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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls - Christmas Morning

Since it is just me, Mr. Flip Flop, and the 21 year old youngling at home for Christmas morning, I took breakfast requests.  Ian wanted cinnamon rolls...homemade.

Shoot, no problem.  I'll look up one of those recipes that you throw in the night before and pop in the oven the next morning.  Easy...right?


It started out great.  I had all the ingredients out, prepped and measured (except the flour) and I started with a recipe from  Unfortunately, the ingredients didn't exactly mesh with the instructions but I figured I could work it out.  It was evening of Christmas Eve - dinner was over - dishes done - this was all I had left to do.

The first part was heating some milk and then adding butter off the heat and allowing to come to lukewarm temp.  I stood there for about 10 minutes checking the temperature with a thermometer - I didn't want to kill the yeast.  I grew impatient with that and put in a thermometer with a digital alarm to tell me when it was 115 degrees.

I went into the living room and started writing my blog post about the gingerbread house I made, simultaneously watching the season finale of Homeland on the DVR when all of the sudden it was 11:00!  We were headed to bed and my husband said "didn't you have something going in the kitchen?"

O*M*G!!! - a small screech came out of my mouth and I scurried into the kitchen to find the temp at 77 degrees (too cool to activate yeast).  Even if I warmed it up, I'd have to let it rise for an hour after finishing the kneading and then roll it again and make and fill the rolls and then cut the get the picture...I had at LEAST an hour and a half left to get those puppies in the fridge.

Not happening.

I told Mr. Flip Flop I would rather stick the now-cooled-pan in the fridge and get up earlier Christmas morning and finish the task.  I was exhausted.  So, that is what I did.  Unfortunately, I couldn't sleep through the night and woke up twice, ending up in the living room reading to get myself back to feeling sleepy.  Result?  I slept until 8:15 Christmas morning.

Fortunately, we're all adults.  Mr. Flip Flop kept sleeping, Ian got up, grabbed a coke, took a shower, and returned to his room without speaking. (he's 21 going on 16 some days)

I was in control this morning - I was rockin' it this morning.  I quickly pulled the milk and butter, popped it on low heat, and grabbed my Kindle to check my email and Facebook.  A few "seconds" later (hah, likely 15 or more minutes knowing me) I heard BOILING.  OH NO!  I grabbed the pan off the heat, grabbed some ice, threw it in the sink and sat my pan on it.  Out came the instant read was already down to 150.  I stood there until all the ice was melted and it was still 130.  I got one of those freezer paks and set it in the sink and put the pan on it.  Oh thank goodness.  Down to 115 in nothing flat.  I stirred and poured it over the yeast and fed it with sugar.  The rest of the dough proceeded BEAUTIFULLY.  A wonderful soft, poofy dough.  After the one hour rise (where it did double in size as required) I punched and rolled and measured and rolled again until I got it into a lovely rectangle shape.

As I looked at the filling instructions I thought "Huh? That can't be right!" so I ran over to get The Pioneer Woman's new cookbook that I won last week, thinking surely she would have cinnamon rolls in a holiday cookbook.  She did have it listed as a variation on an apple breakfast roll, so I looked at her ingredients for the filling and between the two recipes, I had what I thought sounded good.  I told my friend it was a Frankenstein recipe - bits and pieces from here and there..

I, of course, did not take any pictures of the process - who the heck has time for that on Christmas morning when you haven't had enough coffee nor sleep to be cogent?  Well, certainly not me.  Let me tell you, though, this was a wonderful cinnamon roll.  It was supposed to make 12 but I cut the middle section too thin and ended up with 13...kind of squished on the end...but still very, very delicious.  As you can see, we all dug in!

Here's the recipe I promised I would share for my friend, Diana.  But, really, Diana, you can skip the over-cooking, over-cooling, over-boiling of the milk and butter.  I'm sure it would work just fine without those extra crazy-making steps!!!

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls
Inspired by and The Pioneer Woman


Dough Ingredients:

1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter - cut into pieces
.25 ounce package active dry yeast (that is 2 1/2 tsp if you buy bulk like I do)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 1/2 to 5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs

Filling Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon quality cinnamon
(you can add raisins or nuts if you like - we don't like)

Glaze Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar (confectioner's)
1 tsp. corn syrup (like Karo)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tablespoons heavy cream or Half and Half:


Prepare a stand mixer with a dough hook.  Add yeast to bowl.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it barely bubbles.  Remove from heat.  Add the butter pieces to the milk and stir until melted.  Use an instant read thermometer and when it is exactly 115 degrees, pour the warm milk and butter onto the yeast.  Stir and add the granulated sugar, stirring again.  When you see it begin to form bubbles, add the eggs, salt, and two cups of flour.  Turn on the mixer to a medium low speed and let the dough hook stir until blended - add another cup of flour - increase the speed to get it well stirred in and add more flour until you get to the point where it has pulled together.  Allow the stand mixer to knead for about 5 minutes.  The dough will be very soft but holding onto the dough hook.  Add some flour to your counter or board and put the dough there to finish kneading by hand for about 3 minutes.  Soft and smooth is the goal.  Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap or a lightly dampened cotton dish towel.  Let rise in a warm, non-drafty location for 1 hour.  Should double in size.

In a small mixing bowl, mix the cinnamon and the brown sugar with a fork.
In a small bowl melt the butter for the filling in the microwave.  Took less than 30 seconds for me.

Punch down the risen dough and place it on a lightly floured surface.  Roll it into a rectangle approximately 10 x 15 inches.
Using a basting brush, completely cover the top of the dough with butter.  Sprinkle on the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.  If you are going to use nuts or raisins - now would be the time to add them.

Starting at the longest side closest to you, firmly roll the dough into a log.  Pinch together the final edge and place the pinched side down.  Cut into 12 even pieces (I'm sure you'll do better than I did).

Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan (I used a Pyrex pan).  Place the 12 pieces evenly in the pan.
Allow to rise slightly while you preheat your oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.

Bake rolls 24 to 30 minutes - watch carefully in the last 10 minutes.  Mine went from not ready to perfect in a two minute window (total of 26 minutes).

While they are baking, prepare the glaze - mix all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl with a small whisk.  You want your glaze to be able to drizzle but not too thin.  Adjust the cream accordingly.  If you go too far, just add a bit more powdered sugar and all will be well in your world..

When the rolls are golden brown they are ready.  Drizzle the glaze over the rolls.  Serve immediately.

Bon Appeit, Y'all!


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