Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

I don’t know what it is about cold weather, but it’s when I like to bake. Or attempt to bake.

It’s not always a sure thing.

I guess that’s why I have a kitchen full of gadgets. And appliances. And tools.

Anything that might give me better odds than 50:50.

I know, I know. People who can actually bake will say it just takes experience.

That may very well be true, but don’t burst my bubble about the gadgets.

This one is really kind of fool-proof. Or foodienewbie-proof.


It’s a bread machine, for you newbies out there.

What’s so great about a bread machine, you ask?

You dump the stuff in. It mixes. It kneads. It bakes – if you want it to. Or you can just make dough. For say, cinnamon rolls. Or pizza dough.

Any of those yummy yeasty dough that you usually have to knead. And knead. And knead.

At my age, I’m all about Easy – especially in the kitchen. So if I used the bread machine for nothing other than homemade cinnamon rolls, it’d be worth it.

I actually do make bread in it – about once or twice a year.

Today it was pouring rain and windy and I was bored enough to make these cinnamon rolls.

These seem like a lot of work, but they’re not. {I’m just really, really wordy.}

If you don’t have a bread machine, and you don’t want to mess with yeast proofing and/or kneading and kneading and kneading – there is a shortcut.

Bridgford frozen bread dough.

You might have to ask for it at your store. Some stores don’t carry it, I’ve noticed.

But if you can find a package, grab it. Take out one loaf – there are 3 to a package – slather it in butter and let it thaw.

You’ll get a big, puffy mound of yeast dough. Then skip down to the Filling part of the recipe and you’ll have some scrumptious cinnamon rolls.

However if you do have a bread machine, or get one for a present, this is a good FoodieNewbie recipe.


This is the inside of mine. See the little scraper-thingy in the middle? It’s the paddle that does all the mixing and kneading. And kneading. And kneading.


Here’s the dough fixin’s.

I invested in some bread flour. What’s the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour? These guys know.

I also got bread machine yeast. I mean, if you’re gonna have a machine, why not hedge your bets? Trying to up those 50:50 odds, you know.

Now, for the dumping part.


This is an egg in a cup of warm water. There are two reasons I did this.

1. The recipe said to do it. “one egg @ room temperature with enough water to make 1 cup”.

2. I always crack my eggs into a separate bowl.

Always. I saw them do it on TV. Plus, my cracking ability is just a notch or two above my baking. I’d rather wash an extra bowl then take 10 minutes to dig a piece of eggshell out.

Ok – dump this in. The water is supposed to be 80 degrees. Almost warm. Tepid. Baby bottle temp.

Better yet, get a thermometer. If you do any cooking of meat, please get a thermometer! If you’re a Newbie, it’s a must.

You can thank me later.

(Like, after you serve up that beautiful browned chicken breast, cut into it, and see that pretty itty-bitty pink in the center.)

Then dump the oil in.

Now the dry ingredients.


Here’s a shot of leveling off the flour.

If you already knew how to do it, sorry for what seems to be obvious.

If you didn’t know how to do it, I won’t tell anyone. Scoop a heaping measure into your cup, then take the flat side of the knife and scrape the excess off. It levels your measurement – very important in baking. Now you know how to measure dry stuff.


Flour, sugar, salt, yeast – on top of the wet ingredients. Just dump ‘em all in there.


On my machine there’s a program for #7 DOUGH. There’s a PROGRAM button. Press the button until #7 shows in the window.


Press the START button.

Dump. Press button. Press other button. With me so far?

Now you see why I like gadgets, huh.

That little black box now starts churning and mixing and kneading. And kneading. And kneading.

It even beeps if you want to add raisins and nuts to the dough.

I don’t, thank you. I’ll just put mine in the filling.


While the black box is kneading and kneading – something you’d be doing if you don’t have a black box, or you can’t find Bridgford Bread Dough – you need to grease a baking pan.

This very well-used one is 9” x 13”. Not well-used by me, mind you. It’s my mother’s. I haven’t baked enough to have a well-used anything.



Yep, butter. I used it to grease the pan. You’ll also need about this much to spread on the dough when you get it rolled out.


You’ll also need a rolling pin. This is Mom’s cool silicone set. You still have to use flour, but I like having a big ol’ mat to make a mess on.


You can also chop nuts while the machine is chuggin’ away – unless you don’t want nuts.

Behind the nuts are the filling ingredients, except I see I didn’t put brown sugar on the counter. And I did put brown sugar in the filling. If you like a little toffee flavor, add brown sugar too.

I used pecans because that’s what we had. Any nut will work. I’m not particular with nuts.

I could go down an entirely different avenue with that one, but I won’t. Right now, at least.


When the bread machine dings the 2nd time, you’ll get this wonderful blob of yeast dough. Sprinkle some flour down on your work surface, and rub some more on your rolling pin. Keep a little extra nearby in case your dough gets sticky.


Roll the dough into a 12” x 18” rectangle. Yes, that is a tape measure up there. Yes, you can guess-timate the size, if you want. 50:50 odds, remember? I’m still doing nearly everything by the book.


Spread the rectangle with butter. I’m sure they make a tool for this, but I don’t have it. Pastry brush? Nope, don’t have it.

Then I sprinkled brown sugar on it. No, I didn’t measure. Shhh . . .


Add the white sugar, cinnamon and raisins and nuts if you like. Then you take the long edge of the rectangle and start rolling.


Keep rolling and rolling.


Then slice the roll up. They said 1” pieces. I wanted to make them bigger, but I chickened out.

If you’re a real baker and you make big, thick cinnamon rolls, can you tell me if I’d just cut bigger pieces?


Put them in the greased baking pain. No, they don’t look like much here. They taste great, though. Not now. After they’re baked, I mean.


Cover with a towel and place them in a warm spot – if you can find one this time of year. Let them double in size. Takes about an hour.

Pop them in the oven @ 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

While they’re baking, you can make a glaze.


Powdered sugar, a little vanilla and milk. Mix it ‘til smooth.


Drizzle it all over the rolls when they’re hot out of the oven.



They’re mighty tasty without a glaze, too. Or, you can spread some vanilla or cream cheese frosting on them.

Yummy any which way.


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