Monday, December 31

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

When I was growing up, one thing my dad loved to do on weekends was make big breakfasts for the family. It often consisted of sausage, eggs, pancakes--the typical breakfast fare, only it was special because we would all sit down together as a family to eat it. My family wasn't the type to sit down to dinner together every night, but we did have a big breakfast together on weekends.

Shortly after my husband began working from home full time, I made a similar big breakfast one weekend. He asked me what the occasion was, and I replied, "It's Saturday." Since we're both home all the time now, often our days flow together and we lose track of time. But I would like to continue the big weekend breakfast tradition with my family. On weekends when we don't have anything else planned, it's a special treat--a sort of opening ceremony for our down time.

Unfortunately, not every weekend is completely "down time" for us right now. In an effort to keep up my skills as a veterinary technician, I've agreed to work every other Saturday at a pet MRI center near the hospital where I do relief work. I don't have time to cook a big breakfast on those Saturdays, so I've been looking for meal ideas that I could prepare in advance for just such an occasion. Hmm, sounds like another baking experiment!

I began playing with my whole wheat bread recipe to see if I could adapt it for cinnamon rolls. I found that if I make the dough the day before and assemble the rolls that night, my family could have cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven the next morning! I know I said the flavor of the dough didn't really lend itself to being stored in the fridge, but just one night doesn't make much of a difference, especially when you have the cinnamon, sugar, and butter flavors of the rolls to offset it.

Before I give you the recipe, I'd like to give just a brief demonstration on how to assemble the rolls.

1. After the dough has risen once, roll it out onto a floured surface into a rectangle that's roughly 9 inches wide. Brush the surface of the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar.

2. Roll the dough up into a log and slice off rolls with a bread knife in 1-inch segments. 

2. Place the rolls into a buttered 9-inch square pan and allow to rise a second time before refrigerating overnight.

And without further ado, here is the recipe!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

1 tbsp granulated yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups white whole wheat flour, sifted
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter, melted

4 oz cream cheese, melted
3 tbsp confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Mix the yeast, salt, and water in a 3-quart container. Add flour without kneading, using a wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot until double in size, about 2 hours.
2. Once the dough has risen, roll it into a 9-inch wide rectangle of 1/4-inch thickness. Brush melted butter onto the entire surface.
3. Mix together sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the dough until entire surface is covered.
4. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish. Roll the dough into a log and slice off 1-inch wide rolls. Place rolls in baking dish. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double in size again. Refrigerate overnight.
5. In the morning, allow rolls to come to room temperature on the kitchen counter for 45-60 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
6. Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes, until centers are set.
7. To make icing, whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Pour over cinnamon rolls. Serve hot.
Yield: 9 rolls Calories per serving: 235 per roll

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