Wednesday, January 20, 2010

For the Weekend - Cinnamon Rolls

Do you have plans this weekend? Is it raining or snowing where you are? Would you be interested in waking up on a drizzling Saturday or Sunday morning, padding about in your robe and slippers and slipping a batch of these babies into the oven? Of course you would. But there's a problem. See, this is a two day kind of affair. So what you might want to do, is start it on Friday if you'd like to eat them on Saturday, and start them on Saturday if you'd like to have them on Sunday. It does take some planning.

And maybe that's the last thing you want to do on a weekend. Plan anything. I can understand that. I myself would like to lounge in bed with a mug of coffee watching episodes of my new favorite "Friday Night Lights" until noon.

So maybe, if you're really lucky (as I am) you can con someone else into making them for you. Someone who has the wherewithal to start the recipe the day before, and who doesn't mine getting up early to stick them in the oven. My sister is good that way, and she makes her cinnamon rolls every Christmas. Another piece of the Christmas Breakfast feast, another tradition we have.

And if you've been lucky enough to have a cinnamon roll, hot and gooey right out of the oven. The pastry melting in your mouth, you'll know that a little planning and effort is well-worth it. It's perfect for a rainy weekend.

Cinnamon Rolls
an Alton Brown recipe

For the dough

4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp butter
6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
4 cups flour, plus a little more for dusting
1 package instant dry yeast, about 2 1/4 teaspoons
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
vegetable oil or cooking spray

For the filling

1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tbsp melted butter

For the icing

1/4 cup softened cream cheese
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

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