Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas morning Cinnamon Rolls

Is there anything better than warm, fresh, homemade cinnamon rolls on a Christmas morning? The smell alone wafting through the house had us walking around the house in a trance. Boy, they sure hit the spot!  We decided unanimously as a family we would be adding these to our traditions, and have them every Christmas morning from here on out!  
Honestly, they weren't that hard to make. Sure, they take up a little time the night before because of the rising time but with the trick of letting them sit in the fridge overnight, and just "steaming" them in the oven before baking them the next morning, had me excited about making them every year.  So if you are craving those yummy, ooey-gooey cinnamon buns Christmas morning, give these a try! I know you won't be disappointed!

*found this recipe on Heidi Swanson's yummy food blog here.

Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Makes: 12-14 Prep: 2 1/2 hours or more Baking Time: 14 minutes

4 tsp yeast, dry and active
1 cup warm milk (105F-115F) (I used fat-free milk and it turned out great)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 TB ground cardamom (see Change It Up section below if you need to replace this)
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 TB cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 

1 egg, beaten with 1 TB of water (I forgot to do this part and it still looked great)
turbinado sugar for sprinkling or icing

Icing (optional):
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
4-5 TB heavy cream or half-and-half
1 tsp vanilla extract 

1. Heat milk to specified temperature, and mix in yeast. Add a pinch of sugar and stir. Let stand a few minutes until foamy. Add sugar, egg, melted butter and cardamom.  Stir until smooth. Mix salt into flour, and add flour slowly, 1 cup at a time, and stir well after each addition (If the dough becomes too stiff to stir, go ahead and dump on to floured surface and incorporate the rest of the flour as you are kneading).
2. Add dough to a floured counter top or cutting board and knead for 8-10 minutes until it's smooth and elastic. Transfer dough to a oiled bowl (I used cooking spray), turn to coat, and cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Let it rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour (I turn on the oven for a couple minutes to let it warm up to about 100 degrees, turn oven off, and let the bowl with the dough sit in the oven for one hour).
3. Cut dough in half on a floured counter top or cutting board and form each piece into a ball. Roll each piece into a rectangle that is 12 inches long and about 1/2 inch thick.
4. Mix cinnamon and sugar for filling in a small bowl. Spread half of the butter for filling on to each rectangular piece of dough, Sprinkle half of sugar mixture evenly across butter (I've got to admit, I didn't use all the butter or sugar the recipe suggested, so use as much as you think you need). Tightly roll the dough up lengthwise, and pinch the seams so they don't come apart. Cut each roll with a serrated knife into 12 equal slices (my rolls each only cut into 7 slices, so again, use your best judgement, each round should be about 1 inch thick).
5. After you cut the rolls, you have several options.
You can bake them right away on parchment lined baking sheet, in cupcake liners, or in a oiled/buttered baking dish. I put them in a cookie sprayed glass pie dish that worked out perfectly. You want to arrange each slice about 1/2" apart from each other, unless you are using the cupcake liners.
you can freeze them on a baking sheet in the freezer and then place them in a freezer bag until you would like to use them. Once you want to use them, thaw them overnight on your counter top and pop them in the oven.
You can arrange them in your pie dish or whatever you will be using, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, place dish in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan about two-thirds full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close door, and let the rolls rise about 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and shallow pan of water from oven. Bake as directed below.
6. Place rolls in a 400 F preheated oven, and bake for 15-18 minutes. Make sure you don't overcook these things. The last thing you want is DRY cinnamon rolls! :) Remove from oven, and eat hot out of the oven, or slather each roll with some icing. Enjoy their ooey-gooey goodness.


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 
 ~Before placing in oven, add some raisins or dried cranberries.
~Add some chopped walnuts
~Instead of 2 TB cardamom add a mixture of 1 1/2 TB cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg  or cloves or all-spice
~You can try making these with a mixture of all-purpose flour and whole-wheat flour or spelt flour.


Emily said...

These were AMAZING!!! Did you use wheat flour? You should have a huge following on this blog Kristina, seriously you are amazing girl!

The Rhodes Family said...

Thanks Emily! The second time around, I ran out of all-purpose and did use wheat flour, so they work both ways.


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