BBA #8: Cinnamon Rolls
I am going to apologize in advance for the woeful dearth of pictures I took of these cinnamon rolls and their making. They were easy and delicious, but I made them as part of my Fourth of July Fiesta. As such, I had a million kitchen projects going and didn’t get enough pictures. The good news is that I got some pictures of everything, as you will reap the rewards for the next few weeks. The bad news is that nothing is going to look as good as it should.
I started the rolls later in the day than I normally bake, around noon. Hey, it was a holiday! The rolls were the first thing I started. I don’t normally include photos of ingredients or a mise en place, but I want to prove that my kitchen counters started out clean that day. Don’t ask how they ended up.
White sugar! Whole milk! Butter! Salt! An egg! You can tell these are going to be good just by how bad for you they are. (And this doesn’t even include the ingredients for the white fondant glaze: a box of powdered sugar and more whole milk!). Stop and think for a minute about how your arteries are going to ache and your heart is going to race after you eat one of these. It’s a delicious pain. If you’re me, this is already formulating as “future breakfast.” I like to start my day on a sugar high.
So, I got started by creaming the butter (room temperature!), sugar, and salt together with my hand mixer. I usually mix everything by hand, but I figured the pastry-like qualities of this recipe were best started with fluffy shortening. I then beat in the egg (room temperature!) and the extract.
If I impress nothing upon you through all these recipes, please please please always use room temperature eggs and butter. Your baking will thank you. If you need some shortcuts on that, check my cupcakes recipe. No excuses. Let’s roll.
(Hahahaha! Get it? Let’s roll? Cinnamon rolls? The sugar is going to my head).
Ahem. So, I beat in the egg and the extract and then slowly beat in the flour, yeast, and milk. I kept scraping down the sides of my bowl, and stopped frequently. This dough really wanted to climb up the mixture and jump in my mouth. As soon as I had a ball pulling away from the bowl, I removed it to the counter and started kneading by hand. As usual, I had to knead longer than specified– 20 minutes or so. Still, I was justly rewarded for my efforts. The dough stretched out to a thin, delicate windowpane that looked like vellum.
I popped the dough in an oiled bowl and commenced with the cooking for my evening Fiesta. After a couple hours, I check the dough, and it had doubled. I misted the counter with spray oil (you don’t get these shots because of the state of my surrounding counter space) and proceeded to shape the buns. I rolled the dough out 18″ wide by 9″ across. I wanted “smaller” cinnamon rolls. I sprinkled the cinnamon sugar from the recipe over most of the dough, leaving a bit of space at one edge for a seam. I then rolled it up into a giant cigar-shaped cinnamon roll. I did use all of the sugar, even though it seemed excessive. I then cut the dough in individual rolls 1 1/4″ thick. This yielded 12 rolls and a couple of scraggly bits of dough that I made into little cinnamon twists. I transferred the rolls to a cookie sheet lined with oiled parchment paper. I then proofed the rolls for an hour and a half, until they were puffy and giant.
After the rolls were proofed, I baked them in a preheated oven for 30 minutes. They were not quite as golden on top as I would have liked, but at that point in the evening I was knee-deep in salsa and didn’t notice. As they cooled, I made the fondant icing, swapping out the lemon extract in favor of vanilla upon the husband’s request. The vanilla colored the icing just a bit, so if you’re wondering “why lemon” color is a factor as well as flavor! Upon closer inspection, the massive amounts of cinnamon sugar filling had melted into the buns gloriously, leaving a sticky, cinnamon-y filling. Gorgeous.
I sloppily drizzled the icing over the buns, using a whisk, a spoon, and eventually just pouring straight out of the bowl. It wasn’t the most attractive display, but I knew these would be unapologetically devoured. As the fondant glaze ran off the buns, I spooned it over the buns and let it run into the swirls and crevasses. They were excellent. I will definitely make these again and perhaps even venture into the territory of Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns.
This is some more yeasty goodness I’m sending over to Yeastspotting.