“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James A. Michener
Anticipation. This waiting for a traveler to return. Sara wrapped up college in what seemed like a blink, and before the ink was dry on her diploma, she jetted off to Russia, then Israel with college pals. She is almost home. The proper welcome is the family favorite Cinnamon Rolls, warm from the oven. The dough is rising as I write, the airplane will arrive in the morning. There will be a never let go hug, then we will race home to savor our treats. We may never leave the kitchen, sharing untold stories from our time apart.
For the dough:
- 4 cups unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons ‘instant’ yeast (Rapid Rise)
- 3/4 cup butter at cool room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup milk at room temperature
Whisk together the flour and yeast in a medium bowl. Cream the butter, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl, preferably using a stand mixer and the paddle attachment. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pour in the eggs and milk, then add the flour/yeast mixture. Mix together on low speed until well blended. (Draping a kitchen towel over the whole mixer will help prevent the flour from flying out).
Scrape the bowl down to the bottom to ensure everything is well incorporated. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and allow it to rise until doubled, about one and a half hours. Fold the risen dough with a large spoon or scraper. Transfer to a one gallon size zip-top bag and chill at least 6 hours or up to 3 days.
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup ground pecans
- 1 1/2 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs
Melt the butter in a large skillet over low heat. Remove from heat. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, pecans and breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Set aside and let cool while you roll the dough.
Roll the dough out on a large well-floured cloth into a 9” x 20” rectangle (about 1/4-inch thick). Spread filling out evenly over dough, leaving a half-inch border on the far long side. Wet your fingertips with a little water and lightly dab a bit of water along the half-inch border.
Starting with the long edge next to you, roll up the dough into a long log shape, gently pressing the wet edge to the log to seal. Slice the log into 1-inch pinwheels. Place on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each roll.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, about one and a half hours. OR refrigerate overnight: Wrap the pan in plastic wrap and chill overnight. Then let rise at room temperature and bake as directed
Preheat the oven to 350. Uncover the rolls and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown (edges may brown more quickly than center--be sure rolls in center of the pan are at least golden). Let cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes before glazing. Serve warm.
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add additional milk if a thinner glaze is desired. Drizzle over the warm cinnamon rolls.