Monday, October 3, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls with the Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting (and some chocolate chips too because moderation is overrated)

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day.

We had a super sweet bread weekend. I highly recommend it. It started off on Saturday morning with cinnamon rolls. Now I realize that some people have a cinnamon roll recipe that they feel is "the one." If you do, I understand. I myself like to flirt with my cinnamon rolls (much like my chocolate chip cookies--apparently, I'm a baked goods hussie). And there are several that I like. If you make them, I will certainly come over and try yours as well. Because I'm polite like that.

And yet this is the recipe I always come back to--my one and not-quite-only. It's our family's original and still my favorite.

So if you and your cinnamon buns are kind of on the outs right now, or if you're one to play the field, or if you're still on the search for your one and only, come on over and try mine. What happens in my kitchen stays in my kitchen. Well, okay, not really. (Unless you count those burned crumbs that have been under my oven for approximately 17 centuries.)

But enough about my loose standards in baked and house keeping, On to the rolls:

First you're going to make the dough. For tips on making a great roll dough, have a look here.

After it's risen and doubled in size, you're going to punch it down, like so, and start to spread it out.

I use a rolling pin and lots of little hands. 

 Then you'll put your fillings on. We use butter and then a combination of white sugar and brown sugar. I do at least half of my cinnamon rolls with some chocolate chips because we have serious issues.

Then you roll it up long-a-ways. As in not short-a-ways. As in it should look like the longest side of the dough, not the shortest side when you're done.

After this you're going to cut your roll into buns. If you have a sharp knife, you can use that. If you have knives from a 1965 K-Mart, then you can use dental floss (Note: I have very good knives, but my kids like to use dental floss). You'll wrap the floss around like so and the criss-cross it so it cuts the roll off.

Cinnamon rolls are so pretty. Even when I'm the photographer, bless them. Put them in a greased pan (we used a 9x13 and then a bread pan for the overflow) so they're just barely touching.

Then let them rise until they're nice and cozy.

Bake them at 375 for 12-15 minutes until they're getting golden on the top. Don't overdo it or you'll have dry rolls.

And then you can frost them if you wish, though frankly, they're delightful even without the frosting. We use my favorite cream cheese frosting. They're never as gorgeous once frosted. (But we know they're still beautiful on the inside.) 

Cinnamon Rolls
makes 16 or so
Prep time: 30 minutes
Rise time: 1 1/2 hours
Bake time: 15 minutes
Cost: $1.20
(milk: .08, sugar: .05, butter: .25, egg: .10, flour: .35, butter: .30, sugars: .15)

1/2 C milk
1/2 C hot water
1 Tbsp yeast
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter, extremely soft or melted
1 egg
3-4 C all-purpose flour


4-6 Tbsp butter
1/4 C brown sugar (I used dark)
1/2 C white sugar
1/2-1 Tbsp cinnamon
chocolate chips

Soften butter in a bowl. Add milk and hot water. Stick your finger in. It should be warm, but not hot (about 110 degrees if you're using an instant read thermometer). If it's cold, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds (start with 10 seconds; if you get it too hot, you're going to have to let it cool before adding the yeast and I'm sure you don't want more delay in your cinnamon bun consumption). Add yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix. Add egg and mix. Add 2 C flour. Mix. Add another cup flour. Mix. If it's stiff enough, turn it out to knead. If not, add another 1/2 C flour and turn it out to knead. Knead it for several minutes until it's soft and pillowy like a mother's bosom (not hard and not gloppy, thank you very much).

Put it back in the bowl, cover it with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).

Once ready, punch it down. Then roll it out on a well floured surface. It should be, oh, a quarter of an inch, or so thick.

Melt your butter. Pour it out on the flat dough and spread it around with your fingers.

Combine the sugars and cinnamon and sprinkle it onto the butter. Once sprinkles, I use my already messy hand to smear it around so it's even. Sprinkle on some chocolate chips if you struggle with gluttony.

Roll it long-ways--as in so your roll is long and not short. Cut it into 1 1/2 in buns (or use dental floss method described above).

Place buns on well greased cookie sheet or in a 9x13 inch pan so they're just barely touching.

Cover with a dish towel and let rise until cozy--about 20-30 minutes.

Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until getting golden on top.

Frost if desired.

Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting

from The New Best Recipe Cookbook
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cost: $1.55
(cream cheese: 1.00, sugar: .20, butter: .35)

1 package cream cheese, softened
5 Tbsp butter, softened
1 Tbsp sour cream
1 1/4 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat together cream cheese, butter, and sour cream. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla.


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