Monday, February 15, 2016

Warm Treats, Stupid Cold.

Hey look, I finally came up with a February post! I am happy to say the office crazy has dropped a little giving me a little free time and motivation to cook up something yummy and share worthy. This weekend was Valentine's Day. I used to hate Valentines day when I was a kid. It was fun in Elementary School when everybody passed out valentines to the entire class. But later in life it wasn't so much fun. In High School, they always had carnation sales and, never being a recipient, I found them to be isolating and painful reminders of my awkward and insecure teenage self. Self loathing teenage years aside, I still don't consider Valentines Day super important but it is fun to exchange cards and small tokens with my husband and have a nice meal together - usually out, but not extravagant, and with reservations made well in advance. He is so silly and thoughtful and I love seeing what sort of things he comes up with to surprise me.  This year Valentine's Day fell on a Sunday. A Sunday when temperatures were well below zero all friggin day! Yeah, so not fun! Saturday wasn't much warmer and, since neither of us wanted to set foot outside, it gave me the opportunity to make something I have always wanted to make for him on Valentines Day but never had the time. Cinnamon Rolls! MMMM I love these things, but the ones from a can always have that chemical taste to them that I find really off putting. I know there are quick versions out there that use a biscuit dough but I wanted real deal, yeast-risen rolls since I had the time to do it. You should have seen hubby's eyes light up when I told him what I was doing! Let me tell you it was worth the work involved. They came out fantastic!  I am sure I could have made twice as many but we like them big! So now we are trying to give away the leftovers to keep ourselves from eating them all and gaining another 5 pounds! Here is the recipe. I hope you give them a try. They are totally worth the big fat ass they will give you!

Erika's Cinnamon Rolls

1 C warm water
3/4 C half and half (room temperature)
1/4 C sour cream (room temperature)
2 envelopes instant yeast
1 C plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs, lightly whisked
⅓ C oil
⅓ C melted butter
7 C all purpose flour
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp butter vanilla emulsion (optional)
1 C cinnamon chips (optional)

For the Filling

12 Tbs softened butter, unsalted
2 C packed light brown sugar
½ C White Sugar
5 Tbs ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 C cinnamon chips 

For the Frosting

6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 Tbs butter, softened
1½ Tsp vanilla extract
1½ Tbs light corn syrup
2 C powdered sugar

For the Rolls
In a glass measuring cup, add the water and 1/2 C half and half. Heat in the microwave until lukewarm. Add the yeast and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Set aside.

In a small bowl, add the 1/4 C half and half and 1/4 C sour cream. Whisk to combine and set aside. Add additional half and half if too thick.

In another bowl, add the remaining sugar, salt, oil, butter and eggs, whisking to combine.

After it has had plenty of time to bloom, add to the yeast mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fixed with a dough hook. Add the half and half/sour cream mixture and the butter, sugar, egg, oil mixture. Stir a few seconds with the dough hook to combine.

 Add the flour, honey, butter-vanilla emulsion and vanilla. Mix until the dough begins to form a ball. The dough should be soft but not sticky so add more four or half and half if needed to get the desired texture. Remove the dough hook, cover bowl and put it in a warm, draft free location to rise. Let rise at least 1 hour.

Lightly flour the counter or a large pastry mat and roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. The wider the rectangle the larger your rolls will be. Spread the soft butter all the way to the edges.

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon with the corn starch. Sprinkle liberally over the butter, all the way to the edges. Then sprinkle with cinnamon chips.

Roll into a tight log (jelly roll style) and slice the rolls at desired thickness.

Place rolls on a parchment lined cookie sheet, cover and place in a warm, draft free location to rise. Let rise at least one hour.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes turning halfway through. Keep an eye on them and be careful not to over bake.

Remove from the oven, and add frosting while still warm.

For the Frosting (you can use a mixer or a whisk)

In a bowl, whip the cream cheese and butter together until softened.

Add the corn syrup and vanilla continue whipping.

Add powdered sugar and whip until desired consistency.

NOTE: Although I did not use them this time, chopped pecans would also be delicious in the rolls. just sprinkle them on instead of or in addition to the cinnamon chips!

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