Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Breakfast-- Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Okay, I have a LOT of stuff to get done for Thanksgiving, but I'm taking a break to tell you all that the cinnamon rolls recipe from "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" cookbook by Ree Drummond really are worth making for your Thanksgiving Day breakfast!!  They are easy and come together pretty quickly for homemade rolls.  Also, they use yeast AND baking soda AND baking powder, so don't worry, they are going to rise!  The icing is wonderful-- maple and coffee flavored!  Ms. Drummond says they can be frozen already iced and then warmed in the oven for 15 minutes.  This is a very useful thing when the oven is going to be busy all day!
I changed a few things, and there are a few things to note about my experience with the recipe.  Instead of brewed coffee for the icing, I used expresso powder to make the amount of coffee I needed.  Somewhere in the past I read that when using coffee as an ingredient, it's better to make it from expresso powder because it keeps the flavor better in the finished product.  You can find it at any grocery store and it's inexpensive.  Also, I used only 1/2 cup melted butter inside the rolls, then drizzled the other 1/2 cup over the cut surfaces of the rolls once they were in the baking pans.  The recipe says to use the whole 1 cup inside, but so much would run out onto the counter it seemed like a waste.  This way, you keep all the butter where it belongs-- with the cinnamon rolls!  I made 1/2 the recipe because even that made 20 cinnamon rolls, which are plenty if you don't have a bunch of ranch hands to feed along with your family like Ree Drummond!  Lastly, I mixed a portion of the cinnamon into the dough itself because my son-in-law, Miles, said this is a "must have" feature of the proper cinnamon roll.  I agree!  Don't worry if the dough seems really soft.  I thought it would be a problem, but they turned out great and the soft dough absorbs all the butter and icing even better!
Well, I'd like to visit all evening, but hey-- I'm busy here!  So, this is the recipe with my changes--oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Cinnamon Rolls (adapted from the "Pioneer Woman Cooks")
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast (I used the "Rapid Rise" type)
4.5 cups white flour
1/2 heaping tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1.5 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup melted butter
1 Tbl. + 1 tsp. ground cinnamon mixed with 1 cup sugar
1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
3 Tbl. melted butter
1 tsp. expresso powder dissolved in 2 Tbl. boiling water
Dash of salt
1.5 tsp. maple flavoring

Spray 4, 9x9 square disposable aluminum pans or regular baking pans (I don't have that many!) with PAM. Heat the milk, oil, and sugar in the microwave for 1.5 minutes, or until just barely warm.  Stir to dissolve the sugar.  Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Sprinkle the yeast in and stir to dissolve.  Go away for 10 minutes.  There should be lots of bubbles on the surface of the mixture.  (These instructions are also a little different from the cookbook, but it works better for me-- so maybe it will for you also!)
Add 4 cups of flour and stir to combine, but leave it lumpy and rather rough looking.  Don't overmix.  Cover with a clean tea towel and set in a warm place for 1 hour.
The dough should be risen about double now.  Put the bowl back on the mixer.  Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, 2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/2 cup flour.  Stir thoroughly, making sure everything is mixed in well.  Let the dough rest about 10 minutes.
Get a large, clean tea towel and put it on the counter.  Sprinkle flour all over the towel.  Dump out the dough (it will be soft) and roll it to a big rectangle about 10 x 30 inches.  Pour 1/2 cup melted butter on the surface using your fingers to spread it all over.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface.  From the short end, roll the dough, lifting the edge of the tea towel to help you roll it up as evenly and tightly as you can.  
Using a sawing motion, cut the dough into 20 slices using a floured, serrated knife.  Place them cut side up into the prepared pans.  I fit 5 per pan.  Drizzle the remaining 1/2 cup melted butter over the cut surfaces of the rolls.  Cover them with a towel and let rise 20-30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375F.
Bake the rolls for 13-17 minutes, until golden brown.  
Mix all the icing ingredients with a whisk and pour / spread all over the rolls while they are hot.  
If you're going to freeze them, allow to cool, wrap well with aluminum foil and freeze.  Yay!  

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