These babies are gooood. Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite things (along with raindrops on roses and warm woolen mittens) for breakfast, but we never have them, because I can't get past the part where they're so bad for you that just reading the recipe makes you gain 4 pounds. So, I'm not claiming this recipe is good for you, per se, but it's a lot less bad for you than most. This is really modified from Ree's recipe, which I'll link to at the bottom of the post.
I made these with the kids last week, and the recipe is so big that I just baked the last pan this morning. I made about 6 pans from this. Here's the great part: I used whole wheat pastry flour (also sold as white whole wheat flour, scroll down to the fifth bag), but you can't tell!! This flour is amazing because the nutritional content is the same as whole wheat flour, but it's made from a softer wheat berry, so the texture and color are lighter. It's light and fluffy and you can use it in place of white flour in every recipe except when you're making a roux or breading something to fry it. Trust me on those two. It's my best friend in the whole world.
I use whole wheat in everything else, but was a little nervous to use it in something like cinnamon rolls. It turned out great! John saw me grinning as I watched him try them, and he said in a terrified tone, 'Oh, no! You didn't do anything bad to these, like use whole wheat flour, did you?' I said, 'Honey, I wouldn't do something like that to you. Have no fear.' (And then I gloated to myself, because he had no idea!! Woohoo!!)
So make this less-bad recipe, and your family will love you and worship at your feet and give you no peace until you make another batch.
modified by Brea
1 quart low fat milk
1 cup canola oil
3 cups sugar, divided
4 1/2 t yeast (2 packets)
10 cups white whole wheat flour, divided
1 heaping t baking powder
1 scant t baking soda
1 heaping T salt
cinnamon, and lots of it!
1 c butter, melted with 1 1/2 c canola oil
glaze, recipe follows
Scald milk, 1 c canola oil, and 1 c sugar (scalding, for any cooking newbies, is always what you do with milk. Do not ever boil milk, unless specifically instructed. Scalding is heating something through to just before the point of boiling, then removing from the heat). Remove from heat, and let sit for an hour, until it's lukewarm. Stir in yeast, and let it bloom.
Add 8 cups flour, stir together, cover, and let rise for at least an hour. Add powder, soda, salt, and one more cup flour, and mix. (Ree says you can refrigerate the dough at this point for a day or two, but I haven't tried that yet. I'm fat too impatient to have dough just hanging out in my fridge, not being cooked or eaten.)
Sprinkle your rolling surface generously with some of the remaining flour, and take half the dough and make a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough kind of thin, keeping a rectangular shape. It should increase in both width and length as you roll it. Now drizzle half of the melted butter/oil mix. Sprinkle on one cup of sugar. Make sure it's fairly evenly distributed, and then load on the cinnamon. Don't be shy, people. It's cinnamon we're talking here. It's sooo good!! At this point, you could also add a cup of well-chopped pecans. In fact, I recommend it, because it adds so much to the recipe. Roll your rectangle towards you, keeping a tight circle, and pincha seam to keep it shut. Lots of goo will probably come out at this point. This is a messy recipe. Deal with it. :) It's worth it, trust me!!
Spray your 9-inch cake tins very lightly with non-stick spray, and start cutting your dough into 3/4 inch thick slices and putting them into your buttered pans. I was able to fit 7-8 in each pan, and again, this is a very messy process. Deal, and move on.
Repeat with the remaining half of the dough. You should have 6-7 pans (9-inch cake pans) of cinnamon rolls. At this point, you have a few options. One, you let them rise on the counter for 20-30 minutes, and bake at 400 until a very light golden brown. Remove, and glaze, then eat yourself into a stupor.
Your second option, if you're like me and have a maddeningly small oven, is to let three pans rise, and bake those three (or four. Whatever.). Cover the rest with foil, and put them in the fridge and let them hang out, chatting with your eggs and celery and whatnot, for up to three days. Then take them out, uncover, let them sit on the counter while your oven heats up, and then bake at 400 until very light golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Option three is more long term. After you slice the rolls and put them in the pan, cover with heavy-duty foil or two layers of regular foil, and put them in the fridge. Don't try to stack them until they're frozen. Put them in the fridge the night before you want to eat them (12-24 hours before cooking), and then let them hang out on the counter while your oven heats. Cook same as above.
Ree says you can cook, ice, and then freeze them, but again, I haven't tried that, so I can't vouch for it. But she does seem to know what she's talking about, so I would trust her if I were you. Even if she doesn't add pecans to her cinnamon rolls.
1 bag powdered sugar
2 t maple flavoring
1/2 c milk
1/4 c melted butter
1/4 c coffee
generous pinch of salt
Mix is all up with a whisk in a big bowl. It should be thick but pourable. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls.
I didn't use this recipe, because I can't find maple flavoring. I was cranky. So I just made a glaze with powdered sugar, orange extract, and milk. It was awesome.
These rolls are amazing and not too sweet by themselves, and (dare I say it??) almost healthy without the glaze. I actually only glazed two pans, one that we took to a neighbor, and we've just been eating the rest plain for breakfast. And for our after-nap snack. And maybe for a snack for moi after the kids go to bed. Maybe.
So go forth! Make rolls! Enjoy!! And please, please, please don't ever tell John that thing I told you about the whole wheat. He wouldn't like them nearly as much as he does. :)