Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cinnamon Rolls (My Favorite)

This is my favorite cinnamon roll recipe. It can be time consuming but if you have a bread machine, it’s much easier. Just use the dough cycle. When it's done, proceed with the recipe where you flatten the dough out.

My husband describes these as “not sugary, kinda creamy.”

Melt a stick of butter to have on hand for the smaller amounts of melted butter throughout the recipe. Be sure to stir well before measuring out what you need (this redistributes the solids).

1 tablespoon active dry yeast (you will need 2 packets but you won’t use all of the 2nd one)
1 teaspoon plus 1/3 cup sugar
½ cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
½ cup warm milk (110-115 degrees)
½ cup butter, softened
1 egg, room temperature
¾ teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour (more or less)
4 tablespoons melted butter, divided (this is not mixed into the dough)

¾ + 2 tablespooons brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups confectioner’s sugar

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Add the butter, milk, egg, salt, remaining sugar and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes (I probably only knead 3 or 4 minutes). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12x17 rectangle (I have a cookie sheet this size and I just pat it out into it. You can really do whatever size you want.

Brush 2 tablespoons melted butter over the dough.

Mix the filling ingredients together (mix the dry ingredients first; then add the wet and stir). Mixture should resemble wet sand. Sprinkle/spread onto the dough as evenly as possible. From the long edge, roll the dough up as tightly as you can. Slice into 16 pieces.

Butter 2 round cake pans (I prefer the disposable foil pans; they don’t stick for some reason). Place the rolls into the pan; 1 in the middle and 7 around the one. Brush with 2 tablespoons butter. Let rise in warm place (a cold oven with the light on is a great place!) for about 30 minutes or until the rolls are almost to the top of the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-20 minutes or until golden brown (I place them on the rack just below the middle one to help the bottoms get done).

Cream the cream cheese with the mixer (you can just whisk all this but it’s much creamier with the mixer), add the butter, milk, vanilla, and salt and mix well. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar. Beat until well mixed.

Spread over the rolls you want to use immediately; place the rest in the refrigerator until you are going to use it.

NOTES: It’s best to gently warm the leftover rolls one or two at a time in the microwave. Placing them in the oven tends to dry them out, though they are still yummy this way.

These freeze well! After assembling them, brush the butter on them, place some plastic wrap on the surface of the rolls and cover with foil. Freeze for up to a few months. When needed, thaw them and rise in a cold oven with the light on (you can speed the process by placing a large bowl or pan with hot tap water in it inside the oven). It takes about 2-3 hours. Bake as directed above. I’m sure you can thaw the rolls in the refrigerator overnight and just rise them the next morning…I just haven’t tried this yet.

The icing can be frozen as well. A freezer bag works great for this; just be sure to get all the air out of it before freezing. You can thaw it in the refrigerator.

If you want to bake them the day before and just re-heat, consider leaving the icing off. They seem to reheat a bit better, then you can add the icing.

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