When I was leading spring break camps at Franklin Park Conservatory last week, both groups of children opted to make cinnamon rolls on grains day. While not a great example of healthy grains, cinnamon rolls involve many useful cooking processes and are very doable for children with adult assistance. This recipe is one I have honed over the years, including some whole wheat flour and lower sugar for a healthier morning treat. I include no frosting suggestions because I find these delectable without a high-calorie topping.
Cinnamon rolls take approximately four hours from start to finish but the second rise can be completed in the fridge overnight. If risen overnight, the dough needs to come to room temperature before baking. I usually accomplish this by pulling them out of the icebox as soon as I wake up and putting them near the oven. In about an hour, during which I make coffee and preheat the stove, they are ready to put in the oven and bake.
When I'm feeling particularly industrious, I will make a double batch of dough and filling. I will complete the first rise and roll and cut all the dough. Then, I will divide into groups of six rolls (two each for the three members of my family) and wrap them tightly in plastic. Whatever we don't cook for that day goes into the freezer for future use. When I want to use them, I pull out the frozen dough to thaw and rise, a process that takes six-eight hours. Then I bake as directed. They aren't quite as light and fluffy after freezing as when baked from fresh, but are still satisfying.
[print_this] Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 12 large or 24 two bite size rolls
3 1/2 cups bread flour 1-1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast 1 cup milk 1/3 cup butter 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1/4 cup all purpose flour 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup light raisins, optional 1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour and yeast.
2. In a small pot, cook milk over low heat until warm, 120-130 deg F. Turn off heat. Add in butter, sugar, and salt and stir until butter is melted.
3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and add eggs. Beat until combined.
4. Continue stirring, adding flour in half cup increments, until no more flour will be mixed in.
5. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic, about five minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to cover, and allow to rise until double, 1-2 hours.
6. Meanwhile, mix filling of 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and cinnamon. Cut 1/2 cup butter into this mixture. Stir in optional raisins and nuts.
7. Punch dough down and let rest for 10 minutes. Then shape into 12 inch square. Sprinkle filling over top and roll from one end to another.
8. Slice into 1 inch pieces. Arrange cut side up in a greased large skillet. Cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour.
9. Bake at 375 deg F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and frost as desired. [/print_this]
Added to Hearth and Soul Volume 42.