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 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.
From:Bread Baker’s Apprentice
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.
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.