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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls



I fondly remember a time when our family enjoyed weekend breakfasts together, though it didn’t last for very long. These memorable occasions became few and far between until they disappeared and entered the realm of wonderful memories.
As the kids got older, different work schedules, late Friday and Saturday nights and a total lack of a good reason to get up early made together breakfasts a thing of the past.

It wasn’t unusual to wake up to the inviting aroma of Cinnamon Rolls on any given weekend in our house. The sweet fragrance seemed to find its way to every room.
The huge pan held eighteen delightful little bundles of sweetness but it was that one smack in the middle that was coveted by all.

It soon became clear to all concerned that the first one out of bed would be able to claim the prize!

Even though most of the kids have moved out I still love to bake these. The great thing about this recipe is that you can prepare the night before and bake the next morning.
My son Daniel who still lives with us, now has a permanent claim on the middle one and the rest get wrapped and frozen to be picked up by the others when they visit.
This recipe makes memories involving all senses. The inviting aroma will lure you to the kitchen. The sight of them will invite you to reach and get your fingers all sticky then at the first bite you will savour the amazing taste.

With any luck, "someone" will be in the kitchen to hear the praises on how good they are!

Cinnamon Rolls
2 teaspoons sugar
2/3 cup warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm milk
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup soft butter or shortening
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
5 cups all-purpose flour
vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Filling
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon (or as much as you want)
2/3 cup raisins (optional)
  1. In a large mixing bowl dissolve the 2 teaspoons of sugar in the warm water then add the yeast, stir and let stand until frothy.
  2. Add lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, butter and eggs.
  3. Add 3 cups of the flour and beat with an electric mixer until everything is well blended.
  4. Gradually stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  5. Turn onto a floured board and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and springy.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap then a tea towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Divide dough in half and roll each half into 9x12 inch rectangles and brush with melted butter, sprinkle brown sugar cinnamon mixture and raisins.
  8. Starting at the widest end of the dough, roll tightly and pinch edge to seal.
  9. Cut each roll into 9 equal pieces and place almost touching into two greased 9-inch square pans.
  10. Brush tops of rolls with vegetable oil or melted butter.
  11. Cover and let rise until doubled (1 to 1½ hours.) Then bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.
  12. When cool, drizzle with icing that is made from mixing 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar with enough milk or water to make a smooth, runny glaze.
(Click on the photos for a larger view)

Notes, Tips and Suggestions
  • For all those out there with a phobia of yeast this thought may put some of your fears to rest. Just remember that yeast and people enjoy the same environment. A warm place and plenty to eat and drink seem to make both happy. It’s amazing how some warm water and sugar will bring out the best in those little granules of yeast that are just waiting to wake up and start living.
  • After arranging buns in pans, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 to 24 hours .They will slow rise in the fridge. When ready to bake, remove from fridge, uncover and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before baking.
  • If you choose to bake the cinnamon buns after the 1 ½ hour rising, a good place to allow rising is in your oven. Preheat on the lowest setting possible for a few minutes then turn oven off. It should feel barely warm when you put your hand in. Cover with a clean towel and go find something else to do while the yeast does its work.
  • Bake in one larger pan instead of two smaller ones. Buns must not be touching when you arrange them in the pan.
  • During last minutes of baking, cover loosely with foil if buns are over browning.
  • If there are any left over, these freeze very well. Enjoy!

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