Friday, December 31, 2010

Food For Thought

While working on this post yesterday, the first true snow of winter was fluttering past our windows.  We had a little skiff earlier this fall, but it all melted by lunch-time.  This promises to be here for a little while ... yeah!  We may not have had a white Christmas, but we will enjoy a white New Year! :)

This sort of weather is perfect for snuggling up with a hot drink and a little something sweet.  Seeing as I, personally, am done with cookies, I thought I would highlight another delightful baked good ... the scrumptious cinnamon roll.  Perfect for breakfast, a mid-day meal or alongside a cup of chili.  And you can even enjoy one for dessert.  I don't recommend actually eating four in one day ... but you could. :)

This Food For Thought also falls under the heading of "Worth the Work".  They take a little extra time and you have to plan ahead, but they are so very much worth it.  So ... pay attention, pull out your butter so that it can soften ... and get ready to be spoiled!

Cinnamon Rolls
This recipe is from my mom's recipe book ... she used to make these at her bakery.  Yum!

You can make cinnamon rolls with regular bread dough ... but this sweet dough is so much better.  I remember my mom coming home smelling just like this recipe.

Sweet Dough:
1 cup warm milk
2 1/2 cups flour (you really have to use white here ... wheat is too dry)
1/2 T. yeast
2 sticks of butter, softened
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar

1 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 1/2 cups flour (again)

In a large mixing bowl (I used my KitchenAide mixer), combine milk, yeast and first set of flour.  Beat at a medium-low speed for about 5 minutes.  Lift the beater out of the bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for about 1 hour.  The dough will double in size.

Add the butter all at once and beat until smooth on medium speed.  You will have to stop a few times and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Next add the eggs one at a time, while beating slowly.  Once all the eggs are added, beat on medium-low for several minutes until it is well blended.  Add the sugar and blend well.

In a small bowl, combine the salt, nutmeg and second set of flour.  Mix it well.  With the mixer on medium-low, gradually add the flour mixture.  Turn it down a bit if the flour starts flying out ... just a word of wisdom from experience. :)  Once all the flour is added, turn the mixer up to medium and let it run for about 5 minutes.  You may need to use a wooden spoon here at the end if the mixer begins to labor.

Ready to chill.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it a few times.  Shape it into a ball and put it into a large bowl (sprayed with a little pan spray).  Cover it with plastic wrap and pop it into the refrigerator.  You will want this to chill for several hours or overnight.  (I choose to make this in the morning, the day before we are going to eat it.  That way I can roll them out the evening before and bake them the morning of.  You just have to plan ahead.)

When you are ready to roll out the dough, let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes or it will be too hard to work with.  Flour the countertop and roll the dough out into a rectangle.  You want the dough to be about an 1/8 of an inch thick.

Ready for the sweet-stuff.

Spread a little softened butter over the dough - this will help the cinnamon and sugar to stay put.  Next sprinkle the surface with brown sugar and cinnamon.  If you want to add raisins or nuts to your cinnamon rolls, this is the time.  We like ours sweet and simple, sans any additions.

Sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Roll up the dough so that you you have a long log.  Cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch slices.  I usually start with one cut in the middle and then another cut in the middle of that and then cut each of those sections in half and then in each of those in half again.  That gives me a sixteen rolls.

Ready for the pan.

Place the rolls in a greased 9x13 pan leaving plenty of room between each one.  They will rise again before baking.  (At this point, I would cover them with plastic and pop them in the fridge for the next day.  You can do that, or continue as follows.)

Ready to rise.

Turn your oven on for about 5 minutes ... just long enough to warm it up ... and then turn it off.  Cover the rolls with a towel and place the pan in the oven to proof.  This usually takes about an hour.  They will double in size again.  Carefully remove the pan from the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the rolls until they are golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.  We like ours a little bit doughy in the middle, so we aim for 25 minutes.

1 1/5 cup powdered sugar
1/8 cup milk
1/4 t. vanilla

Mix well and add either more sugar or more milk until you get the consistency you want.  Spread this lightly over the cinnamon rolls while they are still warm.

Ready to eat!

We enjoyed these rolls on Christmas morning ... a tradition we might just have to keep!

Cinnamon Rolls

1 comment:

  1. Hi Morgan,

    This is definitely going on our directory to link right here!

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you get lots of visit for it some day!




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