Well, the holidays have come and gone with the blink of an eye. We took our Christmas decorations down yesterday, and it felt so sad to officially acknowledge that the festivities and celebrations are over for awhile. But when we were done taking the tree down and putting the sparkling ornaments away, the open spaces and clean surfaces made the house feel fresh and new, ready to be filled with new experiences in the coming year. I have always liked the beginning of the New Year, and always start January with the best of intentions. (Whether or not I stick to all my New Year’s resolutions is another story, perhaps for a different blog post!). This morning it is extremely cold and bright here, with a fresh coat of snow blanketing the trees and ground. Fitting weather for a new year, a fresh start. According to the weather forecast, winter is settling in this week. More snow and continued cold temperatures are on the way. My whole family loves to go out in the snow, so that is exciting. But we also need something to take the edge off of the difficulties of winter, something sweet and comforting. What better way to take comfort from the cold than making a batch of soft, sweet cinnamon rolls. The recipe I am posting is adapted from a recipe I found long ago in a cookbook I return to again and again for basic recipes, my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. I just love the taste of the dough rolled up and baked with melted butter, cinnamon and sugar. Delicious! Personally, I like these cinnamon rolls on their own without any icing, but I am including a really easy icing recipe for those who like a little extra sweetness. I also find that the icing helps on cinnamon rolls that are a day old and not as soft as they were the day before. So sometimes I don’t make the icing till the next day. If you are going to be home for a few hours and want to make something special, warming, and cheerful, I would highly recommend these cinnamon rolls!
Sweet Cinnamon Rolls and Powdered Sugar Icing
Ingredients for Cinnamon Rolls:
- 4 to 4/13 cups all purpose flour
- 1 package (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Ingredients for Powdered Sugar Icing
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
Directions for Cinnamon Rolls:
Combine 2 cups of the all purpose flour and 1 package of active dry yeast in a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, heat and stir 1 cup milk, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt till warm (120 degrees to 130 degrees) and butter almost melts. (Don’t let it get it too hot, or it will kill your yeast–make sure it is only warm and not hot when you pour it into the flour/yeast mixture). Add the butter mixture to the bowl with the flour and yeast, along with two eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds and then on high speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl when necessary. Then using a spoon, stir in as much of the remaining 2 to 2 and 1/3 cups of all purpose flour as you can.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough that is smooth and elastic and not sticky. (About 5-10 minutes of kneading). Shape dough into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl. Turn once and cover with a dish towel. Let rise in a warm place till double (about one hour). When dough has about doubled in size, punch the dough down. Turn out onto the lightly floured surface again and divide in half. Cover and let the two halves rest for 10 minutes. Then roll one of the halves of dough into a 12 inch x 8 inch rectangle. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and brush half of the butter over the rectangle of dough. Combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture over the rectangle of dough. Roll up from one of the long sides of the rectangle. Seal the seams by pressing the edges of dough together. Carefully slice the dough into 12 pieces (I use a serrated knife for this, so I don’t squish the dough out of shape). Repeat process with the remaining dough. Place the rolls in two lightly greased 9 x 1 and 1/2 inch round baking pans. Cover and let rise until almost double in size (about 30 minutes this time). Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until rolls are golden. Let the rolls cool slightly, and then remove from the pans. Drizzle with powdered sugar icing (see directions below) or serve on their own. Enjoy this special treat!
Directions for Powdered Sugar Icing:
In a medium bowl, with a spoon mix the cup of powdered sugar, vanilla, and one tablespoon of the milk. Stir in more milk very gradually–1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches the desired consistency. Drizzle over cinnamon rolls if desired. This makes about 1/2 cup of icing.
Recipe adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book Tenth Ring Bound Edition