Saturday, May 3, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls Aren't That Scary

A little backstory: I used to be terrified to make cinnamon rolls. Well, I was actually just scared of yeast. I attempted my first round of cinnamon rolls around the age of 14 with a church group. That was my first foray into yeast... and my last, until now.

I was reading an article in Bon Appetit magazine, one of the best, and came across a funny article that shared pretty much the same fear that I had. After a little coercing from the clever writing in the article, and a wicked sweet tooth emerging, I decided to play with yeast again. Good idea.

These cinnamon rolls are so yummy and so easy to make. They are perfect to try out on a lazy Sunday. I hope someone else can enjoy them as much as my husband and I do. WARNING: eating these cinnamon rolls for breakfast for two weeks straight can cause you to become cinnamon roll'd out.

I will post pictures when my husband and I decide we can handle another week's worth of cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze (makes 18)

1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/4 teaspoons Rapid Rise yeast (1 packet)
1 teaspoon salt
Nonstick cooking spray

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dough: Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120-130 degrees F, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Add 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into a ball.
Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning over to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then with a kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm, draft-free area until doubled in volume. About 2 hours.

Filling: Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.
Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11 inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2 inch border all around. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at one long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch wide).
Spray two 9 inch square glass baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between the rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap and then with kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm, draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40-45 minutes.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto wire cooling rack. Cool for 10 minutes and then return to glass dishes.

Glaze: Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls while still warm. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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