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Birthday Cinnamon Rolls!

 

Nine years ago today, I became a mom.  There was pain, crying and earth-shattering joy involved.  And even though I had nine months to prepare myself, I had absolutely no idea how much my life was going to change.  I knew I would be sleeping less and changing diapers more.  And in general, I knew that most of our next few years would revolve around caring for our new little guy. But I truly did not anticipate that the moment he laid his little head on my chest, the driving force in my life would become to keep that beautiful bundle of baby happy, healthy and safe.

Even though Aiden is a pretty big kid now, seeing him smile still brings me an unreasonable amount of joy and satisfaction.  And there are few foods that makes him smile like a good cinnamon roll.  Several years ago I stumbled upon this little site called The Pioneer Woman, you may have heard of it ;)  One of her most popular recipes are these homemade cinnamon rolls.  Prior to this, I had never even considered making cinnamon rolls from scratch.  They looked like a lot of work, but the reviews were raving.  Being a girl who loves a challenge and cinnamon rolls, I gave it a go.  If you’ve ever been to her site, you know that Ree makes everything easier with her pics and charming instructions.  So it should come as no surprise that they were a great success.  The recipe made something like four dozen rolls, so I delivered the extras to our neighbors.  I instantly became “The Cinnamon Roll Lady”.  I also instantly became addicted to cinnamon roll recipes; subsequently making caramel apple cinnamon rolls, lemon raspberry buns, orange marmalade rolls, pumpkin cream cheese cinnamon rolls, and cranberry pecan cinnamon rolls.  I have also gotten into mini babkas, which are basically the same thing.

No one has enjoyed my many roll experiments more than Aiden {except, maybe his father}.  He has been known to finish off 6+ rolls in one sitting.  So when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday breakfast, I was fairly certain of the answer before the words even left his mouth.  He prefers his cinnamon rolls straight up; no nuts, no fruit, no fancy flavors–just cinnamon and lots of icing.

Although I love Ree and think she can do very little wrong in the kitchen, I have felt the need to trim her measurements over the years.  Since I have had great success with other rolls {namely these Caramel Apple Cinnamon ones} that use less than half of the fat that she does, I had to hybrid her recipe.  This time I used Einkorn flour in place of AP flour and coconut oil in place of vegetable oil/butter in the dough.  I lean strongly towards PW’s icing.  The flavor is aah-mazing, I just streamlined the process/ingredients a little.

Ingredients

Makes about 2 dozen rolls

For the rolls

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 cups flour–plus 3/4 cup extra, separated {I used Einkorn, but you can use all-purpose}
  • 1/2 {heaping} teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 {scant} teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tsp  salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar {I use brown for a deeper flavor, PW uses white granulated}
  • generous sprinkling of cinnamon

For the icing

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1 Tbl melted butter
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. For the dough: heat the milk, oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook just enough to melt the coconut oil and dissolve the sugar, about 2 minutes.  Set aside and cool until it is lukewarm.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for a few minutes.  {Note: if the mixture is too hot when you add the yeast it may not rise correctly.  You want it to be temperature of a baby’s bottle.}
  2. Add 3 cups of flour.  Stir until just combined, then cover and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour.  After 1 hour,  add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 3/4 cup flour.  Stir thoroughly to combine.  Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl.  {Note: dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.}
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  4. To assemble the rolls: On a floured surface roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches.  The dough should be rolled very thin.  I like to roll it out on parchment paper because it makes rolling the whole thing up easier.
  5. Pour melted butter over the surface of the dough and spread it evenly.  Generously sprinkle the ground cinnamon and 1/2 cup of sugar over the butter.  Don’t be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar! Gooey is the goal.
  6. Beginning at the wide end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you.  Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight.  Don’t worry if the filling oozes as you work.  When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. When you’re finished, you’ll wind up with one long buttery, cinnamony, sugary, gooey log.
  7. Use a serrated knife to slice your log into 1/2-inch rolls.  Grease 1 large or 2 average sized pans.  Place the sliced rolls in the pan(s), being careful not to overcrowd.
  8. Cover the pan(s) with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking.  Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until just golden brown.  Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.
  9. While the rolls are baking, make the icing: warm milk up slightly and stir in coffee granules until they dissolve completely.  In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, maple extract, butter and salt. Stir in milk slowly until you have the consistency that is somewhat thick but still very pourable. {You may not use all of the milk.}  Whisk until very smooth.
  10. Remove rolls from the oven.  Immediately drizzle icing over the top.  Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top.  As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing’s moisture and flavor.


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