Happy Tuesday! Ok, well, at least Monday is over right? I’m in a pretty good mood today if you can’t tell. How have things been going for you guys lately? It’s been busy around here, but in a good way.
Last week I caught up on some languishing chores, took care of a lot of paperwork, and got to do a really cool interview with Chef Virginia Willis about her recently released cookbook (BTW She is absolutely lovely! + I’ll have my review/the interview ready to post here soon!), but also managed to get out a little bit too. I love feeling productive, but also not being cooped up in the house, so it was a really nice balance.
A huge part of the paperwork I’ve been working on was to refinance our house. We signed the papers on Friday, so it’s totally out of my hair now. But it was so worth doing because it’s going to save us a ton of money every month. As you can imagine I’m totally psyched. (We worked with a company called American Financing, and the experience was actually pretty painless. The gentleman we worked with, Chris S. was really helpful, and we ended up with a really good option for us. If your in the Denver metro area and looking to refinance I highly recommend you give them a call.)
This past weekend was also awesome. For the first time in six weeks, yes six weeks, no one at my house was sick! Well ok, I had a little cough, but nothing that meant we had to stay in the house and rest all weekend. It was sooo nice. We went out, took the kids to the playground, I did a little shopping, went to church, had a relaxing birthday dinner with my family…. Oh, I have been so cooped up the past few weekends, it’s not even funny. It was great to be out and about.
Plus, it was actually fairly warm, from Friday on, which just makes everything feel even nicer. The crocuses are starting to come up out in the garden, so I’m hoping that means the nice weather is here to stay. I am so done with winter, thank you very much.
I didn’t actually end up doing much cooking this weekend, but that’s ok, because I’ve had this totally awesome cinnamon roll recipe waiting in the wings to share for a while now. I know a lot people think of cinnamon rolls as a winter/Christmas type dessert or breakfast. And to be perfectly honest, I meant to share it way back near Christmas… but each time I made them, I never quite managed to take my pictures before they got eaten.
However, everyone at my house is happy eating cinnamon rolls pretty much any time regardless of season or weather, so I made a batch last week when we were cooped up at home; and wouldn’t let anyone near them until I got pics! I suggest you also don’t worry too much about season here either… these are so good guys. They really do live up to the title of best cinnamon roll ever, cross my heart! If I had to compare I would say they remind me quite a bit of Cinnabon and you know those are good right?
A few recipe notes guys. I’m going to give you a heads up, this recipe is a little more complicated then some, it’s a yeasted dough that calls for an initial rise plus an overnight rise. It calls for milk and cream, and two types of flour. It has an ‘extra’ step of pouring a glaze over the rolls….You get the idea… you may be tempted to simplify which I totally understand. There are some simplifications that work, and the rolls will still come out pretty darn good. But, I am going to say if at all possible stick with the recipe as is, they come out even better. Here’s my thoughts:
- Don’t skip the overnight rise. It really enhances the flavor.
- I will tell you that it’s ok to substitute and use all whole milk instead of the part milk, part cream. It’s also ok to only use all purpose flour instead or part all purpose part bread. (Again they are still better if you don’t make the subs, but you can get away with it.)
- Whatever you do don’t change the pour over! It’s the pour over step that really takes it over the top guys, so just trust me and don’t skip it ok?
Anyhow, on to the recipe.
Best Ever Cinnamon Rolls– Yields 12 rolls, Adapted from Half Baked Harvest.
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 and3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 and 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoons vanilla
- canola oil (or other non-favored oil) for coating the rising bowl
- additional flour to roll out the dough
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons of butter
- 2 0z (1/4 a block) cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-3 tablespoons milk
1. Add the yeast, sugar, and warm water to the bowl of a large stand mixer. Stir gently. Allow to stand for 10 minutes until yeast is foamy.
2. Add the milk, cream, salt, eggs, melted butter, all purpose flour, bread flour and vanilla to the bowl. Mix on the dough setting (low/3 on a Kitchen Aide) until a smooth dough is formed.
3. Lightly oil a large bowl for rising. Use your hands to shape the dough into a ball. Place in the oiled bowl and cover loosely with a towel or saran wrap. Place in a warm location and allow the dough to rise for 1 and 1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
1. Prepare the filling by mixing together the 1/2 cup brown sugar and cinnamon. Prepare a 9×13 pan by greasing with butter or canola oil.
2. When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch down, and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 9 X 24 inches.
3. Spread the melted butter evenly over the dough leaving a 1/2 in margin around the outer edges. Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly across the dough, maintaining the 1/2 inch margin.
4. Starting with the long side closet to you roll the dough up (with the filing inside) towards the other long edge. Push along the outer edges of the roll to seal the dough. If you look at the ends of the roll you should see a spiral.
5. Cut the dough into 12 even parts and place the cut pieces spiral side up into the prepared pan. Space the rolls out evenly through the pan. Do not be concerned if the rolls do not touch. Cover the pan tightly with saran wrap and refrigerate over night.
Bake/ Pour Over
1. Preheat the oven to 350.* Remove the cinnamon rolls from the fridge and remove the saran wrap. The rolls will have expanded to fill the entire pan. Bake the rolls for 40-45 minutes until the rolls are lightly golden brown and are no longer doughy where the edges meet.
2. Remove the rolls from the oven and set aside to cool.
3. In a small sauce pan melt together the ingredients for the pour over: butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, over low heat. Stir gently until the brown sugar has fully dissolved. Pour the hot mixture evenly over the cooling cinnamon rolls. Allow the rolls and the pour over glaze to cool completely before frosting.
1. In a large bowl use a hand mixer to beat together the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until your desired frosting constancy is reached. Frost the rolls using a rubber spatula.
*Note: You can use a larger then 9X13 pan, or a round pan, for the rolls if desired. They will expand during the overnight rise and give you larger rolls if the pan is larger, or expand to fit the round pan. However, the cooking time may change slightly.
BTW I also wanted to mention that last week I also worked on a diary free version of these for Tristan, which eventually came out divine. I feel like there really aren’t any great dairy free cinnamon roll recipes out there that I’ve found. I’ve tried one or two and they just totally didn’t do it for me. So I’m super psyched about how good my recipe eventually turned out. (Admittedly it took a while. It’s hard to make cinnamon rolls without butter.) So I’ve got something good coming for you too my dairy free peeps.