As Thanksgiving approaches here in the US, it’s easy to get caught up in planning the big meal, what to pack if you’re traveling or getting things cleared from your desk during the shortened work week. I read
Kasey’s beautiful post and it prompted me to pause and take a moment to think.
In my head, I often tell myself that I’m lucky. When orange-red rays from the window forecast a sunny day, I’m grateful. When I wake up next to Marc’s cute, snoozing face, I’m grateful. When I make a friend while picking up a new phone and we become Instagram buddies, I’m grateful. In those ordinary, but spectacular snippets of life, I try to pause in that moment. I smile to myself. Thankful that not only are my basic needs met, but that there’s a little beauty everywhere. It’s not always possible to appreciate the moment, but that’s always a goal of mine.
I’m bringing these cinnamon rolls to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving. I’ve tried a few recipes, but these are the best ones, yet. My Dad loves them and I can’t resist them, either. One morning I will put these in the oven and everyone will wake up to the strong scent of cinnamon and yeast. The 10 minutes of cooling time will be torture. I hope it becomes another moment to remember.
Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Buttermilk Glaze
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg, makes 12 rolls
1 cup low fat milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast (or 1 envelope)
1 teaspoon sea salt
grapeseed oil Filling
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pans Vanilla Buttermilk Glaze
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup powder sugar, sifted to prevent lumps
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
For dough: combine milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat until the butter has just melted and an instant read thermometer in the liquid with the pan off of the heat registers between 120 and 130 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast and salt. Add the milk/butter mixture and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and beat on low until the flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping the sides of the bowl. If dough is sticky and not pulling away from the sides of the bowl, add more flour one tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides. I added about 5 or 6 more tablespoons, but results will vary. Watch for dough to form a ball.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, scraping as much dough as possible from the bowl, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Dust the dough and work surface lightly with flour if the dough is sticky. Form a ball. Add one tablespoon of grapeseed or neutral oil to the bowl you used to mix the dough (it’s ok if it still has some dough bits inside) and coat the entire bowl. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl and turn the dough to coat it lightly in the oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let sit in a warm spot for about 2 hours or until almost doubled in size. (At this point you can also refrigerate overnight and finish the rest the next day).
For Filling: Mix dark brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Punch down the dough and transfer to a floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll out dough to a 15×11-inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Save about 1 tablespoon of butter to grease two 8-inch square or round baking dishes (or grease the pans first). Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture evenly over the butter. Starting at one long side, roll the dough into a log, pressing gently after each roll to keep everything together. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with a sharp knife or using a bench scraper into 12 slices. It’s easiest to cut log in half, then each half in half and then those sections into 3 equal sections for a total of 12 slices.
Put 6 rolls, cut side up, in each greased baking dishes leaving a bit of room in between the rolls, but clustering them in the middle of the dish. Cover each baking dish with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, 40-45 minutes. (At this point, you can cover and freeze one of the dishes, wrapped well in plastic wrap, for about a month. Or you can put the rolls in the refrigerator to let rise overnight and take out of the refrigerator 1 1/2 hours before you plan to bake to bring them back to room temperature.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 12-18 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto a cooling rack. Cool 10 minutes and then turn the rolls right side up.
Mix glaze ingredients together and drizzle over the warm rolls and serve immediately.