That’s right, this is a cinnamon roll recipe that requires two blog posts. It’s too much awesome for one post. Plus it would meet my caloric posting limit for a 24 hour period as well.
It’s December 31st. You should make these to ring in the new year. “Hello resolution, meet my cinnamon roll.”
What do you say? Let’s get started.
Disclaimer: By reading past this point you are relinquishing the blogger of any responsibility for any of the following: sugar comas, drooling bouts, butter attacks, monitor licking, tight jeans and/or strangers showing up on your doorstep demanding baked goods.
Add yeast to warm water, with sugar and salt. Mix together gently with dough hook to incorporate ingredients until hazy or resembling above.
Add shortening. I know, I would apologize but you won’t want me to when you taste them. I promise. You’ll hug me.. or your computer.. one of the two, for sure.
Next it’s time to add enough flour to sink a small watercraft. Mix until all the flour is incorporated and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. This is where it becomes important to have a stand mixer or wrists of steel. Knead the dough for no less than 7 minutes non-stop. Yep, you heard me. 7 minutes. Hug your mixer.
Absolutely, positively, under no condition are you to set your mixer to exceed this speed. Do you understand me? Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Do not have tough angry dough. You must trust the blogger. No more than 2. If you’re doing this by hand, stop, go buy a stand mixer and start over. I just saved you from carpal tunnel. You’re welcome.
While the mixer does all the work stop and adore my beautiful daughter.
After 7 minutes the dough should look like this. Still ever so slightly lumpy in appearance and sticky.
Whoops, how did another picture of her get in here? Hm, I would apologize but I don’t really think I have to. Beautiful isn’t she?
At this point you need the following. A deep bowl coated with cooking spray for the dough to rise in and a bench scraper/flexible pastry cutter. Since the dough is sticky grease the scraper and use this to pull the dough out of the mixer onto a lightly floured surface.
At this point the dough should be soft to the touch and still slightly sticky. Flour your hands and slowly, gently work the dough into a ball. Use your hands, palm side up against the bottom of the dough. One on each side of the dough and move your hands clockwise in short deliberate motions until you get a smooth ball resembling…
Be sure the dough is free of air pockets and as smoothly round as possible. The tighter the shape the better it will rise.
Put the dough in the previously sprayed bowl and turn it over so that all sides are coated in the oil, ending with your smooth original side a top. Cover and let rise in a warm dry space free of drafts. Let rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising clean and dry the largest counter surface available and whip out your trusty rolling-pin. I prefer to use the french style rolling-pin. It’s oblong shape and thicker center allow you to work out the thicker sections of dough moving the excess to areas that are lacking. A regular rolling-pin will do the job just fine as well.
Fill a bowl with the desired amount of raisins (if including them in your rolls, which you should, it’s the holy way) and cover with very hot water to plump. Set aside.
See how pretty the dough is? Doubled in size after about an hour. It’s perfect.
Just like everything else in life that is perfect, this needs to be punched. Lightly flour the work surface and dump the dough out.
Things are about to get dirty. Remove all rings and bracelets, roll up the sleeves and pull your hair back. This is where all the fun happens.
Using your hands, press the dough out into a rectangular form. Use your rolling-pin to even out the thickness. Allow the dough to ‘rest’ for a few minutes on occasion and then roll it out a little more until you reach the desired size and thickness.
Voila! There you have it. Insane amounts of dough in the shape of a rectangle, longer than your arm and 1/4 of an inch thick. It doesn’t have to be pretty because we’re about to make it beautiful.
Do you hear the angels singing? I’m pretty sure I do. Hello, beautiful. Sweet cream unsalted butter oh how I love thee, let me count the ways. What could possibly make this moment even more enjoyable? We’re going to use our hands! (That’s what she said.)
Dig your fingers into room temperature butter and apply it in a vertical pattern from top to bottom liberally. And I don’t mean “We need change” liberally, I mean the good kind of liberally – a LOT OF BUTTER. Just when you look at the dough and say to yourself, “No one needs that much butter” add a few more passes and you’re good to go! In reality, everyone needs that much butter, maybe just not all at once. But who cares, it’s the last day of 2010 and you’re allowed to splurge.
Now it’s time to start the process of sprinkling, coating, drowning or whatever you would like to call it. Grab the best flavored cinnamon you have (I’m particularly fond of Spice Island’s Saigon Cinnamon but you can use whatever you have as long as it’s not 5 years old covered in dust in the back of your pantry) dust, sprinkle, scatter the cinnamon evenly as possible over the buttered surface sparing a small 1/4″ section at the far left end of the dough for sealing.
Repeat the process with granulated sugar so that the surface looks like a muddy road after a heavy frost or light snow – that’s the professional technical description by the way.
Once again do the same with light brown sugar. After the brown sugar use your fingers to incorporate all the spices together as best as you can being sure to spread the filling as evenly as possible around the surface of the dough.
Remember the raisins? They should look about like this now, plumper and gross. Drain them and a very gently pat dry being careful not to smash the new sweet plumpness out of them.
Sprinkle evenly and prepare to roll!
Ready to rock and roll? Well at least for this part we can drop the rock and just roll. The key here is to keep it very tight. Pull the dough back towards the right then begin the rolling, pulling every time to ensure that the dough is wound tightly. Imagine you’re making a telescope out of a piece of paper – the tighter you make it the better it will be. Simply rolling the dough will cause it to fall apart after being cut.
In the end the roll should be thick. By thick I mean huge, much bigger than your forearm and obviously bigger than your rolling-pin.
Roll the dough to seam side down and let it rest while you prepare the pan. Put parchment paper/pan liner/wax paper in the bottom of a casserole dish (heads up you’ll probably need 2-3 casserole dishes; glass only). Spray or butter the
pan with the liner already in place. Make sure there is plenty of shellac here, you do not want these babies sticking to your pan – trust me.
With a bench scraper or sharp knife cut the dough in 1″ thick portions and place in the pans about 1″ apart. The first few cuts will be mainly dough, discard or reroll, butter, sugar and make more. After each cut gently reshape the dough into rounds and pinch the ends of the dough together. As you’re cutting constantly roll your log of dough to keep the pressure and goods evenly distributed. The dough should make 16-18 cinnamon rolls the size of a softball – you’re welcome.
Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, about another hour. This is why it is crucial that the rolls be spaced about 1″ apart from one another. Once they are plump and beautiful you may do one of two things.
1. Cover them with greased tin foil and refrigerate overnight.
2. Put them straight in the oven.
I prefer to put mine in the fridge and wake the house up to the smell of warm cinnamon rolls the next morning.
This will now conclude the first portion of the recipe. Please join us in the next post for the final recipe and the beautiful results.