Iced Cinnamon Rolls

Iced Cinnamon RollsHow We Roll…
So, I would like to apologize. Apparently, I tempted fate, irritated the gods, and spoke too soon last week when I said it looked like the rain was finally over. Sigh.

This week is Spring Break and I had plans. Big ones. I couldn’t take the whole week off—but I did take Thursday and Friday off thinking it would give me four days to plant my summer garden. Yeah, not so much. The “weather” is supposed to come in on Thursday, unleash its fury on Friday, with a little leftover for Saturday. Great. It’s hard to plant in mud!

Now I find myself with a couple of free days and a whole lotta free time on my hands. So, I have decided that I am going to do some baking and make the things that I haven’t had the time to do in months.

I will be making bread and I am sure there will be some sort of cookie. I might even get nutty and pull out the ice cream maker and do cookie ice cream sandwiches. My daughter will probably want to make some fresh pasta, which is cool. The one think I know I will be making is iced cinnamon rolls.

I love cinnamon rolls. I like ‘em with nuts and without. I like ‘em hot and I like ‘em cold. I like ‘em big and I like ‘em bite size. And, of course, I like ‘em with lots of icing! You can’t go wrong with a cinnamon roll. The one problem is that you can’t just whip up a batch. It takes a little planning and some time, which I have had in short supply lately. (Hard to make cinnamon rolls when you have to be at the field by 9 AM.)

The good news is that you can make these and freeze them to pull out on a future lazy morning.

Iced Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Yields 40 to 50 servings

For the Cinnamon Rolls
1 quart whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 packages active dry yeast (0.25 ounce packets)
8 cups all-purpose flour (plus 1 cup extra, reserved)
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 scant teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon salt

For the Filling
Plenty soft butter
2 cups sugar
a generous sprinkling of cinnamon
chopped pecans (optional)

For the Frosting
1 2 lb. bag powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla or maple flavoring (optional)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt

Make the Dough
Heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.

Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 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.)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin.

Make the Filling
Spread 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the softened butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon, half the nuts (if using) and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. Don’t be afraid to add more butter or more sugar! Gooey is the goal.

Assemble the Cinnamon Buns
Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. 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 log.

Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. One “log “will produce 20 to 25 rolls.

Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into cake pans and swirl to coat. Disposable foil pans are great for freezing.) Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 7 to 9 rolls.)
*At this point you can wrap the pans well and freeze the rolls for later use. Just pull them out and let them thaw and rise, then cook as directed.

Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover all the pans 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 golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.

Make the Icing
While the rolls are baking, make the maple icing: In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, and salt. Splash in the flavoring if using. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add in more ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable.

Remove pans 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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