Would You Like Some Cinnamon Rolls With That Saturday Morning?

There’s nothing I enjoy more than coming home for the weekend, using my dad’s uber fancy camera to photograph food and sitting on his couch all morning getting over-caffinated while I read food blogs. There is however, one thing thats almost as good. Home-made cinnamon rolls.

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After I ate 1, I pretty much wanted 100 more. They’ve got a hint of lemon zest and it’s really good if you dip a bite in your coffee. The best part for me was that I got to drizzle the fondant glaze over the rolls with my fingers. Why? Because when you’re done you get to lick the glaze off of them and it’s really the only reasonable excuse to eat almost a tablespoon of straight frosting. Oh and we’ll just not talk about all the “taste tests” to see if the frosting had the flavor I wanted.

The reason I made these, other than the obvious was because I just read an article about a study done at Princeton about high fructose corn syrup. Click here to read about it! My dad will, from time to time, eat cinnamon rolls on a weekend morning, but they are usually be the frozen kind. Now I’m not trying to hate on frozen stuff and they do taste really good, but take one look at the ingredients list and its like every preservative known to man + high fructose corn syrup goes into these innocent looking cinnamon rolls. After reading that study and taking into account my father’s love of those classic rolls it was a no brainer that I would make some from scratch for him. Also, more selfishly, it’s helping me tick off another recipe from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice, which, if I haven’t said already, I’m trying to bake my way through.

These take around 4 hours to make and are completely worth it. I wanted to have them for breakfast so I made them up the night before and popped them in the fridge over night. I took them out about 2 1/2 hours before I wanted to bake them, to let the dough proof, and popped them in the oven!

I won’t be posting the recipe, but click here to find a recipe by The Pioneer Woman that looks like it tastes just as good. Have I mentioned she’s my hero?

If you want the recipe I used…GO BUY A COPY OF THE BOOK, or borrow it from your library, but seriously, go buy it, it’s AWESOME.

  • In a standing mixer, start by beating together the butter, salt and sugar. Then, whip in the egg and lemon zest until smooth.
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  • Depending on the type of yeast you have (I had non-instant yeast) proof it now in a bowl of warm water. So, I tried to proof the yeast in warm buttermilk, but, that didn’t work. I think buttermilk is too acidic and possibly killed the yeast. I started over and proofed it in a bowl with 4 tbsp of warm water and just subtracted 4 tbsp from the total buttermilk volume. If I remember anything about working with dough it’s that you need to keep the hydration ratios the same.
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  • Add the flour, buttermilk and yeast.
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  • Don’t mind the beer that snuck itself in there…..mmmmmm 90 Shilling.
  • Turn your mixer on medium speed and let it go until the dough starts to form a ball. I’m including a picture because mine never turns into a “ball”. This is what I think they mean.
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  • Basically mix until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough could be formed into a ball. Remove the paddle attachment and replace it with the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 10-12 minutes. If you’re kneading by hand go for at least 15. The dough should pass the windowpane test.
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  • Oil a large mixing bowl. Place the kneaded dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Ideally, you want to let the dough rise in a warm place, but my kitchen is always too cold. My trick? Just turn the oven on for about 5 minutes then turn it off. Then I put the bowl in there and close the door and let it rise, in this case for two hours. Maybe that’s cheating or maybe that’s crafty and maybe sometimes I forget to turn off the oven…but maybe just maybe all my bread disasters and successes even out in the end.
  • This is what my dough looked like after it rose.
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  • Lightly sprinkle your work surface with flour and plop the dough on down. Next, break out your rolling pin, which as a poor college student was a first for me, seeing as I have been using wine/beer/vodka bottles, in that utensil’s abscense. (Using a bottle is a common phenomenon, look! This post from Bread & Honey: a food blog ) so there. Anyways, break out your rolling utensil, whatever it may be, and roll the dough into a square. It is supposed to be 2/3 inch thick but off the top of my head I don’t know what that looks like so mine looked like this.
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  • While you were waiting for the dough to rise you would have mixed together sugar and cinnamon for the filling. Take that filling and sprinkle it all over the dough’s surface. Using a tip from The Pioneer Woman, I melted some butter and lightly coated the dough. This way the cinnamon sugar has something to stick to.
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  • Then start at one end of the dough and roll it all the way up.
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  • Using a sharp knife, slice pieces off of the tube. How many rolls you end up with depends on how thick you like them. I think I ended up with 10 rolls.
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  • After re-reading the instructions I realized I had placed them too close together so I readjusted them to fill the whole pan. It worked out that they were each about 1/2 inch from each other. At this point I covered them with plastic wrap and threw them in the fridge over night, but this is the time where you would normally bake them. The next day I removed them from the fridge about 2 hours before I planned on baking them. I cheated again and used the oven trick to warm them up more quickly than the instructions suggested. Who can wait THREE WHOLE HOURS for them to warm up, not me. This is what they looked like when they were all proofed and ready to go into the oven. It was almost like the picture!
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  • About half hour before the rolls were done proofing I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees and positioned the rack in the middle of the oven. The rolls baked for 22 minutes and came out looking like this.
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  • The directions said to wait something like twenty minutes for them to cool before icing them. Psh. I think I waited as long as it took me to whip up the icing, which was all of five minutes. Who knew powdered sugar+milk+vanilla could be so amazing? Click here for an icing recipe similar to the one I used. One substitution to that recipe would be to add 3/4 of a teaspoon of vanilla/organge/lemon extract. At this point I dipped my fingers into the icing and began splatter painting the cinnamon rolls. Here’s the end result.
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  • It looks like the magical sugar-icing-spider came along and graced the household with a delicious web of fondant glaze.

    You’re supposed to wait like another twenty minutes to serve them, after you glaze them but…bet you can’t tell where this is going…I pretty much served them as soon as I was done icing them. And you know what? They were great. Serve them with a hot cup of (decaf at this point) coffee and you’re off to sugar-coma wonderland.

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