Recipe Friday: Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

My sister and I were chatting online yesterday, on Thanksgiving, about cinnamon rolls. She made my mom’s recipe, and I made a different recipe, one that wouldn’t make me sick. But I started getting all nostalgic about my old classroom. I taught in a differently-abled classroom for several years. I retired from this position, and really it was one of my favorites. We (by “we” I mean myself and the para pros who worked with me) had students ages 13 – 21 in our self-contained room. We had the students all day, and they were in our room for 7 or 8 years in a row. So, we got to know them pretty well, along with their parents.

Another teacher, in the same building, started a student-run coffee shop in school. It was the making of a perfect partnership: They made the coffee and ran the shop; my class made the baked goodies to sell. We made scones and granola and muffins, mostly. But the biggest seller was every Friday: Gooey Cinnamon Rolls. We started them on Thursday afternoon, and on Friday morning we baked them and walked down the pre-first-bell hallways to deliver the fill-your-senses, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. My students and I created this recipe; it got lots of tweaking (all with delicious results) until we got it just right. It includes cream cheese in the filling. (Yum!)

Although this recipe comes too late for this Thanksgiving, it comes in plenty of time for Christmas and a second batch for the cold winter months to come.

Yes, this recipe makes enough dough for two large batches (18 rolls). The filling also makes enough for two batches; the gooey part makes enough for one batch. You can make one batch now, and freeze the other half of the dough for the second batch.

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 packages             active dry yeast 2.5 tsp each
  • 1/2 cup     sugar divided
  • 1/2 cup     warm water
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons        butter
  • 7 cups      white & whole wheat flour
  • 3                eggs
  • 1 teaspoon             salt

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup     butter softened
  • 8 ounces    cream cheese softened

Gooey Stuff:

  • 1/4 cup     butter melted
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup        corn syrup
  • 1 cup        buttermilk or ice cream, or milk
    • cinnamon sugar
    • more cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Dough:
    In a small bowl, dissolve yeast, 1 Tablespoon of the sugar, and warm water. This is proofing: you are making sure your yeast is still good. It should foam up.
  2. In a saucepan (or microwave) heat milk and butter, just until butter is melted.
  3. In a large bowl, mix 3 cups flour, the rest of the sugar, warm milk & butter, yeast mixture, eggs, and salt.
  4. Beat 3 min on medium speed.
  5. Add remaining flour; stir until incorporated.
  6. Turn dough out onto a floured or oil-sprayed surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Cover with a damp towel; allow to rest while you make the filling and the gooey part.

Filling:
Beat together the butter and cream cheese.

Gooey part:
Stir together all the Gooey Part ingredients. Pour into a large baking pan (11″ x 15″). Note: If the baking pan is non-stick, you don’t have to grease it; if it isn’t, you should grease it first.) [Another Note: If you cut the rolls thick, then you can use a smaller pan.]
Sprinkle gooey stuff liberally with cinnamon (as much as you like).

Assembly:

  1. Knead down the dough. Cut it in half; freeze one half.
  2. Roll the other half into a large rectangle (like, 10 x 16ish). Spread with half the filling (refrigerate the other half of the filling, for the other half of the dough).
  3. Sprinkle the filling liberally with cinnamon sugar (as much as you like).
  4. Roll the dough up, starting from the long end.
  5. Slice the dough into ½-inch to 2-inch pieces, depending on how thick you like them, and how many rolls you want. Skinnier slices means more rolls. I usually get 16 – 20 rolls out of one recipe. (Note: these rolls rise pretty well.)
  6. Place each roll into the prepared pan, into the gooey part.

[You can refrigerate the whole pan until you’re ready to bake them: if you do, cover with foil or plastic. Refrigerate overnight. ]

Plan on an hour and a half between dough rising and time to serve.

Whether you bake right away, or refrigerate first:
Place into a warm oven (170°) to let rise: 30 – 40 minutes from the ‘fridge; 20 – 30 minutes if already at room temp.
With the pan still in the oven, turn the temperature to 350°. Let bake 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

To Serve:
Cut between each roll with a table knife.
Lift each roll out of the pan with a spatula, invert onto serving plate.
Drizzle gooey stuff from the pan over the rolls.

The Greeter and The Grunt

TheGreeterAndTheGrunt

“You be the greeter, and I’ll be the grunt,” my husband said as I juggled treat plates.

‘Twas the season. I had spent a whole afternoon with flour up to my elbows, my husband had been to the store for me more times than I imagined he would be nice about, and now we had treat plates to disburse to our neighbors.

“Load me up,” he instructed. I complied, and carried only one, myself.

My job was to knock on each door and hand a neighbor one of our plates. We struck out at half the houses, but caught up with the rest later that night. Knocking on doors, we interrupted card games and board games, grandmas holding grandkids, new mommies and daddies fawning over their babies, parents waiting for grown kids to come up the driveway.

I must insert that my husband is ‘way more social than I am, much better at chit-chat. He’s a good grunt, but he’s awfully friendly, too.

It blessed my socks off. Christmas, the time for families to get together – and families were actually getting together! We were invited in through all the doors we knocked on, invited in to share the smiles and the cuteness of the babies, introduced by name to kids and grandkids.

I’m pretty sure none of the households needed any of the treats we gave out. I commented to my husband, on the way back to our house, that the plates were really just an excuse to get out to see the neighbors on a cold, star-lit Christmas Eve, and wish them Merry Christmas.

The Greeter and the Grunt returned home with empty arms and full hearts.