on friday, i woke up with an intense craving.
'anna,' i said, in complete earnestness, 'i really need a cinnamon roll.' by the time sunday rolled around and i'd spent the whole weekend making rouxs and carefully whisking bechamel sauce, the craving hadn't diminished at all, and since i'd delayed so long in doing anything about it, i needed to find a recipe that didn't need to develop overnight.
let's talk about some goddamn delicious cinnamon rolls. for me, the perfect cinnamon roll is soft and flaky, pillowy. it's faintly sweet with strong hits of cinnamon, but never overdone, never saccharine. the glaze should coat the top and run down the sides, but it should never be heavy or globby. it should, well, glaze.
the recipe is straightforward and can be stored, after the initial rise, in the freezer for several weeks. then it's an easy sunday morning breakfast, just waiting to be popped in the oven and served with coffee and orange juice. you can spend extra time doing the new york times crossword puzzle then, and on sundays, you need all the time you can get.
1/4 oz dry instant yeast
1/2 warm (tepid) water
1/2 cup scalded whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, european-style, softened
1 tsp kosher salt
3.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup melted butter
2 tbsp sugar
1.5 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tbsp orange zest
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup cold water
1 tsp orange extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange zest
pinch of salt
in a small bowl, bloom the yeast with the warm water. set aside. pour milk into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer (about 100 degrees fahrenheit). remove from heat. set aside.
combine milk, sugar, butter, salt, and egg in a stand mixer with paddle attachment. slowly whip in two cups of flour. add yeast mixture. add remaining flour until mixture is thoroughly combined and is pulling away cleanly from sides of bowl. knead mixture for 8-10 minutes, either by hand on a lightly floured work surface or in the mixer with the dough hook attachment on low speed. place dough in a greased bowl covered with a towel. put in a warm spot and allow to rise for two hours, until dough has doubled in size. retrieve dough and punch down. turn out onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/4 thickness in size.
combine melted butter, cinnamon, sugar, and orange zest in a bowl until combined. with a brush (i prefer silicone), paint the mixture over the rolled-out dough. slice dough in 1 inch strips and roll up. set into a well-greased baking pan, allowing room for expansion. cover and allow dough to rise for 45 minutes.
place in preheated 350 degree oven. bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top and flaky on sides.