Sunday, March 10, 2013

Simply Cinn-full Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Glaze

The concept of "springing forward" every year is great; you gain an extra hour of sunlight (yay!) but losing an hour of sleep hurts. Somehow these cinnamon rolls made it all better.
 Normally Cinnamon Rolls take hours to make, require hours of rising time and advance planning otherwise you're enjoying them just in time for lunch! This recipe only requires 30 minutes to rise thanks to the rapid rise yeast and they still produce, light, tender, delicious rolls.
Next time you're craving homemade cinnamon rolls and don't have 4 hours to spare, try this simple recipe.

Simply Cinn-full Cinnamon Rolls w/Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Glaze
Makes One Dozen amazingly delicious rolls
1 cup milk (I used low-fat)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 1/4 - 3/12 cups all purpose flour
1  .25 oz package rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar (I used a combination of light & dark)
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Glaze Ingredients:
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract is fine too)
a splash of heavy cream
Make the dough
Place the milk and cubed butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir to melt the butter. Allow to sit at room temperature until barely lukewarm.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Mix to combine.
Add the milk/butter mixture that is now barely warm and the egg. Mix until well combined.
Remove the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook.
Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups of flour. Mix until combined. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl and just stick to the bottom. If dough looks too sticky, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour and mix.
Continue to mix/knead the dough for 5 minutes. Dough should feel smooth and slightly tacky.
Remove to a well floured surface and rest for 15 minutes.
While the dough is resting, make your filling.
Make the filling
In a medium size bowl, combine the well softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix well to combine. My filling was a little difficult to spread because my butter wasn't softened enough. Make sure your butter is super soft, almost slightly melted. For the brown sugar, I used a mixture of both light and dark brown sugar (or Golden Brown Sugar would work).I've found that the flavor using only light brown sugar is too subtle and all Dark Brown sugar is too strong. A mixture of both (or using Golden Brown Sugar if you can find it) is just right.
Assemble the rolls
Flour your rolling pin and roll the dough to a 12"x14" rectangle.
Spread the butter/cinnamon/sugar mixture over the surface of the dough leaving a small area uncovered along the upper edge of the dough.
Starting with the side closest to you, roll the dough into a log making sure to roll tightly. Position the seam underneath.
Cut the log evenly into 12 slices. Use a sharp serrated knife, a sharp bench scraper or dental floss. Some people swear by the dental floss method for nicely cut rolls, but Im usually too lazy to go upstairs to get dental floss so I haven't tried this method yet.
Place the rolls into a 13x9" glass pan sprayed with nonstick spray or well coated with butter.
Cover loosely with a light kitchen towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes in a warm, draft free spot. My house wasn't very warm, so I preheated my oven to 250 degrees then turned it off. Then I placed the rolls in the warm oven to proof.
After the rolls have risen for 30 minutes, bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and the centers are done.
While the rolls are baking, make the glaze:

In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla bean paste with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy (approx 2 minutes). Adjust consistency if needed by adding more powdered sugar if needed. Add a splash of heavy cream, and mix to combine. I like adding a splash of heavy cream to my glaze for creaminess and extra richness. If you don't have vanilla bean paste, you can use a combination of vanilla extra and vanilla bean seeds, or just plain old vanilla extract is fine, you just won't have those beautiful vanilla bean seeds running through your glaze.

Remove the rolls from the oven when they are lightly browned and the centers are done. Allow to cool for a few minutes then slather with the glaze. Serve warm with a nice cup of coffee.


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