Thursday, May 30, 2013

From-scratch Cinnamon Rolls

We went to Delaware for the weekend and visited an old friend from high school. It's pretty cool when you don't really know someone very well 'back in the day', but when you reconnect via Faceybooks you discover you really have a lot in common and you actually quite like that person. FB is full of things like faux inspirational posters and "if I get a million likes my dad will buy me a pet llama" and 50 photographs of the same person looking at the camera the exact same way from the exact same angle but she's wearing a different shirt so OMG dis my new profile pic lulz!--but it also does some cool stuff too. Friends in Delaware, friends in Canada, friends in Germany... It's pretty cool.

Now, if you happen to visit Wilmington DE, something I highly recommend is a visit to the Iron Hill Brewery for their mac & cheese. I'm not a big fan of pasta dishes (I prefer to spend my carbs in bread), but man... That was a good time. Only eat half the serving, there's plenty, trust me, what with the chicken and the ham and the fontina and the asiago; take the other half home and for breakfast the next morning crack a couple eggs over the top & bake it in your oven or toaster oven until cooked through. This is the best hangover breakfast. Not that I'm hung over right now. I'm just sayin'.

And try the heffeweizen.

Today we're making cinnamon rolls. I have no idea why, I just wants 'em. I have one packet of yeast left, I've never made cinnamon rolls from scratch, BRING IT ON.

I'm not gonna lie to you: it's a lot of work. Making cinnamon rolls from scratch is like making bread but with even more steps. But it's worth it. It's so worth it. Once you've made your own cinnamon rolls from scratch, those canned jobbies you buy from the grocery store won't even compare.

We're using Paula Deen's recipe from, mostly. I say mostly because I don't have cow's milk in the house, nor a lot of butter. One of the things Paula's recipe says to do, for example, is scald the milk; this is good for a lot of homemade bread recipes because it denatures the whey proteins, which allows the yeast to rise better. But I've got almond milk; no whey proteins = I didn't bother. I'm also a fan of nutmeg, and rum extract. You can never go wrong with rum in your cinnamon roll filling!

Whisking everything but the flour

1 package (2¼ teaspoons, or ¼ ounce) dry yeast
1/2 cup of warm (not hot) water
1/2 cup of almond milk, or scalded milk*
1/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of butter or coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
Knead me, Seymour!
3¾ cup of flour

3/4 cup (1½ stick) of butter, softened
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of sugar
2-3 tablespoons of cinnamon (I used 2½)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of rum extract, crushed walnuts or pecans, raisins if you like that kind of thing
I have risen!

1) In a small bowl, slowly stir the yeast into the warm water & set the bowl aside.
2) In a large bowl, combine milk, sugar, butter/oil, salt, & egg (all other ingredients except flour). Whisk until smooth.
3) Gently mix in the yeast.
4) A little at a time, add in the flour & keep mixing until you get a nice, slightly sticky-but-firm dough. I used my handy dandy Kitchenaid with the dough hook.
5) Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface or a silpat and knead it for a few minutes (about five minutes or so).**
Smells better than it looks
6) Grease up a nice big bowl (I used more coconut oil), dump your dough back in the bowl, cover it with a damp dark cloth, and let it sit in a dark, warm place for the next hour to rise.
7) Mash together the Filling ingredients above, in a medium sized bowl, using the back of a tablespoon. Set this to the side until you're ready for it.
8) Once the dough has doubled in size (about an hour), punch it down (literally! with a fist and everything!) and then dump it back onto your floured surface or silpat.
9) Roll the dough into a rectangle shape about a half inch thick. You really want a good, squared-off rectangle.
Keep rollin' rollin' rollin'
10) Give your Filling mixture a quick stir, and then spread it out onto your dough. A small offset spatula is perfect for this.
11) Roll up the dough long-wise into a log, then slice it. I got 23 slices out of my dough.
12) Place the slices in your greased casserole dish(es), and leave them to rise for another half hour. I like to use my turned-off oven for this, since it's dark & already slightly warm due to the gas pilot light.
13) After a half hour, turn on your oven to 350º, and let your rolls keep rising in another dark, warm location for 15 minutes while your oven preheats.
14) Put your rolls in your now-preheated oven to bake at 350º for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
15) Allow the pans to cool on a rack, and drizzle with powdered sugar glaze once they've cooled off. (To make a glaze, take a cup of powdered sugar and add a teaspoon of water or milk. While stirring with a fork, slowly add a dribble of milk or water, continually stirring, a little at a time, until you get a drippy consistency. Make sure you stir out all the lumps.)

These were light, fluffy, flakey... Just delicious. Really, for a first-time effort, it couldn't be better!  Sure, it's a lot of work. But now you can cross it off of your bucket list. "Make... cinnamon rolls... from scratch... DONE."  Way better than cinnamon rolls from a can. Trust me on this one.

*To make scalded milk: heat the milk in your microwave or on the stove top, stirring constantly, JUST until it comes to a good boil; look for frothing around the edges.
**Kneading: basically, you fold it in half over itself, and push. Fold, push, fold, push, fold, push.

No comments:

Post a Comment