There is nothing like a snowy day to make me want to bake. We have all had plenty of snow lately that is for sure. The kids were asking for Cinnamon Rolls, so while the boy was home from college , what better time to indulge them a little. These are not something I bake on a regular basis, so they remain special. I use a combination of several recipes that I have tried...
I do use my Kitchen-Aid mixer for these and I start them with the paddle attachment, then I switch to the dough hook once the dough starts to come together. It is very sticky and you will need to keep adding flour by the tablespoon until it is not longer very sticky and slaps around the bowl of the mixer. Then I take the dough out of the mixer and place it on a floured board or the counter and knead it a bit with my hands. It will be smooth and silky , like a baby's bottom.
Cinnamon Rolls adapted loosely from a recipe by Molly Wizenberg Dough:
1 cup whole milk ( I used 1 % several times...that was fine)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 to 4 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
2 large room temperature eggs
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast or instant yeast (one packet)
1 teaspoon salt Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 1/4 cup (1/2 of a stick) unsalted butter, room temperature Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heavy Cream or Half and Half ( or water if you wish)
Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed, 110°F to 125°F, 30 to 45 seconds, it may take a bit longer depending on your microwave, be careful of the milk being too hot as it can kill the yeast. Rapid Rise yeast can take higher temperatures than regular yeast, so keep that in mind. You may need to let it stand for a few minutes, then take its temperature with an instant read thermometer. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, eggs, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 2 1/2 cups flour and switch to dough hook. Beat on low until flour is absorbed , scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Knead with the dough hook about 8 minutes. The dough will stick to the dough hook, and slap around the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic... adding a little more flour more flour if sticky. Form into ball.
Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.
Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide). Sometimes I only get 16 rolls...no matter.
Spray two 9-inch square or round glass or metal baking dishes with nonstick spray.( do not use a 9 x 13 baking pan) Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. If making ahead, refrigerate dough overnight. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 16 -20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.Glaze right away, while still warm.
For glaze: Mix two cups of powdered sugar with one teaspoon vanilla and enough heavy cream or half and half to make a thin glaze. Drizzle this glaze on the hot rolls, using a fork or spoon. If you are only baking one pan of the rolls then cut the glaze amounts in half, and make another half when you bake the second pan. These can come back to life when they are a day or two old by putting on a microwave safe dish and nuking for about 15 seconds or so...if they make it that long.
If you wish, you can freeze one pan of the rolls, well wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil for another day. You can take the rolls out of the freezer and defrost in the fridge over night and then remove for the second rise when ready. It will take longer than 45 minutes to rise if the dough is cold from the fridge.
You might want to use another cooling rack on top of the turned out buns to turn them over again right side up before glazing...I like to line a sheet pan with baking parchment and place the cooling rack over that so that the glaze drips on the parchment, making clean up all the easier.