Sweet Halloween

Joseph gets really weird inklings to bake things. The day before Halloween he decided to make sugar cookies. Totally normal, right? He wanted to make them into Halloween shape cookies, bats, pumpkins, ghosts. But than his plans changed as he started looking in our recipe books for a different sugar cookie.

He started looking in our Essentials of Baking book from Williams Sonoma and decided he was going to make cinnamon rolls instead! I was a bit shocked because even I haven't made cinnamon rolls before yet. I was so proud :) And it was the first time he used yeast in a recipe and did a great job!

He made the dough at night and than when I got home I took the rolls out to get to room temperature so that by the time Joseph got home he could pop them in the oven before we went over to the in-laws house. These babies went fast! We have two left to enjoy this morning :)

Source: William Sonoma Essentials of Baking

Cinnamon Rolls

  • 2 packages (5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk, heated to warm (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for the work surface
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Filling & Egg Glaze:
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • About 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Vanilla Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' (icing) sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup heavy (double) cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)

By Hand -
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, 5 cups of the flour, salt, mace, orange zest, and butter and stir with your hand or a wooden spoon until a rough mass forms. Using a plastic pastry scraper, scrap the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough, working in the remaining flour, 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, draft-free 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 half-sheet pan or rimless baking sheet with parchment (baking) paper.

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut it in half with a sharp knife or a bench scraper. Lightly dust the surface of the dough with flour. Roll out one-half of the dough into a 10 by 16 inch 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 from you, roll up the rectangle toward you into a log.

Cut the log crosswise into 8 slices each 2 inches thick. Place the slices, cut side up, in a circle, side by side and barely touching, on 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. For crisper rolls, space them evenly on the pan.

Cover the rolls loosely with a kitchen towel and let them rise in a warm, draft-free spot until they have doubled in size and are spongy to the touch, 30-40 minutes. Alternatively, place the rolls in the refrigerator and let them rise slowly overnight.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees.

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 and a toothpick inserted into the center of a roll comes out clean, 20-25 minutes (I used my nose to tell Joseph when to take them out).

Just before the rolls are ready, make the vanilla glaze. In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners' sugar, cream & vanilla until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture thickens slightly.

Let the rolls cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack, then brush on the glaze while they are still warm. Pull the buns apart and serve warm.

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