CINNAMON ROLLS

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I have been making these cinnamon rolls since we lived in Omaha, Nebraska where Mr. Incredible was attending law school.  We loved our time there! The people are good, family-oriented people who love their football.  EVERYONE wears their team shirts on Saturdays and we even heard Cornhuskers football spoken of from the pulpit at church. We lived in a fantastic town home complex where I met so many friends, whose husbands were also attending graduate school of some sort.  Each year, the entire complex would have a huge yard sale and I decided to make 6 dozen of these cinnamon rolls and sell them to the hungry, early-morning shoppers.  They quickly sold out and that money was very helpful for us, as poor students.

It is a sweet dough that is good for not only cinnamon rolls, but orange rolls, cranberry rolls, and raspberry rolls. It is extremely soft, tender and moist.  The key is to make sure the yeast activates (foams and bubbles within minutes) and to let it mix/knead for the full 10 minutes (this develops the gluten in the flour and makes for a tender, soft, stretchy dough).

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This sweet girl was thrilled to help mom brush on the butter.  I am fully aware that my table is a mess in the background.  I’m keeping it real here.  So, after the dough is mixed, covered and left to double in size, pull it out of the bowl and punch it down.  This deflates the dough and release the pockets of air so you can form it, but you HAVE to let it rest at least 10 minutes because after you punch it down it will seize up and you will have no luck rolling it out and stretching it.  It just needs to breathe for a bit.

Divide the dough into 2 equal halves and cover one of them while you work with the other half.  Roll out your dough to about 1/4″ thick, I have found the thicker the dough the softer the cinnamon roll. Brush on butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, I like to mix them together first for even distribution.  Also, don’t be stingy! You are making cinnamon rolls, no one expects them to be healthy and a good amount of brown sugar/cinnamon is what takes these sweet rolls over the top!

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I had a little leftover cinnamon sugar from some caramel apples I made the night before so that is the white you see in the picture above.  I added brown sugar and cinnamon to make enough for the rolls.

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Now get rolling! Each half will make 20 good size rolls which fits perfectly onto a jelly roll pan.  I like to lightly mark with my sharp, serrated knife, 20 even indentations so to ensure I’ll get 20 identical rolls.

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I bake mine on silicone baking mats, which I adore!  They can also be baked on parchment-lined pans or even directly on an unlined-pan but I find the sugars brown too much on the bottom of an unlined pan so I always bake them on something.  (It also makes for much easier clean up!) Now cover these beauties for 45 minutes to rise and expand.

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Preheat your oven, and bake.  Each oven is different and varies in temperature, so WATCH them closely after about 13 minutes.  Pull them out when they are browned to your liking, just make sure you give the middle ones enough time to cook so you don’t have doughy rolls.

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Be sure to let them cool before frosting them or your frosting will melt all over the place and they will look glazed, not frosted.  Enjoy!!

RECIPE

FOR THE DOUGH:

1/4 c. instant yeast

1 1/2 c. warm water (110 degrees)

pinch of sugar

In the bowl of your mixer, mix the sugar into the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top and give it a stir.  Let the yeast grow, foam and activate for 5-10 minutes.  To the yeast mixture, add the following ingredients, adding the flour one cup at a time and mixing until the dough leaves the side of the bowl and is tacky but not too sticky.

2 c. warm water

2/3 c. powdered milk

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. salt

4 eggs

1 c. butter, softened

10-12+ c. bread flour

Let the dough mix for 10 minutes on the 1st speed of your mixer. Cover with a clean towel and let rise 1 1/2 hours or until at least doubled if not tripled in size. Divide into 2 halves. Cover one and roll out the other into a triangle no thinner than 1/4″ thick. Spread 6 tablespoons of butter on top. In a medium bowl mix 1 1/2 c. brown sugar and 5 tablespoons of ground cinnamon. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on top of butter, spreading evenly.  Mr. Incredible says raisins are ALWAYS optional, but if you’d like to add raisins, now is the time.  Roll the short way and cut into 20 even rolls.  Place on jelly roll pan lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Repeat with the other half.  Cover with clean towel and let rise 45 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let cool, then frost.

FOR THE FROSTING:

1 (8oz package) cream cheese

3/4 c. butter

4 1/2 + c. powdered sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Whip the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy, add the vanilla and salt to incorporate.  Slowly add the powdered sugar.  if desired, add extra powdered sugar to make more frosting, adding milk as needed to thin.

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