Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Cinnamon RollsCinnamon Rolls
From Better Homes and Gardens: The New Cookbook, page 144
Makes 24 rolls

4 3/4 to 5 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
1 tablespoon half and half or light cream

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups of the flour and the yeast. In a saucepan heat and stir milk, 1/3 cup butter, granulated sugar, and salt just until warm (120 to 130F) and butter almost melts; add to flour mixture along with eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed 3 minutes. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).

3. Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile lightly grease two baking sheets; set aside. For filling, stir together brown sugar, the 1/4 cup flour, and cinnamon; cut in 1/3 cup butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

4. Roll each half of dough into 12x8-inch rectangle. Sprinkle filling over dough rectangles. If desired, sprinkle with raisings and/or pecans. Roll up each rectangle starting from a long side. Seal seams. Slice each roll into 12 pieces. Place cut sides down on prepared baking sheets.

5. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise. Chill for 2 to 24 hours. Uncover; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. (Or, to bake rolls right away, don't chill the dough. Instead, cover loosely; let dough rise in a warm place until nearly double, about 30 minutes.)

6. Break any surface bubbles with a greased toothpick. Brush dough with half-and-half. Bake in a 375F oven for 20-25 minutes or until light brown (if necessary, cover rolls with foil the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning). Remove from oven. Brush again with half-and-half. Cool for 1 minute. Carefully invert rolls onto a wire rack. Cool slightly. Invert again onto a serving platter. Ice with frosting or drizzle with glaze.

Cream Cheese Frosting
From Recipezaar

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk

1. Stir together all ingredients until smooth.

Cinnamon RollsI decided last week to embark on a journey into new baking frontier. It was completely foreign
territory--one I had never experienced before in my years of recreational baking-- and I was absolutely terrified of the exotic, temperamental beast I was about to wrestle with. Knowing others who have ventured into this land, I've heard the stories of triumph and also those of tragedy. I felt it was time to experience it for myself. I finally took on the challenge of baking with yeast for the first time--I made homemade cinnamon rolls.

The week before, Boyfriend and I hit the mall to catch a movie (Seth Rogen's Observe and Report. Odd movie, but I love Seth Rogen). I had just gotten off of work and was kind of hungry but not completely starving, so we decided to grab a quick snack. Right next to the box office is the most glorious place on Earth--Cinnabon. Mmm. Savoring each bite of those warm gooey pieces of heaven, I thought to myself, I need to make these. It took about a week for me to work up the nerve to attempt it, but I finally made myself some cinnamon rolls!

Yeast scares me. I don't know why. Maybe it's the idea of playing the part of a mad scientist, ready to scream "IT'S ALIVE!!" at my foaming, growing, crazy little creature in my bowl.. Or the fact that you have to treat it just right or you'll either not bring it to life at all, or kill it immediately. I'm not the greatest at keeping things alive.. (Except my cat. He seems to be fine. But plant life--I'm the Black Widow of houseplants.) So I was a little hesitant to try my hand at a yeasted baked good. Would it rise? Or would I kill it? I was glad to find that yeast comes in packages of three at the grocery store, because I had already told myself I was getting more than one, just in case. I've made too many trips BACK to the grocery store when something has gone wrong--I've learned to prepare for the worst the first time around. With enough yeast for 3 attempts, I felt a bit more at ease, and ready to take on the beast.

My first worry came as I was kneading my dough. It was sticky and wasn't looking like the smooth elastic ball it was supposed to. I had already used all the flour I was supposed to use, and it still didn't feel right. So the "lightly floured surface" turned into a heavily floured surface, and I kneaded away. Finally it came together and went into the oven with a bowl of warm water for its first proof. I held my breath waiting to check on it. I finally peeked at about an hour--success! It was double in size and pushing up on the plastic wrap I had covering it! Time to roll it out and sprinkle the cinnamon! Rolling it was really easy.. It was the sprinkling that I had trouble with. The recipe calls for cutting butter into the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture. I'm sure this would have worked well if I had done it on any other day.. But the day I chose to bake was the most beautiful day of the year so far. It was sunny and in the 80s, so I took the rare opportunity to open up the doors and windows and enjoy the sun! The only problem--it made cutting my butter next to impossible. It was too warm in the house and my well chilled butter started to soften up almost immediately. The coarse crumbs it was supposed to make ended up as a paste instead. Sprinkling wasn't an option anymore, so I scattered the chunks around the dough and spread it with a knife instead. Next time I might just spread softened butter by itself on the dough and sprinkle the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture on top, rather than trying to mix them.

After rolling up and cutting the dough, they went into the oven for the 2nd proof before baking. Again--Success! I brushed them with the heavy cream I had left over from the Vanilla Bean Scones and put them in the oven. The recipe says to bake them for 20-25 minutes. I strongly suggest checking them starting at about 10 minutes. When I went to rotate them at the 10 minute mark, they already looked well on their way to being done. I reset the timer for another 5 minutes to check on them again, but decided to take a look a little early. 14 minutes and they were overbrowned. I think they were probably about done at 12 minutes. So definitely check them early! If I had left them the full 20 minutes it suggested I would have had burnt little hockey pucks!

The recipe suggests coating the rolls in a Vanilla Glaze. It sounded alright, but I really wanted something that tasted more like my beloved Cinnabon. Searching the web, I found recipes for Cinnabon's Cream Cheese Frosting. Mmm. I love cream cheese frosting so much. The one I ended up using was very yummy, but not quite as fluffy and light as Cinnabon's. It was still pretty good though! I definitely suggest making these to serve a crowd. I made a whole batch and gave half to Boyfriend and kept the other half for myself. I ended up eating the entire half a batch, and in the process gained about 5 lbs. (That also could have been from my diet-disaster weekend in Cleveland to see the Indians play the Red Sox on my birthday! I think it's the rule of Grandparents to make sure you're well fed. Dinners of fried chicken and breakfasts full of pancakes, eggs, and more bacon than you can shake a stick at were the theme of the weekend. Not to mention the entire tote bag full of snacks we took to the game. And I completely broke my no-soda rule and had a Cherry Dr. Pepper.. Then I finished off the Cherry Coke from my Hi-Hats that was still hanging out in my fridge when I got home! Time to hit the gym. Hard.)

Cinnamon Rolls

My first baking experience with yeast is complete! It actually wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. It ended up being somewhat pleasant. Except for my house smelling like yeast for about a week. They were good, but didn't quite live up to my hopes for them. They were a little dry--not quite the soft, fluffy, melt in your mouth rolls I had dreamed of. I'm not sure if that was because of the overbaking or the recipe itself. I guess I'll have to try again someday, and try for a better frosting recipe too. I liked you Cinnamon Rolls, but Cinnabon definitely has you beat.
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Heavenly Housewife said...

wow these look so good! i'm going to book mark this. i just love anything with cinnamon in it, but cinnamon rolls are a real favorite for me

Ingrid said...

Hurray for beating the yeast beast! Guess what I did too! Though my yeast was used in pizza dough! Loser blogger that I am didn't take any photos, yea, I suck! Your photos on the other hand look great.

Danae said...

HH- Me too! I'm gonna make these so many more times! I'll just have to remember not to bake them as long.

Ingrid- Now that I've somewhat gotten over the yeast fear, I'd LOVE to make some pizza dough with it. How'd yours come out? Even though you don't have pictures, are you still going to blog it? I'd love to read it!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

I don't get why people hate the smell of yeast... I LOVE IT! I guess it's an acquired thing. When are you gonna make pizza dough?????? :D :D :D

So how was that movie? My b/f and I love Seth Rogen too, but the previews look... eh, not good...

Danae said...

HTEAC- I don't mind the smell of yeast. I actually liked it! For the first couple days.. by the end of the week I couldn't figure out why it was still hanging around!! I don't know when I'll make pizza dough. Maybe sometime soon. Anyone have any really great recipes?

The Seth Rogen movie was alright. Very odd and not quite what I expected, but I still enjoyed it. Not as much as some of his other movies though..

Pat said...

Try using real Cinnamon in your recipe and reduce on the sugar.

The Cinnamon in the US is actually Cassia which has a high level of coumarin.

Maggie @MaggieCooks said...

Im drooling at this cinnamon rolls! :D
I cant wait for winter to come to bake this and enjoy them with some hot chocolate! :D

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