When I was younger there was nothing better than those Saturday mornings with my mom when we would make cinnamon rolls. Before my sister and brother were old enough to really eat them, we would each each have four. I loved banging the can on the counter until it popped and out came those perfectly formed Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. They could be plopped right into the pan and baked, and while waiting to drench them in icing and devour them, we would playfully argue over whose turn it was to have the cinnamon roll in the middle which would be doughy on all sides.
I really treasure those Saturday mornings with my mom, and a few months ago as I was grocery shopping I saw those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and was tempted by nostalgia. I picked them up, thinking I ought to read the label, and then cried at my processed-industrial-now-tainted childhood memories wrought with HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP and many other undesirable ingredients. We didn't know any better. I mist definitely appreciate knowing all that I have learned about food and nutrition recently, and I envision that our health will reap the benefits, but there are somethings I wish I could have remained ignorantly blissful about.
Thus I began a quest to once again find cinnamon rolls. Real, homemade, cinnamon rolls.
I started with the cookbook I made my first loaf of bread with, Lavish Simplicity from Holden Village.
And the result, while not perfect, was sweet and the smells were heavenly.
Sonja's Cinnamon Rolls
Dough Ingredients Filling Ingredients
2 tsp yeast 2 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp sugar 2 Tbsp cinnamon
¼ cup warm water 1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar optional: raisins, walnuts, etc.
2 tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter
⅓ cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups whole wheat flour
Mix the yeast, 1 tsp of sugar and warm water together in a cup.
Mix and cream the butter, salt and sugar. The add the eggs and milk.
Then slowly add the yeasty water and the flour, mix and knead for less than a minute. Let is rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size. While it is rising you can make your filling.
Filling: melt the butter in a separate bowl. Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar in a separate bowl. It is very easy to overdo the cinnamon as I learned over Thanksgiving with my Cinnamon with Pumpkin Pie (that's what Ross name it.) Use only what the recipe calls for in this case.
Roll of out the dough into a rectangle about 12 in by 16 in.
Brush the melted butter all over the dough, the sprinkle on the cinnamon and brown sugar.
Roll it up the long way, and then pinch the dough at the end to seal.
Slice the roll in about 2 inch sections and place them in a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish, about ½ to 1 inch apart. Let them rise for another 30-40 minutes, or until they have doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake them for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. While they are cooling you can make icing to put on them. I used about ½ cup powdered sugar with 2 Tbsp milk, or you can use cold water.
I think that perhaps I shouldn't have followed the recipe exactly - I added the amount of flour called for, but it was too dry. It was also quite a different experience to knead such an oily dough. It rose a little in the rise time, but not much. I have also read that too much sugar in a recipe can actually kill the yeast, so I might have to play with that.
In then end they were a little crunchy on the outside yet perfectly gooey on the inside, and a good first attempt. I think a part of me likes not knowing that they'll come out the same every time - it will be a recipe to play with and perfect, a challenge and a recipe to keep me engaged.