Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cinnammon Rolls



I have a confession to make. I have a slight addiction to the goodness that is cinnamon rolls. There is something about this moist, buttery roll and the heady aroma of cinnamon that drives me absolutely crazy! Sometimes I wish I was a fly on the wall so that I could watch myself as I bake these. Once the aroma of the butter and cinnamon fill the house as they bake, I pace around gleefully in eager anticipation of the finished product. Yes, you can buy cinnamon rolls ready made at the bakery, but they'll never quite taste like home-made ones. 

For those of my readers who don't already know, a cinnamon roll consists of a rolled sheet of yeast-leavened dough onto which a cinnamon and sugar mixture is sprinkled over a thin coat of butter. The dough is then rolled into a log, cut into individual portions, baked and topped with icing. Sound good? Here's the tested, tried and true recipe that I've been using for years. It always gives me fantastic results! A  friend of mine shared this recipe with me and I'm glad to share it with you. Here's what you'll need to get started...

-2 9X13 baking dishes.
-Whisk or wooden spoon.
-3 mixing bowls.
-1 medium cup.
-Pastry brush.
-Clean sewing thread or very sharp, serrated knife (for cutting the rolled up dough).

-5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour.
-1/3 cup granulated sugar.
-2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast (is equivalent to 2 packs shown in the video).
-1 3Oz. pack of instant vanilla pudding (will give you soft cinnamon rolls) or you can substitute with the same amount of custard powder.
-1 teaspoon salt (I used Kosher salt).
-2 tablespoons granulated sugar (for activating the yeast).
-2 cups milk.
-2 large eggs, whisked.
-1/2 cup warm water.
-1 Stick (8 tablespoons) of unsalted butter, melted.
-1 tablespoon cooking oil.        

-In a cup, mix the yeast and the warm water and stir (make sure your water is not too hot, or it will kill the yeast!).
-Stir in the 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir. Set aside and allow the yeast to "bloom" (froth/foam). This should take about 5 minutes. If your yeast does not foam, that is not a good sign. This means your yeast must be old and that will cause your recipe to backfire.
-In a separate bowl, combine the milk and the instant pudding mix and whisk.
-To the milk/pudding mixture, add the melted butter, 2 eggs and salt. Whisk to combine.
-Add the activated yeast to the mixture and whisk.
-In three parts, slowly add in the all-purpose flour to the wet mixture, stirring each time you add the flour. At this point, use a wooden spoon to mix as the mixture will start turning from a batter to dough (it'll get thick).
-Generously flour your counter and transfer the dough to your counter. Knead by hand until the dough is pliable and soft, but not wet.
-Grease a large mixing bowl with the cooking oil. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with some cling foil and place the dough in a warm place to allow it to proof (rise). Let the bowl of dough sit in a warm place for 1 hour.

TIP: I turned my oven on at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes, turned it off and left the door ajar for another 5 minutes for the oven to cool down. Then I inserted my bowl of dough into the warm oven to rise.

-After one hour, the dough would have doubled in size. Uncover the dough and knead it again using your hands to punch out the excess air. Cover the bowl again and return it back to where you had it raising the first time for an additional 30 minutes.
-In the meantime, grease your baking dishes with some cooking spray, butter or vegetable oil and set aside and begin preparing the filling for the cinnamon rolls.

-1 cup dark brown sugar.
-1 cup light brown sugar.
-1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter.
-3 tablespoons of ground cinnamon.

-In a mixing bowl, combine the sugars and cinnamon. Mix well and set aside.
-Melt the unsalted butter in a small pan on the stove, or for a few seconds in a microwave-safe dish in the microwave. Set aside.

-Once your dough has risen for the second time, remove it from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface (you will need a relatively large area to roll out your dough).
-Roll out the dough into a large rectangle of about 1/4-inch thickness (see size of rectangle in the video).
-Dip your pastry brush in the melted butter and generously brush it on the surface of the rolled out dough. Repeat until the whole surface of the dough has been brushed with butter. This butter will act as a glue to hold the cinnamon/sugar mix onto the dough.
-Next, generously sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mix over the buttered surface of the dough. Make sure the whole surface of the dough is covered with this.
-Now, starting from the side that is furthest from you, begin rolling the dough tightly towards you. You need to roll along the length of the rectangular dough (the longest side).
-Once you have finished rolling the dough, place it on your work surface with the seam down.
-Gently dust off any excess flour from the surface if the rolled up dough using your hand or a pastry brush.
-Now to cut up the dough. if you're using a clean thread, slip a piece of thread around 12 inches long under the rolled up dough. Then, after every 2 inches along the length of the dough, lift the thread up and pull tight as if to tighten the laces on a shoe (cross the ends over each other). This will give you a clean cut, without messing up the shape of your cinnamon roll. If you are using a sharp knife, bear some weight down on the knife every 2 inches along the length of the rolled up dough. Do not saw back and forth as this will result in jugged edges on your cinnamon roll. Now you have uncooked cinnamon rolls.

-Place each cinnamon roll on the greased baking dishes you had earlier prepared. Make certain you leave about a 1-inch space between each roll as they will further rise.
-Cover your baking dishes with cling foil and allow to sit on the counter for an additional 20 minutes.

***Meanwhile, pre heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.***

-Uncover your baking dishes. You will notice the cinnamon rolls have risen once again and are touching each other in the baking dish. Don't panic, that is supposed to happen. 

-Insert the baking dishes into the oven. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 20 minutes in the center rack of your oven. Your house will smell like pastry heaven ;). When done, your cinnamon rolls should be light golden brown as shown below.

-While you wait for your cinnamon rolls to cook, prepare your icing.

-1 8Oz. of cream cheese at room temperature.
-1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (confectioners sugar).
-4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature (softened),
-1/8 teaspoon of salt.
-3 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt or 3 tablespoons of milk.
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.

-Using a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream cheese and the butter until light and fluffy.
-Slowly add in the powdered sugar and mix until well combined.
-Add the salt, yogurt or milk and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined. The frosting should be thick, but viscous. If you find its too runny, add a tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time until it reaches the desired consistency. If you find it is too thick, add a tablespoon of yogurt or milk at a time until the desired consistency is attained.

-While the cinnamon rolls are still hot, spoon some of the frosting over them and make sure to get the corners of the baking dish and between the cinnamon rolls. Use a spatula to spread the frosting over top of the hot cinnamon rolls.

It is now time to enjoy your work :) I served mine up with some masala chai (I have a recipe for that in the visheti post). SO GOOD!!! These cinnamon rolls are so moist!! They keep their moistness for days after they are cooked even when you do not heat them up. That's all thanks to that pudding mix/ custard that we added to the dough.Enjoy!!