Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

This time of year is my absolute favorite. We are very holiday-ey people so we especially love having three months of holiday fun. On top of all the exciting Fall things we have going on, I also like to look ahead to the next few months. I'm sort of an anal pre-planner. Always a plan and list to be had with me! Anywho, I know so many of us military families especially have a ton of family coming in for holidays and even though I don't mind at all slaving over the stove while everyone else relaxes preparing holiday and themed meals most nights, breakfast is where I don't feel like just jumping up and cooking 30 different things every single morning. Because if we are all being honest here, I'm not the most pleasant in the morning anyway. So getting up hours earlier than everyone else to get the dough rising for a delicious pastry everyone can enjoy is not that appealing...even on Christmas. So this recipe here makes it all a whole helluva lot easier and happens to be one of my favorite things to have for breakfast! Enter these larger than life, Overnight Cinnamon rolls. I looked at many similar recipes, but found none that I particurlarly was fond of. So I took elements of several (including an Amish recipe) and mixed it with my own experience in the kitchen and came up with this little gem. Long story short, prepare the day before, rise in the oven overnight, and bake the next morning. No more canned cinnamon rolls for this family! After I began making these, we haven't even looked at a canned cinnamon roll. We actually find them a little gross. So here you have it! Hope you LOVE them!!

                                                             Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
                                                                   (Printable Recipe)

What you'll need:
For the dough
2 cups of water
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of oleo (also known as margarine, to us common folk)
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp (yes just a teaspoon) instant yeast
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
5 1/2-6 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

For the filling
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 T white sugar
1 T honey

For the icing:
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Here we go!! This takes a while, but each step takes no more than 10-15 minutes. It's just waiting mostly. I usually start at about 4:00 pm. Bring the water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add the oleo (which is apparently what the Amish call margarine. Took a while for that one) and let cool. This will take an hour or so. If you want to speed things up, cool it in the freezer, but watch it because you still want it to be slightly warm.

After it cools, we start mixing up the dough. First, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water.

 Add eggs, vanilla and salt to the cooled butter/sugar mixture.

If using a stand mixer, transfer the wet ingredients, including yeast to the bowl. 

In a large bowl, combine the flour and cinnamon. You could start by using the beater attachment and add half the flour. Mix well. (This particular time I used the dough hook all the way through. I think I temporarily lost my mind. It did not affect the outcome, however using the beater attachment first ensures good and thorough incorporation of the ingredients).

Switch to dough hook and knead in rest of flour until smooth. This will be a sticky dough.

Now you can transfer to bowl in one of two ways. 1)Grease a large bowl. Make sure to get the entire inside of the bowl. Transfer dough to greased bowl and then flip it over to ensure the other side of the dough is greased as well. Or 2) Grease two bowls. Transfer dough in one and then dump it upside down into the other to grease both sides. With this sticky dough, it is usually easier to do it the second way. See, the finger prints? Don't worry, those will rise right out.

Cover with wax paper and a warm, damp towel and place in a warm place to rise. I usually like to set my oven at the lowest temp for 10 minutes, open the door to vent, place the dough in and close the door after another 5 minutes. 

Let rise until doubled. Generally takes an hour or so. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on humidity.

Punch dough down, turn out on floured surface. I usually flour the surface pretty good for this sticky dough. Knead about a minute and cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out to about a 14 inch x 14 inch semblance of a square. 

In a small bowl, melt butter for filling. Add the rest of the filling ingredients.

Brush onto rolled out dough and roll up.

Cut into 1/2 inch slices, UNROLL, and connect two slices together to make one large roll. It's easier to do it like this instead dragging your knife through the cinnamon mixture by cutting it into strips and then rolling.

Place in a large 11x15 baking pan. Brush tops with remaining filling mixture.

Cover with a GREASED sheet or two of wax paper and a damp towel. And your finished for the night! Place in warm oven to rise overnight.

When you wake up the next morning, you'll have something that looks like this:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 17-20 minutes or until done. 

While waiting for them to bake, in a saucepan, boil the sugar and cream for your icing. 

You're looking for the soft ball stage here. 235-236 degrees. Don't have a candy thermometer? You can use the cold-water test. With this particular recipe, I actually go by the smell. I can be weird, but my husband will tell you I'm usually right ;) Once I smell the mixture as it boils (it's a very pronounced smell), I pull the saucepan from the heat, add the vanilla, and plunge it into a large bowl/pan/whatever you have the pan of icing will fit into, of ice water and stir until it starts to thicken. 

After you pull the rolls from the oven, I like to use a butterknife and put a small slit into the middle of each one, so that the icing can seep through. YUM!

Pour the icing over the hot cinnamon rolls and enjoy!!

Is it a little work the night before? Yes. Is it hardly any work the next morning? Yes. Is it totally worth it? I can point you to a few dozen people that have had them that will tell you "Hell Yes!"

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Monday, October 1, 2012

What's been taking up my time?

Since Fall began, believe it or not, I haven’t been just sitting on my derriere. I’ve had some stuff going on, projects and such, that have been taking up my time here lately and I wanted to take the time to give you a sneak peak on some of them! 

At the beginning of Fall, I made this cute little printable, printed it off on a cream colored cardstock, and placed it in an old frame on my piano. I think it added just the right touch! If you'd like to have it here's the link to that post.

Here's what really has been burning up my time here lately. I've been crocheting my way into a carpal tunnel spell! Earwarmers, hooded shawls, bearded hats, and a few other little things :) 

 I've also been doing a little work on this project: 

Can you guess what I'm doing? I'll give you a hint. I got a little girl that should be very happy! 

That's all for now. Coming up soon we'll talk about the birthday boy last month, the Fisher Price Playdate we hosted through House Party (it was a blast and all the kids had so much fun!), and a little yumminess for the holidays. Want a teaser for that one? Perfect Cinnamony Christmas morning treat!!

And since my dress was just amazing (I thought so anyway!), I'll leave you with a pic of the military ball last weekend.