Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

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So I was healthy for a little bit this new year at least, right?  I am not trying to tempt you all away from any resolutions, but…homemade cinnamon rolls (that taste like Cinnabon) with cream cheese frosting.

Homemade cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. 

I know that January is meant for healthy eating, but we all need a little indulgence sometime.  Just balance some sweets with working out and healthy eating at other meals.  In doing my part working on resolutions, I recently tried a Pure Barre class, and it kicked my ass.  About 33% of the class was spent with me holding on to the bar looking around incredulously as everyone else worked out.  Phew.   A good healthy workout sometimes mandates homemade cinnamon rolls really.

And these cinnamon rolls. Oh my, these were just as good as I dreamed of.  I have wanted to make homemade cinnamon rolls for a long time, and I am so glad I did.  I remember how much of a treat it was when I would come downstairs and smell that mom had made up a batch of cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  That smell always let me know it was going to be a good start to my day.

These take a little bit of a time investment since there is yeast and rising time involved, but you can make the rolls almost completely the night before.  Because while I may like to eat cinnamon rolls early in the morning, I don’t particularly want to have to get up super early to make them.  I served these on Christmas morning, and I am certain that Santa was bitter that all he got the night before was some measly cookies.  If he had stuck around, he could have gorged on these.

HOMEMADE CINNAMON ROLLS
Barely Adapted from Lauren’s Latest

INGREDIENTS

For the Dough:
3/4 cup warm water, 115-110°F
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
4 1/2 – 5 cups all purpose flour

For the Filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch

For the Icing:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS

For the Dough:

In a large bowl of stand mixer, combine water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Pour in remaining sugar and salt. Stir on low for 20 seconds.

In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, oil, and egg together. Pour into into yeast mixture. Use your stand mixer to stir together. Pour 2 cups of flour into bowl and mix on low until incorporated. While running the mixer, continue to add flour in 1/4 cup increments until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl (you may not need to use the entire amount of flour). Turn the mixer on high and knead for 5 minutes. Remove dough from bowl. Grease the bowl and place dough back in. Cover with plastic wrap and dish towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size,d about 1 1/2-2 hours.

For the filling:

In a bowl mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Set aside.

Punch down dough after it has risen. Transfer dough to a large cutting board that is dusted with flour. Roll out to a 20 inch by 30 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on the dough, leaving a 1 inch border on one of the longer sides.

Sprinkle brown sugar mixture on top of the butter. Lightly press mixture into butter using your hands or a rolling pin.

Roll the dough into a tight log, finishing on the edge with the border, using the plain dough to seal the roll shut. Score the dough every 2 inches and slice into rolls. Place into a parchment lined, greased pan (2 cake pans can work, or a 9×13 and a loaf pan). Cover and let rise in a warm place for another 1-2 hours, until almost doubled in size.

Or, you can cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight. The next morning, take out the rolls and place in a 100°F oven for about 40 minutes to take the chill off and help the rolls start rising. Then let rise in a warm place for approximately 1 hour (This is how I had them rise- you can also just let them sit in a warm place for a little longer, about 3 hours).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 17 minutes, until the tops begin to turn golden brown.

For the Icing:

In a bowl, whip cream cheese and butter together. Mix in vanilla, corn syrup, and lemon juice. Pour in powdered sugar slowly and mix to incorporate. Mix on high for 5 minutes, until icing turns a light color.

Once rolls have finished baking, spread approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the icing on top. Let them cool for about 10-13 minutes, and frost with remaining icing. Serve warm

Makes about 15 cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread: Improv Blog

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Oh, cinnamon.

You are a wonderful spice.
You are quite nice (tasting).
Spicy and warm
This bread is delcious, please don’t swarm

I know, I know.  I obviously missed my calling as a poet.

When I was younger, one of my favorite breakfasts was a simple one: warm toast brushed with butter and topped with cinnamon sugar.  The cinnamon sugar would melt into the butter a form a wonderful sticky spread.  This was a special breakfast when mom would offer on those occasional elementary school day mornings when I used to actually eat breakfast.

This month’s Improv Challenge features that  classic combo of cinnamon and sugar.  While I believe Mom’s buttered cinnamon sugar toast would be a wonderful recipe to share, I wanted to take my favorite breakfast and make it from scratch.  I have been wanting to make this Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread for a long time, and there was no better time than the present.

This bread is soft and pillow-y and full of cinnamon sugar goodness.  It does take some planning as you have to let it rise twice, but it is so worth it. I have recently been having serious difficulties with yeast, but this bread seems to have broken my bread curse.

This bread is best eaten with your fingers straight from the pan- just like a true lady would.  And a true lady should also lick her fingers clean to get every last bite of cinnamon sugar.  All of course while holding up her pinky for sophistication. Verily.

CINNAMON SUGAR PULL APART BREAD
Barely Adapted from Joy the Baker

INGREDIENTS

For the Dough:
3 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
5 tablespoons warm water, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces butter
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2-3 ounces butter, melted

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl combine 2 cups of flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside

In a saucepan combine milk and butter over medium heat.  Stir together over heat until butter is melted.  Let cool until mixture reaches 115-125°F. Stir in vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons water.

Combine 3 tablespoons warm water and yeast with a pinch of sugar.  Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.  Stir into wet ingredients.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Add in eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.  Stir in 3/4 cup of flour and stir for 2 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together the sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt for the filling.  Melt the 2 ounces of butter for the filling in a saucepan over medium heat until it turns a brown, 5-10 minutes.  Grease a 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan.  Set aside.

Place dough in a large greased bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  Punch down the dough and knead in 2 tablespoons of flour.  Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.  Place on a lightly floured surface and roll dough out to a 12 inch by 20 inch long rectangle.  Brush with melted brown butter. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on top.

Slice dough into 6 vertical strips.  Stack the 6 strips on top of each other and slice into 6 strips again to make 36 total strips.  Layer the strips in the prepared loaf pan.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.  Run knife around the edges of pan.  Invert onto a plate and flip back over.  Serve warm.

Thanks to Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for hosting!  Make sure to check out all the other entries this month!