Friday, September 27, 2013

We're All Cinn-ers Here.


I think by now my faithful readers have figured out that I enjoy cooking.  Some would say a little too much.

My cooking ability, while not Michelin Star quality (yet) is one of the few things that I am beginning to realize that I do exceptionally well.  Not to mention, when I am in the kitchen listening to music and whipping up a delight for my family and the select few who become my critics - I am truly, and blissfully happy and content.

I conducted a Facebook poll last week to see what Culinary Delight I should whip up this past weekend and Cinnamon Rolls won the vote.  I have never made Cinnamon Rolls before... I'm frightened.

Walk up to any Cinnabon in the mall and you are cold cocked hit in the face with the most glorious smell.  Angels in Heaven surely must smell like a mixture of Cinnamon Rolls, Lavender, BBQ smoke, Bacon, and Leather. Or do the smells take turns?

So I set out to find the perfect Cinnamon Roll Recipe.  Normally I would turn to my trusted friend, Alton Brown, but something told me to venture out beyond my comfort zone.  So, I looked towards another friend, Laura Vitale and  I used Laura's bun recipe and Allrecipes version of the frosting.

We began the night before we actually wanted to eat the rolls... See? It even begins like a fairy tale! Break out your bowl and add your yeast, sugar, and water. Give it a stir and let it sit for ten minutes.  Yes, there is a lot of waiting in this recipe.  Use your time wisely to be Awesome! Go write a poem, or register for the Winter term at school, write down your goals for next week, pet your dog, but don't dog your pet it's rude.  A lot can happen in ten minutes, and your yeast mixture will be bubbly and sticky and smell like beer and that's okay.

Add your eggs, butter, salt, and vanilla and mix that up with your mixer.  I found a Kitchen-Aid refurbish on Ebay a while ago and I've never regretted it for a second.  Then, slowly, one cup at a time, add your flour.  You've seen this in cookbooks your whole life and you've always had the urge to be a Rebel this time.  Please don't.

You want this. 

To look like this.  

Not this.

After you've kneaded your dough for about 5-7 minutes, grease up a bowl and put your dough in the bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and put it in a draft free place.  I usually place mine in the oven because it's well insulated and it just seems like the right thing to do.

After a good night's rest your dough should indeed look like this... 
For those of you who are die hard's like me, give the dough a good smell.  The scent should remind you of a respectful bakery down the street.  Now, pat yourself on the back.  Good job.

Find a rather large flat surface and dust it with flour, punch down your dough and scrape it out of the bowl onto the work surface.  Lightly dust the top and roll your dough out into a rectangular-ish shape.

Now, you can mix your brown sugar and cinnamon together.  I put mine in a small tupperware and shook it.  I sang a little tune and Little Awesome asked me to please stop.

Spread some butter on your rectangle and sprinkle your sugar mixture on the rectangle leaving about a half to a quarter inch at the end non-buttered and non-sprinkled.  Press the sugar mixture down into your dough.

Now, tightly roll your dough up into a cylindrical shape, start with one side and move your way over into it is tightly wound.  Some folks will say stay in the center and roll but I think that allows for the sides to go rogue and you're left with guerrilla cinnamon rushing for freedom out the sides and who really wants that early in the morning?

Here is your finished product placed on a cutting board.

Slice your cinnamon rolls, wiping your knife between each slice.  Yes, it's extra work, but yes it's important, and yes you will be pleased.  I promise.  Place your cinnamon rolls in a well greased tray. Let them rest covered for 30 minutes.  Start your oven at 350 degrees.  Once your 30 minutes is up, bake for 30 minutes, which will allow you time to make the glaze.

Mix the cream cheese, vanilla, butter, and powdered sugar together.  There should not be any lumps.

Take the cinnamon rolls out and turn the dish over to coat the rolls with any of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture that may have leaked out.  Then coat with your glaze.  The finished product with look something like this...

The cinnamon roll exceeded my expectations for the first time out.  Try it served with vanilla ice cream.  Is this recipe labor intensive?  Yes.  Is it worth it? Absolutely.  Will I make these again?  Already planning on it.