20 March 2008

Cinnamon Rolls, à l'Orangette

Yesterday I cleaned off my baking shelf. It was a HUGE MESS--huge enough for me to have lost track of a fairly substantial bag of chili powder, a bag of six nutmegs, as well as all of my cookie cutters. So I did what any reasonable person would do: I emptied everything out and put it back in an organized, categorized manner, à la manière des parents d'Amélie. My baking shelf contains, to wit:

seven kinds of flour: all-purpose, bread, white whole-wheat, whole-wheat, pastry, european wheat, and corn
seven different sweeteners: white sugar, vanilla sugar, brown sugar (2 kinds), powdered sugar, Lyle's Golden Syrup, honey (2 kinds), and agave nectar
chocolate miscelleny: cocoa nibs, cocoa powder (unsweetened), bakers chocolate (semi-sweet and unsweetened), chocolate chips
two overflowing spice cases
baking staples (powder, soda, etc.)
the missing cookie cutters that are no longer missing
a bottle of whiskey

Like I said, it was a huge mess. But now it is clean! And lo and behold, I have TWO lovely bags of cinnamon from the Spice House, which is on the agenda every time I visit my parents. Unfortunately for me, I don't always NEED anything specific, but... it never hurts to take a look, right? Especially since I always seem to come back with enough things to make my carry-on smelly.

But the cinnamon? Perfect to make Orangette's Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze. I read about these a while ago, and I have to say that I've been sitting on the recipe--not out of not wanting to share, but more out of the laziness inspired by spring break. You know how it goes, getting up at ten, going on a run, eating the dumplings at Prosperity Dumpling House, doing a whole lot of nothing... good times.

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze, adapted from Orangette

1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/4 teaspoons instant/rapid-rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
vegetable oil

3/4 cup packed golden brown sugar
2 tablesppons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature (*NOTE*: This is very important. Take out this butter when you start making the recipe, not when you need to start working with the filling.)

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (This is also very important. You don't want it cold because it will clump rather than be smooth and delicious.)
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature (See previous note)
1/2-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine milk and butter in a small pan on the stove. Set over the lowest possible setting, until the butter is mostly melted. Remove from heat. (The butter will continue to melt.) Let rest until the mixture is warm--about to when you can stick your finger in it and it doesn't feel too much warmer than your skin. If it's any hotter than that, it will kill the yeast.) Pour into a large bowl and beat in 1 cup flour, the sugar, and the egg. (If you have a stand mixture, use that with the paddle mixer attachment.) Mix in the yeast, and then the salt. Beat or stir thoroughly for about 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat until the flour is absorbed and the dough is sticky, scraping down the sides of the bowl. If the dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (This won't really happen if you're working by hand.) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if stick, about 8 minutes. Form into a ball.
Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm, draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Punch the dough down, and transfer to a floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11 inch rectangle. Spread the room-temperature butter over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the butter. Starting at one of the long sides, roll dough into a log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With the seam side down, cut dough crosswise with a thin, sharp knife into 18 equal slices (about 1/2-3/4 inch wide).
Grease a large 9x13 glass baking dish (or two 9x9 square dishes). Place rolls in dish(es), arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between the rolls). Cover dish(es) with plastic wrap. Let dough rise until almost doubled in volume, 40-45 minutes.

**NOTE** It's at this point that you can put the rolls in the refrigerator and leave them overnight. Just be sure to take them out for the 40-45 minute rise in the morning, or when you bake them. I swear, it works like a charm.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto a cooling rack. Cool for 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.

Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla in medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Rachel said...

Mei, those look to DIE for.

CLO said...

OK, this is freaky. I literally, and I mean moments ago, put my own cinnamon rolls into the fridge in preparation for breakfast tomorrow. I then sat down to check out my favorite blogs before heading to bed. And, look! Mei made cinnamon rolls too! I only hope that mine come out as wonderful as yours look. :) Cheers!