I want to start this off by thanking everyone who participated in the giveaway last week! The response was overwhelming and totally humbling. Thank you for taking time out of your day to leave a comment! What’s more, you guys didn’t just leave one worded messages, but instead gave me all of the details. I loved that! I enjoyed reading them all, because I definitely did take the time to read every single comment, from beginning to end. In fact, it was the highlight of my week, so thank you. It was also the highlight of my mom’s week, because she read them all too. I’d get a call from her every hour with, “Jon did you read that one comment?! Awwww, this one comment is great you should pick this one! These comments are so sweet! Jon can I pick the winner, huh huh huh can I? Can I?” It was a great experience over all, so thank you for making the first Candid Appetite giveaway such a success. You guys rock! There will definitely be more giveaways in the very near future, now that I know you guys like free stuff. I mean who doesn’t?!?! So in the end there could only be one winner (bummer I know), and my mamma ended up pulling out of a hat, Emily S. from Durham New Hampshire with her favorite dessert being the classic brownie! Let’s all give her a round of applause. Your book is on it’s way!
Anyhow, enough about that. It’s time for another installment of my favorite new series called, The Classics. This time around it’s brought to you by the biggest cinnamon rolls you ever did see. They’re as big as my head and I can’t get enough of them. I’ve recently decided to declare today National Eat As Many Cinnamon Rolls As You Can Day, and I think we should ALL celebrate by eating as many cinnamon rolls as we can possibly fit into our faces. I know for sure I can eat six giant rolls without a problem. Don’t ask me how I know this….I may or may not have eaten all of these myself. And I regret nothing.
I think I’ve mentioned once or twice before (maybe a million times) of how much I love cinnamon. It’s my favorite spice in the world, especially in the fall. There’s just something so great about it this time of year. Sure, it’s still a million degrees outside here in Los Angeles, and sure it still feels like a never ending summer, but in my mind it’s totally autumn and I’m spending my nights in front of a fire drinking lots of hot cocoa topped with a mountain of whipped cream and dusted with lots of cinnamon, eating a giant cinnamon roll. In my mind that’s how it’s happening. In real life, it’s so hot, I’m eating them in front of the air conditioning vent. Someone save me.
I know that working with yeast can be a pretty scary thing. It frightens people out there. Hey, it even frightens me sometimes. Every time I work with it, I close my eyes, say a little prayer, cross my fingers and do a little dance, hoping against hope that I woke up the yeast properly. Then I let out a giant sigh of relief once I realize it did foam up the right way and it’s the greatest feeling in the world. Anyhow, yeah, yeast is scary, but it’s totally worth it. Especially when it comes to cinnamon rolls right out of the oven. The smell through the air is out of this world. It should be bottled.
So let’s start by waking up that yeast as I mentioned earlier. Pour the warm milk into a bowl, and sprinkle in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Just let it sit there for 5 minutes.
**Note: Sugar (or honey) is food for yeast, and it allows it to grow and wake up properly, so make sure you include it.**
Place the bowl in a warm spot and allow it to sit untouched for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast has foamed and frothed.
**Note: It’s crucial for the mixture to foam and froth. If it didn’t, toss the mixture and start again. You definitely need the yeast to awaken properly so that the dough rises and doubles in size later on.**
Once foamed, whisk in the melted butter, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, remaining sugar, salt, and freshly grated nutmeg.
**Tip: Freshly grated nutmeg isn’t as strong and over powering as that bottled ground stuff. I personally think it has a completely different flavor and don’t care for the already ground nutmeg as it can be too much. There’s a tip here somewhere…oh that’s right. If all you have is ground nutmeg, then just add a tiny tiny pinch, or if you’re too afraid to over do it, then just skip it!**
Whisk together thoroughly, make a well in the center and pour in the wet ingredients from earlier.
Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and forms a rough (not so dry) ball.
**Tip: I’ve been in a, do it all by hand, kind of mood lately so that’s why I’m mixing it with a wooden spoon like in the olden times, but if you’re not feeling as adventurous as I, because let’s be honest (ain’t nobody got time for that!) then you can by all means use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and need with a machine.**
If you’re mixing this in a stand mixer, just raise the speed to high and knead for about 4 to 6 minutes until smooth and elastic.
If you’re doing this by hand like me, then transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for about 5 to 6 minutes until soft and elastic. Get that workout in.
Once smooth and soft and so perfect you want to use the dough as a pillow to sleep on, then you can place it into an oiled bowl, turn it over to coat both sides, and cover loosely with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel.
Place the dough in a warm spot for at least 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
**Tip: I like placing it in an oven that is turned off. It’s dark enough, draft free and somewhat warm, making it the perfect dough rising spot in your house!**
Punch the dough down and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. We’re going to get this ready for filling with lots of butter, sugar and cinnamon. A few of my favorite things. But first…
Before you get to rolling out the dough, like the master baker you are, you should make the filling. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar (because two sugars are always better than one) and lots of cinnamon. I do mean lots of cinnamon. Toss to evenly combine.
Roll out the dough into a large rectangle, on a lightly floured work surface. You want it about half of an inch thick. Spread it liberally with the softened butter. Coating it completely in a even layer of butter, because everything is better with butter. Then make it rain down, I mean pour down, with cinnamon sugar.
Roll the dough tightly, lengthwise, into a log and sealing the edge by pinching the seam. Then using a sharp knife, cut the rolls into eight medium slices or six jumbo ones. I like the idea of jumbo cinnamon rolls, so I cut them into six. Place them into a greased baking dish. About 9×13 inches.
Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Place them in a dark warm spot to rest for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. Then bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown all around. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before frosting.
Speaking about frosting…let’s make the luscious cream cheese frosting shall we?
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then add the powdered sugar and a pinch of cinnamon and beat once more.
**Tip: If the frosting is too thick, add a splash of milk to thin it out somewhat. You want it to be spreadable and thick still. If it’s too thin, add more powered sugar**
Generously lather up the cinnamon rolls with all of the cinnamon cream cheese frosting. All of it. Go ahead and just spread it like there’s no tomorrow. Like your life depends on it. Like if you’re winning a prize.
While the rolls are still warm, you can serve them up. If no one is around, then just eat one (or two) yourself. Go ahead and splurge because you deserve it. It’s necessary. I said it’s okay, so It’s okay. Don’t look back. Don’t second guess.
If you’re not able to eat all six of the cinnamon rolls, like I did, then you can wrap them well in plastic wrap or place them in a an airtight container. They’ll keep at room temperature for about 3 to 4 days. Right before eating, rewarm them for a few minutes in the oven or a few seconds in a microwave to warm through and make them soft once more.
Cinnamon rolls are one of those treats where you don’t know if it’s meant to be a dessert or a breakfast or a snack so in order to fix that dilemma, I just eat eat them for breakfast and for dinner and for a snack. I think that’s the only way to go about this entire ordeal. Let’s not complain. Let’s just enjoy it.
I hope this post has convinced you and tempted you enough to make these cinnamon rolls yourself! Don’t forget to snap a photo or two and share them on your social media accounts. Tag them with #TCAclassics so that we can all see them! Or, if you have any suggestions for the next classics recipe leave a comment down below, I’m always up for suggestions! Now go out and eat a giant cinnamon roll (you know you want to!)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 packet (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
- ¼ cup, plus ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons (half a stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 (8oz) block cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- pinch of cinnamon
- Warm the milk in a small sauce pot over medium-low heat. In a small bowl add the warm milk. Sprinkle in the yeast and ¼ teaspoon sugar. Do not stir. Allow to sit in a warm place for about 5 minutes or until foamy and frothy. If it doesn't foam up after 5 minutes, toss and start over. Whisk in the melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla extract.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, ¼ cup granulated sugar, salt and freshly ground nutmeg. Whisk until evenly combined. Make a well in the center and pour in the wet mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until a rough dough ball forms. You can mix it with the dough hook of an electric mixer, kneading for about 4 to 6 minutes until smooth, soft and elastic. Or you transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for about 5 to 6 minutes until soft and elastic. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover lightly with plastic wrap and a damp cloth. Allow to rest in a warm spot for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- To make the filling, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Punch the dough down and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out into a large rectangle about a half of an inch thick. Slather with the softened butter in an even layer and sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar filling. Roll the dough tightly into a log, lengthwise, pinching the seam to close it. Cut the log into 8 medium rolls or 6 large rolls. Transfer to a greased baking dish (9x13 inches), spacing them evenly apart. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Allow to rest in a warm spot for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bake the rolls for about 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown all around. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly for about 15 minutes before frosting.
- To make the frosting, in a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the powered sugar and cinnamon and continue to mix until incorporated. Lather the rolls with the frosting. Will keep for about 4 days wrapped well in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container. Rewarm in the oven for a few minutes before eating. Enjoy!
- yield: 6 giant rolls or 8 medium