I’ve got a confession….I’m not a baker. While I enjoy eating baked goods, I’ve never been one to just whip stuff up off the cuff. But that doesn’t mean I can’t bake. I’m a firm believer in “If you have a recipe, you can make it.”
Anyone can cook (or bake, as the case may be.)
Just ask Remy the rat. (I love Pixar. And Ratatouille was right up my alley! It’s French. It’s cooking. It’s Pixar. IT’S PERFECT!)
My Busha (Polish slang for “grandmother,” don’t say I never taught ya nothin!) makes phenomenal cinnamon rolls. This is not her recipe. I’m not allowed to give away secret family recipes all willy nilly. I’m not that Baked Beans dog.
These cinnamon rolls were really good though. The dough was soft and yeasty…(what a terrible word!) and slightly sweet from my extra special secret ingredient. You guessed it! Vanilla Bean Paste. Go out and track some down. It will change your life!
So there is a significant lack of “step-by-step” photos and that is because…dough is messy. I didn’t feel like messing with my camera and then getting dirty again and then grabbing my camera…ad nauseam. But I got the money shot!
So how do you make such fluffy, delicious, cinnamon-sugar filled puffs of Heaven?
Not Grandma’s Cinnamon Rolls
Serves you… and maybe someone you care about
- 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 heaping tablespoon vanilla paste
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- generous helping of ground cinnamon
- powdered sugar
- vanilla extract (optional)
***This makes quite a few cinnamon rolls, depending on how well you roll out your dough…If you don’t want delicious carby-goodness haunting your house or your waistline for weeks then I’d recommend that you half the recipe. AAAAND I’m not giving you exact measurements for the icing because I am not going to tell you how much icing you are allowed to have. Go crazy!***
Additional Recipe Notes:
-Prepare to get messy.
-This is a time consuming recipe. DO NOT start this thinking it will take an hour. You have to let the dough rise for 40 minutes TWICE. And that is BEFORE baking even comes into play.
-Also, if you don’t have a silpat
or large cutting board, SCRUB your countertop or wherever you will be rolling out your dough. Seems like common knowledge but I’d rather hedge my bets.
-If you don’t have a mixer (stand or handheld will work) then make sure you have a whisk, a strong Hercules-type whisk. Otherwise your dough won’t reach the right consistency and with this recipe it’s all about the consistency.
Ok enough jibberjabbering, let’s get to work.
1. Combine yeast, warm water, and sugar until dissolved. Add salt and 2 cups of flour. Whisk (or beat) until combined. Add eggs, oil, vanilla paste and whisk some more. Stir in the rest of the flour (I recommend 1/2 cup to a cup at a time depending on your forearm strength)
Whisk it (or start using your hands) until the dough has pulled together.
2. Once your dough is well combined and has pulled together, lightly flour your work surface and knead it. It should take anywhere from 3-6 minutes…again depending on your forearm strength. Once dough is elastic, roll into a ball, rub lightly in oil and place into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and set it in a warm place to rise for 40 minutes.
Go read a book, watch a TV show, or put powdered sugar on your dog’s face to give the impression that he has a slight problem…Guess which one I did.
3. 40 minutes later your dough should have doubled in size. Resist the urge to grab it and run around yelling “It’s ALIIIIVEEEE!!!!”
I’m not saying that’s what I did. I’m saying it’s what you shouldn’t do…
So now you’ve got this HUGE ball O’Dough. Time to punch it down and roll out (like Ludacris! I hummed this
to myself while I rolled out the dough. No shame.) At this point, if you’re like me, you’ll realize you don’t have a rolling pin. But again, I’m MacGuyver
in the kitchen. Grab an empty marinara glass jar (Prego, Newman’s Own, Ragu etc) and get to it!
I divided the dough in half so it was easier to manage. On a lightly floured surface
fight with roll out your dough.
Once you get your dough to a reasonable rectangle shape, use a butter knife and slice it into 6 long strips. (Repeat with the remaining dough)
4. You should have 12 dough strips and depending on the length you might want to cut some of them in half (unless you have already halved the recipe) or if you like cinnamon rolls the size of small countries then you will just disregard that remark.
Melt the butter in a bowl, using a spoon (or pastry brush, if you’re fancy) coat each “dough strip.” In a separate bowl mix together the brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon. Spoon on a generous amount to each dough strip (the name stuck) so that each has a good amount of filling. (If you need to whip up more filling, it’s just equal parts brown and white sugar with a generous amount of cinnamon)
5. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Roll up the dough strips. Place onto a 9×13 oiled baking dish. Cover with damp cloth and let rise again for another 40 minutes. They will double in volume again and look like this!
6. Pop those bad boys into the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden delicious!
What can you accomplish in 25-30 minutes? I think we all know what I did…
7. Once rolls have finished baking it’s time to ice them. Add less than a 1/4 cup of milk (and vanilla extract) to a bowl and add one heaping tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time, while whisking. The mixture will begin to thicken and that is when you know you’ve struck gold. Slather it on your rolls and enjoy!
These were my anniversary gift to Military Man. He LOVED them. I figure if the guy buys me All Clad…he deserves some cinnamon rolls from scratch!
Have a great rest of your week!