There are a few foods that no matter who makes them, or how good they taste, they just can’t live up to my Grandma’s version. Buttermilk biscuits, pot roast, mashed potatoes… and CINNAMON ROLLS.
She and her sister, my great aunt Pat, use their recipe for dinner roll dough. It’s the easiest, most foolproof, yeast dough you’ll ever make and it’s beyond delicious. We had the rolls at every holiday or special occasion dinner, and sometimes Grandma would double the recipe and use the extra dough for cinnamon rolls the next day.
The dough is rolled out into a thin rectangle, covered in a ton of cinnamon and sugar, rolled into cylinder and sliced. As they bake, the house is filled with the most intoxicating aroma. When they're hot from the oven, she'd slather them with icing.
She made these every time she cooked stir-fry. The pairing makes absolutely zero sense to me, but we all liked it. (I can only guess that way back when she thought cinnamon was an exotic spice from Asia.)
This weekend on The Kitchen, I’m making the famous CINNAMON ROLLS for our “Sweet and Savory Start” episode. We are cooking up so many great breakfast recipes and I’m really excited to share these with all of you.
1/4 cup warm water
One 1 1/4-ounce package instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup boiling water
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup or more as needed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk or orange juice
For the cinnamon rolls: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the warm water with the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside for about 5 minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken and bubble slightly. (If the mixture does not start to thicken and bubble slightly, the yeast is not working. Check the expiration date on the yeast and start over.)
In a large bowl, stir together 1/2 cup sugar, the egg, oil and salt. Mix in the cold water and then the boiling water. Add this to the yeast mixture and stir until well blended. With the machine on low speed, slowly add in 4 cups of flour until incorporated.
Knead in the mixer on low speed for about 5 minutes until smooth, adding in the extra 1/2 cup flour or more as needed so the dough isn't too sticky. Put the dough into a clean large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until doubled in size, about 3 hours.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with about 1 tablespoon of the melted butter using a pastry brush.
Punch down the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll it into a rectangle about 20 by 10 inches, with the long edge facing you. Using the pastry brush, spread 1/4 cup of the melted butter over the top of the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the dough. Roll up the dough, starting with the long edge facing you, into a tight cylinder. Gently squeeze the cylinder to seal it. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 12 even rounds. Place the rounds, cut-side down, into the prepared baking dish. There will be some space in between the rounds. Brush the tops of the rolls with the remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the rolls until golden, 40 to 45 minutes.
For the icing: Meanwhile, mix the confectioners' sugar with the milk in a small bowl. When the rolls come out of the oven, drizzle the icing over the hot rolls. Serve while warm.
This episode is also extra special for me because my bff Gretta Monahan is my new stylist for the show. You probably know her from style and beauty segments on Rachael Ray and The View, but you may not know that she is an incredible entrepreneur with boutiques and salons in Boston. I have been shopping at her Gretta Luxe stores for years and we decided to team up for The Kitchen. There’s nothing more fun than shopping for clothes with your bestie and this just felt so right. Gretta knows me so well and knows what I like to wear. She knows when to push me (I would wear sweats all day every day!), and when to give in to my need for comfort (I’ll only wear jeans if they are stretchy!!).