Friday, December 23, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe is comes from my wife's side of the family and  since I end up modifying it every time I thought I would write it down and take some pictures this time.  In the past I have adapted this recipe to make monkey bread, you can do this by rolling the dough into small balls and covering with the cinnamon sugar mixture and baking in a bundt pan.  These rolls take a fair bit of patience but the wait is well worth it.  

Duration: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: moderate

Dough Ingredients:
4 cups flour 
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon active dried yeast

Sprinkle Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp Cayenne pepper ( optional )

1/2 stick of softened butter ( to spread on dough )

Initial Dough Instructions:
Mix and kneed dough into a nice round ball. This dough should be very soft.  A soft dough will not leave itself on your fingers but it should feel a little sticky.  Set dough aside in a lightly greased bowl in a warm ( 75 degrees or so ) location for an hour. The dough should expand to at least twice its original size.

Cinnamon roll Topping in greased pan
Topping Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter ( a stick )
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper (opt )
1 cup of walnuts or pecans

Topping Instructions:
In a sauce pan on a low heat melt butter. Once butter is melted add the rest of the ingredients then stir and bring heat up to medium. Be careful to not burn this. After a couple of minutes reduce to a low heat and cover with a top for a couple of minutes.

Spray a 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray and pour out topping into the pan.  Set aside to cool while waiting for the dough's first rise.

Putting it all together

Rolled out and topped with the sprinkles
With a rolling pin roll out the dough into a long rectangle.  I choose to roll my dough fairly thin ( about a 1/4 of an inch thick ).  Thicker dough achieves wider rings on your rolls. Keep in mind, however, to make a nice long rectangle.

Spread softened butter evenly across the dough and liberally cover this with your sprinkles.  You may not use all of your sprinkles but keep in mind a warm buttery piece of toast is a great place to use up this cinnamon sugar mix.

Roll up the sprinkled dough into a long tube. Dough stretches so feel free to grab the ends of the tube and give a gentle tug and a shake to gain a little more length. To keep things easy I like to cut the tube up into 16 even rolls.  Cut the entire tube in half then cut those two smaller tubes in half cut those four tubes in half and finally cut all remaining eight tubes in half.

If your toppings haven't cooled to less than 100 degrees you will  have to wait.  We don't want the rolls to cook yet.  If the topping pan is warm to touch but you can leave your hand there comfortably then this is about right.  Evenly place your 16 rolls directly on the toppings in the 13 x 9 inch pan. Give them a little shot of cooking spray to keep the air from drying the surface.  Set this entire pan aside for one more hour.  During this time your rolls will roughly double in size.  About 45 minutes into this hour preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place pan in oven and bake the rolls for 30-35 minutes.  Before you pull them out place a sheet of parchment paper on the counter. When you pull the pan from the oven immediately quickly flip it onto the parchment paper.  Allow the pan to sit for about a minute on top of the rolls.  Gently pull up on corner of the pan and slowly remove it.  The hot topping has no desire to stick to the pan and will stay on the rolls.

That's it!  Enjoy!!

Cinnamon Rolls straight from the oven ( they didn't last long)

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