Sunday, December 13, 2009
I'd like to sincerely thank all of you who endured the grueling sign-in process in order to vote for me in the Bon Appétit food blogger recipe contest! I realize that it was a pain in the neck, so I don't begrudge any of you who, upon actually seeing the lengthy process, decided to enjoy a cocktail while reading Perez Hilton instead. It's all good. In the future I will try to vet the voting process and only enter contests with painless one-click voting procedures. I haven't heard any results yet, but will keep you posted if I am a finalist and need to make good on few lemon tarts. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the following recipe and accompanying photos. I tried to figure out how to implement a scratch-and-sniff application, but unfortunately I'm not that technically savvy.
These cinnamon rolls kick Cinnabon's...buns! And they will be the perfect recipe to make over the holidays when you have a bunch of extra family and friends to feed, or, you just feel like you haven't ingested enough calories between the holiday parties, office sweets, and eggnog. (Does anyone actually drink that?) Whatever. Everyone will be impressed by your skills, unless they think the rolls came from a tube, or the mall. Then you'll have to sing your own praises.
Iced Cinnamon Rolls
(from The New Best Recipe/Cook's Illustrated)
1/2 cup milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 - 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. For the Dough: Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until the mixture is lukewarm (about 100˚F).
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddles, mix together the water, yeast, sugar, egg, and yolks at low speed until well mixed. Add the salt, warm milk mixture, and 2 cups of the flour and mix at medium speed until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Switch to the dough hook, add another 2 cups of the flour, and knead at medium speed (adding up to 1/4 cup more flour 1 tablespoon at a time if necessary) until the dough is smooth and freely clears the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Shape the dough into a round, place it in a very lightly oiled large bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm, draft free spot until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
3. For the icing: While the dough rises, combine all of the icing ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer and blend together at low speed until roughly combined, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and mix until the icing is uniformly smooth and free of cream cheese lumps, about 2 minutes. Transfer the icing to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
4. To roll and fill the dough: After the dough has doubled in bulk, press it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, shape the dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle, with a long side facing you. Mix together the filling ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the far edge (see photo #1 in photo quad below). Roll the dough beginning with the long edge closest to you and use both hands to pinch the dough with your fingertips as you roll. Moisten the top border with water and seal the roll. Lightly dust the roll with flour and press on the ends if necessary to make a 16-inch cylinder. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces using dental floss (preferrably not mint flavored-see photo 2) or a thin sharp knife and place the rolls cut side up in the prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free spot until doubled in bulk (see photos 3 and 4 for comparison).
5. To bake the rolls: When the rolls are almost fully risen, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350˚F. Bake the rolls until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes (an instant read thermometer should reach 185-188˚F, but I managed without using one). Invert the rolls onto a rack to cool for 10 minutes. (Be careful if you do this! I nearly burnt my hand and almost dropped my heavy baking dish, rolls and all, on the floor.) Turn the rolls upright on a large serving plate and use a spatula to spread the icing on them. Serve immediately!
Note: If you think you might not be able to eat all of the rolls at once (and I don't mean all in one sitting) only ice the rolls you plan to serve immediately. Place the remaining icing in the refrigerator and thoroughly wrap the un-iced rolls in plastic wrap and reserve until the next day. Reheat the un-iced rolls in a 350˚ oven until warm (8 - 10 minutes) and top the warm rolls with the reserved icing.