Sunday, October 7, 2012

Conference Cinnamon Rolls

Conference weekend is one of our favorite times of the year. I especially like fall conference because it's all cold outside (and it was this weekend! for Texas, anyway...) and it's nice to just cuddle on the couch in our PJs while we listen to the general authorities.

Over the past few years, we've started a little tradition of making cinnamon rolls from scratch. I've tried several different recipes, but I think I've finally combined enough to find one I like. I've used Pioneer Woman's before, as well as this cinnabon clone, and kinda used a combination of both :)
What you need:
3/4 cup warm water
1 package (about 2 1/4 tsp) rapid rise yeast
1 T. plus 1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup buttermilk or whole milk (I like the butter milk)
1 large egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 1/2-5 cups bread flour (AP will work, I just prefer the texture of bread flour)

In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combined the warm water, 1 T. sugar, and yeast. Allow to sit for about five minutes or until the mixture gets foamy.
Add the 1/2 cup sugar and salt and stir on low for about 30 seconds. In a separate bowl, combine milk, egg and oil. Add all at once to yeast mixture and stir on low 30 seconds. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix on speed 2 until all incorporated. Add the rest of the flour 1/2 a cup at a time (mine took 4 1/2). The dough should be stretchy, but not sticky.
Knead dough on speed 2 for five minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise. I usually put mine on top of the oven and turn it on (especially when it's cold out). I also put a dish towel over the plastic wrap to really keep in the heat. I've noticed that if I only use a dish towel, no plastic wrap, then I get a little crunchy crust thing across the top. Allow it to rise for 1-2 hours until about double in size.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Roll out into a large rectangle. Now it's time for the filling!
What you need:
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
Liberal cinnamon (I didn't measure... I'm guessing 3-4 tablespoons)

Pour the melted butter over the rolled out dough and make sure it spread all the way to within about half an inch of the edges. 
Sprinkle the brown sugar on top in an even layer. I have to use my hands to smooth it out. Sprinkle the cinnamon all over the top. I literally just dump cinnamon all over until I'm happy with it.

From the long edge of the rectangle, roll the dough tightly up. I usually pinch the ends closed to keep everything from squeezing out. Then it's time to cut! You can do this with a knife, but I always find it's much easier to use dental floss. Just cross your hands and pull! Less filling squeezes out and the rolls don't get quite so squished down.
Place the rolls in a butter casserole dish. Cover (again with the plastic wrap!) and allow to rise 30 minutes - 1 hour (I only did about 40... I was hungry!). The rolls should all be touching at this point.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. 
What you need:
4 oz cream cheese
6 T. butter, softened
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
~2 cups powdered sugar

Blend together everything but the powdered sugar until creamy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar slowly until it reaches your desired consistency. Add to the cinnamon rolls when they're still warm so you get that great gooey-ness.

Enjoy one... or two... or three. The perfect compliment to a wonderful fall conference day.

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