CINNAMON ROLLS

When the weather forecast is predicting snow and ice, you plan ahead for delicious and comforting meals. What could be better than waking up to the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls and a big cup of coffee?

I make these the night before, place them in the refrigerator and bake them the next morning.

BREAD DOUGH:
1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 teaspoon yeast
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3.5-4 cups bread flour (or freshly ground wheat)

Add everything EXCEPT the flour to a medium bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast activates and becomes foamy on top. Stir in 3 cups of the flour. It will be a wet, sticky mess at this point. Begin adding more flour, a little at a time, until it becomes difficult to stir with a wooden spoon and forms a ball. Sprinkle flour on your work surface, place the dough in the flour, and begin kneading the dough. If it is still too sticky to work with, add another tablespoon or so of flour. I usually just add the flour to my hands. You don’t want to add too much flour as you will end up with a dry dough.

After kneading 10-15 minutes, the dough will become smooth and elastic. When you press it in with your finger, it will spring back. You might also see a few large bubbles in the dough…this is a good thing!

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When you are finished kneading the dough, place it in a lightly oiled bowl, flipping over once to coat the dough. This will prevent the dough from drying out. Cover with a dish towel and let it rise until doubled. The time it takes will vary depending on the temperature. It can be as little as 45 minutes (warm room) or 2 hours (colder room). Patience rules!

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It doesn’t look like it, but the dough had risen to double in size.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness.

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FOR THE FILLING:
2-3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
(Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a small bowl.)

Rub the surface of the dough with the butter and spoon the sugar mixture evenly over the butter.

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Roll the dough tightly into a roll. Cut into one-inch slices and place on a baking sheet.

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At this point, I wrap the tray in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator overnight. If you want to bake them now, let them rise again for about 30 minutes.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

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FOR THE TOPPING:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons Half & Half or milk (add just enough to make it a pourable consistency)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Drizzle the topping over the warm rolls. Refrain from eating the entire pan in one sitting.

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