Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Cinnamon Roll Secrets!


One of the challenges I always face is to roll out the dough into a perfect rectangle so that the rolls cut from the ends are as nice and neat as those cut from the center. Our first Thanksgiving in Taiwan, we bought hams from Costco that came in clear plastic rectangular boxes with lids, about the size of a shoe box. Almost two years later, when making a triple batch of cinnamon rolls, I let the dough rise in several of these boxes. The next morning when I dumped out the bread dough, it maintained its rectangular shape (corners and everything) and made it a cinch to keep in a rectangular form as I rolled it out!

Roll dough out onto a generously floured surface, into a 12” x 24” rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar (1 cup sugar to about 3 Tbsp. cinnamon). If you are a Cinnabon fan, spread with a ton of butter and mix cinnamon with brown sugar instead of white sugar. Beginning with the 20” side, roll up tightly and pinch edge to seal. You will surely note some unevenness in your roll. The ends will likely be smaller, and the middle of the roll will be fatter. At least it is so with me, as no matter how hard I try to roll out the dough evenly, the sides are always thinner than the center:( Stretch out any bulges and push in the ends to even the roll.

Using a 12”-18” piece of thread (or unflavored dental floss), stretch taut and depress over the dough to score the roll every 1” to 1½”, depending on how thick you want each cinnamon roll. Then cut each roll with the thread:

·              Slide the taut thread under the roll at the scoring
·              Crossing the threads over the top of the roll
·              In one fluid movement, pull crossed threads tight to “cut”

Place rolls on a Silpat (silicone) baking mat about 1” apart. I place 15 rolls to an 11” x 17” baking pan (cutting 20 rolls per recipe). Allow to rise until double. Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Watch very carefully, checking the last 5 minutes. Remove when barely golden brown on top. Frost with buttercream frosting:

·               One stick butter softened
·               1 lb. powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
·               1 tsp. vanilla
·               Milk to desired consistency

I have had to make up to 60 rolls at a time and bring them south to trainer and training follow up meetings, sometimes traveling by train. What I have done is bake them in advance, seal cooled rolls in extra wide heavy duty foil (the rolls remove easily from the Silpat a pan at a time), freeze them, and then hand carry them with a container of frosting (Costco bags are a perfect fit, and frosting may be frozen as well). When I get to the chapel, I put the sealed rolls in a 170 degree oven during the meeting (60-90 minutes). Then when the meeting is over, I take them out of the oven, break open the sealed foil, and frost them while warm! The missionaries melt as quickly as the frosting does, and the rolls literally disappear:)

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