My new best friend is The Pioneer Woman. She doesn't know it but we are like sisters. Truly. We have a shared love for baked goods, fancy kitchenwares, Wolf ovens and butter. Lots of butter.
But she lives on a farm and I hate the outdoors (a little secret - I don't even really like going to the park in case I get tan bark or sand in my shoes. True fact). And I hyperventilate at being more than about 10 minutes away from a shopping centre and she lives in Oklahoma on a cattle ranch, about a squillion miles from anywhere... So maybe we are just a little different...
The one thing we definitely both LOVE are these cinnamon rolls. She seems to make them for practically everyone she meets. I made them for a friend who was in hospital last week, having given birth to a gorgeous new baby. Everyone who has ever breastfed knows how you have to inhale food in gargantuan quantities to keep making mama milk so this was a perfect hospital gift.
I make them in half batches (which still made enough for two trays) but if you have enough people to share these amongst, the full batch doesn't take much extra time and effort to make. I didn't have maple flavouring for the glaze so I just use maple syrup instead (the Costco one or the organic Macro one from Woolies are both pretty good) and reduce the amount of milk, adding it splash by splash until you get the right consistency. And Mr K (who is usually an eschewer of all things icing related) says it really adds something to these rolls so it is worth making.
The only disadvantage is that they don't keep much longer than a day as they do start to dry out a little, even with the glaze. And they don't freeze (because of the icing). And they are best eaten warm, just after the glaze has oozed and settled into all those gorgeous pillowy folds. So basically, stand over the sink and try not to get too much icing on your top as you inhale a few while they are still warm.
Food of the gods. You heard it here first.
The Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls
From The Pioneer Woman
1 quart (1 Litre) Whole Milk
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Sugar
2 packages Active Dry Yeast, 7g Packets (total 14 grams)
8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Reserved) All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
Plenty Of Melted Butter – about 1 1/2cups total.
2 cups Sugar
Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
1 bag Powdered Sugar (450g)
2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring (substitute maple syrup if you can’t find it and drop the milk down to a few splashes)
1/2 cup Milk
1/4 cup Melted Butter
1/4 cup Brewed Coffee (espresso is fine, or if you are making this to share with kids, just add more milk instead)
1/8 teaspoon Salt
For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. I found it was perfect at about 75-80 degrees celcius. Set aside and cool until just warm, about 40 minutes or so. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.
Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean tea towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: the dough is very sticky at this point and unless you are in a huge hurry, it is much easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin. Try and make the rectangle as even as possible to make sure your rolls are nice and even in size.
To make the filling, pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. Don’t be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar! Gooey is the goal. It's messy but worth it.
Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Don’t worry if the filling oozes as you work; that just means the rolls are going to be divine. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. When you’re finished, you’ll wind up with one long buttery, cinnamony, sugary, gooey log.
Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. One “log” will produce 16-20 rolls. Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into disposable foil cake pans and smear with a pastry brush to coat. Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold about 8 rolls.)
Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.
While the rolls are baking, make the maple icing: In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and salt. Splash in the maple flavoring. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add in more maple, sugar, butter, or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable.
Remove pans from the oven. Immediately drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top. As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing’s moisture and flavor. They only get better with time… not that they last for more than a few seconds around here.