Friday, March 18, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls for a Crowd

Last night, I had a house-full of teenage boys spending the night (my two sons and six of their friends). Yesterday afternoon, I started thinking, “What am I going to feed all those boys for breakfast in the morning?!!!” Instantly what came to mind was “Cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven!!!”

Cinnamon rolls always sound good when you first get up in the morning. But who wants to get up early enough to let them rise 2 ½ hours (two hours the first time, and 30 to 45 minutes the second time, after you punch down the dough)?!! Not me, that’s for sure. As I mentioned in my last post, I am not a “morning person.”

Years ago I figured out a way to get around this dilemma—to be able to serve warm cinnamon rolls right out of the oven to your guests, but still get your sleep: REFRIGERATOR ROLLS! I make the dough the day before (which I did yesterday afternoon) and let it rise the first time, overnight, in the refrigerator. So when you’ve already gotten 2 hours and 15 minutes of “prep time” out of the way.

So the next morning (or 2-3 mornings later; you can make up the refrigerator dough several days in advance), you’ve only got 1 ½ hours of prep time left—assembling the rolls and putting them on the baking sheet, letting them rise another 30-45 minutes until double, and then 20 minutes of baking time. To have cinnamon rolls ready at 9 am for all the boys to gobble down required me to be up-and-atom at 7:30 am. Even a “Night owl” like me can handle that!

Here’s the recipe:


7 cups unbleached white flour
2 pkgs. yeast
2 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup butter (cut into tablespoon-sized slices)
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs

In large bowl, combine 3 cups of the flour and the yeast. In large saucepan over low heat, heat milk, butter, sugar and salt, until the butter is mostly melted and warm to the touch. Pour into flour and yeast mixture. Add eggs, and beat well with a mixer. Stir in remaining flour cups of flour. Shape into a ball and put into a large, greased (with butter) cover bowl. Let rise in fridge 2-3 days).

An hour and a half before serving time, take dough out of fridge. On floured surface, roll dough into a 14-inch by 24-inch rectangle. Spread with the following mixture:

1 ½ cups butter, melted
3 cups granulated sugar
4 tsp. cinnamon

Sprinkle with raisins and/or chopped nuts, if desired. Roll up, “jelly roll” style, starting on one of the long sides. Cut into 1-inch slices. Grease 2- 10X14-inch baking pans. Arrange slices on pans. Let rise 30-45 minutes, until double. Then bake in 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and spread a little butter on the tops of the cinnamon rolls. Drizzle with your favorite buttercream icing, if desired.

Happy eating!


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