As you may have read on last week's journal entry post, "chef" is still one of my dream jobs. Thus, I decided to perfect my cinnamon rolls, experimenting with different recipes and pans. I'm quite pleased with this one, even if the finished product isn't the most photogenic...
The recipe is easy enough to do in one afternoon, and it only makes one 9x13 pan. Perfect. (These photos are deceiving...one 9x13 cooks them better than two 8x8 pans.)
I first tried The Pioneer Woman's famous cinnamon rolls, but I preferred the Everyday Cinnamon Roll recipe on Our Best Bites. There were a few things I tweaked, so my adapted recipe follows. It's kind of a hybrid between the two.
1 c milk
4 T butter
3 - 3 1/2 c flour
2 1/4 tsp yeast (I just use a normal yeast, but the Everyday Cinnamon Roll recipe calls for rapid rise. I imagine either is fine.)
1/4 c white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
1/4 c melted butter
raisins or chocolate chips, optional
Maple Cream Cheese Icing
(I estimate every time, so these are approximations)
1 c powdered sugar
2-5 T milk
2 T soft butter
4 oz soft cream cheese
1/2 tsp maple extract
Just whip it all together with a hand mixer, adding in more or less of things to make it as thin and maple-flavored as you want.
Place 3/4 c milk plus the butter in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds until the butter is mostly melted. Stir in the last 1/4 c milk to cool the mixture off and set it aside.
In a large mixing bowl (a mixer is fine too, I just don't have one), whisk together 2 c flour, yeast, white sugar, and salt. When milk mixture is cooled off to warm, add it to the flour mixture along with the egg while stirring. Beat only until combined, about 1 minute. Add remaining flour, but ONLY until dough barely leaves the sides. You want it to be very soft and pretty sticky. Knead for 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for at least 10 minutes. Put it in the fridge if you're going to leave it for longer.
On a floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle about 12x14 inches. Spread the butter all over the dough. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle across the dough. Add raisins or chocolate chips if you'd like. Take one of the long edges and roll it tightly. Pinch the edges closed. Score the roll into 12 pieces, then use a long piece of floss to cut it cleanly. Have you ever used this trick? Slide the floss underneath, then pull the ends up and cross them to slice the dough. Place them in a buttered 9x13 pan--that's important! Mine have turned out best when I use that pan. And be sure to use butter to grease the pan. The bottoms come out soft and delicious with butter and crispy with a spray. Put a towel over the pan and let them rise for at least 30 minutes in a warm place. I like to preheat the oven for a minute or two until it's warm and put the pan in there.
When the rolls have risen up nice and plump, bake them for 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven until light golden brown. Spread with the maple cream icing when you take them out.