Monday, April 19, 2010

Swirls

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I made Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls this weekend. Sinfully sweet rolls of cinnamon, sugar and butter. Lots of butter. The kind of deliciousness that makes your eyes roll back in your head. And I learned something along the way. Dough is not my friend. Cookie doughs, yes. Pastry and bread doughs, not so much. If you need further evidence, you can read this doughnut post. I’ve only worked with rolling dough a few times, but after making several pans of rolls, I think I know what part of my problem is. I don’t think I generously flour my surface enough. It’s like I’m afraid of flour or something. Well, no more. Next time, the flour will flow.

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I started out making a half batch of PW’s recipe since 50 rolls seemed a little much for breakfast.

To do so, start with 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup sugar.

Note: In this picture, you may notice that this is one cup of sugar instead of a half. Yeah, I didn’t realize the mistake until I was all done. I hate it when I do that, but I think the extra sugar made them even more delicious.

Mix them all together in a saucepan over medium heat, turning it off before it begins to boil. Let it cool until lukewarm (around 45 minutes) and then add 1 package of active dry yeast (for a half batch, that is).

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Active dry yeast. This is the first time I’ve ever used this stuff.

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Sprinkle it on top of the lukewarm milk mixture and then let it sit for one minute.

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After that add four cups all-purpose flour. Stir until just combined…

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Then cover with a towel and let sit in a warm place for an hour to let rise. After an hour, add another 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir together until thoroughly combined.

Then you can roll out the dough. Roll it into a large rectangular shape around 30 X 10 inches.

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Spread 1 cup melted butter, sprinkle 1/8 cup ground cinnamon and shake about a cup of sugar right on top.

Then, starting from the edge farthest from you, carefully roll the dough towards you tightly. Once you have the dough in a nice, long roll, you can cut 1 1/2 inch slices and place in a melted butter-coated pan.

Here comes trouble. I have no pictures of a nice, long, round roll because mine was rather flat and when baked, produced…

Now, don’t laugh…

promise…?

My flimsy roll produced these…

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Quite possible the ugliest cinnamon rolls I’ve ever seen.

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Luckily, looks can be deceiving because they were some of the most delicious things I’ve ever put in my mouth. And definitely the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had.

My mom was over and we ate them straight up, sans icing. They didn’t even need it.

But I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted pretty little swirls like Pioneer Woman’s rolls had.

Swirls. I must have swirls.

So I went again later in the day. This time, I made a full batch (deciding I could freeze any uneaten rolls for later) so I would have even more dough to practice with and also, since I used twice the amount of sugar for the dough in the first round I thought that might have something to do with it.

This time, before rolling I chilled the dough for a little while in the fridge and I generoooooously floured my work surface.

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So here we go again, more melted butter.

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Spread it.

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Cinnamon. Sprinkle it.

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Sugar. Shake, shake, shake it.

This time, I was able to shape it into a decent roll.

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Not perfect, but decent.

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And, look… swirls of cinnamon.

These bake for about 13-17 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

While they are baking you can whip up the icing.

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It calls for a little coffee. I don’t own a coffee maker, so I used one of PW’s favorites.

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Whisk together 2 lbs. powdered sugar, 1/2 cup milk, 6 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup coffee and a dash of salt.

Then add 1 tablespoon maple flavoring and stir it all together.

You’ll die from how yummy this smells if you haven’t already passed out from the scent of the cinnamon rolls.

When the rolls are ready, remove them from the oven.

And hope for pretty little swirls.

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Like these.

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And these.

Swirls. Thank you.

I don’t think my hips could afford any more attempts.

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While the rolls are still warm, you can pour on the icing.

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That’s right. Pour it all over the top, covering up all your hard work. Swirls or not.

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It’s perfect for disguising any batch of less than swirly cinnamon rolls.

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I ran out of aluminum pans, so I placed a few leftover dough slices in a buttered muffin tray to bake.

Cinnamuffins. I think they look pretty cute like this.

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And of course, these were covered in icing, too.

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If you’re lucky you might even get a cute little swirl.

Read Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Roll Recipe for the full how-to.

Enjoy!

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