I know genius when I hear/see/experience it.
Ree Drummond (alias Pioneer Woman) is a genius woman. I have always heard from people who complain about making cinnamon rolls, how they are downright IMPOSSIBLE to make. She made it seem so easy that I looked up as I removed the pan from my oven of these beauties saying, “Huh.” And then I waved my face with my oven mit and went “Oooh, y’all, its hot in here” while applying my perfect red lipstick like the 1950’s housewife that I was.
I can dream, can I?
Anyway, lets get started. 2 cups of whole milk, 1/2 cup of oil, and 1/2 cup of sugar go into a pan to ‘scald’. Scalding is when you take the milk and heat it to the point where its ABOUT to boil, but you take it off the heat before it gets the chance to. If you allow milk to boil (or at least whole milk), it will make a skin on top happen, which has to do with the fats in the milk. So, in other words, you have to start over.
After you take the pan off the heat from the scalding and allow it to sit for about an hour to cool to slightly warm (about 105-110), add in your yeast and allow it to moisten for about a minute. Then add in 4 cups of the flour (setting aside 1/2 cup for later), mix that up, and allow it to rise for an hour. It will double in size, just keep it lightly warm, the yeast like that. After rising, add in your baking powder, soda, and extra flour, stir, and your ready to go!
But I implore to you to forget to take a picture of that last step.
Sprinkle some flour on your clean countertop and pat it out to flatten. Its easiest to use the bottom of your palms, then use your rolling pin to roll it out into an even rectangle that’s about, oh 1/4 inch thick.
Now, melt butter. Melt a lot of butter. 3/4 cup of butter to be exact, and pour it ALL on, then spread it all around the dough. Its okay if some spills off the side. Then, forget to take a picture of you sprinkling on 1/2 cup of sugar, then a GENEROUS sprinkling of cinnamon.
Yes, I forgot to take a picture of me sprinkling the cinnamon on the cinnamon rolls. Thanks for reading!
But I didn’t forget to take a picture of rolling! Roll the dough relatively tight and evenly, using both hands all the way through. Don’t worry, some of that yummy goodness will ooze out. Just spoon it up with a spoon and ea-spread it on top of the unbaked rolls.
Cut them about 1″ thick, they will be pretty thick, don’t worry. This is necissary.
Line them up evenly, you can use either a circle pan (I used one also) or a rectangle pan like this (it was perfect for a dozen!). Then set the rolls in a warm place for about 30 minutes to rise. It looks sparse in there now, but that rising really works, even moreso when you stick ’em in the oven!
Make the icing! Combine your sugar, some brewed coffee, maple flavoring (i actually used Grade A syrup, not the fake stuff), milk, and butter in a bowl. Ree says “Then have a big, strong, virile man stir it up for you.”, but I don’t currently have a big, strong, virile man to stir it up for me at the moment, so I did it myself. This stuff is sweet, but its gooooood.
Then pour it on, baby! Really pour it! Don’t forget to have your camera suddenly run out of battery power when you try to take a picture of your ICED UP cinnamon rolls! Its very important.
If you have a man in your life (I will have one soon, just hold these up), he will be very pleased to smell these in the morning. I assure you. Dad was. That’s all that matters right now :).
PW’s Cinnamon Rolls
1 quart Whole Milk
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Sugar
2 packages Active Dry Yeast
8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
Plenty Of Melted Butter
2 cups Sugar
Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
1 bag Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring
½ cups Milk
¼ cups Melted Butter
¼ cups Brewed Coffee
⅛ teaspoons Salt
Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. “Scald” the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).
When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.
Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.
Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.
Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 400 degrees (see note below) until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.
For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy and don’t skimp on the frosting.
Note: My rolls don’t work for me at 400 degrees anymore. I now bake them at 375 degrees.