This post was supposed to be a way to tell you some big news. I was like, I’m a baker. Cinnamon rolls are a form of a bun. Bun in the oven? Sure. That’s cute. But then I didn’t take a picture of these buns in my oven because my oven is super gross right now since I accidentally sprinkled cheese on the door a few weeks ago and it just burned on there and I’ve been too lazy to scrape it off. So instead I’ll just come out and say it: Yo, I’m totally pregnant!
The process of making cinnamon rolls is a good metaphor for the process of making a human life. In both situations, I was like, “Ahhh! I’ve never done this before! It sounds terrifying but also magical.” Sometimes you don’t quite get the mixture right the first time and you have to start all over again. And then you are certain your buns are not going to rise. And when they do, you’re so excited you start crying at 3 AM and waving a stick you just peed on in your husband’s face and he’s groggy and doesn’t understand why you’re crying when you’re supposedly happy. Wait a second, I think that last part applies more to the getting pregnant thing.
I just started my second trimester, so most of my symptoms have dissipated at this point. I haven’t had too bad a time of it, but there were a few weeks of nausea (while we were in Italy and a couple weeks afterward) and some dizziness. I totally fainted on the plane ride back from Italy and got upgraded to first class. First class is noice. Thanks, fetus! That’s really all the news I have to share at this point. I might periodically give you an update, like when we find out the sex of the baby or when I start to feel his or her little parasitic hands and feet pressing against my uterine wall. I am due August 1, so I am looking forward to what is likely to be a very hot, very uncomfortable summer.
Now back to these cinnamon rolls. Much like waiting for your baby to gestate, waiting for cinnamon rolls to rise feels like an incredibly long time, but the results are so totally worth it. If my baby turns out anywhere as awesome as these cinnamon rolls… I might eat my baby. These aren’t really the type of thing you can wake up and have ready by the time your layabout husband gets out of bed. If you are a person who possesses a decent amount of forethought, you could probably refrigerate the rolls overnight, let them rise in the morning, and then pop them in the oven. Since I possess zero forethought, I did not test that theory, and we ate cinnamon rolls for dessert. And for breakfast the following day.
Once these suckers came out of the oven, I ate three of them within a half hour. Don’t look at me like that. They’re amazing. I feel like I deserve some kind of award for these. Or maybe multiple awards. One for successfully making a yeast dough, another for an excellent flavor profile, and a third for not eating the entire pan in one sitting. Don’t mind me while I toot my own horn over here. I’ll just be making fake award certificates for myself in Photoshop.
- ¼ cup warm water (about 110°F)
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- ½ cup room temperature water
- 1¼ teaspoons sea salt
- 4½ cups (540 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, divided, plus a little more for work surface
- 3 tablespoons (17 grams) dried buttermilk powder
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar (150 grams)
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon orange zest (from about one large orange)
- ½ cup (50 grams) cranberries
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1½ teaspoons maple syrup
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- In a small bowl, whisk together warm water and yeast. When yeast is dissolved, whisk in ½ teaspoon granulated sugar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, until mixture foams up.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk eggs to combine; add room temperature water and whisk to combine. Whisk in yeast mixture, remaining sugar, and salt until combined.
- Remove bowl from mixer. Add 2 cups (240 grams) flour, buttermilk powder, and melted butter; stir with a rubber spatula until evenly moistened and combined. Place bowl back on the mixer. Add another 2 cups (240 grams) flour, switch to the dough hook attachment, and knead with dough hook at low speed 5 minutes. Touch the dough; if it is sticky, continue to run the mixer on low speed for up to five minutes and add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is soft and moist, but no longer sticks to your fingers. The dough will pull away from the sides of the bowl, but stick to the bottom. (I had to add an additional ½ cup (60 grams) of flour to achieve the proper consistency.)
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 1 minute to ensure that dough is uniform. If the dough sticks to your work surface, knead in more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until it no longer sticks and all the flour is kneaded in.
- Spray a plastic mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the ball of dough into the bowl. Spray the top of the dough with cooking spray then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm, draft-free area until it has doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
- Brush the bottom and sides of a 13x9-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Turn the dough ball out onto a work surface and pat it into a rectangular shape. Roll the dough into a 16x12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter, leaving about ½-inch of dough unbuttered at the top edge.
- Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt and mix together with a fork. Sprinkle evenly over the buttered surface, leaving about ¾-inch uncovered on the top edge. Sprinkle with orange zest and cranberries. Gently press everything into the dough. Roll into a tight cylinder, making sure to envelope the cranberries as you roll so that they don't get pushed to the end. Pinch the seam of the dough to seal it, then stretch the roll to about 18 inches length and adjust the roll to make sure the thickness is uniform all the way down. Slice into 12 even rounds.
- Place buns, cut side down, into your buttered 13x9-inch baking pan. There should be some space between the rolls. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and set it in a warm, draft-free area until the rolls get puffy and press against each other, about 1½ hours. Meanwhile, adjust your oven rack to its lowest position, place a baking or pizza stone on the rack (optional), and heat the oven to 350°F.
- Place your baking pan on the pizza stone (or directly onto the rack). Bake until rolls are golden brown in top, about 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes.
- Whisk together all of the ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls, then serve.
- *I used water and buttermilk powder in this recipe, because buttermilk powder keeps way longer. If you have it, you can use room temperature buttermilk in place of the room temperature water, and omit the buttermilk powder.