Delightful Cinnamon Rolls and my first attempt at using yeast

I avoid yeast. I look at a lot of recipes daily and if they include yeast, I always pass. (I also pass on egg whites, but that’s another blog post.) I don’t know why this is. You would think that as a microbiologist, I would be particularly excited about using yeast while baking but I’m not. I’m terrified. Something about putting a small amount in some flour combo and coming back in an hour and it’s three times the size is just scary.

But this weekend I had to put my fears aside because Chrissie was here and we had to make her famous cinnamon rolls (using yeast!). I have been hearing about these for a very long time, so I put my yeast-y fears aside and I am glad that I did!

First, this takes a long time. The recipe makes about 6 pans of cinnamon rolls and it took us over 4 hours. It is possible to half the recipe but Chrissie has said it doesn’t reduce the time by much and I think the more cinnamon rolls you have, the better, so may as well do it all! Which is why we started with a delicious morning mimosa.

Then, in a large pot, add milk, vegetable oil, and sugar together. You’ll get really cool bubbles like this:

My favorite part, aside from the mimosas

Let the mixture heat just right before it boils then let it sit at room temperature until it cools down to lukewarm. This will take 45 minutes to 1 hour, so you’ll want to have something to do – laundry, dishes, or if you are Chrissie and I – BEACH GIRLS!

Sprinkle two packages of yeast on top of the lukewarm mixture

Add gobs and gobs of flour and mix until it’s all doughy

Cover the pot (We used a towel) and let it sit for an hour. Then enjoy another mimosa while watching another episode of Beach Girls, or the Cards game. After an hour, the dough will look like this:

Add more flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on top of this mixture

“Action shot!”

Take half the dough and roll out into a generally rectangular shape on a floured surface. You should probably do this with a rolling pin but I didn’t have one (too fancy), so we used an empty wine bottle. Hey, it worked!

Drizzle melted butter on top of the dough. Make sure you have a very eager dog waiting to lick the butter off the cabinets when you drip!

Make a mixture of sugar and ground cinnamon and sprinkle generously over the butter. Make sure you get it to the very edge. Then starting at one end, roll the dough in a straight line. Pinch the seam to form the roll. Some of the innards may ooze out but that’s okay!

I think this was the point that Chrissie said, “They’re going to be huge!”

Spread some more melted butter into the bottom of a pie pan. Cut the rolls about 1 inch thick and place into pan. If the inside oozed out, just plop one side of the roll into it and place that side up on the pan.

Repeat with other half of dough until all your rolls are made and in pans!

Let the rolls sit for another 15 minutes or so to rise. Or if you are us and made them HUGE already, just proceed to place them in the oven at 400F for 15 to 18 minutes (17 minutes for us). We made one pan at a time. While you’re waiting for them to bake, make the topping with powdered sugar, maple flavoring, milk, coffee, butter, and salt.

When the rolls come out of the oven, they will look like this:

Then drizzle the topping GENEROUSLY and let soak into the rolls and they will look deliciously like this:

I’m pretty sad our rolls are gone already! Okay, no we did not eat 6 pans. I gave one pan to each of my sisters, one pan to Chrissie, and I believe we ate at least one pan that day. They’re just too good. And the yeast wasn’t even THAT scary. Although trying it on my own… I don’t know. 🙂

Cinnamon Rolls

1 quart whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
(2) 0.25 oz packages dry yeast
9 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups melted butter
Ground cinnamon

1 bag powdered sugar
2 teaspoons maple flavoring
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Add the milk, vegetable oil, and 2 cups sugar to large pot and heat until just before boiling. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
2. Sprinkle yeast on top and let it sit for 1-2 minutes. Add 8 cups of flour and mix thoroughly. Cover with a towel and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour.
3. Add 1 cup flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
4. Mix 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cinnamon to make the filling.
5. Remove half the dough and roll out to a rectangular shape. Pour melted butter on top of the dough. Sprinkle half the topping mix on top.
6. Starting from the far side, roll the dough toward you. Pinch the seam to form the roll log.
7. Pour melted butter in the bottom of a pie pan. Cut about 1 inch rolls from the log and place in pie pan.
8. Repeat until all logs are cut into rolls and placed in the pans. Cover pans with towels and let rise for 15-20 minutes.
9. Bake at 400F for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
10. To make the icing, combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth.
11. Remove pans from oven and immediately drizzle a generous amount over rolls, making sure to get all over the top and the sides. The topping will soak into the rolls making them even better!

This recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman. Photos by Chrissie.

Bon appetit!

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