So, in case you've been viewing my last couple posts of Fudgey Black Bean Brownies, Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew, Whole Wheat Sourdough Waffles, Whole Wheat Carrot Applesauce Muffins, etc. and were afraid that I've gone completely "health nut" on you lately, have no fear. My cravings for bad for me food are still very much alive and thriving. They say if you go without sugar long enough then you won't crave it anymore. Yeah, I haven't had that experience. It could be that I just haven't been able to stay away from it long enough to find out for sure, but I don't think I could live my life without sweetness. (And don't even get me started on chocolate. That food will be my companion for life!)
So, back to the topic at hand, these cinnamon rolls. Today and tomorrow are the General Conferences for my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). That means that most of us get to stay home, lounge around in our pajamas all day and enjoy hearing the inspired words of the apostles and prophet streaming right through our televisions or computers. And, because of our freedom from having to get up and ready for church, many of us make a decadent breakfast of overnight french toast or cinnamon rolls to enjoy while watching conference. So, I decided that today would be the perfect day to try out Ramona's Cinnamon Rolls.
Ramona is an inspiring friend of mine who also happens to be a goddess in the kitchen. She is an exceptional cook and baker and I love seeing (and eating) all of the yummy foods she makes. Well, back in January (when most people are trying to eat healthier and stay away from all the guilty pleasure foods they really want to indulge in) she posted this delicious looking photo (above) of the cinnamon roll that she had just made and was enjoying. She said that these rolls are "the best cinnamon rolls" she has ever made! Now that's saying something. Having made multiple recipes of cinnamon rolls in the past, but never being able to find the "perfect one," I was dying to give this recipe a shot. Well, I was one of those people who was trying to stay away from bad for me food (and I still am), so I didn't try them back in January. I was actually doing a two week detox where I couldn't have any sweeteners of any kind (sugar, honey, maple syrup, dates, etc). Nothing! Well, I made it through those two weeks and have been trying to limit my sugar intake ever since. I'm definitely not perfect, and I do have occasions where I allow myself to indulge like today, but I try to not make it the way I eat all the time. I mean, I want to keep fitting into my clothes and stay healthy while I'm at it. And I don't run marathons like Ramona does. :)
So, yes, these rolls have refined white flour, refined sugars, unhealthy oil, and lots of butter, but look at it for what it is a rare indulgence. And a very delicious one at that!
Oh! I also wanted to mention that this recipe has A LOT of yeast in it, but it is because of all this yeast that these rolls can be made from start to finish in 1 hour. Perfect for those days you are in a hurry.
Here's how I made them:
In the bowl of my 6 qt. stand mixer, I added the warm water, sugar
yeast, (A lot of it! 6 TBSP! But this is what makes them ready in 1 hour from start to finish.)
and oil. I turned the mixer on and started adding the other ingredients. (If you are not using instant, or rapid rise, yeast like me then you will want to let your yeast mixture get foamy before proceeding, to make sure that your yeast is alive and active. Mine is already starting to bubble so no worries there.)
Next, I added the salt, eggs,
and flour. The recipe says 10 1/2 cups, but I think it can vary a little depending on the weather and how exactly you measure all your ingredients. I ended up adding 11 cups of flour, but I always add 1 cup at a time to make sure the consistency is right.
You want the dough to still be a little sticky, but starting to pull away from the sides of the bowl. (See below) At this point I turned the mixer on low and let it knead the dough for 10 minutes to finish incorporating all the flour and ingredients, and to develop the gluten.
After kneading the dough for 10 minutes, let the dough rest for 10 minutes. I just drape a towel over my mixer and let it rest that way.
While the dough was resting, I mixed up the filling ingredients. Brown sugar and cinnamon. I just mixed them together with my fingers until they were completely combined.
Then I set it aside.
After the dough was done resting it had grown in size considerably!
I took half of the dough and rolled it out onto a large, oiled cutting board. I rolled it into a large rectangle.
Then came the messy part. One stick of softened butter goes down. Yes, I said 1 stick. 1/2 a cup. I like salted butter, butter but I'm sure unsalted works fine too. (And yes, my butter is a little melted, because I always forget to take it out and let get soft on it's own, so I always end up microwaving it for a few seconds. This results in a partially melted stick of butter, but that's just fine.)
I just use my clean hand and spread the butter all over the dough.
Next comes the cinnamon sugar mixture. Make sure to spread it out from edge to edge.
Then, I rolled up the whole thing. I like to start at the long side closest to me, and roll away from me to the other side.
Then, I placed the roll seam side down and cut the rolls. I like to cut it in half, and then cut each half into thirds.
Then, each third gets cut in half. So each half makes 6 rolls. You will have 12 cinnamon rolls total for this rectangle.
Then I placed the rolls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and let them sit for 10 minutes. (This was new to me, because I usually bake my rolls in a 9x13 or 10x15 casserole dish. But, I was following the recipe and didn't want to deviate. I'm glad I did it this way, because the rolls grow exponentially! They were HUGE when they came out of the oven! They wouldn't have been able to be contained by the casserole dish.
After 10 minutes. this is what they looked like. They rose a little, but they will rise even more in the oven! I put them into a 400F degree oven and baked them for 20 minutes (The recipe says 13-15 minutes, but I like to go by temperature to make sure that they are not gooey in the middle. Bread is done at 200F degrees so that I what I look for.)
While the rolls were baking, my son made the frosting. 1 stick of butter, 8 oz of cream cheese, 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract, and 3 cups of powdered sugar. (The recipe calls for 6 oz of cream cheese, but after tasting it, we thought it needed more cream cheese and decided to add the entire 8 oz.) He just mixed them together in a bowl with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes, until the frosting was light and fluffy.
We set the frosting aside for later.
When the rolls came out of the oven, they were brown and HUGE!
I frosted them with a little frosting right out of the oven and then frosted them again after they cooled a bit. This is the tray that I took to the fire station for my amazing husband and his crew. They were beyond happy to get them! :)
Thankfully the recipe makes two trays of rolls so the kids and I still had plenty to eat at home during conference. :)
Here's Ramona's recipe, in her own words. :)
Note: Recipe may be halved. If making 12, use 2 eggs, and approx. 6 cups of flour. Unless making overnight rolls, these should only take about an hour to make, start to finish.
3 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
6 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon salt
10 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons ground cinnamon
In a stand mixer, combine water, sugar, oil, and yeast and let sit for 15 minutes. It should puff up. Add salt, eggs and flour and knead with dough hook (or by hand) for 10 minutes. Dough should pull away from sides, but may stick to the bottom of the mixer bowl. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Put about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on the counter or cutting board. Divide dough in half. Press one half out into a large rectangle. Spread with half of butter, half of brown sugar, and half of cinnamon. Roll up tight, but not too tight. Divide into 12 rolls and place on greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat with other half of dough.
For overnight rolls, cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator overnight. Take out of fridge about 1 hour before desired bake time. Rolls will rise in the fridge, and even more as they come to room temperature - mine were huge! Bake for 12-15* minutes at 400 degrees. Turn the pan once during baking. Immediately after removing from the oven, frost with a little of the frosting. It will melt into the rolls. After they have cooled slightly, frost again with desired amount.
To bake immediately, let rise until desired size. Because of the amount of yeast, these rise quickly. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 400. Turn the pan once during baking. Frost with a little of the frosting. It will melt into the rolls. After they have cooled slightly, frost again with desired amount.
1/2 c. Butter
6 oz cream cheese*
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 c. Powdered sugar*
Place butter and cream cheese in stand mixer and beat for 1 minute until combined. Add vanilla and 3 cups of powdered sugar. Beat for 3 minutes. Check for your desired consistency, and add one more cup of powdered sugar if needed. (I used all 4 cups).
*When I made the frosting I found it wasn't tangy enough for me, so I added 8 oz of cream cheese, instead of the 6 oz it calls for. Also I only used 3 cups of powdered sugar, where Ramona used all 4.
*I baked my rolls for 20 minutes - until they were an internal temperature of 200F, and brown on the outside.