Warm and Sticky Cinnamon Rolls

I have a meeting in a few hours and plan to take some warm from the oven cinnamon rolls with me.  I think it was Deepok Chopra who said to  give a gift to everyone you see each day.  Whether it is a smile or a flower, a kind thought or deed, give them some sort of gift.  I try to smile alot.  I also give food gifts.  Today it is cinnamon rolls.

I’ve been making cinnamon rolls for years.  Back in the day when bread machines were all the rage, I’d let the machine make the dough and finish the process by hand.  As my bread baking confidence rose (s0rry), I donated the bread machine and took the entire process to the bread board.  Bread baking is a technique not unlike sauteing or mixing a cake or grilling a burger.  Once you get the hang of it, it is simple.  You learn the signs and adjust your technique based on the peculiarities of the batch.

Learn to bake bread in a Whole Grain Bread class this week.  Visit www.cookwithmary.com for the class schedule.

Cinnamon Rolls

3 cups all purpose or bread flour or a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup warm water

1 packet (or 1 scant Tbls) instant dry yeast

2 Tbls unsalted butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbls unsalted butter

Mix together the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir together the warm water and yeast and allow to proof.  Add the first 2 Tbls softened butter to the water and stir the wet mixture into the flour.  Mix until the flour is moistened.  Turn out onto a lightly floured counter top or bread board and knead for 6-8 minutes, or until the dough is cohesive and smooth.  Lightly oil the bowl and return the dough to it, turning the dough to lightly grease on all sides.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise until double. 

At this point, you can place the dough in the refrigerator overnight (unrisen) if you are going to make the cinnamon rolls in the morning.

Once the dough has doubled, punch it down and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes.  This will help the dough relax and make it easier to roll out.  Mix the 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.  The 2 Tbls of butter should be softened at this point.

Knead the dough a few turns to deflate and roll into a large rectangle, perhaps about 10 x 14″. Using your fingers, spread the butter over the dough, then sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly over the dough.  Roll up jelly-roll fashion, keeping the dough tightly wound.  Slice into 10 or 12 rolls.  Place the rolls on a large, parchment lined baking sheet or in a 10 x 13″ pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and allow to rise again until nearly double in size. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

The closer you place the rolls to each other, the higher the rolls will rise.  If they are spread out, they will rise ‘sideways’, and rather than tall, they will be wide.  Either is fine. 

Bake the rolls at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until nicely browned.  The rolls should spring back slightly when fully baked and not leave a depression when touched.  Allow to cool slightly prior to glazing and eating.

Confectioner’s Sugar Glaze

1 Tbls unsalted butter

2 Tbls milk or cream

dash vanilla

Confectioner’s sugar

 Heat  the butter and milk together until the butter is melted.  Add a dash of vanilla and stir in enough sugar to make a thick, but pourable icing.  Drizzle on the cooled cinnamon rolls.



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