Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to Get Fat (Second Installment)

Part Two: Cinnamon Rolls

In my family, I didn't grow up with a lot of holiday traditions. On more than one occasion, we've eaten Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Not that I'm complaining -- who doesn't like a little Kung Pao Christmas chicken with family?

We did have some traditions though. Apart from a lot of Christmas decorations themed around pigs, one tradition my mother always implemented on Christmas morning was the partaking of cinnamon rolls. These cinnamon rolls were usually store bought Pillsbury rolls and were always eaten hot while we opened Christmas presents.

While I don't currently have any Christmas piglets hanging on my walls, I've definitely carried my mother's cinnamon roll tradition with me into adulthood. However, I'm not super into packaged store bought things when you can make them yourself. Most things that come packaged at the store have a lot of weird things in them, like Yellow 5 and MSG and death.

Therefore, I've been more than happy with my take on some homemade Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls. I'm not saying these are necessarily healthy treats to give small children, but the ingredients are whole and and seem to be from known food groups (except maybe sugar...). I also think the whole process is really quite fun (and also messy) and produces a mondo fabulous cinnamon roll. These pans of c-rolls also make really good Christmas gifts. I've included two different frosting options because I think they both make good additions.

Lettuce begin:

Cinnamon Rolls:
2 cups milk
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 pkg yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt

1 stick butter, melted (or more if needed)
1 cup sugar

Maple Glaze Option (From Pioneer Woman):
1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/8 cup freshly brewed coffee
dash of salt
1/2 tablespoon maple extract

Better Frosting Option:
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Cook milk, oil and sugar over medium heat. Before it boils, remove from heat and allow the mixture to come to a lukewarm temperature. Sprinkle yeast over the top of the liquid and let is sit for 1 min. Add 4 cups AP flour and stir just until combined. It should look like this:

beg. dough

Cover the pot with a towel and let the dough rise for 1 hour. In case that's confusing, here is a towel over a pot:


Next, take the towel off. If it was around Easter time and you had someone with you, you could say, "It is risen!" And the other person could say, "It is risen indeed!" And if that joke offends anyone, Karyn was the one who said it first. But really, the dough should rise a bit.

finished dough

Add another 1/2 cup flour and the rest of the ingredients (baking powder, soda and salt) and stir until combined.

added flour

Next, divide the dough into two balls. Roll each of the balls into 10x30 rectangles.

dough rolling

That picture was taken in our old apartment when I only had a finger span amount of counter space. So happy that is no longer my condition. Anyway, pour half of the melted butter (about 1/4 cup) and sugar (about 1/2 cup) over the dough and sprinkle generously with cinnamon. You sort of have to use your hands to get everything spread evenly. It gets a bit messy.


Gently roll the dough into a log. Roll it so it's a long log...not a short mondo log. Then gently cut the dough into one and a half inch slices and place in a pie pan that has been coated with melted butter.

This recipe normally fills two pie pans with some extra cinnamon rolls left over.

I find a good home for the extra cinnamon rolls that won't fit in the pan is in a cupcake tray where they can bake individually.


cinnamon rolls1

Bake the lovely rolls at 375* for 13-17 minutes.

After the cinnamon rolls are complete, then your options really begin. If you want to use Pioneer Woman's glaze (which is good) just whisk it all together and pour it over the rolls while they are still warm. It does look pretty:

cinnamon rolls pan

finished c.rolls

If you go the frosting route, cream together the butter and cream cheese, then stir in vanilla and add the powdered sugar a little at a time until the mixture is smooth. I usually put the frosting in a plastic bag and snip the tip and wait for the cinnamon rolls to cool a bit for easier frosting action.

frosting tip

Just swirl some around on top of each cinnamon roll and spread with a spatula.


These look oh so good as well.

finished frosting

Then, because life is really short and buttermilk syrup is really good, pour it on as well.


Now, with no feelings of guilt, eat a cinnamon roll.


If you do feel guilty, don't worry. I've read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food and I'm pretty sure it says: "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. And an occasional cinnamon roll."

I know that's my eater's manifesto.

Merry Christmas!


Kenny and Jenn Sinclair said...

um...yes, please.

Carmen said...

Woe is me; I am ruined... Now my late-night marking munchies will never be satisfied by the apple I promised myself.

Jenny said...

These were a big hit at work today. I am forever indebted to you for introducing me to Pioneer Woman and her lovely cinnamon rolls. I'm sure that these will be a Lambeth family tradition around the holidays from now on.

However, now that the cinnamon rolls are here, there are some other rolls (not of the cinnamon variety) that will no doubt linger long past the holidays. I am also forever indebted to you and PW for these. The only solution is for you to come to my house and make me run.

Karyn Guido said...

I surely was not the one who said "It is risen"...was I?

I'm making these tomorrow for my lovely in-laws, since they have children, and my parents don't "do" breakfast. Remember how we ate three of these--each!?! That couldn't have been real either. Hmm.

lyndsey said...

Carmen -- your comment actually made me laugh. The health benefits of your apple should at least provide some comfort.

Jenny -- let's not talk about holiday "rolls." Starbucks' holiday drinks are currently killing me.

Karyn -- of course you made that semi-offensive joke. I would never say such a thing. And no, I have no recollection of eating three of these. I would never do such a thing.

KeriAnn said...

yes, please. i'm inspired. maybe i'll get crazy tonight and make some. just maybe.

lyndsey said...

Ker -- I'm making a pumpkin version as we speak. I say you get those Rumrey kids a good time.

KeriAnn said...

the dough is rising by the fire right now! yea! thanks for the inspiration.
colson and lewis thank you.

Carmen said...

I'm currently licking my fingers after devouring two cinnamon buns with buttermilk syrup.

You have changed my life.

I would reccomend, also, the syrup on truffles. De. Lish. (what are these "calories" people speak of?)