Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday Munchies...

With our move, I've become very nostalgic.  I hate change, so when I can, I like to incorporate momentous, or tradition-like things that remind me of home.  It just warms my heart and makes me happy.  In Judaism we have several times a year where we fast (no eating or drinking) for the day, and a couple weeks ago was one of those times.  Back home, we had friends, and it became tradition to break fast with them. The meal was always the same, but that was what made it special.  A fast was never broken without red lentil soup and cinnamon buns.  I shared the recipe for the red lentil soup and how I packaged it here.  

I texted my friend and said, I'm on my own now, and when it came time to prep what the break-fast meal would be, it was a no-brainer!  
Red lentil soup and cinnamon buns. 

I've probably requested the cinnamon bun recipe sometime over the course of the last 9 years, but I never saved it, so I did a quick google search, and the first recipe to pop up was Paula Dean's Cinnamon Rolls.  With all the hype she's gotten recently, along with knowing she uses sticks of butter, I clicked on it.  Thankfully, I intuitively picked up another box of butter.  

One suggestion I have, is make these mini! Forget calories-when it comes to times like these, I'm not strict on counting (and let's be honest, counting has fallen by the way side way long ago!) But it was just so sweet that I think smaller portions can be much better tolerated.  

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1/4 oz package of yeast 
1/2 cup warm water 
1/2 cup scalding milk
1/4 cup sugar 
1/3 cup butter or shortening 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 egg 
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour 

1/2 cup melted butter 
3/4 cup sugar 
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 
3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, pecans (optional) 

4 tablespoons butter 
2 cups powdered sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
3 to 6 tablespoons hot water 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast with warm water-set it aside to begin activating.  In a larger bowl, mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and the egg. Add in 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. (I don't remember if I used an electirc mixer, I probably did, but you definitely don't have to!) It's very important to check your yeast mixture before adding it in-if you do not see it bubbling, the yeast is probably dead.  One trick I've leanred over the years of bread making-add a drop of sugar to the yeast mixture to help it activate.  

Once the yeast is added, mix what's left of the flour until the dough seems easy to handle.  Dough is meant to be sticky, it will stick to your hands.  This doesn't mean you continue to add flour until it doesn't stick to you! The dough needs to be sticky, otherwise you'll add so much flour you dry it out.  
Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes.

Grease the dough (I like to do this by spraying non-stick spray on all sides, and then make sure it doesn't stick to the bowl), and then I make sure my own is on, and leave it next to it.  I cover the bowl with a damp towel, and leave it for 1-1 1/2 hours to return to hopefully dough that has doubled in size. 

Punch down the dough and then roll it into a 9x15 rectangle.  This is always the hardest part for me, and I have yet to figure out how to accomplish the perfect cinnamon roll rectangle.  I've seen sli pat mats with measurements so you don't have to pull out a ruler like i did #oldschool

Now, once you have your perfect rectangle, spread melted butter on the dough and then sprinkle it with the cinnamon and sugar, and whatever other add-ins you desire.  Obviously, I skipped the nuts, and personally, I don't care for raisins in my cinnamon rolls.  

To begin rolling the dough, start with the 15-inch side, and slowly roll down-you will have to move slowly at this part. Once the whole rectangle has been rolled, seal the ends and then slice into about 15 pieces.  The original recipe calls for lining the pan with melted butter and cinnamon, but I opted to skip that part- I didn't feel we would be lacking for butter! Then, lay the peaces flat (so you see all the "rolliness") and cover it again for another 45 minutes. 

Now, you're ready to bake until they are browned on top, which is about 30 minutes.  I should have done more than 30, to prevent a few raw buns in the middle.   

The icing is a simple, classic icing.  Of course, you could ice the cinnamon rolls with whatever icing you want-cream cheese, chocolate, more of a white frosting...Just mix the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla and add in the hot water, slowly, until the desired consistency is reached.  You can add this to the rolls once they have cooled a bit.

Honestly, I've always been intimidated by cinnamon rolls-they seem so hard, but this recipe made it so easy and I look forward to making them again, and I'll probably even double the recipe! 

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