Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Mom's Cinnamon Rolls {A World Famous Recipe}

 Sometimes I laugh when I realize all the things I've never done that seem like things I should have done long ago.  I made my first attempt at cinnamon rolls last weekend.  My mother is a legendary cinnamon roll maker, and while I've assisted more times than I can count, I've only ever been a helper.  I walked into it thinking "I totally know what I'm doing" and then after I rolled them out I started second-guessing myself.

The reason I'm writing this post is because I succeeded at my first attempt making cinnamon rolls ONLY because I had a step-by-step guide to help me along the way- photographs!  So, I've learned my lesson.  Heirloom recipes must be documented through photographs.  Check out this archived post and you'll see what I mean.  If you ever attempt this recipe, be sure to read the instructions and then check out the pictures. You will have lots of "oh, I get it" moments.

Scroll down for the roll recipe she's been making and perfecting since I was born. The butter cream recipe is there too.  My mom is happy to share her amazing roll recipe (she's nice like that), but it's probably because no one can make them like she does. Except my brother, who apprenticed for years :)

Jeff Ihrig's Sweet Rolls {Perfected by Janalee}
Dissolve the following in a small bowl:
2 Tbsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup very warm water

Scald 1 cup milk, then pour into a big bowl containing:
3/4 cup sugar
1 cube margarine (cut up)
1 tsp. salt

Stir until everything is dissolved, then add to the above mixture:
3 eggs 
2 cups flour

Mix well with electric beater, then add yeast mixture and add 4 to 4.5 cups more flour. Stir by hand when dough gets too thick to beat with beaters. Cover and let rise till double in bulk, about 2 hours.

Punch down dough and divide into fourths.  Roll into rectangle shape on floured surface; brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (mix 1 part cinnamon to 3 parts white sugar).  Roll from long end and cut into 1 inch rolls.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes or until barely browned.  Cool slightly, then frost.  Makes about 30 medium-sized rolls.

Tips from my mom (trust me, these are good ones)

  • This is a sticky dough, so don't be tempted to add much more flour than the recipe calls for.  The dough will stick to everything, but the rolls will be fluffier. However, you will need to use a lot of flour on the rolling surface.
  • Cut the sweet rolls using thin string (kite string, baker's twine, dental floss, a double thread).  Wrap about a 12 inch string around the roll, position for proper thickness, and pull the ends to cut the dough.  This gives you rounded rolls that don't have a crease through them and are easier to handle.
  • Bake on the center oven rack and do not over bake.  About the time they smell done, they soon will be.  They are typically ready when some of the rolls are barely browned on the top, but the bottoms won't be brown. 
  • Frost with a good butter frosting when they are still warm.  It usually works well to frost the batch that has been cooling when you take the next batch out.

Butter Cream Frosting:
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
powdered sugar (approximately 1 pound or 3 cups)
Cream ingredients together, using electric mixer, and add powdered sugar to desired consistency.  This makes about the right amount for 1 recipe of rolls.


Lorrie said...

I've had your mom's rolls, and they are great! One question that I always have, though, is how MUCH cinnamon or sugar? I now know the ratio is three to one, but how much sugar did you start with? I always feel like I get too much or too little. I made what I hoped would be a fantastic cinnamon bread the other day, and I must have gotten too much, because the inside separated, making it really hard to toast, because it fell apart. Please don't tell me "whatever looks right," I don't do well with that!

Lindsay said...

I made cinnamon rolls for the first time, too, on Conference weekend. It was definitely a forage into unknown territory -- I'd never even seen them made by someone else before, so it was a true first. They turned out okay, too sugary, according to my husband. Maybe I'll have to try this recipe to see if he likes it better. :)

Lesley said...

Lorrie, My mom always used an empty spice jar (like the big ones with the shaker/holes at the top) and did 1 part cinnamon and 2 parts sugar. We always put it on toast too, so it was just something we had on-hand in our pantry at all times. I think for one batch of cinnamon rolls you could probably do 2 TBSP of cinnamon and 4 TBSP of sugar... and see where that takes you.

Some of my rolls didn't do well because I put too much butter on the dough before sprinkling the cinnamon/sugar on it. So that might have contributed? I always think more butter=better, but not in this case.

Hope that helps!