Merry Christmas everyone! Hope everyone had a Christmas shared with great family and friends, and filled with lots of cheer and great food!
My Christmas was awesome – lots of really great food, time with my wonderful family and cooking! My daughter made out this year with a Leapster AND a Wii from Santa– we spent some time “Just Dancing” and working off some of the effects of our holiday binging, which we’ll need after this recipe.
When we were kids, my mom would make us cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. Unbeknownst to her, it became a tradition in my brother’s, and my, mind. A year or two back we didn’t have cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast and my brother was hugely disappointed. Considering I had not ever made homemade cinnamon rolls, now was the perfect time to try it out. Since my daughter was born I have hosted Christmas at my house, this usually includes Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas breakfast and lunch. This year we had Christmas Eve dinner (Cuban Braised Beef), breakfast, snacks and the usual Prime Rib Roast with scalloped potatoes, green beans with bacon, and homemade brioche rolls.
The credit to the great cinnamon roll recipe goes to Ree Drummond and her book, The Pioneer Woman’s Cookbook, the recipe is also online at her website http://thepioneerwoman.com/ – a really great website…she’s pretty darn creative. (however I cut her recipe in half – her recipe made 50 rolls! Holy moly I did not need that many).
2 c. whole milk (I used 2% it worked fine)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 pkt of yeast)
4 cups (plus 1/2 cup extra, separated) All-purpose flour
1 t. (heaping) baking powder
1 t. (scant – just less than 1t.) baking soda
1 T. (heaping) salt
Melted butter (to spread over the dough)
1 c. granulated sugar
Cinnamon to sprinkle generously over the dough
Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm (I prefer 100-115° for yeast bread), sprinkle in the package of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
After rising for at least an hour, mix together the 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture into the dough together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down. Let the mixture sit at room temperature about 30-minutes before you roll it out).
When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Form a rough rectangle with your hands. Then use a rolling pin to roll the dough thin into a rectangle (roughly). Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough and spread to cover all the dough. Sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.
Now, starting at the opposite end of the long side, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.
Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans. Using a neat trick I have seen in lots of recipes (and because it cut much easier than a knife) I used dental floss. By sliding the floss under the roll, then crossing the floss over the roll and pulling the floss tight cutting all the way through the cinnamon roll. The cut is fast clean and easy. A knife was much more difficult! Any other thin string would work, but floss is all I had. It worked well and did not leave any minty flavor on the dough.
Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes. You can adjust your oven temperature if the rolls brown too fast.
Choose a Frosting:
CREAM CHEESE ICING (pictured)
(adapted from Peter Reihnhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday)
3/4 block of cream cheese, room temperature
1 c. powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 t. vanilla
1/8 t. lemon extract
Mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It will be spreadable. Spread frosting generously all over the cinnamon rolls.
REGULAR ICING (from Peter Reihnhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday)
16oz. powdered sugar
1/4 c. milk
1/8 c. melted butter
1 t. lemon extract or vanilla
pinch of salt
Mix together all ingredients and stir well. The mixture will be thick, but pourable. Spread all frosting/icing over the cinnamon rolls generously – this makes them better. The longer this icing sits the more gooey the rolls become.
This will be our family’s new holiday tradition…