Cinnamon roll craver and snob: That’s me.
I may or may not have mentioned that since Ezekiel’s birth, I’ve developed an insatiable sweet tooth. Maybe it’s the nursing, maybe it’s less sleep, who knows. But I do know that cinnamon rolls stave off the cravings for a few hours — like between a midnight snack and breakfast the next morning. (I told you, it’s BAD.) I’ve made many batches in last few months.
Aside from the waiting-for-the-dough-to-rise factor, which is only hard in the patience department, cinnamon rolls entirely from scratch aren’t hard to make. They have only three components: dough, filling, and frosting.
Ohhhh, the frosting… Let’s not kid ourselves, what are cinnamon rolls if they aren’t the most delicious cream cheese frosting delivery system?
Anyway, through these many batches, I’ve picked up the following tricks to getting them just right every time.
Use a good recipe.
I love All Recipe’s Clone of a Cinnabon recipe. Usually, when a recipe has over 5,000 reviews and five solid stars, it’s at least worth a shot. And these are the best I’ve made. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine when people comment on recipes along the lines of, “This recipe was perfect. I just did thus and such and this and that. Here a little there a little. Excellent!”
But I’m about to do the same thing and offer you my own modifications:
- Use butter instead of margarine.
- Just make the dough in a regular mixer if you don’t have a bread machine.
- Put the warm milk in the bowl of your mixer.
- Add the sugar and stir around a bit.
- Add the yeast.
- Wait until you see little bubbles forming.
- Add the melted butter, eggs, salt, and flour.
- Proceed according to directions.
What does this accomplish? Putting the yeast in the warm milk with the sugar gives it just the right environment to activate so you can be assured that your yeast is alive. The bubbling shows you that it’s alive. If it’s not alive, your dough won’t rise. Proofing it like this ensures that your yeast isn’t too old or that you didn’t accidentally kill it with milk that was too hot, etc. You’ll know that your yeast will “work” before you’ve wasted all your other ingredients in a bad batch. Did that get boring?
(Note: Yeast can be killed by being too old, not being stored properly, or by being put in liquid that’s too hot. Proofing it gives you the peace of mind that your dough will rise. It takes the mysterious, scary factor out of using it — at least it does for me.)
(Tip: If you don’t have a mixer, try Pionneer Woman’s cinnamon roll dough. It’s easy, and yields two whole batches of dough.)
Thin dough means more flavor.
The thinner you’re able to roll your dough, the higher the ratio of cinnamon sugar filling to dough and the more rings of cinnamon sugar ooey gooey-ness you have. But don’t go overboard; about a quarter inch is good. Flour your work surface and your rolling pin to help you roll the dough thin without it sticking. Using a bench scraper to shape your dough into a nice neat rectangle helps too, if you’re being persnickety.
More is more.
When it comes to cinnamon roll filling, you can’t go wrong with too much of it. Be generous with the butter you spread over the dough, and don’t be afraid to use heaping measurements of the cinnamon and brown sugar.
Cut with a serrated knife.
The key to cutting perfect cinnamon rolls is using a serrated knife and a light touch. Pay attention to cutting the rolls of the same thickness so they cook evenly.
Look at these beauties, straight out of the oven. Can you smell them or can you smell them?
Don’t forget the powdered sugar-covered help. He will keep a very careful eye on everything. With concentration tongue.
Next time we talk about cinnamon rolls: THE FROSTING. Subscribe by email so you don’t miss anything. And don’t forget to pin, share, like, email, tweet, whatever! See you soon!!