I love brunch; and I love potlucks. So, a brunch-potluck is an exceptional sort of event, of which I attended last week! I love seeing all the different things everyone brings. It’s like a little peak into their kitchens (in a not creep way, of course 😉); what they like to cook, and how they cook. Because everyone comes from different walks of life, they have different ways of doing things, and different recipes for the same dishes, which makes for a lot of diversity! Even if everyone brought the same thing, they would probably all be a little different.
For this potluck, I decided to make cinnamon rolls. In my family, cinnamon rolls are sacred. Fight (passively-aggressively) over the last one, hide your favorite middle piece in an undisclosed location, stuff your face sacred. Christmastime is the usual season for cinnamon roll feasts, but there is no rule that says we can’t have them all-year-long!
Something very important to know about our typical cinnamon rolls is that they cause sugar highs, food comas, and a very sluggish feeling after consuming. They delight the senses, but you pay for it later. They are sweet, heavily filled, and frosted to gooey perfection. They are, in a word, decadent.
They’re definitely not something I want to take to a potluck brunch for a bunch of lovely ladies. For that I thought something a little bit more approachable, and a little bit pretty would better. Luckily, I found these beautiful little buns 🙌! They are much lighter than a typical cinnamon roll. Less filling, less frosting, less guilt, but still plenty of flavor. And the presentation is unbeatably beautiful for how easily they came together!
There are a few things to remember when working with yeast breads.
- First, activating the yeast is super important. Be sure that the water isn’t too warm before sprinkling on the yeast. It’ll kill🔪the yeast, and you’ll be stuck with flat, sad bread.
- Second, don’t add too much flour. Too much flour will make your dough hard to work with, and your bread will come out very dense instead of fluffy.
- Third, they are best straight out of the oven, but be careful not to eat them all in one sitting. Learn from my mistakes 😬.
Now go forth and make some cinnamon rolls!
- 2 t active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water - warm to the touch, but not so warm that it burns when you swirl the water 🙂
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 c milk, scalded and cooled
- 2 eggs
- 4-5 cups all purpose flour
- 2 T melted butter
- 4 T solid butter
- 1 T cinnamon
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar + extra for dusting
- 2 T cream cheese
- 2 T butter
- 1-2 T milk for thinning
- 1 t vanilla
- Mix the sugar and salt with the warm water, then sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit for 10 minutes - it should be frothy.
- Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and add the melted butter, milk, eggs, and 4 cups of flour and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Add the rest of the flour a little at a time until the dough pulls off the sides of the mixer, but is still slightly sticky to the touch.
- Knead in the mixer for about 5 minutes, then cover the bowl and let rise for about an hour.
- On a floured surface, divide the dough into 2 parts to make 2 loaves.
- Roll each part into a rectangle about ½ inch thick - different dimensions yield a different shaped loaf. Long and narrow will make more small rolls, while short and wide will make fewer big rolls, and square will land somewhere in between. (Assume that the side of the rectangle you’ll start rolling from is the “long” or “short” side)
- Mix the cinnamon and sugar together, then spread 2 tablespoons butter onto each rectangle and sprinkle with just enough cinnamon sugar to cover (I had extra).
- Roll into a log and place seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Cut diagonal slices almost down the bottom of the loaf, and arrange the sections so that they lean to alternating sides.
- Preheat the oven to 375° F while the loaves are rising
- Bake for 20-30 minutes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do not over bake or the bread will be too dry.
- Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, then dust with powdered sugar
- Whisk together 1 cup of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Drizzle over the loaf and let completely cool. Slice or pull apart and enjoy!