I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls

I don't know that there is any breakfast more comforting or that makes you feel more loved than cinnamon rolls. Especially when homemade, soft, large, and topped with just the right amount of glaze. Is this just the Midwesterner in me or is this a universal feeling?

This is another recipe  pulled from my childhood and my grandmother's recipe box. Cinnamon rolls are something that I only seem to crave in winter, remembering the warm treat offered up Christmas morning, or whenever we stayed the night with my grandmother, or alongside a bowl of chili (again: who else has this tradition? I seem to know some people who insist on the cinnamon roll and chili pairing and others who have never heard of such a thing). Since the husband shared the tradition of the Christmas morning cinnamon rolls in his family, it is one that we have made part of our small celebration every year as we hunker down in New York City, trying to ward off the homesickness of being far from family on this special day. To be honest, our first couple of years we popped open a refrigerated can the morning of to satisfy the craving, but the last couple of years, as my kitchen and bread skills improved, homemade rolls graced the table.

Doing our best to not look completely hung over on Christmas morning.
The best part of making a batch yourself is the ability to share and spread the love. This year I made a 1 1/2 sized portion and divvied it up to 3 pie pans to hand out to fellow friends stuck in the city far from family. A treat that hopefully made them feel more at home.

Cinnamon Rolls
This recipe is based off of my grandmother's dinner roll recipe. It creates a barely sweet, flaky, soft dough that is only improved by the addition of a bit of butter/sugar and glaze. This recipe makes 12 large rolls, but it never hurts to multiply the recipe to share a bit of winter cheer with those who may need it. 
photo courtesy of The Husband
for the dough:
1 package yeast dissolved in 1/4 c. warm water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. warm water
4 c. flour

for the filling:
1/2 c. (8 TB) butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. brown sugar
3 TB cinnamon

for the glaze:
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1-2 TB milk

Add all the dough ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix until well combined--dough will be very sticky. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Then place the covered bowl into the refrigerator to cool the dough about 30 minutes-1 hour.
Mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar.
Lightly flour the counter and dump the dough onto it. Roll out into a 9x15" rectangle (you want the dough to be about 1/2" thick). Spread with the butter and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Starting with the long side, roll up the dough fairly tightly. Once rolled, pinch the seam to the roll to close off the roll.
Use a sharp knife or a long piece of string to cut the log into 12 rolls (you may want to slice off the very end pieces first to make for more even rolls). Place 2" apart in a 9x13" baking dish. Cover and rise for about 30 minutes-1 hour. (Note: at this point you can also cover the rolls and then place in the refrigerator to rise slowly overnight to bake off in the morning. OR you can place the rolls on a sheet pan in the freezer at this point. Once frozen, wrap carefully in wax paper and place in a freezer bag. When ready to cook, place the frozen rolls 2" apart in a 9x13" pan and let rise and thaw for about 2-3 hours. Bake as directed below.)
Heat the oven to 350.
While the rolls are rising, make the glaze. Mix together the ingredients, adding more powdered sugar if necessary to thicken or more milk if necessary to thin.
Bake the cinnamon rolls for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and no longer doughy. Cool slightly, then drizzle with glaze.

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