Simple Sweet Dough (for Cinnamon & Dinner Rolls)

CinRolls-MainHappy happy Friday everybody! Hope your week was great!

(Watch out, I’m about to start ranting. If you just want the recipe, scroll down until you hit the next picture.)

Mine was a bucket of fun. It was FINALS week. Oh, yes. Fun times. Honestly, it’s a miracle I made it through with my brain (and grades) still intact. I was what one would call a “hot mess”.

Let’s go back to Wednesday night. Oh wait, my bad! At that point it was 2 am Thursday morning.  I was sitting on a squat blue stool sucking down ridiculous amounts of water and skimming 300 pages of European history… in my bathroom (under the heater).  Now that is living, wouldn’t you say so?

Needless to say, I was stressed out, tired, and very cold. But, that morning, I scored above a 74% (the grade I needed to maintain an A- overall) on my AP Euro final. It was so worth it. SO WORTH IT!

Still, I really don’t understand the point of finals. Can somebody explain it to me please? But, don’t even start with the “they show how much you’ve learned this semester!” thing. I’m sorry, but for the most part, that’s BS (excuse my language). In my opinion, finals show how skilled one is at re-cramming five months’ worth of information into an already-full brain in a single week (or in some cases, a single day). For me, English is an exception to this statement. But for everything else, it’s pretty darn accurate. Maybe I don’t retain information as well as most people. I don’t konw.  Also, finals create the perfect opportunity to determine the minimum hours of sleep one needs in order to function somewhat normally.  Feel free to disagree with me though. We’re all entitled to our own opinions.

To celebrate that finals are over, I think posting a cozy, comforting recipe is appropriate. Cinnamon rolls it is! If you want to make just cinnamon rolls or just dinner rolls, cut the Basic Dough recipe in half and you’ll be good to go! Also, feel free to substitute whole wheat flour for half of the bread flour. It totally cancels out all of the butter and sugar that goes into these babies. Totally.

Happy weekend!CinRolls-2

Basic Dough

  • 21/4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ¾ cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 11/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 ½ cups unbleached bread flour (1 cup of white whole wheat flour can be substituted), plus extra for dusting the work surface

1) Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl, add the honey, and sprinkle the yeast over the mixture.  Allow the yeast to proof for five minutes. The yeast should puff up, and look a bit foamy. “Proofing” is a simple method to check if the yeast is still active. There’s nothing worse than fussing over a batch of dough for a few hours, only to discover that the yeast packet is a dud!
2) Pour in the milk, oil and egg. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Stir in the flour one cup at a time, and add the salt.  When the dough comes together into a slightly sticky mass, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for five to eight minutes until smooth and elastic. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking, but try to add as little extra as possible. Place the kneaded dough into large lightly oiled bowl, and cover it with a piece of plastic wrap. Allow it to rise until doubled in size, around two hours.
3) Punch the dough down, and divide it into two equal portions. (one for dinner rolls, the other for cinnamon rolls).

Dinner Rolls
½ recipe basic dough
Honey Butter Glaze (see recipe below)

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) Divide one of the dough portions into eight equal pieces. Form each piece into a round ball, and arrange them in a lightly oiled eight-inch round pan.  Allow the rolls to rise for one hour, or until they have doubled in size.
4) Brush the Honey Butter over the rolls and bake for fifteen to eighteen minutes, until lightly browned.  Allow the rolls to cool for ten minutes in the pan before  turning them out  onto a wire rack.  Brush with more honey butter, if desired.

Ingredients (Honey Butter Glaze)
½ stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
1 tbsp honey
pinch of salt

1) Brown the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the honey and salt.

Cinnamon Rolls
½ recipe Basic Dough
Cinnamon Sugar Filling (See recipe below)
Cream Cheese Icing (optional; see recipe below)

1) Roll the second portion of dough out into a 12×12-inch square.  It’s okay if it’s not a perfect square, but it should be about a ¼ inch thick.  Brush with browned butter, and sprinkle liberally with the cinnamon mixture.
2) Carefully roll the dough up into a log, and slice the log into eight equal sections. Dental floss is the best tool for slicing! Cut off a string of floss that is about a foot long. Slip the floss underneath the log at the place where you want to cut. Lift the floss ends up around the dough, cross them, and pull. Arrange the rolls into a n oiled nine-inch round pan.  Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, and allow the rolls to rise for 1 hour. Then, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the rolls, cover the pan tightly with a second piece of plastic wrap, and refrigerate them overnight.
3) The next morning, allow the rolls to sit on the counter for 30 mins.  They should look like they’ve taken a deep breath.  Near the end of the 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake the rolls for fifteen to eighteen minutes, or until golden brown.
4) Smear the baked rolls with the cream cheese icing. These are best served warm, the same day as they are baked.
CinRolls-3

Cinnamon Sugar Filling
½ stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
pinch of kosher salt

1) Brown the butter in a small saucepan.  Set aside,
2) In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, and salt .

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp heavy cream
½ confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
pinch of salt

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until softened. Add in the remaining ingredients, and beat on low speed until combined. At this point, it’s okay if the icing is still lumpy. Turn the mixer up to high speed, and beat until the icing is smooth and lump-free. Transfer the icing to a small bowl, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Phew! That’s it! Can you believe it?!

Enjoy!

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