Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Weekend Mornings

So I figure if I shared kale recipes with you last week we should probably cover cinnamon rolls this week. Everything in balance, right?

I think everyone should have a cinnamon roll recipe in their repertoire. There really is nothing better than a lazy Saturday morning with a pot of coffee to share, a paper to read, a great record on the turntable, and a pan of these baking away in the oven. These rolls are also perfect when you're hosting brunch because you can do most of the work in advance.

I should note that the original recipe was written with the idea that if you wanted these on your table around 9, you'd have to rise around 4 to get them ready in time. Is there anyone who really does that? Over the years, I have modified this recipe so you can complete most of the work a day or two in advance. Then you simply allow them to rise on the counter while you take a shower, make some coffee, and then pop them in the oven. Or do like I do and set the alarm for 6:30, hop out of bed, take the rolls out of the fridge, and crawl back into bed to snuggle up until 8.

Belated celebration with your Valentine this weekend? A lovely brunch sounds just about right. Go to it!

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze
Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 1 cup milk (I wouldn't recommend skim, but 1%, 2%, or whole will work)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray

  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 Days before you plan to bake the rolls:

Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. I usually end up adding 2-3 more tablespoons of flour. Take off the paddle attachment and place the dough hook on the machine. Knead for 4 minutes on low-medium speed. (If you don't have a mixer, turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes). Form into ball.

Lightly oil a large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. You can press the dough with your finger and if it doesn't spring back immediately, it's ready to go.

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.

Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at one long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide). I use a serrated knife and slowly slice the rolls.

Spray a 13 x 9 glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Arrange the rolls cut side up. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

When ready to bake the rolls:

Take the pan out of the refrigerator and place in a warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 60-90 minutes.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 3-5 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.

For glaze:
Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Store rolls in the refrigerator. To serve leftovers, simply heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.


I'm fairly certain these cinnamon rolls will freeze very well. After slicing the dough, place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment and place in the freezer. After frozen, drop the rolls into a Ziploc bag. When ready to bake, place desired amount of frozen rolls in baking dish, defrost overnight in refrigerator and then follow the instructions for the second rise, baking, and making the glaze.

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