have to have at least one breakfast at this place that serves giant cinnamon rolls with every savory breakfast…it’s like dessert after breakfast.  It feels like an “Only in Chicago” kind of thing, but I live for that.

So, I don’t think I’d ever recommend that you have these every day.  But if you want a treat, either for breakfast or for a full-on dessert, these will serve you very, very well.

Ingredients

Rolls

·        4 ½ cups flour, separated

·        1/3 cup sugar

·        2 packets of instant Yeast (look for packets labeled “rapid rise,” “quick rise” or “fast rise”)

·        1 t salt

·        1 ½ cups warm water

·        6 T butter, softened to room temperature

·        1 ½ t vanilla

·        1 egg

Streusel Filling

·        2/3 cup sugar

·        4 t cinnamon

·        4 T butter, melted

Frosting

·        2 ½ cups powdered sugar

·        2 T butter, softened to room temperature

·        2 t milk

·        1 t vanilla

Directions

Pour 2 of the cups of flour, sugar, both yeast packets and salt into a bowl and whisk together until they’re well blended.  In this case it’s better to over-whisk than under-whisk.  You really want to make sure that the yeast in particular is evenly distributed throughout the mix.

Next, add the water, butter, vanilla and egg to the mixture and beat with a hand mixer for at least two minutes.  Add in another 2 cups of flour and beat for another 2 minutes.  Add in just enough of the remaining half cup of flour so that you can easily form the dough into a ball.   This might be all of the half cup, or a bit less or a bit more.

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Take your dough ball, put it on a floured surface and knead it for 8 -10 minutes, or until it springs back when you press it with a couple fingers.

IMG_9188Very topline, what kneading does is helps mix the ingredients and makes it so that your cinnamon rolls will be light and fluffy.   If you skip this process, the dough will likely not rise nearly as much, making the rolls way too dense.  The whole kneading process is kind of fascinating (to me, anyway).   It doesn’t make sense for me to go into the hows and whys here, but if you’re interested go to the interwebs and see what they have to say about it.

Once you’re done kneading, cover the dough with a towel for 10 minutes and just let it rest.   While that is happening, you can move on to the streusel filling.

The filling is super easy, just mix the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl, and get ready to melt the butter.

After the ten minutes of rest, go back to the dough and roll it out two a rectangle of about 10” x 15”.

IMG_9190aMelt your butter and brush it all over the exposed side of the dough, stopping around ½ inch from the edges.  This will add some flavor and allow the filling mixture to stick a bit better.

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Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly across the buttered dough, again stopping around ½ inch from the edges.

Starting at the long end of the dough, roll the dough up tightly.  When you’re finished rolling, pinch the seam so that it’s sealed.

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Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and place them, cut sides down, onto a 13” x 9” pan that you’ve greased with butter.  Note that the 12 slices will be touching each other.

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Cover the pan with a towel and set it in a warm place so that it can rise.  What you want is the rolls to about double in size – leave it for an hour and that should do it.

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Oooooo – science! These got huge after an hour. I wish the gym worked like that…

Bake the rolls at 350 for 30 minutes, or until they are a nice delicious-looking golden brown.  Cool them on a wire rack (in the pan).

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For the frosting, just add all the frosting ingredients together and beat with your hand mixer until they’re smooth.  Note – if the frosting is too thick for you, add a little (emphasis on a little – like less than a teaspoon) additional milk until you get to the consistency you want.

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Pour/spread the frosting over the rolls and enjoy!  Note – usually you need to wait until the cake (whatever the cake is you’re making) is completely cooled before you frost.  That’s not the case here.  You don’t want to frost them right out of the oven, but if you wait 10-15 minutes that should be plenty.   These are great warm or cold!!

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