Do you like your cinnamon rolls super soft and puffy or do you prefer them somewhat crunchy on the outside and soft, yet not bread-like on the inside? I belong to both camps. I love cinnamon rolls of all sorts. I am not picky with them. Especially when they are homemade.
Here’s the recipe for the second variety. I’ll come back to you with the first kind some other time. Make these rolls. They are F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C! Guess what? You can make the dough, shape the rolls and leave them overnight in the refrigerator to rise. In the morning, take them out and bake. The inviting cinnamony smell wafting through the air will wake up everyone in your house. Rolls will be gone soon after. Trust me. Been there. Want to go there again.
Make the dough, knead it, and let it rise.
Roll out the dough into a rectangle and brush it with butter.
Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar…
Roll the rectangle into a log.
Cut the log into slices.
Place the slices on a baking sheet.
Let them rise.
Brush with egg and bake until golden.
Drizzle with glaze. Pull apart and enjoy warm!
Adapted from William-Sonoma’s “Essential of Baking”
Note: I reduced the amount of flour in the original recipe a little bit. But if you feel that your dough needs more flour, add more, but in small increments, as you knead the dough. In this way you will not end up with a very tight dough. I also didn’t add the called for mace to the dough. Also, the original vanilla glaze proportions were a little odd; too much liquid was suggested for 1/2 cup powdered sugar. I increased the amount of sugar and reduced the amount of liquid. In this way, there is more glaze and it has the right texture—not too liquidy, yet smooth and creamy. Feel free to reduce the amount of glaze in half if you want only a little glaze on your cinnamon rolls. Or, omit the glaze altogether if you don’t like it.
For the Dough:
2 packages active dry yeast (4 + 1/2 teaspoons)
1 cup (8 fl oz / 250 ml) whole milk, heated to warm (105-115F / 40-46C)
1/2 cup (4 oz / 125 g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
4 + 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (23 oz / 675 g)
1 + 1/2 teaspoon salt
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup (4 oz / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the Filling:
6 tablespoons (3 oz / 90 g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
About 1/4 (2 oz / 55 g) unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
For the Egg Glaze:
1 egg, lightly beaten
For the Vanilla Glaze:
1 + 1/4 cup (5 oz / 140 g) confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can add more vanilla extract for more flavor if you want, but reduce the amount of milk accordingly)
To make the dough, in a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the granulated sugar, eggs, 4 cups of the flour, salt, orange est, and butter and stir with your hand until a rough mass forms. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough, adding the remaining 1/2 cup of flour if necessary, until it is smooth and elastic, 5-7 minutes. The dough should be soft, but not sticky.
Form the dough into a ball, transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in bulk, 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
To make the filling, in a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
Line a 17 X 12-inch (43 X 30 cm) rimless baking sheet with parchment (baking) paper.
Punch down the dough and turn it onto a very lightly floured work surface. Cut it in half with a sharp knife or a bench scraper. Roll out one half of the dough into a 10-by-16 inch (25-by-40 cm) rectangle. Brush the surface of the rectangle with half of the melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Starting at the long side farthest to you, roll up the rectangle toward you into a log.
Cut the log crosswise into 8 slices each 2 inches (5 cm) thick. Place the slices, cut side up, side by side , barely touching, spacing them evenly on one half of the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough, melted butter, and cinnamon-sugar mixture, arranging the rolls on the other half of the pan. You should have 4 raws each with 4 slices.
Cover the rolls loosely with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let them rise in a warm spot until they have doubled in size and are spongy to the touch, 30 to 40 minutes. Alternatively, cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap and place the rolls in the refrigerator and let them rise slowly overnight.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and prehet to 400ºF (200ºC).
If you have refrigerated the rolls, let them come to room temperature for 30-40 minutes.
Brush the rolls lightly with the beaten egg. Bake until golden brown, 20-35 minutes.
Just before the rolls are ready, make the glaze. In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture thickens slightly.
Let the rolls cool slightly in the pan, then drizzle on the glaze while they are still warm. Pull the buns apart and serve warm. Note that these rolls are good while they are still warm. They don’t stay well for too long. But there is remedy to this – freeze the rolls and when you crave them, warm them in a microwave or oven and you have them fresh again!