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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Joyeux Kitchen: Maple-Glazed Cinnamon Rolls


These cinnamon rolls are from Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman, and as far as I'm concerned, they are her greatest masterpiece.  I'm made them more than a dozen times and every person (EVERY person), after one bite, says, "These are the best I have ever had."  So...what makes them different?  Homemade cinnamon rolls are, in general, fantastic no matter the recipe, right?  You have to taste them to fully understand, but these are gooey, not dense, not too "bready", instead of the middle one being by far the best, each one is a "middle", the maple glaze is certainly a unique and welcome departure from the standard cream cheese frosting....

Warning:  Friends and relatives alike may fall hopelessly in love with you after tasting these cinnamon rolls.  They're the baked-goods equivalent of Old Spice body wash.  ("Helllllo ladies.")

You'll need:
  • 1 quart whole milk (4 cups) ... and yes, it has to be whole milk.
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp if you buy the jars)
  • 8 cups (plus 1 cup extra, separated) unbleached all-purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp (heaping) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (scant) baking soda
  • 1 tbsp (heaping) salt
  • plenty of melted butter (just go ahead and melt a whole box/lb.)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • generous sprinkling of cinnamon
Maple Glaze
  • 1 (2 lb.) bag powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp maple flavoring (found on the spice aisle with the vanilla)
  • ½ cups milk
  • ¼ cups melted butter
  • ¼ cups brewed coffee
  • ⅛ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover (I use loose plastic wrap) and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).

When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough--I use somewhere between 1/2 and 1 cup...it's more of a feeling than an exact science. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven or nine inch round foil cake or pie pan (I use 9 in round foil cake pans). Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans (an easy way to cut the rolls is to use dental floss for nice even slices).

Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.  (If you don't want to bake them right away, at this point you could cover and put the pans in the fridge for baking the next day, or put in the freezer for future use.--See step four of the tutorial at her link.)

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls.

This recipe is easy for an experienced baker, but there are lots of steps and it is quite time consuming.  More than once I've lost track of how many cups of flour I put in and just had to wing it.  (Get ready for a shameless business plug...)  If you're dying to have some but don't have a spare six hours-ish to devote to brunch making, I'd be happy to be your supplier :).  Joyeux Kitchen taking orders starting June 1.

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