Monday, April 23, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls

I'm not really sure how many of you have attempted homemade cinnamon rolls, but I can tell you that they are worth every moment of time spent in the kitchen!  It's not actually that hard to make them, but it's just a bit of a waiting game (just like making any bread).  I'm not as hard-core as some, so I use my Kitchenaid mixer or a bread machine to make the dough.  Lately, I've taken to my Kitchenaid because I don't have to lug it down out of the really tall cabinet.  In case you don't know me personally, I can tell you that I'm 'vertically challenged' and I really detest dragging stools out to get things down from tall shelves.  If it's too high up, it's likely I won't be using it!

I LOVE cinnamon rolls!  But, I'm not a fan of the cream cheese frosting.  I know. . . I know.  Some of you may live for the sweet delicacy of cream cheese frosting on cinnamon rolls, but I prefer this coffee based glaze that Alain's Aunt Jocelyne uses on her perfect cinnamon rolls.  She's the inspiration for making this recipe and it's mostly her recipe.  I had to change one or two things just to get them to taste right.  Not sure why they never seemed to come out right when I followed her recipe, but I assume it has to do with the fact that I use a mixer for assistance and I'm not in California.  ;)

Cinnamon Rolls (printable version)

1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 1/2 cups All-Purpose or Bread flour
1 tbls. plus 2 tsp. yeast

1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 tbls. cinnamon
1/2 cup brown or white sugar (brown is my preference, but it works fine either way)
1/4 cup raisins (optional - my kids don't prefer these)
1/4 cup walnuts (I prefer these crushed finely)

3 cups powdered sugar
2 tbls. melted butter
2 tbls. maple syrup
2 tbls. coffee

Rolls Directions:
1. Place milk, water and butter in microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute.  It's fine if the butter isn't completely melted.
2. If using a bread machine, load ingredients into the machine based on manufacturer's instructions.  If using a Kitchenaid mixer, place the eggs in and mix using the flat beater.  Add sugar and salt, then slowly mix in the heated milk/water/butter mixture.
4. Add flour and yeast.  Once the dough comes together (just a minute or 2) switch to the bread hook (I lightly oil it all over) and continue mixing on medium for 8 minutes.
5. Take dough out of the bowl and knead a few times on the counter.  Oil the bowl and put dough back in to rise for 30 minutes with a towel over the bowl.
6.  When dough has doubled in size, take it out and knead briefly on lightly floured surface.  With a flour-dusted rolling pin, roll out dough to 12 x 18 rectangle.

Filling Directions:
1. Brush melted butter evenly all over dough.  It will look almost like it's pooling in some places, but that's fine because it's going to absorb all of the wonderful yumminess that you are about to top it with.  Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over dough, followed by the sugar, raisins and walnuts.
2. Begin rolling the dough from the center on the bottom and carefully roll out on either side, then begin in the center again and roll out to each side, making sure that the roll is even.  Once the entire piece of dough is rolled up, attempt to pinch the dough to form a seal.
3. Cut the dough in the middle of the roll, then cut it in the middle of each half (you now have quarters).  Now, you'll need to cut the dough twice on each quarter so that you're left with 12 cinnamon rolls.  Lay them in a greased 9x12 or jelly roll pan to rise for 30 minutes with a towel over the rolls.
4. After rolls have doubled in size, place to bake in the oven for 325 degrees for 7-10 minutes.  Rolls should be slightly browned on the top.

Glaze Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  I usually add 1-2 tablespoons of extra coffee if the mixture appears to thick.  However, it will be thick since the hot cinnamon rolls will melt the glaze a bit.
2. Glaze cinnamon rolls immediately after the come out of the oven and enjoy!

Yield - 12 servings

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