Monday, November 2, 2009

c-c-c-cinnamon lips

i have a bad case of nesting syndrome lately. oh, people, is it ever bad. all i want to do is sip peppermint tea, curl up on the couch with a stack of cookbooks and bake complicated, delicious treats. maybe it's the weather.

as anyone who's ever lived with me can attest, i read cookbooks like novels, and one of the newest additions to my ever-growing collection is the pioneer woman cooks by ree drummond. have you read it yet? it's funny, beautifully photographed and filled with the most indulgent recipes you can imagine. (seriously, i've never seen more butter in my life. it's amazing.) anyway, i'll forever be indebted to ms. drummond for this cinnamon bun recipe, which i made on halloween and carried around the city like some pastry-wielding trick-or-treater.

disclaimer: if you're frightened by high-calorie treats...look away.

cinnamon buns
adapted from the pioneer woman cooks

1 quart whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
4 1/2 tsp. (2 pkgs.) active dry yeast
9 cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
1 scant tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. salt

3 sticks very soft butter
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
2 cups sugar
a pinch of salt, if using unsalted butter

1 lb. powdered sugar
3 Tbs. whole milk
4 Tbs. melted butter
3 Tbs. brewed coffee

For the dough, scald the milk, oil and sugar in a large saucepot over medium heat (do not boil). Set aside and cool to lukewarm, about 1 hour.

Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute. Add 8 cups of the flour; stir. (If the dough looks very liquidy, add another cup of flour.) Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a relatively warm place to rise for 1 hour.

Remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and the remaining cup of flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. (If not using the dough right away, you can refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the pot.)

To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30x10 inches. To make the filling, pour half the softened butter over the surface of the dough, using your fingers or the back of a spoon to spread the butter evenly. Sprinkle half the cinnamon, sugar and salt (if using) over the butter.

Beginning at the long end farthest from you, roll the rectangle of dough tightly toward you into a log. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together. With a sharp knife, make 1-inch slices. One log will produce about 25 rolls. Arrange the slices in greased 9-inch cake or pie pans. Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough. (I ended up with 8 pans of about 7 rolls each.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Allow the rolls to rise for about 30 minutes before baking. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown.

While the rolls are baking, make the icing: In a bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, milk, butter and coffee until smooth. Drizzle generously over the warm rolls. As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing, becoming gooier and sweeter.

Yum! This makes a LOT of cinnamon buns, so bring them to all your friends. it's the nice thing to do. and, let's face it, the only way to fit into your jeans tomorrow.

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