For a couple of months now I've been in search of the ultimate cinnamon roll recipe. I've tried several. Most are just OK. I even made Pioneer Woman's recipe twice because I thought I got it wrong the first time. And please forgive me Pioneer Woman, but I didn't really like them. I really, really like a lot of your recipes, just not the cinnamon rolls. I think it's because I prefer brown sugar and her recipe uses granulated sugar. I also wasn't digging the texture of the dough, a bit heavy and dense for me. She and I will just have to agree to disagree on this one. (By the way, Pioneer Woman has no idea who I am!)
Now I have to confess, up until recently I've been a bit intimidated by yeast risen doughs. Mostly because I usually avoid those recipes and really don't have much experience with them. The reason is two fold. First, I've never had a desire to bake homemade bread. I've never felt the lure of the bread machine. I'm just not a big bread person. My 2 or 3 attempts at bread and rolls have not been great. I am sure homemade bread is far superior to store-bought but store-bought bread suits me just fine. "And that's all I've got to say about that!" (Name that movie.) Second, I've never had the patients for kneading, rising, and rising again. When I want a treat, I want it now! Seriously, the 25 minutes it takes to bake brownies seems like FOREVER!
However, as of late, I've begun to realize that there's a whole world of wonderful yeast raised baked treats waiting to be discovered. And I need to get exploring. I've also got a bit more patients these days, one of the few advantages of age. It started with the Zombie, which turned out great and gave me the confidence to try more. Then came the King Cake, another success. Hey maybe this isn't as hard as I was making it out to be. Now on to cinnamon rolls, I hope you'll agree that they are a success as well. Enjoy!
This recipe starts with the same dough from the King Cake. Go to Gesine's blog here to get the recipe (you won't need the pastry cream, egg whites or glaze) and follow the step by step directions (just for the dough) here up to the point of letting the dough rise and double in size. NOTE: When I made the King Cake I used bread flour from the bulk bins at my grocery store and had to add the extra (6th) cup of flour. This time, I used King Arthur Bread Flour and only used the 5 cups of flour that the recipe calls for. You'll just have to judge for yourself if the mix needs the extra flour.
OK, so the dough is now proofing. . .
Start by generously buttering 2, 9x9 or 8x8 pans. This may take 2-3 tablespoons, really slather it on. (I'm showing a 9x13 pan but figured out in the end that 2 square pans would be better)
After the dough has doubled in size, punch down and roll out, on a generously floured surface, to a 16 x 24-ish rectangle. It should be just under 1/4-inch thick.
Spread with 1/2 cup melted butter, leaving about a 1/2-inch margin along the long side closest to you.
Next sprinkle with 1-1/2 cups brown sugar (light or dark, your choice.)
Then a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon. I like a really cinnamony (OK, if that's not a word, it should be!) cinnamon roll so I used a lot.
Now start rolling, in a pretty tight roll, starting with the long edge farthest away from you and rolling towards you. If there is a lot of flour on the backside of the dough, brush it off before you roll it over.
Pinch the edge to seal the roll and again, brush off any excess flour.
Slice the roll into 18 pieces about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches wide. Then lay the rolls in the buttered pans, 9 to a pan (3 x 3). Leave some space between the rolls. See, I figured the math out after the fact and only had 17 slices so I jammed the extras into a loaf pan. Not sure what I'll do with that later. You'll do better than me with 18 slices and two square pans. Trust me!
Loosely cover the rolls and let them rise again, for about an hour, until doubled in size. Then into a preheated 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes until golden brown (or a bit darker, like I like them.)
Yummy, it's taking all of my will power not to dive in and eat them right now, hot out of the oven. But if you want to ice them, then let them cool.
For the icing, mix until smooth, 2 oz. cream cheese, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon coffee and 1 cup powdered sugar. If you taste this now, I'm warning you, it's a bit different, but I promise it is a great compliment to the cinnamon rolls. Drizzle it on the cooled rolls and dig in. I like just a light icing on my rolls, if you like more, you may need to double the recipe.
1 recipe King Cake dough from "Confessions of a Closet Master Baker" blog (find it here)
1/2 C. melted butter
1-1/2 C. brown sugar
Cinnamon (up to 1/4 cup, if you like A LOT of cinnamon)
2 oz. softened cream cheese
1 T. maple syrup
1 T. coffee
1 C. powdered sugar
Generously butter 2 9x9-inch or 8x8-inch pans.
Make the dough according to the recipe and let it rise until doubled in size.
Punch down and roll out, on a generously floured surface, into a 16x24 inch rectangle.
Brush with melted butter, leaving a 1/2-inch margin on the long side, closest to you.
Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon to taste.
Roll up, in a tight roll, starting with the long side farthest from you and rolling towards you, brushing off excess flour as you go. Pinch the seam to seal.
Slice into 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inch slices and lay in the pans with a bit of space between the rolls. 9 rolls to a pan, 3 x 3. Cover loosely and let rise until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350°F and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.
Blend cream cheese, maple syrup, coffee and sugar until smooth and drizzle over rolls.
Makes 18 rolls.