Cinnamon Rolls w/ Maple Cream Cheese Icing


There is something comforting about the smell of cinnamon and sugar wafting from the kitchen when you bake up a batch of sweet rolls...

...warm, soft and sticky, these cinnamon rolls are perfect with a cold glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee...either way, you will be glad you made them...and even happier to eat them!

In a large bowl or in your KitchenAid mixer, combine 2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 tsp. of salt and a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar.

Add 2-1/4 tsps. (or one 8 g. envelope) of quick rise yeast...give mixture a stir to incorporate all ingredients.

Next, using a pastry blender, cut in a 1/4 cup of shortening until crumbly.

Pour in a 1/2 cup of warm milk and a 1/2 cup of warm water (about 120 degrees Fahrenheit...it will be luke warm), into the flour mixture...

...then add 1 beaten egg...mix with a fork until a sticky dough forms.

Using the dough hook for your mixer...or a wooden spoon if you are taking the old fashioned route, work in the remaining 1 & 1/4 cups of flour.

"Knead" dough for about 5 minutes or until it is smooth (dough will still be slightly sticky so do not add more flour).

Place dough in a large, greased bowl, turning once to coat the top in grease...cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (oven temperatures vary, so you may want your oven at 375 degrees if it is a "hot" oven)...then, when the dough is finished rising, punch it down and roll out (on a lightly floured surface) into a rough 15x17 " rectangle. Brush the top with a 1/4 cup of melted butter. Please note my ratty shirt cuff...I can dress up, really I can!!

Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture evenly over the top...

...then, starting at the shortest end, roll up the dough "jelly roll" style.

Pinch the seam together when you are done.

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into slices (about 1-1/2 " wide).

Place each roll onto a parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart...you may also place them in a greased 9x15 inch baking dish (about 1 inch apart...if you like the rolls closer together...but I'm like a whiny kid and "I don't like them touching!"...and I just said "touching" in my best high pitched, nasal voice!)...next, cover the rolls with a tea towel and let them rise again for about 30 minutes.

Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for approximately 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and place the pan on a wire cooling rack while you make the icing.

In a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer (using the paddle attachment), beat 1/4 cup of softened butter with a 1/2 block of softened cream cheese...beat until smooth.

Next, add in about 2 cups of powdered sugar, beating slowly so you don't create a mushroom cloud of dust in your kitchen, prompting you to come up with your best kept swear words!

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then pour in 1 tsp. of vanilla extract and about 2-3 tbsps. of pure maple syrup (or a 1/2 tsp. of maple flavouring if you don't have maple syrup).

Continue to beat the icing until it is smooth and creamy.

Slather each warm roll with the cream cheese frosting and watch it melt into pure deliciousness!

*Note: these cinnamon rolls can be baked fresh in the morning by storing the unbaked rolls in the fridge (covered in plastic wrap), overnight...in the morning, take the pan from the fridge and let rise on the counter for about 30 minutes...bake and frost as directed above. Enjoy fresh from the oven, cinnamon rolls and coffee for a quick (unhealthy, but delicious) breakfast!

Cinnamon Rolls

Dough

3 1/4 cups of all purpose flour, divided

1/4 cup of granulated sugar

1 tsp. of salt

2 1/4 tsps. of quick-rise yeast (or one 8 g. envelope)

1/2 cup of milk, luke warm (approx. 120 degrees fahrenheit)

1/2 cup of water, luke warm (approx. 120 degrees fahrenheit)

1/4 cup of shortening (such as "Crisco")

1 egg, beaten

1. In the bowl of your Kitchen-Aid mixer or in a large bowl, combine 2 cups of all purpose flour, salt, sugar and yeast, then stir.

2. Using a pastry blender, cut in a 1/4 cup of shortening until crumbly...set aside.

3. In a saucepan, over medium heat or in a microwave safe bowl, bring the milk and water to about 120 degrees fahrenheit (luke warm)...pour liquid into the dry mixture, followed by the beaten egg. Stir together until all is incorporated, then add in the remaining 1 &1/4 cups of flour.

4. Using the dough hook attachment of your mixer, "knead" dough for about 5 minutes (or if you don't have a mixer, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for about 8 minutes). The dough should be smooth and satiny at this point but will also be sticky (do not add more flour).

5. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, turning once to coat the dough...cover bowl with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour (if your home is drafty, place the bowl in your oven with the oven light on...that will create enough heat to allow the dough rise properly).

Filling

1/2 cup of icing sugar

1/4-1/2 cup of light brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like them)

2 Tbsps. of ground cinnamon

1/4 cup of melted butter

1. Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a small bowl...set aside.

2. Once your dough has risen, on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a 15 x 17" rectangle (approx.)...brush the rolled out dough with melted butter, then evenly sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture over top.

3. Roll the dough (starting with the shortest end), jelly roll style and pinch the seams closed at the end.

4. Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut into 1-1/2 inch slices...place about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet or in a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan (I like my rolls separate, so I bake them on a baking sheet).

5. Cover once again with a tea towel and let rise for about 30 minutes. When the rolls have finished their second rise, place in a preheated 400 degree oven (if your oven is "hot", turn temperature down to 375 degrees) for about 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown...remove from oven and place on a wire cooling rack.

Maple Cream Cheese Icing

1/2 of a block cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 tsp. of vanilla

2-3 tbsps. of pure maple syrup or a 1/2 tsp. of maple flavouring (or enough to suit taste)

2 cups of powdered sugar

1. In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy...add in the vanilla and maple syrup, then gradually add in the powdered sugar...beat until fluffy, scraping down the sides of bowl occasionally.

2. Spread evenly over warm cinnamon rolls. There will be leftover frosting...store in a container in the freezer for another batch if it makes it that far or you can easily half the recipe!

* makes 12 cinnamon rolls

* oven temperatures may vary...if you have a "hot" oven, preheat to 375 degrees instead of 400 degrees.