Foods that are only made once a year have the magical power of transporting us to great family memories and strong emotions of warmth, love, and welcome. Usually just the smell of them is enough to bring a smile to our faces.
For me, it is my dad’s cinnamon rolls. He made them (and continues to make them) every Christmas morning. My brothers and I would wake up with excitement, open our stockings, and then happily devour the warm sticky cinnamon rolls while we waited for our mom to open the closed doors hiding the Christmas tree. I get the same excitement now, watching my children happily eat “Pappaw’s cinnamon rolls.” Family traditions run from generation to generation, and hopefully they’re always this delicious.
These don’t have to be made only for Christmas, of course, but it might serve you well when entertaining extra family in town!
What you need:
- 2 1/4 t. active dry yeast (1 package)
- 1/4 c. warm water (105-115 degrees)
- 1/4 c. lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened (plus extra for the pans)
- 2 1/4 c. bread flour
Filling (approximate amounts, just sprinkle over the dough to taste)
- 2 T. salted butter, softened
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 2 t. cinnamon
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 4 T. unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 c. honey
- fresh orange juice from 1 orange
- grated zest from 1 orange
- small saucepan
- electric mixer fitted with dough hook
- large bowl
- 13×9 inch baking pan (glass or metal)
Time: 20 minutes prep, 2 hours rising, 20-25 minutes baking
Freezeable: No, I have not frozen them. You can make the dough and refrigerate it (before it rises) for 3-4 days.
Serves: Makes 12 rolls
Multiplying the recipe: Yes, it can easily be doubled. Put 12 rolls in each pan.
Cinnamon Rolls with Orange Glaze:
Scald milk. Heat it just until bubbles form on the edge of the pan. Remove from heat.
Dissolve yeast in water in the mixer bowl. Stir in lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, egg, butter, and 1 1/4 c. flour. Use the dough hook to beat mixture until smooth. Mix in remaining flour.
Turn dough onto clean, UNfloured countertop. Knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Place in bowl, cover with clean kitchen towel. At this point, dough can be refrigerated 3-4 days. Let rise until double, about 90 minutes.
To prepare glaze, zest the orange and squeeze the juice from the orange. Combine in a mixing bowl with the sugar, melted butter, and honey. Pour mixture into a greased 13 x 9 pan.
Punch down dough. Turn dough onto clean, UNfloured countertop. Roll into a 15 x 9 inch rectangle. Spread with butter and sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Starting with the 15 inch side, roll into a log. Using a serrated knife, cut roll into 12 slices. Place rolls in the pan, set into the poured glaze mixture. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F. Bake cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately! To serve, you can use a spatula to remove the roll and flip it upside down onto the plate for better access to the gooey glaze!