Classic Cinnamon Rolls
Mornings can be rough. Homemade cinnamon rolls make them better.
Killian, my 4 year old, has become my alarm clock. Killian wakes at sunrise, like a rooster. He crawls out of bed, toddles downstairs into our room, puts his face right next to mine and exhales…till the humidified aura of last nights mac n cheese camouflaged with strawberry toothpaste overpowers my stage 4 sleep. Sometimes he sneezes on me, scoring points for creativity, and offering a unique twist on a spa facial. When I jolt up, confused and disoriented, he falls to the floor giggling. Then he demands a toaster waffle. He’s lucky he’s cute.
I am a zombie and need an IV of coffee.
I head upstairs to get my youngest, Soren, from his crib. Soren is almost two and has very strong opinions for someone who can barely reach the counter. In our opening act Soren loves me. He squeals with excitement, arms in the air; I’m the best mom ever. Then, before I even make it to his crib, a shift happens and he hates me. I don’t know what I did or how I did it, but I’ve offended him. All I want is a morning hug and all he wants is to pull my hair and punch me in the face. I struggle to change his diaper while he somersaults all over the floor, trying to escape. Pretty much my cardio for the day. Then he demands a toaster waffle. He’s lucky he’s cute.
Side note: Toaster waffles. My boys love them, but they never actually eat them. They hold them in their hands while they watch Daniel Tiger, till they get soggy and smashed, then proceed to shove them in the sofa cushions. They’re found days later, after they’ve become stale and rock hard, and they’re used as edible Chinese throwing stars.
Hatton, my preteen, needs to be dragged out of bed by force. It takes him 20 minutes to get dressed; in that 20 minutes he neglects to put on matching socks. I ask if he’s brushed his teeth and put on deodorant. His reply is always the same, “I can’t remember.” So…no. I send him back upstairs while lecturing about personal hygiene and how one day he’s going to want a girlfriend. He tunes me out immediately. I hear him turn on the water and make splashy noises. He must think I’m an idiot; he’s up there playing with his Pokeman cards. I’m too exhausted to care. I send him to the bus stop with mismatched socks, bad breath, and inevitable body oder. Five minutes later I notice he’s left his homework on the dining table. He’s lucky he’s cute.
I envy my husband who somehow manages to escape the morning routine…every morning. He’s a ninja. And he’s lucky he’s cute.
I load the boys with toaster waffles and sippy cups of milk; I turn on Curious George. On a good day this buys me at least 10 minutes before the search party for mommy begins. I hide in the bathroom with a homemade cinnamon roll. A warm, gooey, sticky, buttery cinnamon roll. It may be my only moment of peace all day. Oh, but what a moment.
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 12 rolls
- 1/2 cup of whole milk
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 package of dry active yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour + 1/2 cup additional for kneading
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Heat the milk and butter in a medium saucepan till butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm.
- In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, pour the yeast over warm water.
- Beating at low speed, add the eggs and sugar. Mix till combined.
- Add the salt, milk and butter mixture, and 2 cups of flour. Beat at medium speed till combined, about 1 minute.
- Switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook. Add 1 1/4 cups of flour and knead at medium speed for about 10 minutes. If needed, add more flour, sparingly. The dough should come away from the sides of bowl.
- Pour dough onto a floured work surface. If dough feels sticky, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more flour and knead by hand. The dough should feel smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough in a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for 2 1/2 hours, till doubled in size.
- After rise, make a fist and punch the center of the dough. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and butter a 13x9 inch baking pan.
- Mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside.
- Mix the raisins and nuts together. Set aside.
- Roll the rested dough with a floured rolling pin into an evenly shaped 12x16 inch rectangle.
- Brush the dough generously with melted butter.
- Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle an even layer of raisins and walnuts.
- Starting with the long side of dough, begin rolling into a log, pressing gently together as you go.
- With a sharp knife, cut the log into 12 even pieces. Space them evenly in buttered pan, allowing for space between. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let them rise again, for one hour. The rolls should be touching.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes on center rack till golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then turn them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Whisk powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a bowl till combined. Drizzle over cooled rolls.