Thursday, November 11, 2010

Live and learn

I'll apologize for my absence, but in all honesty, I don't know what happened to my ability to make things work the other night.  It seemed my cinnamon rolls had one thing after another that went wrong and after careful deliberation I decided it was all my fault.  Did you know you could kill yeast?  I knew I could, but had never succeeded in killing the little guys before.  Mission accomplished.  I have now murdered a "packet" of yeast.  You know what's even better?  Proofing yeast at midnight to mix into dead dough that you have promised to the birthday girl for the next morning's breakfast.  The reason I have the guts to tell this story is, dear readers, everything turned out all right in the end!  The cinnamon rolls were marvelous and the children (especially the birthday girl) gobbled them down.  They were intensely cinnamony and soft, so I will now pass on this recipe that has become tried and true.  For the record, this was modified just a hair from my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, which I adore.  You will need, 2 1/4-2/1/2  cups all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 cups of pastry flour, 5 tsp of vital wheat gluten, 1  package  active dry yeast, 1 cup milk, 1/3  cup butter, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/2  teaspoon salt, 3 eggs for the dough.  You will need 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 cup of butter, softened, for the innards.

Prep:  In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 1/2 cup pastry flour and the yeast; set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat and stir milk, 1/3 cup butter, the granulated sugar, and salt just until warm (120°F to 130°F) and butter almost melts; add to flour mixture along with the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Add the 5 tsp vital wheat gluten.  Then, stir in as much of the remaining flour (in equal parts pastry flour to all purpose flour) as you can.  NOTE: I usually go for the minimum which is 4 3/4 cups total.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased (butter or canola oil), pre-warmed, bowl; turn once to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (45 to 60 minutes).  Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease (butter or canola oil) two round 9x1 1/2 inch baking pans; set aside. For filling, in a bowl, stir together brown sugar,  1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, melted butter, and cinnamon; set aside.  Roll each dough half into a 12x8-inch rectangle. Spread half of the cinnamon goodness mixture from end to end leaving one inch on one long side. Roll up rectangle, starting from the filled long side. Pinch dough to seal seams. Slice rolled rectangle into 10-12 equal pieces. Arrange in prepared pan.   Cover loosely with waxed paper, then with plastic wrap. Chill for 2 to 24 hours. Preheat oven to 375°F. Let chilled rolls stand, covered, for 30 minutes at room temperature. Uncover and brush the rolls with 1/2 and 1/2.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; drizzle with Vanilla Glaze. (Vanilla Glaze involves 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and enough water to make it drizzle - you can add a little more sugar or a little more water if need be) ENJOY!

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