Last month, I went on a kind of mad gingerbread bender. I recreated the Grasmere Gingerbread I loved so much when I was in the Lake District, and I share the recipe here and with all my bakerly-inclined friends. At that time, one of those friends suggested I should do cinnamon rolls next, because she was craving them and needed a good recipe. It sounded like a good idea, I made a mental note to keep an eye out for recipes and went on my merry way.
About two week ago, maybe three, I was in the car with Aidan. Aidan likes to listen to the radio in the car - the radio specifically, not just CDs or music from my phone. I'll admit, I don't always enjoy his obsessive flicking through stations to find the song he wants to hear, and we don't have entirely similar taste in music.
Baby you a song
You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruuuuuuuuise
Down a back road blowin’ stop signs through the middle
Every little farm town with yoooouuuu
In this brand new Chevy with a lift kit
Would look a hell of a lot better with you up in it
So baby you a song
You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruuuuuuuise
Shudder. But then I remember being fourteen and begging my mum to let me try to find 'If I Had a Million Dollars' on the radio, and I try to let it go.
How does this relate to cinnamon rolls, Irene? You're rambling.
Shh, I'm getting there. A few weeks ago, the DJ on the radio was talking about a fire in some subway station, I think in Toronto, and it was right next to the Cinnabon in that station and EVERYWHERE smelled like Cinnabon for days, and it was amazing, and Aidan turned to me and said, "What the heck is a Cinnabon?"
I was momentarily very sad that my child did not know the wonder of hanging around at the mall eating cinnabons - for those of you who don't know, Cinnabon is a chain that basically ONLY sells cinnamon rolls - really sticky ones, dripping with cream cheese frosting, and they're massive, and close to a thousand calories each. Yikes. And then I remembered that my kids are both pretty culinarily spoiled, and felt better, but I couldn't get the recollection of delicious sticky cinnamon rolls out of my brain. I've craved them now since that moment. I searched for recipes, read many, rejected most as sounding too dry, or too bready, or too fruity. Finally, I found one I felt might live up to my now-upsettingly-high-expectations. And then I didn't have cinnamon in the house. And then I had a couple of busy days where I couldn't spend hours babysitting rising dough. And then my oven broke. Really?? REALLY.
But yesterday. Yesterday, the oven was fixed, I had the recipe, I had the ingredients, I had the time. And I made cinnamon rolls. And they were AMAZING.
The recipe for the rolls themselves was rich enough that I hesitated to make the cream cheese frosting the recipe called for. It might be overdoing things. And then, as I pulled them out of the oven, golden brown and sticky-sweet, Anik reminded me of the brown butter frosting I had drizzled over cookies in the past. Perfect! Sweet enough to top them without overpowering them. (And frankly, I could eat a bowl of just that frosting, it's excellent.)
For the rolls:
1 cup of warm water
2 cups + 2 teaspoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of active dry yeast
½ cup of milk
½ cup of butter
1 teaspoon of salt
4 to 5 cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
¾ cup of seedless dried raisins
For the frosting:
½ cup of butter
1 cup of icing sugar
For the rolls:
Measure 1 cup of warm water into a large bowl. Stir in 2 teaspoons of sugar and the active dry yeast. Let stand 10 minutes then stir well.
In the meantime, combine the milk and ¼ cup of butter in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquid is warm and butter melts. Remove from heat. Stir in ½ cup sugar and the salt. Add the mixture to the dissolved yeast mixture. Add eggs and 1½ cups of flour. Mix well. Stir in an additional 3 cups (approximately) of flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning the dough to grease all sides. Cover; let rise in a warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down; turn out onto lightly floured board. Divide in half and shape into an 18 x 9 inch rectangle. Melt ¼ cup of butter and brush the rectangles with melted butter. Combine 1½ cups of sugar, seedless raisins and the cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the sugar mix over each piece of dough. Roll each up to make 18-inch rolls. Seal edges firmly. Cut each roll into 12 pieces. Place, cut side up, (so spirals are visible) in 2 greased 9" round cake pans. Cover; let rise in a warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes, or until done (golden brown). Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.
For the frosting:
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. When the butter is completely melted, swirl the skillet until the butter becomes a light caramel brown color, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately remove the skillet from the heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. Whisk in powdered sugar, and drizzle icing over still-warm cinnamon rolls. Eat immediately. :)