Colossal Cinnamon Rolls


Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea

Winter Storm Jonas, I thank you.  Cozy home, smelling of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls, usually a once-a-year, carby Christmas treat.  Mmmm.  Except your blustery deluge gives me the perfect physical outlet to burn off these babies.

Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea 260 calories worth of shoveling.

Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea – This  is  what 260 calories worth of shoveling looks like.

I mentioned in my last post that I’m into bread making lately, partially as research for a story I’m working on and mostly because I’m looking for another way to cut out processed foods.  Okay, yeah, and because I love the smell and memories of a fresh loaf.  Slather on some pastured butter.  Yum!

The recipes for all of my endeavors, including the one below, come from an out-of-print cookbook (Breads:  Step-By-Step Techniques, Sunset Books) that I found years ago in a used bookstore.  Each recipe has been spot on.


Colossal Cinnamon Rolls

(Makes 6 rolls, about 12 servings)

2/3 cup milk

1 3/4 cups sugar, divided

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces

2 packages active dry yeast or 4 1/2 teaspoons of loose

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)

5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 to 1 cup currants or raisins

Directions:  In a small pan, combine milk, 3/4 cup of the sugar, salt, and the 1/2 cup of butter.  Heat, stirring, to about 110 degrees (butter need not melt completely).

In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in water.  Blend in milk mixture.  Gradually mix in 3 cups of the flour, then beat for 5 minutes.  Beat in 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk (reserve remaining egg white), then gradually beat in enough of the remaining flour (about 2 cups) to make a stiff dough.  If hand-kneading, turn dough out onto a floured board; knead 10-20 minutes, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.  If using a stand mixer, add flour a little bit at a time until dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl or your finger.  Dough should be smooth and shiny.

Place dough in a greased bowl; turn over to grease top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2 hours).

Punch dough down.  Knead briefly on a lightly floured board to release air bubbles; let rest for 10 minutes.  Then roll and stretch dough into an 18 x 24-inch rectangle.  Brush evenly with the 1/4 cup melted butter.

Combine the remaining 1 cup sugar with cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over butter, then sprinkle with raisins.  Starting with a narrow side, roll up jelly-roll fashion.  Moisten edge of dough with water and pinch it snugly against roll to seal.  With a sharp knife, cut roll into 6 equal parts.  Arranges slice, cut side up, in pan.  Cover; let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (about 1 1/2 hours).  Note:  Because I made my rolls the afternoon before, I let the rolls rise at this step for an hour.  Then I covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.  The next morning I placed in a warm oven and let them rest for 1/2 hour or so.

Beat reserved egg white with 1 teaspoon water, and brush on the surfaces of rolls.  Bake, uncovered, in a preheated 350 degree (325 degree for a glass pan) for 30 to 35 minutes or until well browned.

With a large spatula, transfer rolls from pan to racks.  Drizzle with powdered sugar glaze (recipe below) while still warm.

Powdered Sugar Glaze.  Beat together until smooth 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon butter (softened). 1/8 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 to 3 tablespoons hot water.

Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea: Time to dig out the Tree House!

Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea – Pulling out the gaiters, a twice in a decade occasion.


Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea

Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea – Time to dig out The Tree House!


What are your thoughts?