Sunday, December 22, 2013

maple cinnamon rolls

There's something extra special about these cinnamon rolls and it's the maple.  When Julie handed over a pan of them I could smell the sugary maple which reminded me of a maple bar. We tore into them after dinner and they are incredible.  Now I have two favorite cinnamon roll recipes- this very recipe and cinnamon rolls rolled with chocolate chips and topped with cream cheese icing...and there is that pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe we adore.  What about that blackberry cinnamon roll recipe?  You just cannot go wrong with cinnamon rolls!  Hall of Fame!

maple cinnamon rolls (my friend julie got the recipe from The Pioneer Woman)
1 quart whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 packages Active Dry Yeast, 0.25 ounce packets
8 cups (plus 1 cup extra, reserved) all purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 scant teaspoon baking soda
1 heaping tablespoon salt
melted butter, plenty
2 cups sugar
cinnamon, generous sprinkling

maple frosting
1 bag powdered sugar
2 teaspoons maple flavoring
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the dough, heat the milk, oil and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil.  Set aside and cool to warm.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit on the milk for l minute.
Add 8 cups of the flour.  Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour.  After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and the remaining cup of flour.  Stir thoroughly to combine.  Use the dough right away or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: dough is easier to work with if it's been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)
Preheat the oven to 375F.
To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl.  On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30x10 inches.  The dough should be rolled very thin.
To make the filling pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough.  Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly.  Generously sprinkle half the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter.  Don't be afraid to drizzle on more butter or sugar!  Gooey is the goal.
Beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle towards you.  Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight.  Don't worry if the filling oozes as you work; that just means the rolls are going to be divine.  When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the rolls so that the seam is facing down.  When you're finished you'll end up with one long buttery, cinnamony, sugary, gooey log.
Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife make 1/2-inch slices.  One "log" will produce 20 to 25 rolls.  Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into disposable cake pans and swirl to coat  Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 7 to 9 rolls.)
Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans.  Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking.  Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown.  Don't allow the rolls to become overly brown.
While the rolls are baking, make the maple icing:  In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter an salt.  Splash in maple flavoring.  Whisk until very smooth.  Taste and add in more maple, sugar, butter or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency.  The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable.
Remove pans from the oven.  Immediately drizzle icing over the top.  Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top.  As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing's moisture and flavor.  They only get better with time...not that they last for more than a few seconds.  Make them for a friend today!  It'll seal the relationship for life.  I promise.

What I have to say-  Julie is amazing.  She has four kids under the age of 6 and she's go-go-go!  She is always serving others, spending time with extended family while taking care of her own darling family...and she still takes on cinnamon rolls.

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