I really ought to stay off the internet. Really. Last weekend I opened my news feed and one of the first things I saw was a video of the largest, most luscious-looking cinnamon rolls I’d ever seen. I might have drooled on myself. The rolls were the size of a dinner plate and at least a couple inches high. A baker at heart and a lover of all-things-I’m-not-supposed-to-eat, the self-imposed challenge was on. Could I make something similar? I had to know.
First, a little background. Our family tradition on Christmas morning has long been scrambled eggs, sausage, orange juice, and Cinnabons. Supplying the full calorie count for the remainder of that week, the “meal” can stand on its own. Regardless, tradition is tradition. We all know that you don’t mess with tradition according to Brubaker in the same movie (although for mess, he used a choice F word. We won’t go there). You get the idea.
My mind was made up; I had to know. It’s October and Christmas is around the corner. Could I make a giant, gooey roll? Might they rival our coveted Cinnabons?
Turns out, the rolls in the video were made at a bakery in Texas. Isn’t this where everything is big? Bigger? Biggest? Indeed, the place lures the customer with three pound rolls! It is fascinating watching the baker use giant slabs of dough, buckets of filling, and gallons of cream cheese icing. How many calories can one burn from handling mass amounts of dough (as I try to offset the inevitable)?
I didn’t want three pounders, but at this point, there was no going back.
The dough was very easy. With little effort it rose beautifully and I had to take it out long before I sometimes do given the result. As this was in the works, I started on the filling.
I have never been able to roll out a perfect rectangle. Ever. I tried spreading the dough into a well-greased 9 by 13 inch pan with great results. I did this for each half of the dough. Then, on went the filling.
This appears to be a lot of filling, right? It is. I doubled the amount. I can’t really tell you why except that it seemed right. The amount in other recipes seemed insufficient for the amount of dough.
Once the dough was fairly covered, I sliced it into three lengths and rolled them into rolls. My pizza cutter worked great.
Striving for giants, this amount of dough made six large rolls. Can anyone really eat a whole one?!!?
Almost immediately they started to rise. I put them back into my warm* oven for the second rise. It took about 15 minutes.
While I waited for the final rise, I made the cream cheese icing.
Before I knew it, the rolls were done. There are no words to describe the aroma. I don’t indulge like this often; I soaked it up. We’d avoided lunch to make room….
…and they didn’t disappoint. Not by a long shot. In flavor and consistency, they rivaled our favorite Cinnabons. The dough is gooey, the filling very rich, and the icing perfect.
And it’s true. Neither of us could eat a whole roll. They are too rich, too filling, too sweetly dense…just what one expects from the perfect cinnamon roll. I set mine aside after the first few delicious bites. I tried later in the day but still could not finish. It took me three tries to finish one, over the course of one day.
Can you finish one at one sitting?
KAREN’S GIANT CINNAMON ROLLS
- 2 C whole milk (Whole milk makes for a very rich dough)
- 1/2 C sugar, 2-3 tea sugar for the proofing
- 1/3 C butter
- 2 tea salt
- 2 packages active dry yeast (~ 4 1/2 tsp)
- 2/3 cup warm (105-115-degree/bath water warm) water
- 8-9 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Combine milk, sugar, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over low heat until butter melts. Low heat works best. If it’s too warm, you may scald the milk and it may kill the yeast. I find it best to heat slowly to avoid having to wait for the mixture to cool.
2. Dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm water. “Bath water warm” has always worked for me. Cover with a towel and let stand several minutes. You’re in business if the yeast has bubbled. If not, start over.
3. Combine the flour and milk mixture in a large bowl. Beat slowly until well mixed, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add yeast mixture and beat until mixed well.
4. Add eggs and mix well.
5. While it’s temping to add all of the remaining flour, don’t. Add enough to make a very soft dough. This part just takes experience. Imagine a gooey cinnamon roll. Gooey dough makes gooey rolls. When it’s ready, it will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl yet remain sticky. Too much flour results in a dense roll. Cover and let rise in well-greased pan inside oven. I use a pan of boiling water underneath the pan of rolls in the oven. No oven heat is necessary.
6. When dough has risen, punch down and divide in half.
7. Spread one half of dough in well greased 9 by 13 baking pan. Spread half of filling mix over the dough. Add raisins and pecans or both if desired. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough into three lengths and roll up. Place each roll on a well-greased baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough to make six large rolls.
8. Let rise in warm oven until the rolls are touching each other, or are the desired size. This took about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or longer as these rolls are large. I stopped at 20 minutes, covered with foil, and baked an additional 10 minutes.
I may not survive these Texas-sized portions, I most definitely should stay off the internet, and I’ll bet you can’t finish a whole one in one sitting.
Oh, but it’s worth a try. Let me know how you do.