Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cinnamon Rolls (An Attempt)

Cinnamon rolls remind me of medical school. One of our classmate's husbands would often appear between lectures with trays of still-warm homemade cinnamon rolls for everyone in the class. That gooey deliciousness set the cinnamon roll bar pretty high, and is, I think, in part why I've never attempted to make them myself.

But stopping by the grocery store this morning, I found myself in the baking aisle and figured I'd give cinnamon rolls a go. It seemed the thing to do on this gray post-call long-weekend Sunday.

A little Googling led me to a cinnamon roll recipe that seemed doable (I appreciated the word "beginners" in its title). I followed the recipe exactly; here's how things went:

The first step is mixing the dry ingredients (2 cups flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 packets rapid yeast, 1 tsp salt) in a bowl.
Then melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and mix into this 1.5 cups of very warm water. The instructions emphasize that the temperature should be very warm, but not hot to the touch (yeast would dislike).
Next add the butter/water mixture and an egg into the flour mixture, then stir* it for 2 minutes.
*The recipe actually says to beat on medium for 2 minutes, but I don't have anything so fancy as an electric beater, so stirring it was.
Then add 1 cup of flour and stir (or beat on high speed) for another 2 minutes. Stir in more flour, just enough for the dough to form a ball (I ended up using 2.5 cups total, including the initial 1 cup).
The next step was what I'd been dreading: knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes. I sprinkled a bit of flour onto the counter and clumsily folded, pushed, and turned along with this video. It actually wasn't that bad once I got into the rhythm of it. You're done kneading when the dough is "smooth, elastic, and springs back lightly when pressed with 2 fingers".
Next the dough has to "rest" for 10 minutes, covered by a damp towel. It's not supposed to rise during this step, so no worries when you come back and it looks the same.
In the meantime, you can make the filling by combining 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl.
When the dough is done resting, roll it into a 15x10-inch rectangle. If you don't have a rolling pin a Nalgene bottle works fine.
Then spread 3 tbsp of soft butter over the dough, stopping a 1/2 inch from the edges on the long sides. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
Beginning at a long edge, tightly roll up the rectangle. Pinch the seam to seal it.
Cut the log into 12 equal pieces.
Place the rolls in a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled* in size, about 1 hour.
*I wouldn't say mine doubled in size, but they did puff up nicely. I waited a couple hours to be sure (my apartment isn't particularly warm).
start
2 hours later
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes.
For frosting, combine 2.5 cups powdered sugar, 2 tbsp softened butter, 2 to 3 tbsp milk, and 1 tsp vanilla extract in a large bowl, and beat until creamy. Spread over rolls.
The verdict? Honestly, I was disappointed by how these turned out. They look yummy, but were actually closer to the bland/dry than gooey/soft end of the cinnamon roll spectrum. That's not to say I won't eat them...but will have to keep searching for a recipe that I'd be willing to share with friends.

4 comments:

  1. They look amazing! Sorry to hear that they aren't as delicious as they look though! I've never tried making em' from scratch but maybe someday! :O

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    1. Aw thanks, Farrah. I just had one for breakfast and it actually wasn't bad...I think I've just been spoiled when it comes to cinnamon rolls!

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  2. I'd recommend using milk instead of water to make the dough. Also, there's an option of after kneading the dough to let it rise for 2 times the original size and then start making the rolls. That's how my Mom makes them :) Greetings from a med student in Holland.

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    1. Thanks so much!! I will definitely be trying both those things. Hope med school is going well!

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