Thursday, October 28, 2010
Cinnamon rolls and chili. They just go together for some reason.. maybe it's because we grew up having them together for lunch in the school cafeteria when we were kids. Whoever happened to not like their cinnamon roll would suddenly become the most popular kid in the cafeteria, with the other kids hoping to be the lucky recipient of that extra unwanted treat.
I have never made cinnamon rolls completely from scratch before yesterday. My previous attempts consisted of either buying a tube of rolls that came in the same packaging as what are sometimes affectionately known as "whomp biscuits". You "whomp" them on the counter to open them. I always hated how they always seemed to pop open as soon as I peeled back the paper. The rolls weren't bad, and they came with their own little container of icing - which in my opinion wasn't nearly enough. I have also resorted to buying a bag of frozen, pre-made rolls and then doctoring them up with extra butter and cinnamon. They were decent enough, especially after drowning them with homemade cream cheese icing.
Since I was making chili for my husband to take to work for lunch today, it only made sense that there should also be cinnamon rolls. Normally, I would do the frozen ones, but a few weeks ago I was browsing through the Pioneer Woman's website and came across her recipe for cinnamon rolls. Have you ever heard of Pioneer Woman? I have been a fan for awhile now. I love how she includes photos of every step of the recipe, and her food is darned good. Her cinnamon rolls looked so good, and the recipe seemed easy enough, so I decided to try it. I was really sticking my neck out here, because I usually don't try something for the first time when it is intended to be served to anyone outside my home, especially when it involved yeast and rising dough. I was pleasantly surprised though, and I think you will be too.
Instead of posting the recipe, I will just give you the link so you can enjoy her site if you haven't already discovered it. Browse around, because she uses this same basic dough to make several different kinds of sweet rolls. Chocolate chip, orange marmalade... Mmm Mmm Mmm.
Well alright then... for some reason the links will not post, so just do this:
Copy and paste:
in your browser window. Then type "cinnamon rolls" in the browser window on her home page. You will find a list different entries, you want "Cinnamon Rolls 101". Also check out "Notes on Cinnamon Rolls". I found this very helpful.
I made up the dough yesterday and let it sit in a bowl in the fridge overnight. I did have to go in and punch the dough down several times like she said, because it kept rising even though it was in a cold refrigerator.
Here is a picture of what my dough looked like after it had risen for an hour, and right before I added the last cup of flour, baking powder, soda and salt:
Ready for the oven:
Warm rolls topped with Pioneer Woman's yummy Maple Coffee Icing. The recipe for this is right there with her cinnamon roll recipe. It really is the perfect compliment to the rolls. Pour it on while they're still warm, it will ooze down in between the rolls and help make them super moist.
I think you can see in this picture how perfectly these turned out. The darker area on the bottom half of the roll is butter. The melted butter that goes in the bottom of the pan soaked into the roll, adding just the right amount of ooey-gooey goodness along with the butter-cinnamon-sugar filling and the icing.
I really liked that I could make the dough ahead - and it will keep for several days in the fridge if you can't get to it right away. These rolls also freeze well. You can freeze them both unbaked or baked. That's a good thing too, because this recipe filled four of those 8" round pans (8 or 9 rolls per pan) and I still have some left all ready to slice and bake. I made this recipe exactly as written. It was super easy and the rolls are absolutely divine. I don't think I will ever resort to frozen dough again, unless I pull a batch of these out of my own freezer!