Contributed by: LeAnn R. Ralph
If I've heard it once, I've heard it a dozen times: "Make homemade cinnamon rolls? From scratch? Are you crazy? That takes all day!"
Actually, it depends upon the recipe.
I have several recipes for homemade cinnamon rolls that do, indeed, take at least all afternoon, if not all day -- scald the milk and let it cool to room temperature (30 minutes); mix the dough and let it raise for an hour (1.5 hours); punch down the dough and let it raise for another hour (1 hour); shape into cinnamon rolls and let raise for another hour (1.5 hours); and then, finally, bake the cinnamon rolls (30 minutes) -- for a grand total of 5 hours from start to finish.
But it doesn't have to be that way. You really can make homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch in two hours or less.
Here's my recipe:
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let sit for a minute or two. Add the sugar and salt. Mix. Add the cooking oil (or shortening), 2 eggs, 2 cups of flour and beat until smooth.
Stir in 3 more cups of flour. Begin kneading the dough, adding the final cup of flour. If the dough seems too sticky, knead in more flour, a quarter to a half cup at a time.
Let the dough "rest" for 15 to 20 minutes. (I leave it sitting on the counter and use the time to wash up the bowl and other utensils and to clean off the counter top.)
Roll the dough into a rectangle that's 24 to 30 inches long by about 16 inches wide. Spread with soft butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Starting at the wide end, roll into a log.
Cut the cinnamon rolls into equal sized slices (approximately one inch wide each or slightly more) and place into two greased 9x13 pans. Put in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (or until the cinnamon rolls are golden brown).
Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then turn out of the pans.
This recipes makes two dozen cinnamon rolls. If you want REALLY BIG cinnamon rolls, cut into 12 equal pieces 2 inches wide.
Total amount of time needed from start to finish (including time to bake) is about 2 hours.
LeAnn R. Ralph is the author of the book, Christmas in Dairyland (True Stories from a Wisconsin Farm) (trade paperback) (August 2003). She is working on her next book, Give Me a Home Where the Dairy Cows Roam, which will be available later in 2004. Read sample chapters and other Rural Route 2 stories at http://ruralroute2.com
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