Last night (Christmas Eve) was busy for me – I sang in the choir at 7:30 pm Mass, and I made a lasagna to cook while we were at church for a late supper before we opened our gifts. the teenagers now like to sleep in on Christmas morning. I remember the days when they wanted to get up really early to see what Santa brought. So as the midnight hour approached, I contemplated Christmas breakfast….what to make? Cinnamon rolls sounded awfully good, but I wasn’t in the mood to make the dough. I have become a big fan of combining leaveners in bread to get a quicker result – the combination of three kinds of leavening in “bridal” or “angel” biscuits is the secret to the world famous Loveless Café biscuits in Nashville. So when I saw a recipe in Cook's Country for a quick cinnamon roll, I decided to give it a shot. There’s only 2 minutes of kneading and 30 minutes of rising! Perfect for Christmas morning. I am always the first to get up anyway. Here's my take on their recipe....these were fantastic! My son said they are better than Cinnabon - and they only took about an hour and a half, start to finish, to make.
Christmas Cinnamon Rolls
1 1/4 cups milk
4 teaspoons instant yeast (aka bread machine yeast)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
Melt 10 tablespoons butter in the microwave in a measuring cup.
Grease 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, and grease parchment. Pour ¼ cup milk in small bowl and microwave 15 to 20 seconds. Stir in yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar and let sit until mixture is bubbly, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling - combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in bowl. Stir in melted butter and vanilla until mixture resembles wet sand; set aside. Returning to the dough - whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 5 teaspoons sugar together in large bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, yeast mixture, and remaining 1 cup milk until dough forms (dough will be sticky). Transfer dough to well-floured counter and knead until smooth ball forms, about 2 minutes.
Roll dough into 12 by 9-inch rectangle, with long side parallel to counter edge. Brush dough all over with 2 tablespoons butter, leaving ½-inch border on far edge. Sprinkle dough evenly with filling, then press filling firmly into dough. Using bench scraper or metal spatula, loosen dough from counter. Roll dough away from you into tight log and pinch seam to seal. Don’t be afraid to pinch it hard. Roll log seam side down and cut into 8 equal pieces. Start by cutting the roll in half, and then the halves in half, and then the quarters in half and then they will be even thickness. Stand rolls on end and gently re-form ends that were pinched during cutting. Repinch any pinches that have started to unravel. Place 1 bun in center of prepared pan and others around perimeter of pan, seam sides facing in. Brush tops of buns with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Cover rolls loosely with plastic wrap.
Use your microwave as a proofing box! I learned this trick from Christopher Kimball’s The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook. I'm not sure why they don’t tell you to do this in the ATK magazines, but this trick works like a charm. It revolutionized my bread baking for sure! Heat a measuring cup with about a half cup of water in it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Leave the cup of steaming water in the oven – move it to the back corner and put the pan of rolls in the oven and shut the door, and let rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375 degrees and put the rack on the bottom position.
Discard plastic and bake until edges are well browned, about 25-30 minutes. Loosen rolls from sides of pan with paring knife and let cool for 5 minutes. Invert large plate over cake pan. Using potholders, flip plate and pan upside down; remove pan and parchment. Reinvert buns onto wire rack, set wire rack inside parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, and let cool for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the glaze. Place cream cheese in small bowl and whisk in the butter that is left, milk, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Whisk in sugar until smooth. Pour glaze evenly over tops of buns, spreading with spatula to cover.
These cinnamon rolls were wonderful! Merry Christmas and happy cooking.