Cinnamon Rolls, Take 2

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I’m back. I haven’t stopped baking, but unfortunately I stopped blogging. What better to return with than an absolutely perfect cinnamon roll – one that makes my previous attempt seem like a roll of carpet remnant?

I made these cinnamon rolls for Mother’s Day, partly because I was aiming to serve Amber breakfast in bed and partly because I was so disappointed in my other batch. Those things were crunchy and dense. These were flaky and light, gooey and oozing with flavor. For a brief moment while we ate these heavenly coils of sweetness, we forgot all about the little diaper beast in the other room. It was Mother’s Day, right?

The biggest difference from my previous recipe was the overnight rest. Any leavened bread needs time to rise, for the yeast to produce all that wonderful, voluminous air inside the dough. And of course it helps that you don’t have to get up four hours early just to make rolls. I gave them about 20 minutes to warm up and proof before I threw them in the oven. I also kept the icing a bit thicker than the previous batch by giving them time to cool before I slathered them.

My recipe is a bit of a mix between Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls (buttermilk, lots of eggs) and About.com’s Ultimate Cinnamon Roll recipe (more sugar, fewer eggs, uses shortening).

Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Filling

  • melted butter
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg, freshly grated

Icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

Beat the eggs with the sugar and shortening. Heat the milk and pour slowly into the egg mixture, tempering it to ensure the milk doesn’t cook the eggs. Mix the flour, instant yeast, and salt in a bowl. Slowly add the wet mixture, stirring to combine. It should form a soft, smooth dough. Don’t add too much flour – it should be pliable, not firm. Allow it to rise in a greased bowl for about two hours.

Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into an 18″ x 12″ rectangle, with the 18″ edge facing you. Brush the dough with melted butter, leaving a 1/2″ border at the top (the farthest edge from you). Cover liberally with brown sugar. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Starting with the edge closest to you and moving away, roll the dough tightly. Pinch the seam to seal the dough and carefully press the roll to even out the thickness. Slice the cylinder into 12 rolls, approximately 1 1/2″ thick. Lay them flat, cut side down, in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 16 hours.

When you’re ready to bake them, remove the plastic wrap and let them come to room temperature on the counter. Or you can put them in a cold oven and turn the oven light on, if your room isn’t quite “room temperature.” Let them sit for about 20-30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake on the middle rack for about 30 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before you put icing on them.

To make the icing, pour 2 tablespoons of milk into the powdered sugar and stir with a fork. As it reduces, add the melted butter and the vanilla. If you want it thinner, add a teaspoon or two of milk.

Once the rolls are cool enough to touch, pour the icing over them.

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