Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls



I am not a morning person. Never have been, never will be. On the days that I work, I have to get up at 5:30 am...and it's a struggle. Somehow, The Cooker Boy is an early riser- he thinks 6 am is sleeping in! The Cooker Boy loves "Brefffast Rolls" as he calls them..I call them cinnamon rolls. He woke me up at the crack of dawn We woke up early on my last weekend off, and I decided to use that time to try out the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Roll recipe I'd looked at a thousand hundred few times. This recipe is surprisingly easy, the hardest part is rolling the dough to the right thickness to end up with rolls and not lumps, like my first batch did. Regardless of what shape they turned out to be, they tasted great! I don't think I'll ever buy canned cinnamon rolls again! (Sorry, Pillsbury!)

I made a few changes to the original recipe for a few reasons. I have no need for 7 pans of cinnamon rolls, so I cut the recipe in half. The other changes were swapping ingredients I had in the house for ingredients the recipe called for. I encourage you to visit The Pioneer Woman's website and view her recipe- the step by step photos she has are amazingly helpful!

The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Makes 3 pans of rolls

2 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
4 cups plus 1/2 cup flour, separated
1/2 teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (scant) baking soda
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 sticks butter, melted (more if desired)
1 cup sugar
Generous amount of cinnamon- as much or as little as you please

Combine milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a large pot. Heat over medium-high heat until just before it boils (Scalding). Turn off the heat and let sit until lukewarm- 45 to 60 minutes. Sprinkle yeast over the mixture, and let sit for a minute.  Add 4 cups of flour and stir until combined. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising, add the remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir until combined. Dough can be refrigerated at this point if you want to make the rolls later, but I like instant gratification. I made my rolls right away.

Take half of the dough and roll out into a thin rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Be careful not to roll the dough too thin..this makes for cinnamon lumps instead of rolls.

Drizzle 1/4-1/2 cup melted butter over the dough, then sprinkle 1/2 cup of sugar and desired amount of cinnamon over top. I thought I was going heavy with the cinnamon, but the taste was barely noticeable. Next time, I'm going all out.

Now comes the tricky part. Starting at the edge that is away from you, roll the dough in a neat line towards you. Keep the roll as tight as you can. Pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of butter in a cake or pie pan. Using a very sharp knife, cut the rolls 3/4"-1 inch thick, and lay in the buttered pan.**



Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for an additional 20-30 minutes before baking for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

** With my first batch looking like lumps, I decided to use my muffin tin instead of a cake pan. I drizzled a bit of melted butter into each tin, and sprinkled a bit of cinnamon and sugar on top. I placed a chunk of dough into each tin, and topped with more butter, cinnamon and sugar as most of the "goo" leaked out during the rolling process. These tasted just as great as the rolls!



While the rolls are baking, prepare your glaze. The original Maple frosting sounds sinful, but I had neither maple flavoring or coffee in my house. We all know I have a thing for salted caramel, so I improvised and came up with the following delicious glaze.

Salted Caramel Glaze

8 oz powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/8 cup melted butter
1/2 cup caramel (store bought, or homemade- recipe follows)
1/2 teaspoon salt (if using the caramel recipe below, omit additional salt)


Whisk sugar, milk and butter together in a medium bowl. When combined, stir in caramel and salt. Pour over rolls immediately as they come out of the oven, and tilt the pan to spread the love!

I can't tell if he's supervising, or wants to dive into the rolls!
Sea Salt Caramel from Doughmesstic

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream

Combine cream and salt in a small saucepan and heat over low until salt is dissolved. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add sugar and corn syrup. They will not combine well until the sugar starts to melt.
If you have a candy thermometer, cook over high until mixture reaches 350 degrees. If your child thinks the thermometer is a toy (like mine does), cook until the mixture is a light amber color. Remove from heat- the mixture will continue cooking, and the color will darken to a nice caramel color. ( I cooked it to the caramel color the first time, and while it looked great, the caramel had a very bitter taste..I burnt it. Thanks to Susan @doughmesstic for your help!)

Stir in the cream mixture and vanilla, then whisk in sour cream. Let the caramel cool to room temperature, and transfer to an airtight container to refrigerate.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!!

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