Lately, I've been looking at my list of recipes to try (at the bottom right hand of the sidebar) and feeling like it was a good idea in theory, but not particularly motivating in practice. What works much better is a push from a friend. That's exactly what I got from Julia at Cook. Eat. Grow. A week or so ago, Julia sent me an email saying that she noticed that we both wanted to make cinnamon rolls and proposed that that we push each other to get it done.
Fast forward a week or so and we're both posting our results on the same day. Julia opted for an All Recipes version, while I went with Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe's recipe, which is passed down from her Aunt Marilyn.
The timing on these cinnamon rolls is perfect because I wanted to make a special dish for today's breakfast. This week is a big week for me. It's my last week as a student. After what feels like a lifetime in university, I am finishing school and am starting a job. Starting Monday, I'll be a career woman. It's going to take some adjustment. Namely, adjusting to a less flexible schedule.
I don't want you to think that graduate students are a bunch of slackers. But, there are some perks that come with the flexibility of some graduate programs. Sure, you work long days and nights. But, often there is the flexibility to take some time for yourself and socialize. One way I've been doing this over the past couple of years is by having a weekly Monday breakfast "meeting" with some friends in my department. By "meeting", I really mean that we watch an episode of a television series. Every week, we take turns bringing breakfast. We rationalize this as a way to get the week started early on Monday and to start it off on a good note. This week was my last turn. So, I wanted to bring something special for my last turn at bringing breakfast. My friends also surprised me with a going away gift: chocolate cake, a card and a bottle of wine. (Yes, between the recipe I brought, below, and the chocolate cake, we were on a sugar high all morning)
(I must know a lot about living...)
(the cake looks a bit weird because I removed some identifying information).
Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ½ ounce package instant vanilla pudding
½ cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
6+ cups flour
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
8 ounces cream cheese
½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
In a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside. In large bowl, take pudding mix and prepare according to package directions. Add butter, eggs and salt. Mix well. Then add yeast mixture. Blend. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Do not overflour the dough! It should be very soft but not sticky. Place in a greased bowl.
Cover and let rise until doubled.
Then roll out on floured board to 34 X 21 inches in size.
Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface. In bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar and 4teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top. (I added raisins)
Roll up very tightly. With knife put a notch every 1 1/2 inches. Cut with thread or serrated knife (highly recommend thread - I used dental floss).
Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart.
Cover and let rise until double again.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden (don’t overbake).
Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting (combine butter and cream cheese and mix well, then add vanilla and sugar and mix again, then add milk for desired consistency). Makes about 24 very large rolls.
Verdict: These cinnamon rolls are delicious. So much so that they need to leave my apartment asap. Everyone at breakfast loved them and even took a second for tomorrow's breakfast (with some prodding from me).
With all of this cinnamon, how can I resist sending this recipe to Grace's Cinnamon Celebration?