Monday, May 17, 2010

2 Stellar Meals, 1 Satisfied Fiance, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Today, I called in sick. I felt sick all day. However, I'm not the type that lays in bed all day. (Just half). I feel like the whole day is wasted, even a sick one, if I lounge about. So I decided to scratch that cooking itch, that has been lingering for a few weeks now. Today's recipes turned out much better than anyone could ever expect. Jon even thought one of them came out of can, so it must be at least up to mass-manufacturing standards. So here we go:
Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch
1 cup milk (heated approximately 1 minute in microwave)
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
eggs, room temperature and beaten  (whoops, forgot to beat mine!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated
5 cups flour

2 Tablespoons of yeast
I dumped this stuff into my tabletop mixer and let it goob up my machine. For some reason, the dough always climbs up the wands. No matter how I try to knock it down, it always goes right back up. The dough was really sticky. 

Then, you are supposed to "turn the dough out onto a lightly-oiled surface and knead until elastic, approximately 10 minutes." The dough was so sticky, I got covered. Then I realized the problem, I added 4 cups of flour instead of 5. I had been gradually adding the flour as to not coat the entire kitchen in white stuff, and in the process, forgot to add the last cup. I dumped all the dough back in a bowl and manually mixed in the last cup. That made the dough much easier to work with.

Then you basically have to flatten the dough out into a thin sheet on a floured surface. No big deal, though my initial square of dough was waaaaaaaay to fat. Had to roll it out almost 2 feet long by like 1 foot. THIN. Then you have to coat it with softened butter and the mixture below:

Good Cinnamon filler stuff:
1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
4 to 5 tablespoons ground cinnamon 

After you have coated the one side really well, begin rolling the long side of the dough carefully all the way across. The tighter the roll, the more "swirly" you roll will look. Beware though, in you roll it too tight, the roll will rise in the oven into a little mountain peak. No big deal if you ask me, but apparently some people only like straight across cinnamon rolls. Personally, I think the mountain ones are cool. Seal up the log's seam and cut with a VERY sharp knife into 1" slices. Or, if you are like me, use a dull knife and come out with cinnamon, torn blobs that you have to reform into a circle.

Then place them on a buttered jelly roll pan or cake pan, not touching. They need room to rise, don't cram 'em. Then cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm area to rise for 1 hour. Or you could do what I did, and bring the hottest lamp you have in the house into the kitchen and put the rolls under it for an hour so they actually do rise. Apparently, my kitchen is too energy efficient to get hot enough to rise dough. The lamp worked ridiculously well. When the rolls have doubled in size, they should now be touching in the pan. Bake at 350* 20 to 25 minutes. After they come out of the oven, coat with icing made like this:
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Or if you are me, forget the cream cheese because you didn't know you needed it, turn 1 cup of granulated sugar into a lot of powdered sugar by putting in a super blender on the fastest speed possible until it grinds into a good enough powder, and then add the vanilla. Good enough for me. Spoon it on the rolls, and this is what you get...

 These started out as torn blobs, but came to take on their shape as rolls nicely. I was shocked and pleased to no end.

Jonathan could care less that these rolls were once blobs, he snarfed two before this post could be finished. "You made these from scratch?!" was his shocked and awed question. 

This post is lengthy, so I will put the other meal in a new post. Enjoy.

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