I have a friend named Emily, and I really love her. We decided a few months ago that we are more like sisters than friends and I think that is a good description of the type of relationship we have. She happened into my life when I least expected to find a friend, and to quote Emily, who quotes this Jhumpa Lahiri phrase, I think our friendship is an unexpected pleasure .
I love her so fiercely for many reasons, but mostly because we are painfully honest with one another. I smile just thinking about special little her. I guesstimate that she has shared at least 85% of the meals I have written about, and she has tried many of the recipes on her own time! In her own kitchen! (It makes me so happy when people play in their kitchens.) She has faithfully earned a dedicated recipe, and these are in her honor.
A few months ago she asked me if I had a cinnamon roll recipe that I loved. I said no. She said, "I think you should work on that." I smiled in agreement, and filed her request away for a special day. Tuesday was that special day.
Tuesday she began a one-month long intermission between one job and graduate school, and so in honor of a month of real summer we shared celebratory hot cinnamon rolls while wearing our pajamas. Cinnamon rolls are good, but cinnamon rolls with a friend in your pajamas are better. But really, don't take my word for it, I think you should taste it for yourself.
We had a taste test of a yeasted brown sugar versus a sourdough buttermilk to try and satisfy the varying cinnamon roll preferences. The yeasted were big fluffy golden overnight types (pictured above) and the sourdough (pictured below) were quick-roll types. Half of each was a good way to go, but if you must choose just one I understand. Also, if you do not have a sourdough starter you will have to make the yeasted, and you really should not be disappointed.
I think both sorts have their advantages. I do love the simple texture of the sourdough buttermilk rolls, but if you backed me into a corner I might choose the yeasted. Yeast is a miracle to me, and what it does to flour is something completely awe-inspiring. Honestly though, I hope I never have to choose just one as a favorite.
Sourdough Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls makes 12
This recipe was clipped from a paper quite a few years ago by my mother-in-law. I tweaked it a bit, but left most of it as is.
2 cups self-rising flour OR baking flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sourdough starter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon half and half
1. Combine flour, starter, and buttermilk in a large mixing bowl. Knead 15 times
2. Turn out onto floured surface and roll into a 12 inch square
3. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar
4. Roll into a log and slice 1 inch rolls. Place rolls in a greased 9 inch circle pan
5. Heat oven to 450. Brush tops with melted butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Drizzle with glaze. Serve
Yeasted Cinnamon Rolls makes 11
slight changes in quantities from Joy of Baking
4 1/2 - 5 cups (630 - 700 grams) all-purpose flour
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) 2% or whole milk
1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 all purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter cold (cut into pieces)
1/2 cup light raisins (optional)
1 tablespoon half-and-half (light cream)
in a small sized mixing bowl mix together 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon half and half and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. make glaze thin enough to drizzle over rolls by adding more half and half if needed.
(I did this by hand without a mixer and that worked fine. Just stir well with a wooden spoon and knead for an extra 2-3 minutes)
In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, combine 2 1/4 cups (315 grams) of the flour and the yeast.
In a small saucepan, stirring constantly, heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt just till warm (120 -130 degrees F) (49 - 54 degrees C) and the butter is almost melted.
Gradually pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, with the mixer on low speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat this mixture on high speed for 3 minutes. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook (or do the kneading by hand), and knead in as much of the remaining 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups (315 - 385 grams) flour until you make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes). (Dough will no longer be sticky to the touch.)
Shape into a ball. Place the dough into a greased bowl, turning once. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double (approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours).
When the dough has doubled in size punch it down. Place onto a lightly floured surface, cover with a clean towel, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the filling. In a medium-sized bowl place the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender, or two knives, until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
After about 10 minutes, roll the dough into a 12 inch (30 cm) square (mine was a 14 X 8 inch rectangle). Sprinkle the filling evenly over the rolled out dough and top with raisins (if desired). Carefully roll the dough into a log and pinch the edges to seal. Slice the log (roll) into eight equal-sized pieces. Arrange dough pieces in a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch (33 x 23 x 5 cm) baking pan. (Leave some room between each roll for them to rise)
Cover dough loosely with clear plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise. At this point you can refrigerate the dough for anywhere from 2 to 24 hours. If overnight, the next morning remove the rolls from the refrigerator, take off the plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. (If you are making the cinnamon rolls immediately, don’t chill dough. Instead, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let dough rise in a warm place till nearly double, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.)
Break any surface bubbles with a toothpick. Brush dough with half-and-half or light cream. Bake in a 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes or till light brown. (Can tell if done by inserting a toothpick into one of the buns, and it should come out clean. Also, if you lightly tap on the top of the buns it should sound hollow.)
If necessary, to prevent over-browning, cover rolls loosely with foil the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. Remove rolls from oven. Brush again with half-and-half or light cream. Cool 5 minutes and then invert onto a baking rack and re-invert onto a serving plate or platter.
Can drizzle with the Powdered Sugar Glaze.
Serve warm or at room temperature.