Because we don’t usually host Christmas at our own house anymore, I try to be a good guest by supplying a few treats when we show up for a week of festivities. Our older daughter and her family have a little less flexibility than we do, so we generally head up to the northern part of the state to spend a week or so in the land of grandchildren.
It’s a magical place where certain of the residents think you are about the best thing since sliced bread, and don’t mind telling you so, even as early as 5 minutes after you get out of bed. I don’t know about you, but I don’t start to feel very awesome before my second cup of coffee. In the land of grandchildren, all I have to do is open my eyes and I’m stylin’.
I need to take advantage of this while I can, before they get old enough to realize I’m nearly as irritating as their own parents are, so I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve. Their own Mom is a pretty great cook, what with baking all of their bread and cooking every meal from scratch, so I have a fairly tough act to follow. I have to stay on my toes.
That is why I love things like these Anadama Cinnamon Rolls. Cinnamon rolls look like they took a lot of effort, and they are so yummy that showing up with a batch of them is a guarantee of instant happiness on the part of those around you. Not only are cinnamon rolls tasty and comforting, but you have that illusion of having gone to a lot of trouble on your side – people feel like they must be very special to you when you go to the trouble of making cinnamon rolls for them.
But, here is a secret that I am happy to share. These Anadama Cinnamon Rolls? No trouble at all! You start with one of my favorite ‘from scratch’ bread recipes, Anadama Bread, which is about as close to fool-proof as any bread recipe can be. And if you look up “heavenly” in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure you will see a photo of this bread there, because even angels would feel blessed to be eating Anadama Bread!
This does make quite a lot of cinnamon rolls – 32, to be exact. If you don’t need that many, you can just use half of the dough and bake up the other half as a loaf – there are step by step directions for forming loaves on the original post, linked up above.
Roll up your sleeves, and lets get this thing going – there are people just waiting to tell you how awesome you are!
- 5 + cups all purpose flour, divided
- 1 cup of cornmeal [whole grain preferably]
- 2 packets of instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups hot water
- ½ cup dark molasses
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- 6 ounces of butter, melted
- ⅔ cup granulated or raw sugar
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 cups confectionery sugar
- ¼ cup real maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons very strong, cooled coffee [or half and half if you prefer]
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the all purpose flour, the cornmeal, yeast and salt.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together the hot water, molasses and butter.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix together vigorously until very well combined and smooth - a couple minutes total.
- One at a time, add 2 more cups of the flour, and mix until well combined. it will still be on the sticky side.
- Generously flour your counter with ¼ cup of flour.
- Turn the dough out onto the flour, and top with another ¼ cup of flour.
- Knead until all of that flour is incorporated, and then knead in ½ cup more, ¼ cup at a time.
- The dough should be nicely smooth at this point, though it may still seem on the damp side, that is ok - it's exactly what you want. If it is terribly wet still, knead in a bit more flour - maybe another ¼ cup or so.
- Clean out your bowl, and oil it well. Place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat all side with oil. Cover with a clean towel, or a sheet of plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes, until doubled in size.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form a uniform ball of dough.
- Cut the ball of dough in half, and return 1 half to the oiled bowl so it doesn't get dried out.
- Roll the other half into a thin sheet - about 16 x 8 inches. If it seems difficult to get it rolled out at any point, leave it to rest for about 5 minutes and it will be easier to proceed.
- Drizzle with 3 ounces of the melted butter and spread evenly with the back of a spoon, leaving a ½ inch border all around.
- Sprinkle evenly with ⅓ cup of the sugar and two teaspoons of the ground cinnamon.
- Working from the long side, roll into a fairly tight cylinder, and pinch all along the top edge to seal. I use a bench scraper or something else flat to neaten up the ends by pushing against them - no need to trim anything off.
- Generously butter four 8 or 9 inch round cake pans, or two 13 x 9 baking dishes. I prefer to bake these in the cake pans because I think they look nicer, and if you plan to give them away, disposable round cake pans work well.
- Cut the cylinders into 16 equal pieces [cut it in half, then each half in half and then each of those pieces in half, and each of those pieces in half to get 16]
- Place cut side down in the prepared pans - 8 in each cake pan or 16 in each 13 x 9 pan.
- Repeat with the other half of the dough, using up the butter, cinnamon and sugar, rolling and cutting as for the first half.
- Allow all of the rolls to rise for about 90 minutes, until doubled in size.
- Place in a preheated 350º oven and bake for about 20 minutes for the cake pans, 25 to 30 minutes for the larger pan. They should be nicely brown across the tops and the filling should be on the bubbly side.
- Cool briefly in the pans and top with the glaze, which is made by beating together the confectionery sugar, maple syrup and coffee. Use all of the glaze so that it runs down into all of the little nooks. Serve immediately.
- These can be baked up to the point before you add the glaze, and then reheated and glazed at serving time. Best eaten fairly soon after baking or reheating, though they will stay good at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Place the 2 cups of flour, cornmeal, yeast and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer and mix briefly, using the regular paddle - you will switch to the dough hook later.
- Beat in the water, molasses and melted butter - no real need to mix them together beforehand. Once ingredients are incorporated, beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
- Switch to the dough hook and beat/knead in the remaining 3 cups of flour, ½ cup at a time. Knead an additional 2 minutes or so at medium speed, until the dough is silky and smooth.
- Turn onto a lightly floured counter and knead briefly to form a smooth ball. Clean bowl and oil it - place dough ball in it and turn to coat. Proceed from this point as above.*
Look at that – some serious deliciousness, right?
I plan to keep my grandma mojo working for some time to come with these babies – cinnamon rolls for the world!