Kaboom! That’s the magical sound when my favorite things, cinnamon and rolls, collide and become one. Warm, gooey, sweet cinnamon rolls are my favorite things. It’s a treat to have a cinnamon roll and a cup of tea. Enjoying the quiet, thinking deep thoughts, and inhaling the frosted cinnamon rolls starts the day with a bit of magic. Why, yes, I lick the frosting off my fingers. If you are thinking they are complex creatures, you are wrong. Cinnamon rolls are easy. They can be made partially ahead and refrigerated. Start on Saturday night, bake Sunday morning. If you’re thinking, “I don’t need 30 rolls” (You’re wrong, by the way), then you will be happy to know that the recipe can be halved. Unlike my “friend”, make sure to half ALL the ingredients. Ahem. Easter weekend I made these rolls three times. Let’s get baking. As usual, please read the directions through first, so you have all the ingredients, and understand the steps and time involved.
2 packages yeast ( 4 1/2 teaspoons) dissolved in 1 cup lukewarm water or instant yeast (read directions!)
6 tablespoons shortening (Crisco)
1 cup granulated sugar
8 cups all-purpose flour ( you may need another cup or so if dough is sticky)
2 cups of hot water (from the tap)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- If you are using regular yeast, add the yeast to a cup of lukewarm water (less than 110 degrees) and sprinkle in a little sugar. Set aside for about 5 minutes. This is called proofing. If you’re not sure about the temperature, cooler is better. Yeast is a live organism. Hot water will kill it and your rolls won’t rise. If the water is cool, it will still rise, but may take a little longer to do so. See, you learned something.
- In a bowl, of a stand mixer, add shortening, sugar, and salt to the hot water and beat for 30 seconds, using the beater blade. There will be splashing. Let cool to lukewarm temperature. Stir in 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. If you are using instant yeast, add the yeast now, as well as the 1 cup of lukewarm water that would have been used in the proofing, and mix until well combined. There is no need for proofing instant yeast. Mix in beaten eggs.
- Gradually stir in the remaining flour and mix with the dough hook for about 2 minutes. I always need about another cup of flour. You want the dough to start pulling away from the side of the bowl and climb up your dough hook. It’s a sticky dough. Remove dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand, add a little flour if the dough is still sticky. Knead until dough feels satiny and smooth. I always need more flour than I think. It will be elastic but not as sticky as it was. Sprinkle some flour on your hands. You will be a sticky, floury mess.
- Cover and let rise in a bowl for 30 minutes to one hour. I “help” the dough rise by heating my oven to 200 degrees and placing the covered bowl on the stove top. Heat from the oven, comes up to the stove at the back of the stove. Turn the bowl occasionally. Make sure it doesn’t get too hot by pulling it towards the center of the stove. After the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and divide it in half. With a rolling pin, roll one half of the dough into a rectangle. Spread dough evenly with softened butter (About 2 tablespoons for each half. Be generous) Sprinkle dough with brown sugar, raisins (if you wish), and cinnamon. Make sure you use LOTS of brown sugar (About 1/2 cup for each half. Again be generous.) Sprinkle on a lot of cinnamon. I like to use a good cinnamon from Penzeys. If you are using raisins, soak them in warm water first, to plump them up. You will not be dissappointed.
- Roll up dough into one long roll. Cut into rolls, using a piece of dental floss or thread, about two inches thick. Yes, you can use a knife if you don’t want to go upstairs for the floss. Place rolls in greased 9 X 13 baking pan. Rinse and repeat for the second half.
- If you are making these the night before, cover the pans with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator. The next day, let them rise about an hour or so, until they are doubled. If you making them for the same day consumption, let the rolls rise until doubled. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake until brown-only about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the rolls cool to room temperature.
- While the rolls are cooling, make the frosting. In a medium bowl, whisk, together butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Frost the cooled cinnamon rolls generously.
See, that wasn’t so bad. Relax. Pat yourself on your back. You made cinnamon rolls! Now go eat ’em. As you can see from the photo, I eyeballed the two inches. Oh well! They were still delicious! I brought a batch to an Easter brunch and there were none left. Just sayin’.
NOTE: I usually make the half the recipe unless I’m giving them as gifts. Make sure you measure out 1/2 of each ingredient and place in bowls. It’s easy to forget to decrease the ingredients by half. If you write down the 1/2 amount on the recipe, and then put it bowls, you’re less likely for forget. To make the half recipe go a little further, make the rolls 1 inch instead of 2 inches.
Here’s the original recipe.