Thursday, March 31, 2011

Classic Cinnamon Rolls

There’s nothing in this world quite like waking up on a lazy Saturday morning to the smell of cinnamon rolls. The scent of the baking sweet bread mingled with the distinct aroma of cinnamon fills the entire house and beckons you to the kitchen. Yeah, my cinnamon rolls can do that.


Late Saturday morning, my younger brother Kyle wandered down to the kitchen. “Cinnamon rolls?” he asked hopefully. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. The first thing he smelled when he woke up was warm cinnamon rolls. When had I ever woken up to the scent of cinnamon rolls wafting up to my room? Never—because I was always the one making them.


Regardless, I nodded and directed Kyle to the plate of warm cinnamon rolls I had just finished glazing. I was feeling happy (probably a sugar high), and nothing was going to ruin my good mood.

Click below for a photo-tutorial.


Country Cinnamon Rolls:

I often find store bought cinnamon rolls too be too sweet. In fact, it’s overkill with the streusel filling and the sugary glaze. I used less sugar than called for in the streusel filling, just because this was the taste that I favoured. I also increased the amount of sugar in the bread itself, just to round it out.

Also, I omitted the raisins and pecans, because I’m a cinnamon roll purist and I don’t like it when there are too many competing flavours in cinnamon rolls.

When you make these cinnamon rolls, be sure to use fresh yeast, otherwise your cinnamon rolls will not rise properly.

Adapted from: Williams-Sonoma

Yield: 15 rolls

Ingredients:
For the streusel filling:
  • 1cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped (optional)
  •  ½ cup raisins (optional)
For the rolls:
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • 4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup hot milk (125°F)
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature, plus more for serving
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ tablespoons milk or half-and-half
For the glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
Directions:
To make the rolls, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, granulated sugar and salt. 



Add the hot milk and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. 



Add the butter, eggs and 1/4 cup of the flour and beat for 1 minute. 



Switch to the dough hook. Beat in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. 



Knead on low speed until soft, smooth and springy, about 5 minutes. 



Transfer to an oiled deep bowl and turn once to coat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.



To make the streusel filling, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, granulated sugar and cinnamon.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Roll out into a 14-by-10-inch rectangle. It doesn't have to be exact.


Evenly spread the streusel filling on the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the long edges. Sprinkle with the raisins and pecans (if using), pressing them in lightly to adhere. Beginning with the long end, roll up jelly-roll fashion; it will be bulky. Pinch the long seam to seal but leave both ends open. Using a serrated knife, gently cut the roll crosswise into 15 pieces. 

Arrange, cut sides down and rolls just touching, in the prepared pan. 

Before the second resting period.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until puffy, about 1 hour. Alternatively, cover with a double layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate to rise for 2 to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

After the second resting period.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Brush the tops of the rolls with some of the milk. Bake until golden brown, 23 to 27 minutes. Using a spatula, remove the rolls from the pan and place them, bottom side up, on wire racks. Let cool for 15 minutes, and then invert the rolls onto a serving plate. 

For the glaze, mix the sugar and milk together until smooth. Add more milk if the glaze is too thick to be drizzled; alternatively, add more sugar if the glaze is too thin. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon buns. Serve warm.

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