A month or two ago Coleen and Katy set out to help me conquer my fear of yeast and successfully bake cinnamon rolls for my children to have while opening presents on Christmas morning. Well, they’ve done it! I am no longer intimidated by yeast and with their “challenge” I’ve learned a few things. The first being, it wasn’t the yeast that was scaring me. It was the dough! It was worrying about how much flour to add or not add. Trying to handle the sticky dough and rolling it out as thin as the recipe required but no, more! After making these butterhorns and this cinnamon roll recipe I’m comfortable with the (sticky) dough and am no longer concerned about mishandling it. I also learned I’m much more proficient in the kitchen then I give myself credit and that I need to stop worrying and start baking! :)
The Twins LOVED these cinnamon rolls and they’ve already requested them twice since I first made them two weeks ago. They said they didn’t want to wait until Christmas morning for me to make them again. The only downside, Monica was right and Babygirl (The picky pain, she knew I was excited about making these for them!) decided that she preferred this crescent roll version I found on another awesome blog called For the Love of Cooking. I should have taken photos of the Twins’ astounded faces when Babygirl said she didn’t care for the homemade cinnamon rolls!
*FILLING, make it first!
1½ tablespoons melted butter
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice (I left out)
¼ teaspoon ground cloves (I left out)
1 cup chopped pecans (I left out)
Combine all of the filling ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
¾ cup small or large curd cottage cheese (4% milk fat)
1/3 cup buttermilk
¼ cup white sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 TABLESPOON baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease the sides and bottom of a 9" or 10" springform pan with cooking spray. In a food processor, combine the cottage cheese, buttermilk, sugar, melted butter and vanilla; process until smooth about 10 seconds. Add the flour, baking powder & baking soda and pulse in short bursts just until the dough clumps together in a ball. Careful not to over-process. The dough will be soft and moist (& very possibly sticky. Stay calm. You’re okay.). Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it four or five times with floured hands (This is a beautiful dough, very easy to work with, Coleen’s words. Breathe, you CAN do this!). Roll dough out to a 12" x 15" rectangle. (Don’t freak out if it isn’t quite rectangular and is more oval-ish or isn’t exactly 12”x15”! This is were I used to run scared if the dough’s stickiness didn’t get me! )
Brush the rectangle (oval-ish shape) with a very light coating of melted butter & leave a half inch border unbuttered around the edges. (I had a hard time being skimpy with the melted butter. I used it all.) Sprinkle the filling over the buttered area and pat lightly.
Starting with the long side, roll up the dough into a jelly roll shape and pinch the long seam to seal, leaving the ends open. Cut into twelve equal pieces with a sharp serrated knife. (Next time, I’ll try the dental floss trick.). Set the rolls in the prepared pan, cut side up (I was confused. Except for the two end pieces all the rolls had two cut sides!?). The rolls should touch slightly, but its OK if there are small gaps. Bake at 400 for 20 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Watch closely at the 20 minute mark to ensure perfectly baked cinnamon rolls!
Set the pan on a cooling rack for five minutes. Make the glaze. Remove the springform ring and drizzle glaze over the rolls.
2/3 cup powdered sugar (I whisked to break up any clumps)
2 to 3 tablespoons of cold milk (I used heavy whipping cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coleen added ½ teaspoon of maple extract
Whisk all ingredients together. If it seems too thick to pour, add a little bit more milk. (Next time I’ll leave the glaze thick because once it hits those hot cinnamon rolls it just about pours off. If it’s a little thicker it might stay on a little better. And of course, feel free to totally tweak this or use a <YUM!> cream cheese glaze!)