Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fire Alarm Cinnamon Rolls

I had a sudden urge to bake cinnamon rolls recently, which is strange because I've never been a huge fan of them, for one thing they're usually way too huge for me to finish. Why are most cinnamon rolls bigger than my head? Besides being dinosaur sized, a lot are way too sickly sweet. And I am the Sugar Queen, it takes a lot for me to say that. But I figured if I made them myself, I could make them smaller and cut down on the sweetness. All the recipes I looked at called for a jillion cups of flour and made a thousand and a half cinnamon rolls, which freaked me out until it dawned on me that I could scale the recipe down. I go to college!

So once I established that BJ would eat the cinnamon rolls (I think his exact words were, "I would eat the shit out of cinnamon rolls."), I dug around and played with some recipes. I decided to try and infuse a maple flavor to the cinnamon rolls.

Maple Cinnamon Rolls


For the dough:
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 heaping tablespoons white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

For the filling:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp maple flakes, optional

For the icing: (I kind of threw stuff together, here's PW's maple icing recipe I based it on, however you will need to scale this back a lot since we're not making a billion cinnamon rolls)
1 bag powdered sugar
2 Tsp maple flavoring (I used maple syrup)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup brewed coffee
1/4 tsp salt

In a mixing bowl, beating all ingredients until smooth.


  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Stir in salt and 1 cup flour. Beat mixture for 2 minutes. Beat in egg and melted butter. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
  2. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
  3. Roll dough with rolling pin into an evenly shaped 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Brush dough liberally with butter and sprinkle an even layer of cinnamon-sugar mixture, leaving a 1/2 -inch border along one of the long sides. Roll, beginning with the long side of the rectangle. Use both hands to pinch dough with fingertips as you go, sealing edges firmly to form a seam. (Do not seal ends.)
  4. Cut into 12 even pieces using dental floss (or serrated knife with cutting board) and arrange in greased pan (9x13 would work, or I used a springform pan and a pie pan for the rest).
  5. Cover loosely with plastic and allow to rise until double in size (rolls will touch), about one hour (or overnight in the fridge). When rolls are almost fully risen, adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. While the cinnamon rolls bake, make the icing (recipe above). Set aside until cinnamon rolls cool slightly, pour generously across the top of the rolls.
End result: (pan one of two, but these guys were cuter)

The cinnamon rolls turned out well, though not exactly what I was going for. My favorite part of the cinnamon rolls was always the dough, there's a place in Alaska that sells giant cinnamon rolls (which my mom would buy, eat the most delicious center bite and then abandon for the rest of us) and the rolls are very chewy and... gluten-y? These rolls were very soft and light, which was good but not what I was hoping for.

They ARE tasty though, BJ proclaimed them better than Pilsbury. Which is good, I think I would've cried if they weren't better than something that came in a .99 cent can. But I think I'll try to find a recipe closer to what I was looking for. I also think the maple flavor could be more intense, I think I would try to find maple extract to put in the icing next time but I can't find it recently.

As per always, the recipe yielded twice as much as it said it would. I halved the recipe, which said it would yield 12 cinnamon rolls. Logically, I would come out with 6 cinnamon rolls. But no, with my magical baking powers I still came out with 12. Granted, 2 of those were mini sized because I ended up with a small amount of end piece dough that I decided to try and salvage. But the rest were pretty decent sized. Here's one of the baby guys:

Aw. They were like little cinnamon roll donut holes.

Oh, I almost burned the house down making these. While my cinnamon rolls were in the oven, I noticed the kitchen started to smell a bit like burning but I checked the cinnamon rolls and they were totally fine so I kind of forgot about it and wandered off. A few minutes later, the smoke alarm started to go off and the kitchen and dining room were filled with smoke. I checked the cinnamon rolls, which were clearly not on fire, and realized that debris at the bottom of the oven chose this day to spontaneously combust. Glorious.

So we opened up all the windows to air things out and shut up the smoke detector but there wasn't a lot that could be done until the cinnamon rolls finished baking. After I took out the cinnamon rolls, Joe decided that the best way to clean out the oven was to crank it up and let everything in the oven finishing crisping away before we clean it. Which is all fine and dandy except that means that the windows have to be open and it's 20 degrees out. My apartment is like a small arctic village at the moment.

On the bright side, I don't live in a dorm anymore, where if somebody burned a bag of popcorn the fire alarm would go off and everybody had to evacuate the building. Sometimes at 4 in the morning in the middle of winter, I wanted to kill whoever set that one off. The smoke alarm only temporarily rendered me deaf and insane, which I guess is better than standing in the cold for half an hour, waiting for the police to verify that the building is not actually on fire.

Hooray, college.

1 comment:

Tammy Lessick said...

I miss baking breads. Cinnamon rolls were always my challenge. I don't have the counter space now to make anything that requires rolling out.