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Glazed Cinnamon Rolls

January 12, 2010
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I like to get a jump on my New Year’s resolutions— it means I’m more likely to actually do them.  With that, I bring you these extraordinary cinnamon rolls.  I did all the prep work the night before, kept the rolls in the fridge overnight, and when I woke up on a lazy weekend morning, I popped the pan in the oven and they turned out perfectly.  I usually consider cinnamon rolls to be a vessel for frosting and not much else.  They can range from greasy to dry to flavorless to hard, and can be somewhat unappealing.  But these cinnamon rolls… it was hard to eat only one.  Which is why I ate two.

This is actually the second time this year I’ve made cinnamon rolls. You see, I’ve been experimenting with when is the best time to put the dough in the fridge overnight.  Last time I made these cinnamon rolls, and I put them in the fridge before the first rise.  Big mistake.  Huge.  The dough didn’t rise at all.  Regardless, I rolled out the dough and made the cinnamon rolls, set them by a heater to rise and they didn’t rise again. Convinced they would bake up into little cinnamony rocks, I figured I didn’t have much to lose by baking them anyway.  They did rise enough to be edible, but I thought they were bland and not-that-great.

With these cinnamon rolls, I let them rise in a “warm, draft-free spot” (AKA in the bathroom by the radiator, which is the only truly warm room in the house) until doubled in size, at which point I rolled them out, formed the roll and stuck them in the fridge.  They, like the first batch of dough, didn’t rise in the fridge either.  I was hesitant when I put the pan in the oven the next morning, but they rose and doubled in size beautifully.  They were cinnamony, moist and light: mission cinnamon roll accomplished.

Glazed Cinnamon Rolls

(Taken directly, no changes whatsoever, from Baking Illustrated)

Dough

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup warm water, 110 degrees
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) envelope instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4-4 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus
  • additional unbleached all purpose flour, for dusting work surface
  • Icing

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Filling

  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons quality ground cinnamon (either Penzeys or McCormick or Schilling)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until the mixture is lukewarm (about 100 degrees).

    In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the water, yeast, sugar, egg, and yolks at low speed until well mixed. Add the salt, warm milk mixture, and 2 cups of the flour and mix at medium speed until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute (It is also possible to do this in a large bowl, and all you need is a wooden spoon).  Switch to the dough hook (once again, you can stir and then knead by hand), add another 2 cups of the flour, and knead at medium speed (adding up to ¼ cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary) until the dough is smooth and freely clears the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a round, place it in a very lightly oiled large bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

    Mix together the filling ingredients in a small bowl. Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.

    After the dough has doubled in bulk, press it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, shape the dough into a 16 by 12-inch rectangle, with a long side facing you. Mix together the filling ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border at the far edges. Roll the dough, beginning with the long edge closest to you and using both hands to pinch the dough with your fingertips as you roll. Moisten the top border with water and seal the roll. Lightly dust the roll with flour and press on it ends if necessary to make a uniform 16-inch cylinder. Cut the roll in 12 equal pieces and place the rolls cut-side up in the prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.

    When the rolls are almost fully risen, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the glaze ingredients together until smooth. Glaze the rolls and serve.

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