Saturday Morning Cinnamon Rolls

Saturday mornings in my house are something new and incredible. For the last year and a half I’ve spent Saturdays at work (or school), and very few weekends have passed spent with my own family and friends. When I signed up for a career in the kitchen I knew that’s what I’d be getting myself into.

As a little luck would have it though, and a great deal of reorganization, I’ve been granted Saturdays off! Knowing that this sort of thing is rare and probably won’t last forever, I’m determined to make the most of it.

Of course no weekend would be complete without something tasty for brunch. In my parents’ house it was often cinnamon rolls, which I adore. So I decided to give a batch of handmade rolls a go last Saturday.

Now I happen to think the folks over at Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen have it all figured out. So I based this recipe on the Quick Cinnamon Buns in Baking Illustrated. Of course, cooking on a whim means that occasionally I don’t have everything on hand that the recipe calls for, so I improvised a little.

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling
3/4 c. Light brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. Sugar
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Cloves
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Unsalted butter, melted.

Stir all filling ingredients together until completely combined with a sandy texture. Set aside and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9″ cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Dough
2 1/2 c. All-purpose flour (plus more for rolling out)
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 1/4 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 c. Milk (I had 2% on hand)
1/4 c. Heavy cream
6 Tbsp. Unsalted butter, melted.

Whisk all of the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder & salt) together to combine and break up lumps. Pour in the milk, heavy cream and 2 Tbsp. Of the melted butter, and stir with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula until all of the liquid is absorbed and dough comes together.

On a floured surface, turn out the dough and knead together any pieces not completely combined. With your hands, smooth out and pat the dough until it forms a rectangle about 9″ by 12″. Brush the dough with melted butter and add the filling in an even layer on the dough, leaving a 1/2″ border of dough showing.

Gently roll the dough (with the long side, across the 9″ portion) with a bench scraper, and seal the edge by pinching the dough at the seam. With the bench scraper, trim the edges of the log, then cut the dough into 8 pieces. Put one roll in the center or your 9″ cake pan and surround it with the other 7 rolls. Gently pat down any pieces that may have popped out of place and brush with more butter. Bake until the buns are lightly golden, about 20 – 25 minutes.

Icing

8 oz. Cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tbsp. Light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. Heavy cream
2 c. Confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla extract

Beat all ingredients together with a stand or hand mixer until icing is smooth, creamy, and fluffy. Spread on top of biscuits after they’ve cooled for 5 minutes. Enjoy a tasty start to your weekend!

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