Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

Before I jump headfirst into sharing this ridiculously fantastic recipe with you all, I need to tell my awesome husband HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! One year ago today, he took the plunge with me and to date, there have been no regrets (that I know of anyway).

I made these cinnamon rolls last night in anticipation of having breakfast in bed with Mr.Shoe. It's definitely not something we get to do often! I knew I could just make these the night before and then throw in the oven when we got up.

I actually used a combination of 2 recipes. First I looked to everybody's favorite scientist, Alton Brown. "The Puffy" is probably one of his most famous recipes and was where I intended to start. But for kicks I decided to scroll through my Reader and see what else I had in there and that's when I came across this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. Go look at those pictures please.

All done? Good. Now that you've seen the photos you understand why I HAD to use her dough recipe. But we aren't really into nuts and syrup in our cinnamon rolls so I reverted to Alton for the filling and the icing.

1 package (2¼ teaspoons) instant yeast
1/2 t + 1/4 c sugar, divided
1/4 c water, heated to 115 degrees
1/2 c whole milk, room temperature*
2 T light brown sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 3/4 c AP flour (plus more for kneading)
3/4 t salt
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 c light brown sugar, packed
1 T cinnamon
Pinch of salt
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 T unsalted butter, melted

2 oz cream cheese, softened
3 T milk
1 1/2 c powdered sugar

*I didn't have whole milk so I used 1/4 c skim milk and 1/4 c half & half; worked like a charm.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Once it's preheated, let it sit for 10 minutes and then turn the oven off.

To Make the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer combine yeast, 1/2 t sugar and water. Stir to combine and let sit until frothy and foamy, about 10 minutes.

Add the remaining sugar, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg and egg yolk. Beat with a wire whisk until well combined. Fit the bowl onto the mixer, fitting with the dough hook attachment. Add the flour and salt and mix on medium speed until the dough just begins to come together. Turn the machine on medium-high and knead the dough for 4 minutes.

Add the butter and continue to knead for about 6 minutes. The dough will be wet and sticky. Place the dough on a well floured work surface, and knead about 1/3 cup all-purpose flour into the dough. The dough still might be a little sticky, which is ok. Set the dough to rest in a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in the oven 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

While the dough rises, make the filling. Combine the light brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, dump it from the bowl onto a heavily floured work surface. Gently knead the dough until it is no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed. Work the dough for about 1 or 2 minutes. Once it’s no longer sticky, place a kitchen towel over the dough and let rest for 5 minutes before you roll it out.

Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10 x 10-inch square.

In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese with a knife until it’s smooth and spreadable. Spread the cream cheese evenly over the dough square.

Fold the square into thirds like you would fold a letter to fit into an envelope. Take the open ends of the rectangle and fold into thirds again, to make a smaller dough square. Invert the dough so that the seam is face down and, using the rolling pin, gently roll it into a 10 x 20-inch rectangle. You may find that some cream cheese sneaks through. Be as gentle as possible with the dough, but continue to work it until you reach the size you need.

Turn the dough so that the short sides are parallel to you. Brush the top of the dough with the melted butter.

Pour all of the filling onto the dough. Spread evenly, leaving a 1-inch boarder at one of the short edges of the dough so the roll can be properly sealed. Lightly press the filling into the dough.

Using your hands, lift up the bottom edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight cylinder. Place dough cylinder seam side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp, thin knife, trim off the uneven edges.

Cut the cylinder into 12 equal slices. Nestle the slices, cut side up and evenly spaced in a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to let rise for 2 hours. You may also refrigerate rolls overnight (like we did).

I feel that it is important to mention that Mr. Shoe took over the cinnamon rolls. And he felt the need to completely forget about the recipe and just do whatever the heck he wanted. Le sigh...

Preheat the oven to 375. Uncover the rolls. If you refrigerated the rolls, let them sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before baking. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

To make the icing: Mix together the cream cheese, some powdered sugar and a splash or two of milk in a small bowl until smooth. Add more sugar or milk to reach your desired consistency.

Spread the icing over the cinnamon rolls until completely covered. Serve warm.

Fan-freaking-tastic! These were my (our) first attempt at homemade cinnamon rolls and I am uber pleased with the results.

However...I think that the icing was really, really sweet. And I couldn't figure out why until I realized that Mr. Shoe doubled the icing recipe. And used the entire batch over the cinnamon rolls (the recipe calls for 2 oz cream cheese; he used 4 oz and didn't measure his sugar or milk).

Gotta love him!


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