Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

I love cinnamon rolls. I grew up in a house where breakfast consisted of whatever cereal was in the pantry or a granola bar on your way out the door. Occasionally, there would be a box of donuts from the grocery store or if it was a really good week, leftover "Cinnabon" from a trip to the mall over the weekend.

Ever since moving out of my parents house and living on my own, I told myself I was going to learn to make cinnamon rolls from scratch so I can do it for my family should I ever have one someday. Well, a couple weeks ago, I finally gave it a try and I have to say for a first attempt it wasn't TOO bad. It's all thanks to The Pioneer Woman and her fabulous cinnamon rolls recipe. If I had more time, I'd probably make these at least once a week.

As a note, these cinnamon rolls do take a LOT of time but in the end they are SO worth it. I was very intimidated at first but it's really not all that difficult.

4 cups Milk
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 pkgs. Dry Active Yeast
9 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
3/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cups Unsalted Butter (melted)
1 cup Granulated Sugar

Mix milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a large saucepan and heat to scalding. Basically, just until it begins to boil. Stir constantly to avoid a big giant mess. (I learned this the hard way.) 
Turn off the heat and let the mixture stand for about 45-60 minutes. When time is up, check to make sure the mixture is lukewarm before continuing on.
Pour the two packets of dry active yeast over the top of the milk, sugar, oil mixture and let it do it's thing for a few minutes.
After a minute or two, add in the 8 cups of flour and stir to combine. (This took a lot of elbow grease but it could have just been because my pot was on the smaller side and it took a lot to get all of the flour incorporated. Or I'm just a wimp.) Cover with a warm wet towel and let stand for an hour.
When the timer goes off, add in the remaining 1 cup of flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix well right in the pan.
To make my life easier, I rolled out the dough in three batches. My kitchen doesn't have as much counter space and it was a lot easier for me to work with.
Generously butter the dough with the melted butter. (Don't be afraid of how much butter you're using. This is far from a health conscious cinnamon roll.) Sprinkle the 1 cup of sugar and the cinnamon over the top to create the ooey, gooey, yumminess that will be your cinnamon rolls.
Starting from the edges furthest from you, roll the dough into a log keeping it as tight as possible. (Having a well floured surface and rotating the dough as you roll it out is key to keeping it from sticking) When you get to the end of the roll, pinch the edges together to seal it all in.
Cut into about 1" pieces and place into greased pans. (With the full recipe I had between 45-50 cinnamon rolls.)
Allow the rolls to sit in their pans and let them get to know each other for 20-30 minutes. (This is a good time to freeze them if making them ahead of time. Just pull them out of the freezer, allow them to proof, and bake whenever needed.) 
Heat the oven to 400°F and bake these sweet things for 15-18 minutes.

I used a simple cream cheese frosting because I am a cream cheese addict but any sort of frosting (maple, cream cheese...etc.) will do. Here's the recipe I used to make these things even more delectable.

Cream Cheese Frosting: 
4 ounces Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 stick Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls and serve warm or room temperature.

Bon appetit!

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