Mom’s Cinnamon Rolls
For me, cinnamon is one of the most irresistible flavors in the world. It’s hard to think of cinnamon without cinnamon rolls, and it’s hard for me to eat them anywhere besides from my mom’s kitchen. I’m always afraid of being disappointed because I am sure they will not come close to being as good as my mom’s. They are too dry and hard, or too soft and mushy. How do you get the perfect balance of browned and doughy, sticky gooey goodness without being drenched and raw? I had to watch my mom make these for years before I felt comfortable attempting them on my own. This most recent time I made them (almost) entirely on my own, but she was still there beside me to offer advice at the tricky steps. She also took turns kneading with me — get your forearms ready for a workout. Here’s my mom’s recipe for the most irresistible cinnamon rolls around:
Mom’s Cinnamon Rolls
1/4 ounces active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (~110ºF)
1 cup warm milk (~110ºF)
1/4 cup shortening or butter — I used butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 1/2 – 4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
4-5 teaspoons milk
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix milk, shortening or butter, sugar, salt and egg. Add yeast mixture and blend.
- Add enough flour to form a soft dough; stir to combine. (You’ll probably want to get in there with your hands right about here.)
- Knead dough on a floured surface until soft and elastic, ~6-8 minutes. (I recommend keeping the flour nearby to keep flouring your surface! This is a sticky dough.)
- Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray; place dough in bowl. Cover with a cheese cloth or light towel; let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size. If you check back in an hour and it doesn’t seem like it has doubled, give it a little more time. It doesn’t always get twice as big at this step. Later, it will have a chance to rise again.
- Punch dough down; dive in half. Roll each piece into a rectangle, ~15-inch x 10-inch.
- Mix filling ingredients until smooth. Spread half the filling on each piece.
- Roll, jelly-roll style, starting with the long end. Cut each piece into ~12 rolls.
- Place in two greased baking pans, ~11-inch x 7-inch x 2-inch. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF once rolls have risen.
- Bake at 375ºF for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and edges.
- Mix glaze ingredients; spread over warm rolls. Serve immediately.
These cinnamon rolls are perfect for a special brunch treat or dessert. If you can figure out a way to eat only one of these, please let me know!