Making cinnamon rolls reminds me to slow down. Making them takes a little time. Baking them in the morning takes a little time. Drizzling the icing over the top becomes an art form. But, even though it takes time, I think it’s worth the extra time. The cinnamon rolls become an event. A special occasion. It reminds me to take time for the little pleasures in life. It reminds me to slow down and enjoy – enjoy breakfast; enjoy the company of those around you. Enjoy sitting outside and eating your breakfast – even if it’s just in the backyard.
When Dan drives to work in the mornings, he passes by a cinnamon roll bakery. The smell of cinnamon rolls wafts over the freeway, and you can smell it for miles. Man, those smell good! Well, after a few times of smelling this, he came home and told me all about how he had a craving for cinnamon rolls. This is not only understandable if you drive the freeway and smell the yummy-ness in the morning, but it became somewhat of a need for cinnamon rolls.
So, we started by purchasing the treats from the grocery store – you know those ones you bake yourself, but they’re already made and all you do is untwist the package. Tasty. They satisfied the need for cinnamon rolls in the morning. Then we found some mini cinnamon rolls in the freezer section. You could take out as many as you wanted at one time and bake them up. Great! We tried them, and we liked them. And, the bake-as-many-servings-as-you-wanted thing was great! Then, we read the ingredient and nutrition labels. Yikes! Each mini cinnamon roll had one gram of trans fat. Each cinnamon roll! That meant that if we had three rolls at breakfast we had already had three grams of trans fat. So, I knew that I needed to make homemade ones.
I did some research and some testing (Dan is such a trooper to do all this testing for me!).
Here’s my cinnamon roll recipe. I love that I can make up the rolls and keep them in the freezer. I pull out as many as I need and bake them up in the toaster oven. Now, we often have fresh homemade mini cinnamon rolls on Friday mornings before he goes to work, and no trans fat!
1 cup warm (100° to 110°) fat-free (or 2%) milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 package quick-rise yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons melted butter
2/3 cup (scant) packed brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons butter, softened
3-4 tablespoons cream or milk
To prepare rolls: Measure and add liquid ingredients to the bread pan of the bread machine. Measure and add dry ingredients (except yeast) to the bread pan. Form a well in the dry ingredients; measure the yeast and carefully pour it into the well. Choose dough setting according to manufacturer directions.
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, and set aside.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; roll dough into an 18 x 11–inch rectangle. Brush 3 tablespoons melted butter over dough; sprinkle evenly with brown sugar mixture.
To make mini cinnamon rolls, cut dough in half along the length of the dough so you have two 18 x 5.5 inch rectangles. Beginning at one long side, roll up each rectangle tightly, jellyroll fashion; pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends of roll). Allow rolls to rise, covered with a cotton towel, for about 30 minutes. (Need more help rolling or cutting the cinnamon rolls? Take a look at my tutorial.)
Cut dough into 18 (1-inch) slices. Arrange slices, cut sides up, on baking sheets coated with cooking spray or lined with a silpat. Cover with a cotton towel, and let rise about 30 minutes or until doubled in size. At this point, cinnamon rolls may be frozen. Place baking sheets in freezer. Once frozen, store in ziptop bags and pull out as many cinnamon rolls as you need for breakfast.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Uncover rolls (no need to defrost if they were frozen). Bake at 350° for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
To prepare icing: Combine all ingredients adding cream or milk to achieve desired consistency. Spread icing over rolls; serve warm. Store leftover icing in the freezer in a small covered container. Microwave a couple spoonfuls on high power for about 10 seconds to bring it back to spreadable consistency.