Archive for August, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

I don’t really remember eating cinnamon rolls that much growing up. But I remember Grandma Jeanne always telling me that they were one of her favorite childhood treats. I mean, I’m a sucker for buttery yeast raised products, so there’s really not much convincing that needs to be done on my end, but I don’t think I understood the true beauty of cinnamon rolls until more recently.

Maisy (Willie and I’s niece, Mom’s first granddaughter) is a cinnamon roll eating fiend. The farmer’s market in our hometown has a stand that sells them – usually still warm – and it’s pretty much intoxicating. You rarely see hands leaving the market without a cinnamon roll. It was one morning back in Kansas that I remembered what, exactly, is so great about cinnamon rolls – especially when you’re a kid.

I watched Maisy tear apart the outer layers of the cinnamon roll. She ate them feverishly – I wanted to tell her to slow down, but before I could get there, I realized her goal. She was working her way to the ooey, gooey center – doused with the most amount of frosting and cinnamon filling. It was slightly underbaked in a delicious way, and she was treasuring it. She ate that part slowly, meticulously – stopping only for the occasional sip of milk to wash it down.

I remember it often here in New York – wishing I could get in on the weekend cinnamon roll fun back at home. So a few weeks ago after a particularly bad week, I decided to whip up a batch for just me and Matt. I use my favorite brioche recipe because it needs to sit overnight – yes that means more time, but it also means less work in the morning before actually getting to eat the cinnamon rolls. I fill them with creamy cinnamon schmear and top them with a simple icing made with (gasp) heavy cream and powdered sugar. And hey, why not, right?

Because what Maisy taught me – the best thing about cinnamon rolls, is that they’re dessert that you can eat for breakfast. And I can totally get behind that.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Makes 6-8 huge cinnamon rolls

6.75 oz milk
6.75 oz all purpose flour
1 packet yeast

3.75 oz sugar
1 3/4 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
3.75 oz bread flour
4 oz soft butter


1/2 oz cinnamon
2 oz sugar

4 oz butter
4 oz cream cheese
1 egg white

3 oz powdered sugar
2 oz heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Make a sponge by heating the milk over a low flame until warm to the touch (about 90 degrees).
2. Pour the heated milk into a mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add the flour and yeast and mix until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes. Let the sponge rest, covered, for 30 minutes.
3. Combine the sponge, sugar, salt, yolks, and bread flour and mix on low speed for 4 minutes. Increase the speed to high and mix for four more minutes, adding the butter in stages. Wait until the butter is thoroughly mixed in before adding more, and scrape thoroughly between additions.
4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
5. Meanwhile, make the cinnamon shmear. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and cinnamon until light and fluffy. Add the egg white and mix to combine.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and roll it out to about 1/2″ thick on a lightly floured surface. It should be rectangular in shape.
7. Spread the schmear in an even layer across the dough – reaching every corner. Roll the dough into a log starting with the side towards you, rolling away. Brush off excess flour as you roll.
8. Divide the log into 6 even pieces. Lightly grease a 9″ cake pan or a 8×8 baking dish. Let the cinnamon rolls rise, uncovered for 20-25 minutes.
9. Egg wash the cinnamon rolls, and bake until the tops are golden and the filling is bubbly, about 15 minutes.
10. They should cool, but if you can’t wait, mix up the icing, pour it on, and eat those suckers immediately.


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