If you do something once at our house, it becomes tradition. Then you have to do it again for the rest of time. One of those traditions is making cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. I usually buy the frozen bread loaves and thaw one in the fridge the day before. I roll it out the night before and spread the butter, cinnamon and sugar in the middle. Then I cut it into rounds, put them in a pan and cover them until the next morning when they finish rising and then I bake them. Adult children do not get up at the crack of dawn for Christmas. It makes for a less exciting yet and more relaxing morning.
I have cut way back on carbs, so I didn't want to buy a bunch of frozen bread logs. I also wasn't sure the "kids" would want the cinnamon rolls. But they did. Travis is a very good cook. He even helped pay his way through college by cooking for his housemates in the band house at UC Berkeley (Cal) when the chef was off. He spent a few minutes on the computer looking for a recipe and made sure I had bought fresh yeast (I had). He jotted down the instructions, not near the printer, and then he set to work.
Cinnamon Rolls by Travis
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons butter
6 ounces milk
4 cups flour
1 package yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
I have an aversion to throwing away egg whites, so I labeled a Ziploc bag and Travis dumped them in. I put them into the freezer until such time as I make macaroons, where I only need the whites. The search engine on this site rarely works, so if you want the recipe, Google coconut macaroons shenandoah and it should pop up.
I have a dough hook on my Kitchen Aid. If you don't have a mixer with a dough hook, you will have to mix everything by hand and then knead the dough. I would have proofed the yeast, but Travis says that a lot of the things we think we know about baking are wrong. He is a Chemical Engineer, a Mechanical Engineer and a good chef, so I just sat back and took pictures!
He didn't warm the milk. I would have, just to help dissolve the yeast. He did melt the butter and then everything went into the mixer and he turned on the dough hook. Soon the dough came together and he kept the hook turning until it had kneaded the dough for a few minutes.
Place some flour on the counter and knead by hand a few times. Cover the dough and let it rise for two hours. Our house was cold and it took a long time to rise. If yours is cold, put the dough in an unheated oven for the two hours. Or turn the oven on to 150 and when it gets there, turn it off and put the dough in to rise.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle. Spray a 9X13 baking dish with Pam.
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons softened butter
Now, I would have melted the butter, brushed it on and sprinkled the rest over the dough. Travis just mixed it all together and spread it evenly over the rolled out dough. His way made for a more even distribution of cinnamon and sugar. Mine saves a dish. No right or wrong way. Make sure you don't spread the filling to the very edges or they won't stick.
Roll the dough up from the long side. Pinch the end to the fat roll to secure the edges. I like to cut the ends off to make them even. The cut the rounds into 12 even pieces. Place them cut side up in the pan, three in each row. Cover with plastic wrap it you want to put it in the refrigerator for the morning.
If you did put it in the refrigerator, remember to take off the wrap while the dough is coming up to room temperature and while the oven is heating to about 150 degrees. Set the pan in the oven for 30 minutes so the dough can have a second rise. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 350. When it is ready, return the pan to the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Check to make sure the tops aren't getting too brown. I was in charge of baking and making oatmeal (and stocking filling) so they got a little too brown.
Make some cream cheese frosting. Spread on the mostly cooled rolls and eat while examining your stockings.
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz cream cheese (1/2 package)
3 Tablespoons milk
1 cup powdered sugar
Mix well and spread. Or do what I did. I had frosting left over from making the Red Velvet Crepe Cake and I used that. Or cream cheese frosting from a can!