feasting with friends

Cinnamon Rolls {Frustration, Fun, Friends & Feasting: Part 2}

I’m back with Part 2 of my {Frustration, Fun, Friends & Feasting} post. This time there is no frustration, just fun….and friends and feasting.

cinnamon rolls|feasting with friendsFun was had indeed! The week we were graced with guests in our home was filled with happy days. Happy days of laughing, sharing, eating, shopping and more. The highlight of the week (for the guys) was their yearly, group outing to a Detroit Lions game (Yay…the Lions actually won!). Six guys in all. Four live locally and two out of state. Lifetime friends…one friendship spanning longer than I’ve been alive! The added bonus of their friendship is what I call the “inherited” friends I’ve gained…the wives of said friends. I love these ladies. I may have been “forced” into these friendships, but I can say, that if I met these women in different circumstances I would have chosen them as friends. Make sense?

cinnamon rolls|feasting with friends The days leading up to the big game consisted of gatherings, both small and large. Feasting out at restaurants seemed to dominate…versus large meals at home. Though breakfast for four at home on a lazy Saturday morning included my go-to make ahead breakfast – a Very Veggie Strata. These make ahead breakfasts are always greatly appreciated by me after a fortnight of mild libation indulgences!

After gaining strength from a big Saturday breakfast, the guys headed out to visit the father of another friend and partake in a game of Euchre. The ladies left behind, two of us, delved in to the making of cinnamon rolls. A first for both of us. And…a successful “first”…if we don’t say so ourselves!

cinnamon rolls|feasting with friendsSaturday evening, after Euchre was played and cinnamon rolls made (Hahhah…I rhymed!), another first was had. The Saturday dinner, guys and wives combined…(hahhah, I did it again!) is usually held at our home. But this year, we chose to invade a restaurant and a post-dinner bar. Without going into too much detail, I can say the presence of this group of 10 won’t be forgotten soon.

cinnamon rolls|feasting with friendsWe all made the trek to Hamtramck, a small city completely surrounded by Detroit. Hamtramck is famous for all things Polish…sausage, pierogis, stuffed cabbage, paczkis, Polish vodka and Polish beer. Authentic Polish offerings at their best. The two main restaurants, The Polish Village Cafe and Polonia have both been featured on TV shows – from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, to Anthony Bourdains – No Reservations. Both restaurants are small (seating for about 50 each) and since Polonia could accommodate our group without a wait, that’s where we ate (there I go again with the rhyming…I promise it’s not intentional!).

After being stuffed completely to the gills with Polish delicacies, we headed to Whiskey in a Jar…a bar just a short walk away. Imagine being one of four patrons sitting at the bar and witnessing a loud, obnoxious group of 10 invade your neighborhood bar. They couldn’t have been more welcoming! They not only gave us free reign of the pool table and juke box, they bought our group shots of Blackberry Brandy (a bar specialty, I guess). FUN and memorable times indeed!

cinnamon rolls|feasting with friendsSo much fun in fact…I was so, so, soooo glad, all I had to do on Sunday morning was pop these babies in the oven as the group gathered at our home. The guys filled their stomachs before heading to the Lions game…and the girls gained a little sugar rush to kick ourselves into shopping mode.

I’d like to remember these cinnamon rolls as the “icing” of a week of “sweet” memories, slightly “spiced” with adults somewhat misbehaving and having fun all “rolled” into one!

Note: We made a double batch of the rolls, though the recipe is for one. Do yourself a favor though, as long as you’re making these…double it up…they freeze great!

Cinnamon Rolls

  • Servings: 15
  • Time: prep and rise time + 25 min for baking
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the rolls:
1 cup milk (heated approximately 1 minute in microwave)
1/4 cup warm water (110° F)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

For the filling:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
5 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the icing:
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Directions:

  • In a large bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the “for the rolls” ingredients. Using a dough hook, mix everything together until a soft dough forms.
  • It should begin to form into a ball around the dough hook. If you think the dough is too moist – add additional flour (1/2 Tablespoon at a time). If the dough is looking dry – add warm water (1/2 Tablespoon at a time). If you can’t judge your dough by looking, feel the dough. It should feel slightly tacky to the touch, yet still holding together.
  • Once the dough reaches the suitable consistency, continue to knead with your mixer until the dough appears elastic (somewhat stretchy), approximately 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft free area until double in size. I like to use a cold oven…that way the dough is out of the way and safe from any possible drafts.
  • After dough has risen, use a rolling pin and your hands to roll and stretch the dough into a 15 x 24-inch rectangle. (I used parchment paper cut to size to ensure the dough was the proper size.)
  • Butter a 9x13x2-inch baking pan and a bread loaf pan; set aside.
  • Brush the 1/2 cup softened butter (listed in the filling ingredients) over the top of the dough with a pastry brush.
  • In a medium size bowl, combine the remaining filling ingredients – the brown sugar and cinnamon. Whisk with a fork until well combined.
  • Evenly sprinkle the Cinnamon Filling over the butter on the prepared dough.
  • Starting with the long edge (24-inch), roll up the dough; pinch seam along edge to seal.
    Note: Rolling the dough too tightly will result in cinnamon rolls whose centers pop up above the rest of them as they bake – so roll with a “light” hand.
  • Using a sharp knife, lightly score the dough at 1 1/2-inch intervals (I used a ruler to ensure proper sizing). If you’ve stretched the dough to the recommended 15×24-inch size, you will yield exactly 15 rolls. Slide a 12-inch piece of dental floss (no mint flavor, please!) or heavy thread underneath the dough. Bring the ends of the floss up and criss-cross them at the top of each mark; cut through the roll by pulling the strings in opposite directions.
  • Place the rolls cut side up in the prepared baking pan, flattening them only slightly. The unbaked cinnamon rolls should not touch each other before rising and baking. Do not pack the unbaked cinnamon rolls together. The 8×10 inch pan will hold 12 rolls if placed correctly; place the remaining 3 rolls in a loaf pan.

Options for Baking:

Refrigerating or Freezing Unbaked Cinnamon Rolls:

  • At this point, the cinnamon rolls can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight or frozen for one month.
  • If you’re baking the rolls after freezing, allow the rolls to thaw completely and rise in a warm place. Take the unbaked, frozen cinnamon rolls out of the freezer 10 to 12 hours before planning to bake. Place the frozen cinnamon rolls (container and rolls) on a counter overnight. Bake the room-temperature rolls @ 350°F for 20-25 minutes.
  • If refrigerated, let the rolls come to room temperature before baking. Let them rise,  sitting on the counter, until the rolls have doubled in size and are touching in the pan. Bake @ 350°F for 20-25 minutes.

OR

Bake Immediately After Making:

  • Cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size (after rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan).
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until they are a light golden brown.

 Meanwhile, while the rolls are baking, make the icing:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract until well mixed well. (Icing can be made ahead of time, simply refrigerate until ready to use and then bring to room temperature before spreading.
  • Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Spread prepared icing over the cinnamon rolls while still warm. Best served warm.

Recipe adapted from here.

39 comments

  1. I love reading these Detroit-centric posts of yours, Nancy. Each brings to mind so many great memories. I cannot tell you how many Lions games I watched, though, back then, they played at old Tiger Stadium and, later, the PonMet aka SilverDome. I went to high school with a number of Polish kids that lived in Hamtramck, and, my sister is a teacher there. Your posts are a walk down Memory Lane for me.
    There is nothing quite so tempting as the aroma of cinnamon rolls in the oven. The poor things. They don’t stand a chance once they’re out of the oven and iced. Making a double batch isn’t just a great idea, it’s a necessity. 🙂

    • It is always rewarding for me when readers can connect on a personal level to one of my posts, John. 🙂 I hope even a “good Italian boy” like you has been able to sample some of the wonderful foods offered in Hamtramck!
      As for the cinnamon rolls…they were delectable! The double bonus is, the unbaked rolls do freeze beautifully if there aren’t enough hungry mouths to fill!

    • Double oy! This is definitely not the recipe to test those limitations… though I can guarantee licking your monitor/screen is sugar free! I guess this is one of those “look but don’t touch moments”. 😉 Thanks for taking the time to comment and stop by!

  2. Joy

    As one of those “inherited” friends, I agree that I would have “chosen” to be friends as well. The sweet memories will last forever and the cinnamon rolls were delish!!!! Friends, fun and food – perfect pairing!!

    • We are such a lucky bunch, Joy! Cheers to many more years of friendship blessed with fun, food and laughs. 🙂

      And I must give a shout out to you and your expert cutting skills with the dental floss…it made our cinnamon rolls picture perfect. ❤

  3. These look absolutely perfect, Nancy, so fluffy, and gooey, and full of frosting! I’m so glad your frustration was over, and you just got to enjoy being with good friends. It sounds like you all ate well which is half of the fun! Thanks for sharing the recipe for the cinnamon rolls!

    • Lol, Shari…I was commenting on your crostini as you were here commenting on my rolls! Too funny. 😀

      Thanks for your kind words! I was extremely pleased with the results. Almost too yummy though, especially when considering my thighs. 😉

    • So true, Ronit! Though sometimes even bad food will do if good friends are involved. 🙂

      This was my first time using dental floss in cooking, and I must say, I was in awe over the “clean” cut it provided.

  4. What great fun you, your hubby and your friends had. I only made these rolls once and was not happy with them. I am looking forward to trying your recipe, like you said these were the “icing” of a week of “sweet” memories. When you post a recipe it is always good 🙂

    • 😀 Thanks, Judi! I was elated with the taste, texture and aroma of these rolls. I did a lot of research in finding a “perfect” recipe and these did not disappoint. Next time I may add nuts or even sauteed apple slices to change it up a bit.

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