Cinnamon Rolls


I’m a total morning person. If I have work to do, I’d much rather go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 4am than stay up late.  Obviously I was a lot of fun in college.  I think I was one of the few people who actually left parties to go to bed (plus my grandfather always said nothing good happens after midnight.  Now, we all know “good” things can happen after midnight, but when you think back on it the next morning, it’s unlikely to fall into any category that constitutes good for a grandfather.  I digress…).  This saved me from gaining the notorious Freshman Fifteen, because I was tucked in well before the late night pizzas were delivered.  Senior year, I instituted the 11:30pm rule in our house which meant that on a school night, no one was allowed to wake me up unless the house was on fire, I was on fire or someone had died.  Don’t you wish you’d lived with me?  The 11:30 rule has become the 10:30 rule since I now live in a CST timezone.  I’m really not kidding about this; I’ve actually had friends ask if they can break the 10:30 rule to call me (I usually say yes…).

I have no idea where I was going with this (I actually wrote that paragraph last night and then, guess what? I got sleepy, so I’m finishing it this morning and have no idea what I was going to say next.  True story.).  At any rate, I truly believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for many reasons, but it’s rare that I have anything more than cereal.  I really want to be one of those people who wakes up and squeezes orange juice to go with my freshly made waffles and crisp bacon, but for all of my morning person-ness, this is likely never to happen.  Why would I do that when there are perfectly good brunch spots within walking distance? I’m all for reinventing the wheel recipe-wise, but not if it’s going to stand in the way of bacon, you know?

So I was all over making these cinnamon rolls because I was craving them and it was too cold and rainy to go outside just for baked goods, especially when I had a delicious recipe from The Chopping Block and all of the ingredients.  But, you know what? I should have braved the elements because these are so ridiculously time consuming that I didn’t even want them half way through.  Seriously. It took me an hour to make the dough, what with the cooling times and mixing and figuring out how many ounces are in 3-3/4 cups of flour (that last part has more to do with my math skills than the recipe).  At any rate, I decided to just let the dough rise overnight, because it was close to lunch time by the time I finished making it and I couldn’t be bothered.  Putting them together was another lengthy process and all I could think was thank goodness there was no one waiting for these because they would likely have given up on me and gone out to get the canned version that bakes in 10 minutes.

That said, they are as ridiculously tasty as they are ridiculously time consuming.  The dough is sweet and chewy and I created a little icing based on the bourbon bread pudding version that is lick your fingers worthy.  So, if you are a total morning person who wants to spend some quiet time kneading dough while everyone else sleeps, make these this weekend.  Otherwise, I’ll catch you at brunch.  I’ll be the girl in the back cozying up to a plate of bacon…

Cinnamon Rolls (courtesy of The Chopping Block)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3-3/4 cups all purpose flour (17 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For filling

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and drained

For icing

  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or more, to taste)

Combine milk, butter and 1/2 cup sugar in saucepan and bring to a simmer (I did this part in the microwave).  Turn off heat and allow butter to melt completely.  Cool to room temperature.  While the milk is cooling, stir the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar into the water and let soak to activate the yeast.  The yeast mixture should start to become frothy within 5 minutes; if it does not, the yeast may be bad and you should start over with fresh yeast.

Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl.  Add the cooled milk mixture, the yeast, flour and salt.  Stir with a wooden spoon or in a mixer with the dough hook for 10 minutes (I did about 8 minutes in the KitchenAid) until dough is smooth and elastic (dough will be a little sticky).  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double in size, about 1 hour (or put the bowl of dough in the refrigerator and allow to rise slowly overnight).

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Stretch it into a rectangle with your fingertips, then use a rolling pin to stretch it further until you have a rectangle that is about 18″ by 10″ and about 1/4″ thick (if dough is shrinking back a lot, cover it with a towel and let it rest for 3-4 minutes, then continue rolling) (I decided on smaller rolls, so divided my dough in half).

Make the filling: combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small pan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is melted (my sugar never melted, so don’t frustrate yourself like I did on this one).  Drizzle (spread) this mixture over the dough and spread it with a spatula to cover.  Sprinkle on the raisins, if using.  Starting on one of the long sides, roll up the dough into a tight log.  Slice the log into 12 equal pieces.  Place the pieces in a greased, 10-inch cake or pie pan with spiral showing on top.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof until very puffy and almost double in size, about 1/2 hour.

Remove plastic wrap and bake 20-30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.  Cool in the pan. 

Make the icing: combine the ingredients in a medium bowl and, using an electric mixer on low speed, mix until smooth.  Spread cooled rolls with icing.


8 Responses to Cinnamon Rolls

  1. maikib says:

    oh my gosh these look so utterly delicious… and bourbon icing?? YUM!! mark and i were laughing out loud– you are hysterical. i was all over making this until i read “time consuming’ and “math skills.” hmmmm… do our mutual lack of math skills say anything about vassar grads? unfortunately, we don’t have the come in a can version here either. man i miss my nyc coffee cart cinnamon rolls. unfortunately, cinnamon rolls haven’t hit the big time in the UK yet– another gap in the market. seriously, how much would it take to tempt you to move to manchester and open an American-inspired bakery with me?? i think it would go over like gang-busters.

  2. That first photograph of yours…looks like HEAVEN. Seriously.

    I dream of breakfasts. Have you tried adding smoothies into your daily routine? You feel like you’re doing work to make an amazing addition to your meal, but it takes no time at all.

    In one of your older posts, you mention mint oreos…I really adore those, but cannot for the life of me find any in the grocery stores I’ve been at. Someone send them to Canada please.

  3. pestlemortar says:

    @Maiki: stop tempting me! I am getting closer and closer to that bakery idea, and why not Manchester? You know it has a special place in my heart. The rolls are time consuming, but I think you need to introduce Mark to them. What kind of measurements are easiest for you (you could do the 3-3/4 cups, but I’m a big fan of weighing out ingredients for consistency sake)?

    @fattydumpling: thanks for stopping by and for your nice comment! I, too, dream of breakfast. I will keep fingers crossed that the mint oreos make their way to Canada; perhaps around the holidays?

  4. Jill says:

    Hi there. And to make them really goey and sticky, you pour a half cup of water here and there around the rolls. You can also sprinkle more brown sugar and dot tops with butter, in addition to the half cup water.. this makes them gooey and sticky and yummy and messy, but for the love of Pete, who cares, it’s a dang cinnamon roll! Enjoy every bite! Thanks for this wonderful recipe.. it took me years to figure out how to make them sticky. 😀 Jill

  5. pestlemortar says:

    Thanks for the suggetion! If I ever try them again, I’ll give that a whirl!

  6. Pingback: Christmas Treats « Pestle Mortar

  7. pat mccloud says:

    Just made my first batch. Followed the recipe exactly except for no raisins. After trying a few other recipes these are by far the best and this is now my go to recipe. Will be making these on Xmas morning.

  8. pestlemortar says:

    Hi Pat,

    So happy that you enjoyed them!! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and thanks for stopping by!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: