Saturday, August 23, 2008
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Last night a potent craving for cinnamon rolls fell upon me. I had just tried out a new dish for dinner and it failed miserably. Underseasoned, the wrong texture. Heck I even bought the wrong kind of pita. When something goes wrong for me in the kitchen it puts me in a mopey mood. I'm not one of those people that takes mishaps or failed recipes lightly. I feel that if I'm going to spend three hours in the kitchen, it better be damned tasty. When the fruits of my labor taste like cardboard, a happy camper I am not.
After doing the dishes and cleaning up I decided the best way to assuage my bad juju was to try something I really thought would turn out well. I wanted cinnamon rolls, but I wanted them to be amazing. Being that it was already 6 o'clock I decided to try out Alton Brown's Overnight Cinnamon Rolls. By far the most thought out approach to cinnamon rolls I've ever come across.
But you know what? All that waiting is totally worth it.
I didn't ice them, because I'm not a huge sweets fan they're already overwhelmingly sweet without it, and it really allowed the cinnamon to come through. I can't stand it when I bite into a cinnamon roll only to be smacked with saccharine sweet dough covered in caramelized sugar. Blech. These were very sweet, but the spice of the cinnamon tempers it well. The buttermilk in the dough produces a residual sourness, a bite that cuts the sugar. Each component of the recipe lends itself to another; it's quite the harmonious cinnamon roll.
The "overnight" shouldn't frighten you away from this recipe at all. I prepared the dough, by hand (may the gods bestow upon me a KitchenAid mixer), after dinner and let it rise until about 8:30. I rolled it out, topped it with the filling (which seems like a lot, but don't cut back on it - I almost did and I'm glad now I didn't) and tossed them in the refrigerator. When I woke up this morning I boiled teapot full of water, reserved some for a morning cup of tea and used the rest to set beneath the rolls. Thirty minutes later you turn the oven on (remove the rolls first!) and thirty minutes after that you've got fresh baked cinnamon rolls.
How great is that? 2 minutes of active work (if you pour water really slowly?) on a Saturday morning and TaDa! Fresh cinnamon rolls! And look at how light and fluffy they are inside:
Alton Brown's Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray
8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons
2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
3 tablespoons milk
5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.
While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.
I melted the rest of the stick of butter to brush the dough with and used the rest to paint butter on the baking dish.
I only baked mine for 25 minutes and they were perfect, the full thirty and the sugars would have started to burn. Be sure to watch your rolls closely if you're going for the full thirty minutes.)