FOOD AND SWINE: Champion Cinnamon Rolls
As a newlywed, I was concerned about becoming what I thought I should be in the kitchen. I come from a long line of cooks and bakers, and baking skills and cooking chops should have been hardwired in my DNA, at least I thought. The first time I b...
As a newlywed, I was concerned about becoming what I thought I should be in the kitchen. I come from a long line of cooks and bakers, and baking skills and cooking chops should have been hardwired in my DNA, at least I thought. The first time I baked cinnamon rolls, I grabbed a church cookbook, followed every direction precisely and, much to my dismay, they were a complete flop. They were hard as a rock, flavorless and utterly disgusting in all aspects.
Fast forward a year, many trials, fifteen pounds and a champion rosette at our competitive state fair, I had mastered the art of the buttery, gooey, perfectly feathery cinnamon roll. With the prize winnings from the state fair contest, I purchased my first Duroc gilt. Her name: Cinnamon.
You will find these cinnamon rolls as the centerpiece of our Christmas brunch spread, right next to the ham. Many trials and an entire pant size have been devoted to making these rolls the best recipe I've ever made. Recipes that I hold close to my heart are the ones I desire to share the most. One of the greatest memories of my life will be the image of my children holding these giant, warm rolls with their fuzzy hat hair, chilly fingers and rosy cheeks after morning pig chores on Christmas.
This year, Cinnamon's granddaughters and great granddaughters will be having pigs around Christmastime. I can assure you of one thing, there's no gift greater to a child than witnessing birth on the farm, even if in one hand they hold the center of the cinnamon roll they snuck out to the barn, and a newborn piglet in the other.
Champion Cinnamon Rolls
Time to make: 3 to 4 hours
2 packets, 4 ½ tsp instant yeast
1/2 C warm water (110 degrees)
2 tsp honey
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (warmed to 110 degrees)
8 TBSP Butter, room temperature
2 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup smooth mashed potatoes
6-7 cups all purpose flour
In a large mixing bowl, proof yeast with warm water and honey in a small bowl until creamy.
To large mixing bowl with yeast mixture add milk, butter, eggs, sugar, salt and potatoes. Whisk well until combined. Add flour, mixing with each 1 cup addition. Stir well until dough comes together.
Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, by hand, until smooth and elastic.
Place in greased bowl, flip dough over so both sides are well greased then cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until double. (60-75 minutes) Punch dough down to degas. Let rest for 10 minutes.
8 TBSP Butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP ground cinnamon
1 TBSP flour
Dash of salt
Mix in a small bowl: brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, flour and salt. Set aside to use once dough is rolled out.
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
3 TBSP Milk
Pinch of salt
Whisk ingredients until smooth, add milk or more powdered sugar to achieve desired consistency. Set aside until rolls are out of the oven and cooled 15 minutes.
On a lightly greased surface roll dough into 10×16 inch rectangle. Spread butter evenly over dough. Sprinkle filling evenly over butter. Roll up long end to long end. Pinch seam at the end of the roll. Score the dough in 2 inch increments. Slide unflavored dental floss under roll. Bring up ends of floss and criss cross at the center and pull quickly, slicing through the dough. Place 4 slices each, cut side up in 3 well buttered 8" cake pans. The rolls should not be touching at this point. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size. (60 to 75 minutes) *Toward end of second rise, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake the rolls in a 350-degree oven for 24 to 28 minutes until their internal temperature registers 190 degrees F with an instant read thermometer. Do not let the roll tops overbrown. Tent with foil during the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking if necessary.
Remove rolls from oven. Let rest 15 minutes then drizzle with icing. Serve warm.
Yields: 12 large rolls.