I've been wanting to post this recipe for some time. I just had to wait for the right moment to be able to make them. I needed to make sure I had an outlet lined up for the largest part of the batch. See, I just can't have this sort of thing sitting around the house. I have will power at the store but none at home. Once the food is in my house, I have no power to keep myself from eating it. This recipe makes three of these gorgeous tins of rolls and I simply cannot allow more than one to stay here.
The military is very good at taking care of their own. Yesterday, I put together a dinner delivery for a family that recently had a new baby and I thought, "Ah ha! I can make cinnamon rolls and send them along." And I knew a neighbor down the street would appreciate the other. Phew! All right! I am now cleared hot for cinnamon roll making.
Making cinnamon rolls is pretty simple, I'm almost sad to say. If they were more difficult or time consuming, maybe I wouldn't be so tempted all the time. As you can see, I make mine in the disposable 8-inch square aluminum pans with plastic lids because I have to deliver most of them elsewhere, but you can make them any shape or size and in any type of pan that suits you.
They start out like any bread dough. Mix the dough and knead it for a couple of minutes. This dough is pretty darn sticky, so if you have a mixer, I strongly advise using it! Let the dough proof in a oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap until it doubles. Knock the dough down and pour out onto a very well floured board. Trust me, don't skimp on the flour here or you'll be scraping dough off your counter for the next ten hours! Roll out into a roughly 18 x 12 inch rectangle.
The original recipe I used simply uses a cinnamon-sugar mixture in the centers. What I've learned, unfortunately, is that if you really like those gooey cinnamon rolls like they have at Cinnabon, you have to add butter... and a fair amount of it. I used some here, under the sugar mixture. It was probably half a stick's worth. It was good, but next time, I will mix the butter, sugar and cinnamon together first and spread it on the dough. They're fine without the butter, but they're absolutely divine with it. If you're looking to replicate the Cinnabon thing, then a large amount of butter is absolutely required. Once you've put your chosen filling in there (add raisins if you like 'em), roll them up, slice them (I did 12 - 2 inch slices for my pans), and place them in greased pans to rise. You will be amazed at how much they poof, so don't be discouraged if your pans don't seem that full at first. Let rise until doubled, about 30-40 minutes.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F. Pull from the oven and let cool completely before drizzling the glaze over top. They smell sooooo wonderful!
Mix the powdered sugar and milk together (and extract, if desired) and drizzle over the tops. I've found if I try and glaze them before they are completely cool that the glaze melts and doesn't look as nice.
Again, I use these little tins so they are easy to transport to their new homes. Well, except one of the tins stays here, of course!
When you are ready to indulge yourself, place a roll on a plate and pop it in the microwave for 20-25 seconds. Ahhhhhhh. I already miss those other two tins...
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 tsp table salt
4 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 TBS cinnamon
6-8 TBS butter, softened (optional)
2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 TBS milk
2-3 drops almond extract (optional)
Mix the yeast and warm water and let stand a few minutes until foamy. Add to the milk, sugar shortening, and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Add one cup of the flour. Mix thoroughly. Add the eggs and two more cups of flour. Mix on medium-low for 3-4 minutes with the paddle attachment (or with a wooden spoon in a bowl). Stir in the remaining flour.
Place dough in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. Knock down the dough and turn out onto a well floured counter. Roll out into a roughly 18x12 inch rectangle. Dough should be about 3/4 inch thick. Mix the butter, cinnamon, and sugar together. Gently spread this mixture evenly across the top of the dough. Roll up the dough and cut into 12 slices. I like to trim the ends of the roll off and discard so that every slice has a nice shape and look to it.
Place the rolls into greased pans. I use 8" disposable aluminum pans. Four rolls fit in each. Let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Mix the powdered sugar, milk, and extract, if using. Drizzle over thoroughly cooled rolls.