THE WORLD’S BEST CINNAMON ROLLS (at least in my mind)

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls. I love them. Perhaps too much.

For decades, my love affair with the cinnamon roll has persisted. When I have the time or an insane craving, I whip up a batch. They have yet to disappoint.

Louis CK would be proud.

CINNAMON ROLLS

 adapted from Ree Drummond; makes 14 big or about 30 small rolls

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ½ sticks of butter
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 5 to 5 ½ cups of all purpose flour separated (4 cups, ½ cup, ½ to 1 cup for flouring your work surface)
  • 1 ½ heaping tsps salt
  • ½ heaping tsp baking powder
  • ½ scant tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup cinnamon

ICING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ½ sticks of butter
  • 2 ½ lbs powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 3 tbsps vanilla extract
  • 2 vanilla bean scrapings

DIRECTIONS

First things first. Pull out 2 ½ sticks of butter from your fridge and set them on the counter to soften. Get out a large pot and add 2 cups whole milk, ½ cup vegetable oil, and ½ cup white sugar. Put the heat to medium and cook it until just before it boils. Turn off heat and let cool to between 105°F and 110°F. (I clip this thermometer to the side.) When the milk mixture has cooled to warm, sprinkle 2 ¼ tsp of yeast on top of the surface and let sit for 5 minutes. Add in 4 cups of flour, stir to incorporate, cover the pot and let sit for an hour.

When your butter is softened, place it in a small mixing bowl with the cup of brown sugar. Stir to mix. Set aside for assembly.

Get out two 9” x 9” pans with tall sides and grease the bottoms of the pans with butter. Set aside for later.

In a small bowl mix together ½ cup flour, 1 ½ heaping tsps of salt, ½ heaping tsp of baking powder, ½ scant tsp of baking soda. When the hour is up, add to pot and stir.

Take out ½ the dough and place on a floured work area. (I use a silpat.) Flour the top of the dough and a rolling pin and roll the dough into a very thin rectangle. (As thin as you can get it without it ripping.) Spread ½ the softened butter/sugar mixture across the entire surface. Evenly sprinkle a ¼ cup of cinnamon on top.

Pick an edge of the dough and carefully and neatly roll it up to the opposite edge (for smaller rolls start with the longer edge, for bigger rolls start with the smaller edge). Using a knife, cut the rolled dough into 1 ½” to 2” wide rolls. I like to cut a piece, then place it in my pan. Cut my next piece, place it in the pan. And so on. That way, my rolls stay circular instead of collapsing upon themselves. (Don’t crowd the pan or cut the rolls too thick as these babies will puff up during their rising stage.) Repeat with the second half of the dough.

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Cover your pans with a clean dish towel or baking cloth and let rise for a few hours in a warm place until doubled in size. (I let mine rise overnight.)

Cook raised rolls for about 15 minutes (until the tops are light brown) in a preheated 400°F oven. While the rolls are still warm, pour icing on them so they look as if they are drowning. Enjoy warm with friends or eat a whole pan yourself because, hell,  you deserve to because you take care of a tiny human all day long. You need your energy!

ICING DIRECTIONS

Melt butter on low in the microwave. In a large bowl whisk together the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean. Slowly whisk in the butter. Whisk in powdered sugar cupful by cupful until the desired sweetness is achieved and there are no lumps. (You may need less sugar.)

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