Monday, January 24, 2011


Well, my mother helped me find my appetite.  I'm not sure how it came up but during her last day here in Chicago cinnamon rolls were put on the menu and hello sweet tooth! They have all been devoured and I must admit that I was the one that ate them all!  (That is not usually the case in this house.)

We made the dough the night before and let it all settle in and absorb all the flavors overnight (covered in the refrigerator).  Here they are... the smell of the dough and cinnamon just filled the condo with the most delicious smells!

Here they are post-bake and smelling up the house even more on Saturday morning.

While they were baking we made the frosting... which I must have with my rolls (Mr. D prefers his frosting-less... huh?)!  It's a little butter, a lot of powder sugar and a splash of milk and vanilla.  So easy and so sugary.  And this is what you end up with.

This was something that I'd never made before and am really surprised how easy it was.  I'm glad to know how simple it was because those will be on the menu more often now.  Mr. D mentioned monkey bread so that might be the next sweet treat to tackle. This looks like a great monkey bread recipe to start from.

Leave it up to your mama to help you get your appetite back!


**Recipe Update --

So I've gotten a couple of questions about my recipe so I thought I should just go ahead and share it here.  We used this Betty Crocker recipe as a base and generally followed it although my mom is excellent with recipes and at a certain point we just did what we wanted... and I'll let you know when and where you can do that!

We cut this recipe in half which filled the 8x8 pan perfectly.  If you want more (are there ever too many cinnamon rolls?) by all means make the whole recipe!

3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages yeast
1 cup very warm milk (120° to 130°)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
(added flavor?  freshly grated nutmeg... or ground nutmeg.  i'd say about a 1/2 teaspoon.)

(for filling)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (we used sliced almonds)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

(for frosting... this is a rough estimate, or none at all, because we just made this on the fly)
1 tablespoon melted butter
a bunch of powder sugar
A cap-full of vanilla
2 tablespoons of milk

  1. Mix 2 cups of the flour, the sugar salt and yeast in a large bowl (we just put it all into the bowl of the stand mixer.  If you are going for extra flavor add the nutmeg as well.  Add warm milk (make sure the milk isn't too warm as you don't want to kill the yeast), 1/4 cup butter and the egg.   
  2. Beat using dough hook of and electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently.  Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently.  Stir enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle (which I guess means that it's not going to really stick to your fingers but it's not going to be super-duper dry either).
  3. Place dough on lightly floured surface.  Knead about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy.  Place dough in large bowl greased with your favorite greasing agent (butter, shortening, oil... take your pick) turning dough to grease all sides.  Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap (we used a kitchen towel... why waste plastic wrap!?) and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour 30 minutes or until dough doubles.  Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.

    (We made this on a Friday night and then went to dinner while it was rising... when we came back we were ready for the next step!)
  4. To make the filling you combine all of the brown sugar and the cinnamon.  I'm not even for sure if we even measured the cinnamon... YUM!   And you can add the nuts if you'd like as well.  We added them after we put the filling on the dough to get a nice even spacing.
  5. Gently push fist into dough to deflate.  Flatten dough with hands or rolling pin into 15 x 10 inch rectangle on lightly floured surface.  Spread with 2 tablespoons butter (it's important to have the butter at room temperature so it's easy to spread... if you aren't concerned with being super healthy here's where you can be generous with your butter!).  Sprinkle with filling (and add nuts if you wanted to).  
  6. Roll rectangle up tightly, beginning at 15 inch side.  Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal.  Stretch and shape until even.  
  7. Cut roll into fifteen 1 inch slices with dental floss (we just used a sharp knife...).  Place slightly apart in pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place about 30 minutes until double.

    (We deviated a little.... we covered the rolls, uncooked, in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning we took them out to get to room temperature as they need to warm up a bit before they go into the oven.  A nice little trick is to put some hot, hot water in the sink... add a little pot in there that your cinnamon rolls can sit in and not get wet and cover with a towel.  This will help warm them up nicely and they should rise properly this way.)
  8. Heat oven to 350°.
  9. Bake 30 to 35 Minutes or until golden brown (and oh so gooey!).  Let stand 2 to 3 minutes... and enjoy!  
  10. You can make the icing while they are baking... its super easy and it's all a matter of preference.  Melt your butter in a small bowl, add the cap-full of vanilla and star adding spoon fulls of powdered sugar until mixed.  After a couple of spoon fulls I'd add the milk and mix.  Then you just keep adding sugar until you get the consistency that you'd like.  You really can't mess this up.  There's nothing better than sugar and butter!  Add to the top of your cooling cinni rolls and you've got yourself a delicious sweet treat!

    (My recommendation is to not eat all in one sitting... just a warning!)

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