Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Perfect Labor Day

This is me, making cinnamon rolls around 5:45am on Labor Day
Yesterday I had a great Labor Day.  It started out a bit strange at first.  I woke up at 3am and couldn't force myself back to sleep.  This has been occurring a lot lately (ok, actually for the last two years) and I blame it on the fact that my two-year-old son still does not sleep through the night.

So instead of tossing and turning in bed, I got up and started reading "The Crying Tree" (very good, actually).  I was mid-chapter when my hubby came down wondering what I was doing.  Instead of us both going to bed, we decided to take advantage of the quiet time and we sat and talked, then decided to make homemade cinnamon rolls...my absolute favorite.  We even took a soak in the hot tub and watched the sunrise while the dough was also rising!

The finished cinnamon roll
I must say, about four times a year, I am actually motivated enough to make cinnamon rolls.  But now, with my Kitchenaide Mixer, making dough IS SO EASY and these were the best ones to date.  So, I think I might make them more often now.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
1 cup milk
1 envelope (1/4 ounce)  active dry yeast
1/4 cup  warm water (100 degrees F to 110 degrees F)
3 tablespoons  granulated sugar
2   eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick)  unsalted butter, melted
4-1/2 to 5 cups  all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1/2 cup (1 stick)  unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup  granulated sugar
1 cup  packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon  cinnamon
1 cup  coarsely chopped pecans
Glaze (optional - I don't use this)
2 cups  confectioners' sugar
1 to 3 tablespoons  milk

1.  Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature.

2.  Meanwhile, STIR yeast into warm water in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Place in mixer and beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, eggs and butter. Beat in cooled milk.

3.  Gradually add the flour and salt, scraping down side of bowl, until a soft dough forms (use the dough hook on the mixer), adding more flour if too sticky. Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth. The dough will be soft.

4. Grease a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl. Cover with damp towel and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.  Go into the hot tub while waiting and watch the sunrise.

5.  Coat two 9-inch round baking pans with  nonstick cooking spray. Line bottoms with waxed paper; coat paper with spray.

6.  Prepare Filling: Mix butter, both kinds of sugar and cinnamon together in a medium-size bowl.

7. Punch down dough. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to an 18 x 12-inch rectangle. Spread the butter-sugar mixture over the dough. Sprinkle with nuts. Starting on one long side roll up jelly roll fashion and pinch seam to close.
8. Cut crosswise into generous 1-inch pieces. Arrange pieces, cut-side down, in each prepared pan (I can fit about five in each). Cover with damp towel and let sit in a warm spot until buns double in size, about 30 to 45 minutes. 
 9.  Since you have so many extra cinamin rolls, you can opt to freeze them or cover and refridgerate them overnight, just be sure to let them rise a little in warm air before cooking. 
10.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover pans and bake buns until they are golden-brown and bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes.
11. Glaze (Optional): Mix confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon of the milk, adding more milk as necessary, to make a smooth glaze. Invert buns to a serving platter. Drizzle glaze on top of buns (about 1/3 cup per pan). Serve warm.
Nutritional Facts: Don't ask.  Enjoy Labor Day!

Note: There was not one time during this entire article that I spelled "cinnamon" right.  Thank God for spellcheck!

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