Monday, October 12, 2009

For Ingrid: Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas

Ingrid, here it is ~ a really nice cinnamon roll recipe that I believe your family will love. This Paula Deen recipe makes 15 medium sized rolls, works up pretty easily, with ingredients that are typical to most pantries and kitchens. I hope my pictures and my narrative will help you serve these delightful rolls for your family's Christmas breakfast and many more!

First the ingredients.

Paula Deen's Cinnamon Rolls
For the Dough

1/4-ounce package active yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons if you're using bulk form)
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk, scalded
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided

Get all all your ingredients and any tools you might need. As I use my ingredients I put them away so if anything is left over I know it's one that I inadvertently admitted, grins.

Start by scalding your milk. Boil over medium heat; you will notice a skin forming, which is just the milk fat that has cooked. You can just scoop it out and discard. I then melted my butter in the heated milk and set it aside.

While the milk was scalding, I microwaved the wave, tested with an instant-read thermometer. The directions on my jar of yeast said to proof in water between 100 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. I had heated the water too hot, cooled it down by stirring in an ice cube, took out any water added by the melting ice cube.

Add the yeast and stir quickly to combine. Within moments you will see the yeast start to "bloom," meaning that it's active and good to use.

Once the yeast is fully proofed, it will look nice and foamy. This will generally take about 5 to10 minutes. If your yeast does not fully bloom like this, throw it away and start over.

In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Sift the dry ingredients in as you add them to remove any clumps or lumps.

Add the yeast mixture and give it a good stir. The batter is loose, but heavy.

The directions say to add in the remaining flour, but I would exercise some caution and not blindly follow those directions. There is 1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour remaining. Start with one cup, give a good stir until it's well incorporated. Take a look and see how sticky it still looks. Then get your hands involved here because you need to feel how wet and loose the dough is. I sift additional flour in with one hand and massage it in with the other, turning and mixing the whole time. Now as I've stated previously you make not need all the additional flour called for, but depending on the humidity of your home or the amount of moisture the wheat had while it was out in the fields, you may actually need more. The only way you are going to be able to tell is by the feel of the dough.

You are looking for that balance where it loses its gloppy, wet look and acquires a craggy, raggedy look that will not stick on your surface when you begin to knead it. Keep in mind that you will be using additional flour on your work surface, so it may be better to err on the side of too little flour because you can add it in while you're kneading. Unfortunately, the photo above was after I had dumped my ball of dough on my dough linen, patted it out, and flipped it front and back to flour to begin kneading so there's a light dusting of flour on it.

What's really important here is that I'd like you to note just how raggedy and rough the dough looks.

Kneading is going to take care of that! I start by folding my dough into a neat little package. I fold it in half and fold it again.

And then with the heels of my hands at the edge of the dough that is closest to me, using my upper body strength, I push the dough away from me, as if I were trying to push it through the linen. Give it a really, really good push. It's almost like those old timely washer women with their washboards, if you know what I mean.

You should now have an elongated piece of dough. Fold in half, and half again, and give it a quarter turn.

You want to work all the dough around the clock, working each side, by folding and turning, and kneading.

You may need to add a dusting of flour to your work surface and the top of the dough to prevent it from sticking.

Most directions say knead for 5 to 10 minutes. I think, unless your Superman and you have arms of steel, you'll want to knead for the full ten minutes. Once you have adequately kneaded your dough, it should look nice and smooth and luxurious.

Put your dough in a well buttered bowl, flipping the dough over so that it doesn't stick and let it rise for 1 to 1/2 hours, or until doubled. I use my oven, with a hot bowl of water beneath it, and the oven light on. (Yes, I know my oven needs to be cleaned, but I'm always using it!)

My dough rose in about an hour. Once it's doubled, punch it down. Let the dough rest for five minutes or so because it will make it easier to work with.

For The Filling
1/2 cup butter, melted, plus additional for pan
3/4 cup sugar, plus additional for pan
2 tablespoons cinnamon
3/4 cup walnuts, pecans or raisins, or a mixture, optional

Once again lightly flour your work surface and a rolling pin, and the top of your dough. Roll the dough into a 9 inch x 15 inch rectangle.

Generously spread the melted butter on the dough. Sprinkle on the cinnamon, sugar, and the nuts or raisins if you are going to use them. (I didn't use all the butter or all the cinnamon-sugar mixture called for, because for me, it's just too much.)

Beginning at the long end that is facing you, evenly roll the dough into a cylinder towards the opposite side. It helps to use both your hands and roll both ends simultaneously, evening up the edges as you roll as best you can.

When you reach the end, pinch the ends together. I also give the cylinder another couple of turns to try and smooth the edges to stop the rolls from unraveling when I cut them or as they rise.

Generously butter a 15-inch x 9 -inch baking pan. Sprinkle in a little sugar and cinnamon on the bottom. Slice your cylinder into 15 one-inch-wide slices. My linen has one-inch markings on it so I just follow the lines. Otherwise I'd use a ruler to try and make the slices as even as possible.

Because I was doing the second proof on my counter top, I covered with plastic wrap. The directions said to proof for 45 minutes. My kitchen tends to run cool, it took about an hour.

You can see how the rolls are now touching.

Somewhere during this time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. When ready, bake your rolls for about 30 minutes, or until a nice golden brown. I start checking my rolls at 25 minutes and then check every couple of minutes for doneness, first by sight, and then by lightly tapping a roll with the back of a knuckle to see if the roll sounds hollow. If there's a hollow sound, it's done.

For the Glaze
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-6 tablespoons hot water

While the rolls are baking, make the glaze. Combine the first three ingredients together and mix well. Add the hot water, one tablespoon at a time, stirring after each addition until a desired spreading consistency is achieved. I only needed two tablespoons, but you may like a thinner glaze. When the rolls are slightly cooled (maybe ten minutes or so), lavishly spread on glaze.

And so, we have it. Cinnamon rolls.

Let me pluck the last two roses of my garden and join me at my table. Tell me about your day and what's in your heart. I want to hear all you have to say.

A nice hot cup of tea or coffee and hot cinnamon rolls await you.


  1. Kathy~I really love the smell of cinnamon and of course this rolls make me drooling....

  2. Great, easy step by step instructions! They would be wonderful Christmas morning!

  3. Boy you are a much more patient cook than I am! What a detailed and wonderful tutorial for the rest of us!

  4. Thank you Katy for sharing this. It is so detailed and really makes it feel approachable. I can't wait to give these ago...your results/outcome is just a flawless specimen of what a cinnamon roll should be !

    BTW you have such GORGEOUS hands !...they say the natural ability to cook great food is a gift from God...your hands Katy...are truly blessed ! :)

  5. THANK YOU! That is so incredibly awesome of you! I can't wait to give this a try! Unfortunately it won't be until this weekend as I don't have the time required to make a batch of these. YUM, my mouth is watering thinking about it!

    Could I do part of it say on Friday night and then finish with the rolling and second rise in the morning?

    You and Coleen are wonderful for taking the time to help me! I hope you know that I am totally sincere when I say I appreciate it VERY much!

  6. Absolutely fabulous tutorial Katy!! The BEST photos...I am terrible about stopping and taking the time to take photos. I'm like a steam roller when I start baking bread...haha. This is wonderful. I wish I could buy yeast in an 8 ounce jar like yours. Four ounces is the biggest I can buy (unless I want to buy a whole pound.

  7. I was similarly moved by the pic's of your hands Katy. I imagined sitting having coffee and rolls with you, you patting my hands with your beautiful ones telling me "Susie, it will all be okay." LOL I'm in a fanciful mood tonight, must be the smell of cinnamon. ;)

  8. Katy, your brioches look wonderful! Thank you so much for step by step instructions, very kind of you indeed.
    I will give them a try one day for sure,
    Have a great day darling,

  9. These are beautiful, Katy! They look perfect.

  10. The rolls are beautiful and your tutorial is picture perfect. This is a nicely executed recipe.

  11. what a treat! i love the step by steps! we have the same mixing bowls, cool!

  12. These are to die for, Katy! I just gained 5 pounds looking at the pictures! I haven't made cinnamon rolls in ages, so guess I'll try your gooey looking recipe. Yum.
    Great step by step photos.

  13. Ingrid, I referred to my Fanny Farmer cookbook and they said that most any sweet roll like this can be prepared right up to the part where you roll it and cut it. Wrap well and set in the fridge. About two hours before you want it, take it out of the fridge so it can come to room temp and finish the second rise. Proceed as with the rest of the recipe.

    Ole Sweetie-Pi helped me with some of the photos, most notably the one where I was trying to knead in slow thoughtful steps, but it's so automatic to me that he couldn't click fast enough.

    Thank you for the sweet comments about my hands. Actually, I'm surprised because in real life my fingers are becoming quite knobby and a little twisted from arthritis. Sunday was a good day where my hands weren't quite as swollen or painful.

    Susie, I would definitely pat your hands and tell you everything was going to be all right.

    Thanks everyone for all the nice comments. This was a fun project. If I shared an idea or a method that helped, then my joy is complete!

  14. I have been wanting to make home-made cinnamon rolls for years! Thanks so much for all the great tips. These look so scrumptious!! I'm inspired!

  15. Oh my! More cinnamon buns! I think I died and went to heaven! These look so fabulous.

  16. I'm breathless. Those Cinnamon Rolls are absolutely gorgeous and your step by step explicit directions Out of this World!

    As a novice baker, I actually believe I just may be able to prepare these one day. For that, dear Katy, I thank you...

    Thank you so much for sharing...

  17. Oh Katy - how welcoming and beautiful. Can I come over? I am smelling these buns and am hungry.

  18. Wow, those look so delicious. I'm sure they can get addicting. Thanks for sharing.

  19. These rolls look divine Katy! Would love to have you as my neighbor...I would always have breakfast I am certain! ;-)

  20. This is sure to make your Christmas bright! Yum!

  21. I love this post dear Katy. From seeing your hands hard at work, knowing your care in posting for another foodie, your giving and teaching nature which comes on through, the recipe of course..grin, the step by step process and clear pictures (this is a real bonus today and one you should keep up btw - looks good) and right to those awesome memory jerking dishes at the end! Well done...and I am soooooo over there right now for coffee!

  22. Katy, your post is over the top WONDERFUL! To me, there's nothing like making bread to calm the soul...I love every part of it. And the aroma of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven...nothing like it.
    You've got me wanting to head to the kitchen and make some kind of sweet rolls....the photos have my mouth watering. I have so many recipes I want to try---so many little time...TOO many calories...oh bother....
    By the way, my better half is the photographer here-and I can SO relate in your trying to "slow down" so hubby can take the still really IS hard! :)

  23. These are so perfectly yummy! I just love your dishes! If you ever tire of them you know where you can send them. :0)

    My grandma always made me warm milk and I always had to skim off that icky skin. That's the only part I didn't like.

  24. I love these but am so lazy when it comes to making them. I buy them at Ikea every time I go in a tin of 6 for $4 and they are pretty good. For my daughters baby shower I gave everyone one of these with a message that said bun in the oven as the baby shower take home treat. I wanted to eat them all before the shower and I had to keep them hidden from my family too:)

  25. Katy- these are so perfectly done. You are such a nice person. (I can tell)

  26. Oh yum...I mean... YUM! These rolls look wonderful. Great job on the directions and pics! I don't think I can wait for Christmas...

  27. AWESOME!!! What an amazing step by step ladies are building up my courage! I can almost taste these :)

  28. I just adore me a good cinnamon bun!!! I have to say, though, that I use my bread machine for the dough. I can't stand all the kneading and waiting! ;-)

  29. Katy they look delicious. I love the step by step pictures and I am a big fan of Paula Deen...never had a recipe of hers not turn out terrific. Thank you for posting this!

  30. Wow! You did an amazing job with your step-by-step tutorial. It takes a lot more time to post all that, but it's sure worth to see all your instructions.

    I love your last paragraph especiallly. :)

  31. Pula Deen + Cinnamon rolls = a big ole smile on my face! I want some.

  32. Katy, this x'mas cinnamon roll looks and sounds really good. Cinnamon and raisins are born to be together!
    Angie's Recipes

  33. Oh my goodness, thank you SO SO much for the tutorial! I am so scared of yeast, I've never made cinnamon rolls! You made it look so easy!

  34. Great tutorial.

    This morning, I was looking at a cinnamon bun recipe by Paula Deen. I closed it down knowing, I was going to use your recipe. Little did I know, they were the same. Paula doesn't give a wonderful tutorial.


  35. Mmmm, now I'm thinking cinnamon rolls. They look so warm and cozy. Thanks for the inspiration and the recipe. Gotta make them soon! :)

  36. Hi Katy. I was wondering how I missed this post. This is so well explained dear, my hugs to you for that.
    So sweet of your sweetie pie to help you out with those beautiful clicks.Your hands indeed look beautiful dear, I am reminded of my Mom who is enjoying her vacation in London...yes very close to you.


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