Every once in a while a certain food takes you over. It imprisons you the moment you smell it in the oven, the aroma filling the air, the smile on your face uncontrollable, you become downright giddy in its presence. That is what these cinnamon rolls did to my great friends and me this morning as we embarked on a journey to try the Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Roll recipe. Her blog is fantastic and provides step by step instructions complete with beautiful pictures and she makes every step very interesting. As is true with most of my cooking creations, I like to trick myself into thinking I can “doctor them up” in a way that makes them a little more nutritional. With this recipe, I was very discriminating in that respect though, I didn’t feel the need to doctor the recipe up too much. But what I did find, was that by replacing half of the regular white flour with whole grain flour, and using organic skim milk (you could also use almond milk!) instead of whole for the frosting, the cinnamon rolls still made us feel sinful. They were so downright delicious, ooeey gooeey, and sweet that I almost feel like I can’t really talk about it on my blog. But here I am. Complete with many pictures displaying the pure joy and excitement that cooking brings to me. Please ignore the lack of makeup and the pajamas. Eventhough I made these from 11am to about 3pm, I did not feel the need to change into normal clothes yet. Next time you have a couple hours with some friends willing to help, try this recipe, you won’t be disappointed and you’ll immediately feel like a kid again, transported on a direct flight to cinnamon sugar paradise.
Out of this World Cinnamon Rolls (Adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
- 1 quart (4 cups) Whole Milk (I didn’t have milk at the time so I used a mix of heavy and light cream!)
- 1 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 cup Sugar (We ran out of regular white sugar so I used light brown later on in the process!)
- 2 packages Active Dry Yeast, (2 1/4 teaspoons) 0.25 Ounce Packets
- 8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour (I used 4 cups Whole Wheat and 5 Cups White Flour)
- 1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
- 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
- Plenty Of Melted Butter
- 2 cups Sugar
- Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
MAPLEFROSTING: (I just made a regular vanilla because we didn’t have maple flavoring)
- 1 bag Powdered Sugar
- 2 teaspoons
Maple Flavoring(Vanilla extract)
- 1/2 cup Milk (I used skim… we found some in time to make the frosting!)
- 1/4 cup Melted Butter
- 1/4 cup Brewed Coffee
- 1/8 teaspoon Salt
For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.
Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin. (The thinner the better! more rolls per bun= more doughy deliciousness!)
To make the filling, pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. Don’t be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar! Gooey is the goal.
Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Don’t worry if the filling oozes as you work; that just means the rolls are going to be divine. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. When you’re finished, you’ll wind up with one long buttery, cinnamony, sugary, gooey log.
Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices.
One “log “will produce 20 to 25 rolls. Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into disposable foil cake pans and swirl to coat. Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 7 to 9 rolls.)
(Here I am thinking they’re all supposed to be jammed in one pan… then I read the recipe again and it called for 7-9 rolls spread out in each pan! oops…)
Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans.
(I used damp paper towels because I was too lazy to do laundry!)
Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.
While the rolls are baking, make the icing.
In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and salt. Splash in the [vanilla] flavoring. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add in more maple, sugar, butter, or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable.
And the verdict? Heaven. Sorry for the close up sis…! But not really.
Special thanks to my wonderful friends Jill and Lydia for helping bake them and take pictures, and Kate for her picture taking skills as well!
ENJOY, BON APPETIT ET BONNE SANTE!