Yesterday was the day of the class at my favorite kitchen tools store in Glendale AZ that I have been anticipating for two months: Chef Pat Smith's Cinnamon Rolls. Pat is the owner of Patty's Cakes, a small local caterer specializing in pastries and desserts. Pat's cinnamon rolls put Cinnabon's to shame.
While some most of the classes I have attended at Plate It Up! have been demonstrations, Pat's classes are always hands on. I am always amazed at how well she handles the pandemonium of twelve students in the kitchen working at the same time. It must have something to do with being a retired school teacher.
Pat's recipe is easy. I'd been told this baking stuff was supposed to be hard but everything I've done so far has been easy (Thank You Pat).
1/2 cup warm (110F - 115F) water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
4 - 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
softened butter to brush onto the pan
4-6 tablespoons soft butter
3/4 - 1 cup brown sugar
3-5 tablespoons cinnamon
optional: 3/4 - 1 cup coursely chopped nuts
optional: raisins, dried cranberries, finely chopped fresh apple, chocolate chips, etc
8 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4-8 tablespoons cream
Mix the water and the teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast into the water but don't mix. Set aside.
Heat the milk, butter, and salt until the butter is melted. Allow to cool.
In the bowl of the electric mixer combine the 1/4 cup sugar, egg, and egg yolks. Beat until combined. Add the yeast mixture and the cooled milk/butter mixture. Beat until well combined.
Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time to the mixer and beat to incorporate before adding more. Keep adding flour a little at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The exact amount of flour you will need will vary depending upon temperature and humidity. Don't over-beat. When you add the flour, add it in little incriments, waiting until it is fully combined before adding the next increment of flour.
Remove the dough from the mixer. Place it on a lightly floured surface and knead slightly until it comes together and is smooth.
This actually is pretty easy. Grab the edge of the dough farthest from you. Pull it up and toward you about 2/3rds the way over the top of the dough and press it into the dough at that point. Now take the heal of your hand, place it about where the seam you just created is, and push down and away from you. Turn the dough 180 degrees and repeat. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat. Turn the dough 180 degrees and repeat. There, you are finished kneading the dough.
Lightly butter the inside of a bowl and place the ball of dough into the bowl. Lightly coat the top of the dough with butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, lay a towel on top of the bowl to help keep the dough warm. Allow the dough to rise for 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size. An alternative way to let the doug rise is to heat the oven to 200F, turn it off, and then place the bowl in the oven. The dough should take only about 45-60 minutes to rise.
When the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a 16-inch by 12-inch rectangle with the long side toward you.
Spread the softened butter on the dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon, brown sugar, and the optional ingedients of your choice.
Now you want to roll this sheet of dough into a long roll. Grab the dough by a long side and tightly roll it up. Pinch the final edge closed. Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces using a serrated knife and a sawing motion.
Place the rolls into a lightly buttered 9x13 baking pan. For best results this pan should be glass, ceramic, or stoneware to hold and distribute the heat better.
Brush the tops of the rolls lightly with melted butter. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and a towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. (again, an oven that has been brought up to 200F and then shut off is a great place to let the dough rise. Do not alow to over-rise.
Bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes. until lightly browned. The rolls should spring back when pressed upon lightly with a finger.
Mix the icing ingredients together. Wait until the rolls have cooled, and apply the icing to the rolls.
As you can see here, The family was grabbing rolls even before I had a chance to photograph them.