Ok, so, before I go FULL detox mode on you… Let’s talk CINNAMON ROLLS. Every Christmas Eve these beauties are homemade by yours truly and delivered to our friends, family and neighbors. This Christmas? I made them. Barely. And, to be completely honest, there are still deliveries to be made lurking in our freezer. I’m slacking big time this year. Christmas has come and gone and quite frankly, it never fully felt like Christmas to us. *Sad face!* Don’t get me wrong, good times were had. Awesome gifts given and received. And on both sides of my fam, we were actually ALL together at once. Nice. I guess with your house disheveled and major stress going on, it’s just not easy to relax and completely enjoy. All things considered, our Christmas was as good as it gets.
I’m not gonna lie though. The very first thing we did upon waking on December 26th? Took that tree down and got all decor boxed away. Our house looks so empty, unwelcoming, just plain s-a-d. We’re packing our little hearts out over here trying to use our beloved vacation time to get all the boxing up done. We have officially moved to paper plates starting today and I’m beginning to not be able to find things. Let the adventure begin!
One great thing is those pans of cinnamon rolls that literally scream my name from the freezer. These suckers are SO. DARN. GOOD. So good that I get requests throughout the year for them. I realize that homemade cinnamon rolls sound daunting. They did to me too! Thanks to The Pioneer Woman for her incredible step-by-step tutorial I tried them. And fell in LOVE <3. You will too! Seriously, people. I realize Christmas is over but you have GOT to make these! It’s not the new year yet. Let’s indulge together one last time!
Here we go… Let’s make dough (it’s easy, I promise!). Mix 1 quart (4 cups) of whole milk, 1 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 cup of sugar in a pan. “Scald” the mixture (heat until just before it boils). Turn off the heat and leave to cool 45 minutes or so.
When the mixture is lukewarm (not hot), sprinkle in 2 packages Active Dry Yeast. Let it sit for a minute so the yeast will activate.
Add in 8 cups of all-purpose flour and stir mixture together. It will look like this!
Cover with a dish towel and let it sit for at least one hour in a warm place. After an hour, the dough will look like this.
Now add 1 more cup of flour, 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder, 1 scant (less than full) teaspoon baking soda, and 1 heaping tablespoon of salt. Stir mixture together. At this point you can use the dough right away or cover the dough and put it in the fridge for up to 2 days, if necessary. I like to at least chill the dough for 1-2 hours rather than use it right away. It’s easier to get it into a nice, neat rectangle. But, this is not necessary!
When you’re ready to use your dough, sprinkle surface generously with flour. Take half of the dough and form a rough rectangle with your hands. Then, roll the dough thin attempting to keep it in a rectangle shape. I try to go for 10″ x 30″ – ish.
Here’s where I stray from PW. She calls for 1 1/2 to 2 cups of melted butter on the dough. That. is. crazy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s delish. But, I’ve tried it with much less and it totally works. My opinion you’re not losing any flavor here, only calories. So, I slather 1/2 cup of butter on there – I use softened if I have it – only because it’s less messy. Otherwise, go for the melted.
Then I sprinkle 1/8 cup of cinnamon all over that buttery dough followed by 1/2 cup of sugar (PW says a full cup – I stick by my strategy!) Hang on – I gotta go grab a roll. My mouth is watering!
Starting at the long end, farthest from you – begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Try to keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Don’t mind my dark, blurtastic pics here. Our camera is MIA. My phone is all you’ve got! And, time is of the essence so no editing has taken place. You get the idea. Sorry for the sidetrack – back to Cinnamon Rolls!
When you get to the end, pinch the seam to seal this roll-o-butter/sugar/cinnamon. Spritz some disposable, round cake pans with nonstick spray (or use your casserole dishes if you’re saving them for yourself!) and begin cutting your rolls. I make them about 1 inch thick and it makes anywhere from 8-10 pans of rolls. Let the rolls sit for 20 to 30 minutes to rise. Here’s what they look like right before going in the oven.
Then bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes. You want them to be light golden brown. Like so…
But don’t forget! While the rolls are in the oven, make the amazing maple frosting. In a large bowl add 1 bag (2 lbs) of powdered sugar, 1/2 cup of milk, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee, 1 tablespoon maple extract, and a pinch of salt. Whisk away until it is thick but pourable. Taste and adjust if needed.
After pulling the rolls out of the oven, generously drizzle the maple frosting ALL OVER THEM. Don’t be shy. Remember when we held back before? Not doing that now. You guys. I cannot overstate this. Please, please, please make these cinnamon rolls. You will make forever friends with whomever you choose to share them with! At this point if you’re not ready to make a delivery, let the pan cool. Once cool, wrap them well in saran wrap/heavy duty foil and freeze them. Score! To reheat, just let them defrost on the counter (at least 30 minutes) and stick them in a 325 oven for about 15 minutes or until nice and warm and ready for your belly. Enjoy!
- 1 quart Whole Milk
- 1 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2 packages Active Dry Yeast, 0.25 Ounce Packets
- 8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Reserved) All-purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
- 1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened or melted - divided
- 1 cup Sugar - divided
- ¼ cup Cinnamon - divided
- MAPLE FROSTING:
- 1 bag Powdered Sugar (2 lbs)
- 1 tablespoon Maple Extract
- ½ cup Milk
- ¼ cup Melted Butter
- ¼ cup Brewed Coffee
- ⅛ teaspoon Salt
- For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and 1 cup sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.
- Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 2 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin.
- To make the filling, pour or spread ½ cup of the softened or melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and ½ cup of the sugar over the butter.
- Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together well. When you’re finished, you’ll wind up with one long buttery, cinnamony, sugary, gooey log.
- With a sharp knife, make 1-inch slices. One “log “will produce 20 to 25 rolls. Spritz nonstick spray into disposable foil cake pans and place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 6 to 7 rolls.)
- Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.
- While the rolls are baking, make the maple icing: In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and salt. Splash in the maple extract. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add in more maple, sugar, butter, or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable.
- Remove pans from the oven. Immediately drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top.
- At this point if you're not ready to eat or deliver them, let the pan cool. Once cool, wrap them well in saran wrap/heavy duty foil and freeze them. Score! To reheat, just let them defrost on the counter (at least 30 minutes) and stick them in a 325 oven for about 15 minutes or until nice and warm and ready for your belly. Enjoy!