So… the Pope is on twitter. Holy shit.
I am so so so so so sorry, but I’ve been sitting on that one all morning. Pope humor. And now I can say with 100% certainty that I’m never getting into heaven.
The practice of selling indulgences has thankfully gone by the wayside, but what about the practice of bringing indulgent food with you to heaven to bribe the gatekeeper? Like, say, cinnamon rolls? I’m sure there’s a book by Mitch Albom somewhere called ‘The Five Best Things to Take with You to Heaven,’ and I’ll bet the Sistene Chapel that cinnamon rolls are on it.
For those of you who have read this blog since its inception, you know that I love cinnamon rolls. I didn’t always- I was much more a sticky bun girl growing up- but there was a bakery I discovered when I first moved to Knoxville that sold cinnamon rolls as big as your face, and I became addicted.
Then they became inconsistent. And if you’re an addict, you know that inconsistency is unacceptable.
There was a phase where there was barely any cinnamon, followed by the phase of so much cinnamon they bordered on inedible. Then the gooey-ness decreased and the doughy-ness increased. The day I threw half of it in the garbage was the day I knew I needed to get my fix elsewhere.
I know what you’re thinking- cinnamon rolls aren’t rocket science, so why not make your own? Legit question with a legit answer: I wanted them fresh, but wasn’t willing to wake up at 4 am on a Saturday morning to make them. All that kneading and rising? Yeah, I’d rather be snoozing. At this time in my life, the only acceptable reason to be up at 4 am is to let the babe go belly-up at Bar du Lait.
When I realized that my cinnamon roll writing was on the wall, I began searching for recipes designed to be made the night before and baked in the morning. I hit some major duds. I even made a yeast-free variety one morning that ended in tears. Then I learned perhaps the biggest secret in all the baking land…
The second rise can be done overnight. In the fridge. With any yeast confection.
Um, I’ve been baking since I was, like, 5 months old. How did I not know this? This is a game-changer!
Now I am totally self-sufficient when it comes to cinnamon rolls. After trying a few different recipes, I settled on Almost-Famous Cinnamon Rolls from the Food Network Magazine. Why? So, so glad you asked.
CinnaBons might be the world’s best mall food. Their scent, and their scent only, can divert my attention from a Macy’s sale. I’m not exactly sure why I feel this way, but I feel like I need to hide in a closet while I eat them. They epitomize food shame. To my credit, I haven’t had one since Clinton was in office, but when Food Network Magazine developed a knock-off CinnaBon I could make in the comfort of my own home, I had to do it. After all, isn’t the most shameful thing about a CinnaBon that they are mass-produced in malls? And not even the good part of the mall- they’re always next to Hot Topic or Things Remembered, or some other store I never want to be caught dead in. And they’re made with margarine. Gag.
Ladies. Gentlemen. Fans. Almost-Famous Cinnamon Buns are your ticket. To heaven. To happiness. To whatever.
You know what they taste like? They taste like CinnaBons you make at home with love and butter, not the ones made by Jennie D as she slops margarine on the dough with one hand and texts with the other. They’re plenty buttery without being saturated to the point of yellow dough. They have a gorgeous texture. They’re big. And that classic frosting? Oh yeah, it’s spot on, minus all the preservatives. None of this drizzling game… you spread a thick layer of frosting on top and watch it melt down into the seams and down the sides. Right into your heart.
You’ll never want a Cinnabon again. You can have hot, fresh cinnamon rolls without having to get up at 4 am. You can say ‘Pope’ and ‘shit’ in the same sentence and you’ll still get into heaven. Promise!
- For the dough:
- 1 c whole milk
- 1 (1/4-oz) packet active dry yeast
- ¼ c + ¼ t sugar
- 4 T unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the bowl
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1½ t pure vanilla extract
- 2¾ c AP flour, plus more if needed
- ¾ t salt
- Pinch of nutmeg
- For the filling:
- AP flour, for dusting
- 12 T unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
- ½ c sugar
- 3 T ground cinnamon
- For the glaze:
- 2 c confectioners' sugar
- ⅓ c heavy cream
- 4 T unsalted butter, melted
- Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat until it reaches about 100 degrees F. Remove from the heat and sprinkle in the yeast and ¼ t sugar (don't stir). Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla. Set aside.
- Whisk the flour, the remaining ¼ c sugar, the salt and nutmeg in the bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed with the dough hook until thick and slightly sticky. Knead on medium speed until the dough gathers around the hook, about 6 minutes. Add up to 2 more T flour if necessary.
- Remove the dough and shape into a ball. Butter the mixer bowl and return the dough to the bowl, turning to coat with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12x14-inch rectangle with the longer side facing you. Spread with the 12 T of softened butter, leaving a ½-inch border along the far long edge. Warning: this is a LOT of butter, so it just takes a little time to spread it. Think of the gooey results! Mix the cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle over the butter. Brush the unbuttered far edge with water. Roll the dough away from you into a tight cylinder and press on the long edge to seal. Cut the cylinder with a sharp knife into 6 equal-sized rolls.
- Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan, and place the rolls (cut side down) in the pan, leaving space between each. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (**see notes for doing this overnight), about 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Bake the rolls until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool in the pan 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the glaze: sift confectioners' sugar into a bowl, then whisk in cream and melted butter. Transfer the rolls to a rack and slather with the glaze while still warm.