In the world of comfort foods cinnamon rolls are at the top of the list. Make these for your family once, and they will be begging for them again and again.
Cinnamon roll nostalgia
Cinnamon rolls are one those foods that instantly makes you feel good. The smell of the cinnamon along with the anticipation of tasting that soft, hot, sweet, bread brings a smile to your face and a “Mmmm” to your lips.
Everyone can think of their favorite cinnamon rolls, be them from a bakery or your Mom’s kitchen. After you make these, your family will have a new favorite.
Cinnamon roll confusion
A quick internet search will reveal hundreds upon hundreds of cinnamon roll recipes each claiming to be the cat’s meow. The problem is that there are varying degrees of complexity from recipe to recipe. When developing this recipe, I wanted it to be two things…simple and delicious.
A light, airy, tender bread laced with a pronounced cinnamon punch is what I was after. I wanted the rolls to be sweet, but not too sweet. I wanted the recipe to be straightforward, easy to follow, and produce the same results again and again. The following recipe is the result.
Note: The total time for this recipe is about 3½ hours as there are two rising times. Allowing the first rising time to take place in the refrigerator overnight is an easy way to manage the overall time needed. That is unless you like getting up at 3:00 AM.
Fancy shmancy cinnamon
A quick word about the cinnamon itself. Use whatever cinnamon you like. I buy mine at the local grocery store right off of the shelf. No food snobbery here. Cinnamon is the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree, and it comes from Sri Lanka and South India.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If your palate is so sophisticated that you can discern the qualities of cinnamon, then by all means go to some fancy spice store and let somebody charge you an arm and a leg for “the best”. I don’t think anyone is that good, at least I know that I’m not, and I’m pretty particular when it comes to ingredients.
Yield: This recipe will make a dozen and half puny cinnamon rolls, or 10 like the ones you see in the picture. Cut them 1″ thick for the small, and 2″ for the large.
Ingredients for rolls:
- 6C All purpose flour
- 2pkgs. Dry active yeast
- ½C Granulated sugar (separated into two ¼C portions)
- 1tsp. Kosher salt
- 2C Milk
- 6oz. Butter (1½ stick)
- 2T Ground cinnamon
Ingredients for icing:
- ½C Powdered sugar
- ½tsp. Vanilla extract
- 1tbsp. Milk
Place the flour, salt, yeast, and ¼C granulated sugar in the bowl of a mixer or food processor equipped with a dough blade.
Mix at low speed for a couple of minutes to combine all of the ingredients.
Place 4ozs. (one stick) of butter and the milk in a microwave safe bowl, heat until the butter is melted, and milk is warm (about 110-115º).
Note: Do not boil the milk. If you do two things will happen. One the milk will separate, and two the mixture will be so hot it will kill the yeast. Heat it for a minute at a time stirring in between intervals.
With the mixer or food processor running, slowly stream in the milk and butter mixture.
Once a dough ball forms let the machine knead the dough for one minute.
Place the dough in a bowl twice its size with a little vegetable oil in the bottom.
Turn the dough over in the bowl to make sure the oil coats the entire surface, and cover with a clean, damp towel.
Let the dough rise for 1-1½ hrs.
Note: You can place the dough in the refrigerator overnight (minimum 6 hrs.).
Punch the dough down, turn it out onto a floured surface, and dust the top with additional flour.
Roll the dough out to about a ½” thickness or a 12″X24″ rectangle.
Melt the remaining 2ozs. (½ stick) of butter and spread evenly over the dough using a pastry brush.
Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture liberally and evenly over the entire surface.
Starting on the long end closest to you roll the dough fairly tightly over on itself from one end to the other.
Cut the dough roll into either 1″ or 2″ pieces depending on how many cinnamon rolls you want to make.
Place the rolls in a greased 10″X14″ pan, cover with a damp towel, and let rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350º.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Combine the icing ingredients in a small bowl and spoon over the hot cinnamon rolls.
There will be no need to call anyone to the kitchen. As the smell of the cinnamon fills your home, every warm blooded person will be drawn like moths to the flame. Enjoy your new signature recipe.