Cinnamon Rolls

Even though I am not religious, I wanted to make something new and special on Easter Sunday.  I have been reading about wonderful brunch menus in magazines and on blogs, and I figured that I should be allowed in on the fun.  I decided to pull out my new bread book and see if anything inspired me.  I was originally drawn to bagels but quickly decided that I wanted something sweet, and then I was quickly sucked in by the recipe for cinnamon rolls.

When I made the move to Chicago, my Mom and I drove up all my crap in her Escape and my Dad flew in to help me get all moved in. One morning we wanted to go out to breakfast and quickly googled for good breakfast places and found a little place called Ann Sather. The menu looked good, and it was pretty close to my new place, so we went. It was a wonderful all-day breakfast place. Good coffee, bright atmosphere, lots of egg dishes. But the best part was that when you ordered an entree, it came with two sides, and one of those sides could be cinnamon rolls (yes, plural). These rolls are fantastic. Soft and gooey with just the right amount of cinnamon. I haven’t been back in a while since I now live farther south, but anytime I find myself on Belmont at the right time, I come in to get a few cinnamon rolls to go.

The deal was sealed when I had everything in my pantry except for a lemon to zest which was easy to pick up at Treasure Island with the rest of the provisions for a lovely dinner I will have to tell you about soon.

I started the rolls last night and made Dave graciously offered to get up a 6AM to quickly take them out of the fridge so that they could have time for their final 3-4 hour rise this morning.

I used to be intimidated by yeast but I am quickly getting more comfortable with it. The hardest part about any yeast recipe is the waiting and making sure that you are home at the right times for the next step. Since I am sorta a home body, this really isn’t a problem. The dough was a little sticky, even after I kept adding a few more dashes of flour, so I decided to take the dough out of the mixer and knead some more flour in by hand. I couldn’t tell if the dough really had developed enough, but I was ready to just see how it would turn out.

Well, as soon as I smelled the cinnamon and lemon start to creep from the oven, I knew that I did good. Reaaally good. These were a step up from the Ann Sather goodness that I will always hold dear. I still might tweak the frosting because it was almost too sweet but that is an easy fix. I am excited to try new recipes in this book. I knew it was good after I tried the Wheat Bread recipe via the Smitten Kitchen, but this recipe just seals the deal.

Cinnamon Rolls
From:Bread Baker’s Apprentice

For Buns:
6 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Teaspoon salt
5 1/2 Tablespoons shortening at room temp
1 egg, slightly beaten
Zest from one lemon
3 1/2 Cups bread flour
2 Teaspoons instant yeast
3 Tablespoons of powdered milk
1 Cup water
1/2 Cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tablespoons sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon)
White Glaze (see below)

1) Cream together the sugar, salt, shortening and powdered milk on medium-high. Whip in the egg and lemon zest until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast and water. Mix on low speed until the dough forms a ball. [note: mine never really did, but maybe add more flour at this point if this happens] Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium for approx. 10 mins. or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. You may have to add water or flour to get to this texture [I added a decent amount of flour and it was still sticky until I took it out and started to knead by hand]. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, coating it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
2) Ferment at room temp for approx. 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
3) Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter.
4) Shape the dough as follows: Roll out the dough into a 2/3 inch thick, 14×12 inch rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface. Roll up the dough into a log. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 even pieces about 1 3/4 inch thick.
5) Line a sheet pan with a slip-pat or parchment. Place the rolls approx. 1/2 inch apart.
6) Proof at room temp. for 75 to 90 mins or put them in the fridge for up to 2 days until you need them. If they are coming from the fridge, give them 3-4 hours to proof. [just make your boyfriend/husband get out of bed at 6AM to take them out :)]
7) Preheat oven to 350F. Bake rolls for 20-30 mins or until golden brown. Cool the rolls for 10 mins and then streak with the white fondant glaze while they are still warm. Try to wait 20 mins until you dig into one.

For glaze:
4 Cups powdered sugar-sifted (I only had 3 and it was more than enough)
1 teaspoon extract (I used vanilla, also suggests lemon or orange which would have been great)
6 tablespoons to 1/2 cup warm milk

Add milk slowly, briskly whisking until all the sugar is dissolved. You may not use all the milk, stop when it has formed a thick paste.

17 responses to “Cinnamon Rolls

  1. What a great breakfast! Those look delicious. Wonderful photos too 🙂

  2. Hoooolllyyyyy crumb those look amazing! In Seattle, my favorite place for breakfast slices thier cinnamon rolls horizontally (so they’re flat spirals), dunks them in egg and a little bit of lavender and orange zest, and then makes incredible French toast out of them. If you have any leftovers you might consider trying it. Words can’t describe.

  3. Wiggs. Damn that sounds fantastic. I am so going to try this. What’s the place called in Seattle?

  4. Those look great – perfect for Easter Sunday! I also baked from BBA this weekend but made the rosemary potato bread, which is also really good.
    – Jackie 🙂

  5. Whitney – these look amazing!!! I LOVE The Bread Baker’s Apprentice…I will definitely be trying this recipe soon.

    Lovely photographs!

  6. Love Ann Sather’s rolls. I may just have to try these….

  7. Found these through Tastespotting. One of these days when I’m not on a restrictive diet, I will try these! It looks too good to pass up.

  8. Pingback: Cinammon Rolls for Monday Morning « the momentum of failure

  9. Whitney: Those Ann Sather rolls kill me (especially the fact that they come in twos). We used to live around the corner from the Southport location, which was, needless to say, dangerous. Your rolls look delicious. I love that top photo!

  10. Oh yum! Those rolls look amazing. Everything I’ve tried from BBA has been wonderful.

  11. Cinnamon Rolls = one of my all-time favorite foods! Yours are beautiful.

  12. Tracey: Thanks!

    Jackie: I can’t wait to try many, many more from BBA.

    Andrea: Thanks for the photo compliments. It means a lot coming from someone as talented as you 🙂

    Amanda: Thanks for dropping by. I am going to have to pawn off the leftovers onto friends so I don’t end up eating ALL of them

    Kristin: I was very happy with the top photo too–have to give Dave the credit though. I can’t imagine living close to an Ann Sather…I would find an excuse to just drop by too often.

    Pinkstripes: Thanks!

    Sarah: Thanks for the compliments!

  13. Hi Whitney! I just saw that you responded to my post and asked me where I live. Send me an email and maybe we can meet at the Farmer’s Market or go for a walk when it gets warmer or something 🙂

  14. Your cinnamon rolls are absolutely gorgeous! I’ve never been a big frosting fan, but yours looks delectable.

  15. Hi Whitney!
    Firs off I really love reading your blog stories. It includes my two most favorite subjects – food and running. Specifically, running in Chicago. The city represents my ideal place for urban living – a cosmopolitan environment set amidst small towns and the countryside.

    Good luck with your training and I’ll be sure to check in again.

  16. yooooommmmay

    that looks so delicious!
    i love cinnamon buns!
    i wish i could get over the fear of yeast breads too…

  17. Cannot. resist. these!

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