Saturday, August 6, 2011
Cooking Camp - The Sibling Edition
The original invitees to Cooking Camp were Serena, Tall Friend (TF) and Little Friend (LF). The plan was to meet every Friday through the summer and have them learn new kitchen skills and techniques. That plan was derailed when LF had to go out of town for 3 weeks. So the second Cooking Camp was smaller. Which actually was just as well because it involved lots of caffeine. We made coffee ice cream and iced coffee, and the three of them amped up on caffeine might have been more than my kitchen could handle.
This week, to add a little zip to the mixture, we invited the younger siblings. TF's little sister, SF (Short Friend), and Serena's little brother, Samuel, (Samuel) made guest appearances. They were both thrilled to be invited to be part of the cool kid crowd. They were also thrilled that we were making cinnamon rolls. And not just any cinnamon rolls, but monster cinnamon rolls.
We talked about yeast and how to wake it up, we covered gluten and a bit about the different types of flours (why you don't use bread flour for cakes, and vice versa), and they also learned a super cool trick for cutting rolls with dental floss. (Slide a length of floss under the roll, bring the ends of the floss together and cross them to pinch off a perfect circle.)
Also, they learned the importance of not interrupting the teacher when she's counting out loud the number of cups of flour being added to the dough. And the importance of resisting the temptation the chime in with random numbers to "help" the counting. And that "the magic of television" works much better if the dough made the previous day, rising in the refrigerator overnight, gets pulled out an hour ahead of time to come to room temperature. (Oops! Cold dough is really difficult to roll out.)
Then while the rolls baked, they got in a game of Calvin Ball Croquet. So, another successful Cooking Camp in the bag!
- makes 24 generous 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.
1- 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. (If you are using raw milk, heat till small bubbles appear around the edge of the pan. Scalding the milk destroys the enzymes that interfere with the yeast growth.)
2- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, 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.
4- 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.
5- When the dough has doubled, punch it down and divide it in half. Roll one half out to a large rectangle, about 12" x 24".
6- 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.
7- 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.