Merry Christmas! Cinnamon Rolls

fotor_(54)I don’t know about you all but I am pretty convinced that Christmas this year sneaked up a little more sneakily than in the past. Seems like yesterday that Cobalt and I were cruising across the country, exploring deserts and cities we’d never ventured to before. Also doesn’t seem long ago that we shared our first Christmas together….

Perhaps I’ve been too busy to notice the days passing? Or perhaps the weather has been too warm to convince me that it’s the holiday season?

Yet Christmas is tomorrow and I am happy to say that I am much more thrilled about it than I was a month ago. Perhaps putting school aside has contributed to my change of heart. Or perhaps listening to the once dreaded Christmas music for nearly a month straight has calmed my hum bug attitude. :)

Whatever the case, I am ready!! Aside from a few that I don’t need to get together til New Year’s, all my Christmas presents are wrapped and ready for giving. I’ve even finished my holiday baking so I don’t have to worry about it later today.

fotor_(51)One of the scrumptious baked goods I’ve made is for Christmas morning. Cinnamon rolls!

I got this recipe from Cobalt’s grandmother who is an avid baker. I thought about googling a recipe but assumed that hers would be more trustworthy. Trustworthy indeed!!! These crispy, buttery and sweetly spiced rolls were surprisingly easier than baking bread. :) I made two different batches; one for a Christmas present and one for Christmas breakfast with the fam. The first was the normal recipe (which I think turned out better) and the second used eggnog instead of milk and omitted eggs because I used the only three I had for the first batch. I also sliced the second batch thinner than the first; this was to fill up my pan more and to prevent spillage of the dough over the pan.

Regardless of these modifications, both batches tasted lovely (or at least, the corners did!).

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

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Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 4 1/2 cups flour (I used half white and half wheat)
  • 1 pkg yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, sliced (or softened)
  • 3 eggs

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1 TBS cinnamon (and/or 1/2 tsp allspice)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 TBS milk or hot water
  • 1 tsp of vanilla or almond extract; or lemon juice

Directions:

Part One: Making the Dough and Letting it Rise

Put 2 cups of flour into a large mixing bowl. Add yeast and stir until well mixed. Heat milk until hot but not boiling (I microwaved it in a glass measuring cup for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on 70% power). Add salt, sugar and butter to milk; stir to melt butter. Let milk cool for a couple minutes if it’s too hot (so it doesn’t scramble the eggs). Then add milk mixture to flour and yeast; mix to combine and scrape the bowl when needed. Beat eggs and then add to mixture; mix dough well. Stir in 2 more cups of flour or enough to form a soft ball, scraping sides of the bowl. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until  smooth and springy (2-4 minutes), using sprinkles of flour when needed to keep dough from being sticky. Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased deep bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, free of drafts until double in size.*

*To speed up the rising process (mostly because my house is too cold for bread dough to rise in), I put my dough in a deep, ceramic, microwave-safe bowl, covered it with plastic wrap and placed it in the microwave. Next to the bowl, I put a mug of water to allow steam to rise the dough and prevent heat from drying it out. I heated this dough for 10 minutes on 10% power (this setting is super important to prevent the dough from actually cooking in the microwave), then let it sit another 10 minutes with the power off. The rest of the roll-making process was the same. :)

Part Two: Filling the Dough and Shaping it into Rolls

Pour dough out onto a surface (I used an extra cookie sheet) greased lightly with cooking spray. Divide dough in half and put one aside. Shape half-dough into a ball and put in middle of greased surface. Place a piece of waxed paper (or the lining of a cereal bag) over dough. With a rolling pin (or glass bottle), roll out dough to rectangle with about 1/4-inch thickness. Peel off waxed paper. Pour half of the melted butter onto the rolled-out dough, spreading it evenly with a spoon to the edge. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture onto butter and spread with hands. Roll dough long-ways and seal by pinching the edges. Slice each roll into ten to twelve 1-inch pieces. Place pieces into a greased 9-inch pan (I used a pie pan for one recipe and a springform pan for another). Do the same with the other half of the dough.

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Part Three: Baking the Rolls and Glazing them for Eating

Cover rolls (without touching them) and place in a warm place to rise until double in size. This can be a warm oven; or if the pan is glass, the microwave for 3-5 minutes on 10% power. Then bake rolls at 375°F for 15-20 minutes. When rolls are just warm, drizzle with sugar glaze (see below)

Sugar Glaze: With a spoon, heavy whisk or electric mixture, combine powdered sugar, milk (or hot water) and flavoring of your choice. Drizzle over warm rolls.

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(After making these, I wrapped them in aluminum foil and refrigerated them. Tomorrow before breakfast I’ll heat them in the oven slightly and then pour the glaze over the top)

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas! I hope you get to rest and spend some time with the people you love. :)

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