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Cinnamon Rolls

Monday, December 23, 2013

Recipe adopted from theKitchn.

Note:  Only half of the icing is shown in the picture to show off the rolls better.
It's been a while (far too long), but I can finally remove Cinnamon Rolls from My Assignments.  You'd think that it'd be easy enough to find a good recipe, but I've learned the hard way that this just isn't the case.  Either that or I'm way too particular when it comes to cinnamon rolls.  In my mind, the perfect cinnamon roll should have a slightly crisp exterior with a moist yet light interior.  The icing should be cream cheese-based, should have a consistency slightly thicker than a glaze, and should be able to maintain its consistency rather than crisping up and forming a shell.

Recipes in the past have baked unevenly, have not risen properly despite providing the proper environment and ingredients, were too dry in the center, have had a Krispy Kreme appearance, have had a thick dollop of icing that resembles buttercream (a big no-no in my book), and the list goes on.  It's quite the relief that the search for the perfect cinnamon roll has come to an end.  The next time I make these I'm going to use all of the spices originally called for (freshly ground cinnamon, star anise, coriander seeds, and cardamom seeds) rather than playing it safe with just cinnamon.  It should make for a killer dish.

INGREDIENTS:

2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 cup milk, warmed
3 1/2 ounces (~1/2 cup) sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
23 3/4 ounces (~5 cups) all-purpose flour

1/4 cup ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
7 ounces (~1 cup) dark brown sugar
8 ounces (~2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 1/2 ounces (~1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS:

In a stand mixer bowl, combine the warm milk, yeast, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and salt.  Add the flour, cup by cup, and mix after each addition using the hook attachment.  Knead until a uniform dough is achieved, roughly 5 minutes.  Temporarily remove the dough from the bowl.  Spray the bowl with non-stick spray, add the dough back to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.  [Side note:  One batch makes roughly 2 pounds 13 ounces of dough].

While the dough is rising, combine the cinnamon, brown sugar, and softened butter until a paste is achieved.  Reserve.  Grease two 9-inch round pans and reserve.

When the dough is ready, transfer it to a floured counter and roll out to a 14" x 24" rectangle (making sure that the longer sides are on the top and bottom).  Spread the filling all over the dough, except for an inch-wide strip along the bottom edge.  Starting from the top, begin stretching and rolling the dough towards yourself to form a tight roll.  Once you get to the strip with no filling, spray with a mist of water and seal by pinching the dough at the seam.  Ensure that the log is still 24 inches long, and then cut into 24 rolls (1 inch wide).

Place 12 rolls in each round pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for an additional 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.  After 30 minutes have passed, preheat the oven to 350° F.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the frosting, add the cream cheese and butter to a stand mixer bowl, and beat until smooth.  Add the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until combined.  Lastly, add the powdered sugar and beat on low until uniform.  Scrape down the sides and beat on high for 10 seconds.  Let the cinnamon rolls rest for 5 minutes, and then drizzle the icing over the top.

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