A blind professor, a lactation specialist and a computer department manager all get on a bus.
Sounds like the beginning of a joke, right? Well, it's not. My husband, the computer guy--not the lactation specialist--often rides the bus to work and has made a few friends who have the same commute. I'm told they talk about lots of things. Global warming, the Middle East, homeschooling, ya know, that type of stuff. Oh, and cinnamon roll recipes.
This peaked my interest. When my husband came home one day talking about cinnamon rolls, and how the lactation specialist never proofs her dough in the oven and the blind professor sometimes mixes whole wheat flour in with regular flour, I listened. I think I even nodded alittle. Really, though, I was nervous. My experience of baking with yeast has been super hit and miss, especially when it comes to the cinnamon roll-sticky bun family. A few months ago I thought I would surprise my husband with a homemade batch, but failed majorly. Twice. In.One.Day.
So yesterday, when he said, "Come on, we'll make them together, I'll be your sous chef, " I got all caught up in the moment and said yes. A cooking project on a Sunday does happen to be my FAVORITE thing to do so I couldn't resist.
We decided to ditch most of the bus-friends' advice and laid our fears at the feet of my Baking Illustrated cookbook following it's cinnamon roll recipe to a T. We even let 'em rise in a sunny corner of the living room, peeking every so often like the pan was a sleeping newborn. We were very proud. Overall it was an excellent day--and one that I'm sure was discussed on the bus this morning on the way into town.
Glazed Cinnamon Rolls
from Baking Illustrated
1/2 cup milk
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4-4 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the dough:
Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave until the butter melts. remove from heat and set aside until the mixture is lukewarm (about 100 degrees). In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the water, yeast, sugar, egg, and yolks at low speed until well mixed. Add the salt, warm milk mixture, and 2 cups of the flour and mix at medium speed (adding more flour as needed) until the dough is smooth and freely clears the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Shape the dough into a round, place it in a very lightly oiled large bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
For the icing:
While the dough rises, combine all the icing ingredients in the bowl of the a standing mixer and blend together at low speed until roughly combined, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and mix until the icing is uniformly smooth and free of cream cheese lumps, about 2 minutes. Transfer the icing to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate.
To roll and fill the dough:
After the dough has doubled, press it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, shape the dough into a 16 X 12 inch rectangle, with a long side facing you. Mix together the filling ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border at the far edge. Roll the dough, beginning with the long edge closest to you and using both hands to pinch the dough with your fingertips as you roll. Lightly dust the roll with flour and press the ends to make a uniform 16-inch cylinder. Grease a 13 X 9 inch baking dish. Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces using dental floss and place the rolls, cut-side up in prepared baking dish. cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
To bake the rolls:
When the rolls are almost fully risen, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350. Bake the rolls until golden brown 25-30 minutes. Invert the rolls onto a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Turn the rolls upright on a large serving plate and use a rubber spatula to spread the icing on them. Serve right away.