Quick Cinnamon Rolls
Welcome to The Carboholic!
Now, let’s talk about cinnamon rolls. I’ve really never heard anyone say they hate cinnamon rolls. Every time I bake a pan of these sparkling oozy buttery things, people want to come over. “Just thought I’d stop by and say hel–ooh, are those cinnamon rolls?!” It might not help that they are so damn delicious-looking that I post photos of them on my Instagram account. I kid you not, I’ve had friends from high school (!) reconnect in e-mails beginning with: “So how about we catch up over one of your cinnamon rolls?” So subtle.
The problem with these delectable little buggers? They take hours to make. At least they do when made with traditional recipes.
But this one is a slightly modified version of the “Ninety Minute Cinnamon Rolls” from allrecipes.com. I don’t venture over there often, but when I do, I find the reviews very helpful in making adjustments. My first go at this recipe yielded quick–albeit somewhat flat-tasting–rolls. Some tampering was in order.
Enter butter instead of margarine, some yeast proofing, vanilla, and a dash of lemon. The longer these guys rise, the better they taste. That’s just the magic of yeast. I’ve let them sit in the fridge for quite a few hours–even all day–when making this recipe with active-dry instead of instant. And despite instant yeast being supposedly viable with no need for proofing, I have had these come out flat as hockey pucks once or twice and now proof all my yeast prior to adding to the dough.
Because nobody wants a hocky puck.
These rolls are as promised–quick. Done in under 90 minutes (start to finish) if you’ve got everything ready and any experience with enriched yeast doughs. And while I have another loooooong drawn-out “normal” recipe for sweet dough, this one is always on hand when I get a hankering at night for something more substantial than a cookie and chewier than a cake.
And PS… Men will be all over these things. They’ll eat them standing up, straight out of the tray with no utensils, and they’ll lick their fingers of all the gooey caramelized butter and brown sugar, little bits of icing clinging to their stubbly beards.
Like a Carl’s Jr. commercial for females.
Don’t look at me that way.
(Slightly adapted from Allrecipes.com)
3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 (.25 oz.) package of instant yeast
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- pinch of sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- a few drops lemon extract (optional)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter, softened but not melted
1. Combine milk and 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until milk is bubbling (not boiling) and butter is melted. Set aside.
2. Combine yeast, water, and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl. Whisk together and let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. If your yeast doesn’t foam, discard contents and try again with a new pack of yeast.
3. Whisk together remaining 1/4 cup sugar, salt, and 2 1/4 cups of the flour in a large bowl. Add yeast, egg, vanilla, lemon (if using), and warm milk/butter mixture. Stir well, incorporating remaining 1 cup of flour just until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, prepare filling: Stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter until it forms a paste-like consistency. Set aside.
5. Roll your dough out on a lightly floured surface to a rough 12″x9″ rectangle. Spread evenly with cinnamon/brown sugar mixture, leaving a 1/2″ clean along the long side of your dough to help seal once rolled. Roll dough up lengthwise and pinch seams tightly to seal. Cut with a serrated knife or unflavored dental floss into 12 rolls (or less, if you want them huge). Transfer rolls to a parchment-lined baking sheet, or in a lined/greased baking dish with about 1″-2″ space between them. Spray lightly with oil and cover, or cover with a damp cloth. Let rise 30 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 375 F. Uncover rolls and bake about 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking. Remove from oven when they are light golden brown and spring back when pressed. Do not overbake or you will have dry rolls. And nobody likes dry rolls. Let cool slightly, and drizzle icing on top while still warm.
Rolls are definitely best while still warm and fresh from the oven, but I’ve found they are still delicious the next day after a quick trip in the (gasp!) microwave.