Wednesday, March 7, 2007

On A Roll

I have been having such a good time doing this blog. It's some of my favorite things - cooking, reading cookbooks, and writing. The bonus is all the nice comments I've gotten. My daughter thinks it's hilarious how excited I get when people leave me comments on the blog so she leaves silly notes, just to see me laugh.

Today I got totally carried away and neglected all my chores and baked and cooked up a storm. It might have been the looming deadline of taxes that I wanted to avoid, but I got on a baking roll and produced a cake for my son, pudding to use up the egg yolks left over from the cake, cinnamon rolls because they make my husband happy, and lemon chicken for dinner.

All this fun does have a downside, though. My family is complaining piteously (in between bites) about the size of their spread. The spread on the chair, not the one on the plate. So it was with glee that I saw a comment posted by Bruce, who works with my husband, volunteering to take on taste-testing duties. You asked for it, you got it, Bruce!

My husband will be bringing to the staff meeting a pan of my favorite cinnamon rolls. I hope you enjoy. And remember to leave comments!

Over the years I've tried many different recipes for cinnamon rolls, finding most of them dry and unappealing. Especially on the second day. Then I read the original of this recipe in a murder mystery. The plot was so-so but the recipe had definite potential. I downsized the rolls and took off the cream cheese frosting. Too much of a good thing makes me wish for less. So here is the revised, but still potentially lethal recipe. They are soft and seductive, sweet, but not headache-inducing.

Monster Cinnamon Rolls

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup milk
3/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar
1-1/4 tsp salt
7-1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
5 large eggs
8-1/2 - 9-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar
1/2 c. butter
3 Tbsp ground cinnamon

2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
enough milk to make glue-like consistency, about 2 Tbsp.

For the dough, heat the butter with the milk, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and the salt in a small saucepan until the butter is melted. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water, add the remaining tsp sugar, stir, and set aside for 10 minutes, until the mixture is bubbly. Add the lukewarm milk mixture and the eggs and beat until well combined. Add the flour a cup at a time, stirring and using enough flour to form a stiff dough. Turn out on a floured board and knead until smooth and satiny, approximately 10 min. (or place in the bowl of an electric mixer and knead with a dough hook until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl, approximately 5 min. I have a 5 quart KitchenAid and the dough burbles up and wraps around the dough hook, so I need to scrape it down frequently). Place the dough in a very large buttered bowl, turn to butter the top, and allow to rise, covered loosely with a kitchen towel, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, approximately 1 hour. Punch the dough down and divide it in half. Roll one half out to a large rectangle, about 12" x 24".

Butter two 9 x 13 baking pans. For the filling, melt the butter. Spread 1/2 the butter evenly over the surface of the dough. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle 1/2 of it evenly over the melted butter. Roll up the dough lengthwise, pinching the dough together to form a seam when rolled. Cut the dough log in quarters, and then each quarter in thirds. If you are particular about pretty rolls, trim off the ends. Place the rolls in a buttered 9 x 13" baking pan. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Cover the rolls loosely with a kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls for about 20-30 minutes or until puffed and browned. Mix the icing ingredients and drizzle over the rolls. Allow to cool to room temperature on racks (if you can).

If you prefer a cream cheese frosting:

Combine 1/2 lb. cream cheese, softened with 1/4 cup whipping cream and 1 tsp vanilla extract until smooth. Add 3-4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted, blending until smooth and soft, not stiff.


If you want to "pimp up" your rolls, you can throw raisins, chopped nuts, coconut, or your favorite exotic ingredient into the filling. I'm a purist, though. My rolls will always be per factory spec.


Elvira said...

Hey! I love the rolles. My name is Elvira from mexico so good your blog

Gabriel said...

Ok, when my finals are over and I have some time I AM TOTALLY MAKING THESE. I LOVE cinnamon roles and so does Jonathan, my boyfriend. Finals are over next week and I will definiely be in the mood to treating myself to some time to make and eat something yummy.


**doffs her cap and vanishes**

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Elvira, Gracias for the kind words.

Gabriel, Best wishes for surviving your finals. Keep the thought of warm cinnamon rolls in front of you to motivate you to study!

Anonymous said...

These are going to church on Sunday. Treats like these keep the kids coming in. Who doesn't like something warm and sweet in the morning?

bruce said...

Oh, Lynn, I am sooo remiss at getting back to your blog. :-| I was even slowed up today because after paging through your blog, looking for the cinnamon roll entry, my stomach started growling and I had to run to the kitchen for a snack before continuing...really. :-p I don't know how many copies of this comment will show up, because I'm haveing difficulty posting. Apologies in advance for any mess I may have caused.

Please do not take my slow response as an indication of the level of appreciation for the cinnamon rolls you sent to our staff meeting. Even though I was late to the meeting, the locusts spared a roll or two so that I actually got to taste one. They were WONDERFUL!! I told Bruce that we should hire you to cater our staff meetings henceforth and heretofore. I rather doubt he passed that suggestion on to you. ;-)

I see so many recipes here I want to try...I just need to make time...and then I'll have to bike, hike, and play soccer even more...but I will do it with a smile on my face.

Thank you so much for the rolls. It truly was a treat.

--Bruce B.