Studentby Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Program at CTC
Happy April, everyone! What a great month: spring is coming, planting season is close, and Easter brings bunnies and joy to kids everywhere. Though Easter dinner is the meal reserved for rich and delicious foods that take great time and care to make, today’s recipe will provide a surprisingly easy and delicious breakfast for after-church service: Cinnamon rolls!
Before you argue that cinnamon rolls take lots of time, labor, and skill to make, I have to share my experience with cinnamon rolls. At first I thought it would be extremely hard and take forever to make. But what cut down on time was the way I made it: first, I made the dough the day before I was going to cook the cinnamon rolls. The next day, I rolled, made, and baked the cinnamon rolls. This drastically cut down on time and made the whole process a lot easier. I would suggest doing the same if you want to make these fresh for Easter breakfast: make the dough, filling, and icing the day before Easter. Roll out and make the cinnamon rolls before church (if you plan on going) and let the cinnamon rolls do the second rise while you are out. Once you get home, bake, let cool, add frosting, and enjoy! But, feel free to do the entire process the day before, thaw the cinnamon rolls for breakfast and add icing. It’ll be less fresh, but still delicious.
For all you people saying “I can’t bake with yeast because it’s too difficult!,” don’t worry. It’s actually a lot easier than it seems. The trouble really lies with the temperature of the liquid when added to the yeast and the rising of the dough. Generally, liquid added to yeast should be lukewarm (the liquid shouldn’t be freezing, but shouldn’t be hot either). A good temperature range is about 100-1100F. As for the rising dough, it’s important to be patient and let it rise. For this recipe, there is no need to punch it down or knead it extra. That will lead to over-kneading, which will make the dough dense and chewy. If you keep these things in mind, the yeast will do its job well in the cinnamon rolls.
Though it might be easier to simply buy cinnamon rolls at the store or pop a Pillsbury doughboy canister, I promise this recipe will be worth your trouble. The freshness of all the elements (the dough, filling, and icing) will make these cinnamon rolls the best you’ve ever tasted. No gross preservatives will hold back the delicious potential of these tasty pastries.
I hope this recipe will help you to have a happy and delicious Easter!
¾ c. warm milk
2 ¼ tsp. Quick rise/active yeast
¼ c. granulated sugar
1 egg and 1 yolk (save the egg yolk for later)
¼ c. unsalted butter, melted (but not too hot so as not to cook the raw egg)
3 c. bread flour (I used all purpose flour; either type works)
¾ tsp. Salt
extra flour for rolling
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 ½ tbsp. ground cinnamon
¼ c. unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp. Unsalted butter, softened
¾ c. powdered sugar
½ tsp. Vanilla extract
Warm the milk to 110 degrees and melt butter. Combine dry ingredients (except for the yeast) together (flour, sugar, salt). Once milk is done, add yeast and milk together. Mix around a bit and let sit for about 5 min. Once done, add warm butter (make sure butter is not above 100 degrees) and eggs to liquid mixture (save egg white for later). Add the entire mixture to the dough and mix with a bread hook on low speed until all ingredients are mixed. Mix again at medium speed until the dough cleans the bowl and forms a ball, about 8 minutes. Make sure the dough isn’t too sticky (add flour if so) or too dry (add more milk).
Let it rise: If cooking the same day, cover with a wet paper towel and let rise in a warm place for 1-1 ½ hrs. or until doubled in size. If making the next day, cover with a wet paper towel and place in the refrigerator until ready to use the next day.
Make the filling: Soften the butter (put butter in the microwave on defrost. The butter should move when pressed but should not be melted). Mix cinnamon with brown sugar, then add to butter, beating with a mixer. Stop to scrape down the bowl and beaters, then mix again until no butter chunks are left. Once done, put in the refrigerator.
Make the frosting: Soften cream cheese and butter. Beat both with powdered sugar and vanilla extract until fluffy. Refrigerate.
Once dough has risen, pour the dough out onto a well-floured surface. (I used a large sheet pan so that cleanup would be easier. A clean open counter works as well). Flour the top of the dough and the roller. Roll into a rectangle, with a thickness resembling pie crust.
Spread the filling evenly all over the dough, covering 3 sides (making sure to leave a 1-in. space at the top with the longest length).
Start to roll: Roll the dough, folding the longest side over. Roll tightly until you get to the 1-in. edge. Brush with egg whites and finish folding. This should make a long log-like shape.
With the knife/ bench scraper, cut into 1-in. segments. Grease pan(s) and space 2 in. apart. Let rise for about 30 minutes in a warm room.
Preheat oven to 350degrees. Once risen, cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook for 25-30 minutes. Remove foil and cook again until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes.
Once done, allow it to cool. Once completely cooled, add cream cheese and spread evenly. Serve and enjoy!
With credit to Ambitious Kitchen’s The Best Cinnamon Rolls You’ll Ever Eat recipe.
Large bowl (big enough to hold the size of the initially mixed dough when doubled in size), mixer with bread hook (if you have neither, mixing by hand works just as well), dry measuring utensils, medium bowl, several (at least 4) microwave-proof bowls, medium bowl for filling, medium bowl for icing, mixer, beaters (should not be whisk-like so as not to incorporate air), roller, bench scraper or knife (for cutting cinnamon rolls), 1-2 pans, aluminum foil, spatula.