Nancy Howard’s Cinnamon Rolls
My mother’s skillful, kneading hands brought these cinnamon rolls to life and made them much-appreciated Christmas gifts for friends, neighbors and relatives. To me, the butter — in the dough, on the dough, on the baked rolls and in the icing — is another one of the keys to the tenderness and flavor in this beloved, timeless recipe.
- 1 Tbs. salt
- 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 2 pkgs. active dry yeast
- 2 cups milk
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbs. shortening
- Approximately 5 to 7 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 stick salted butter softened
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm milk until butter and shortening are melted; allow to cool to lukewarm temperature. Place salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Pour in lukewarm milk mixture, then sprinkle in yeast. Add enough flour to bring mixture to a pancake batter consistency, stirring with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring for several minutes or until very smooth.
- Begin adding flour in small amounts, incorporating well after each addition. When enough flour is added, one will not be able to stir with a spoon any longer. At this point, turn out onto a floured board, cover with bowl and let rest for a few minutes. Begin kneading and continue until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
- Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a clean towel and allow it to rise until doubled in bulk, about one hour. Punch dough down and return to floured board. Knead again for 3 to 4 minutes.
- To shape the rolls, divide the dough in half. Roll out one half of the dough on a floured board to a 12-inch by 14-inch rectangle. Spread a few tablespoons of the softened butter evenly over the dough. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle half the mixture over the buttered rectangle. From the long edge of the rectangle, roll the dough up into a long log. Place the roll, seam-side down and using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 8 slices. Place the slices in a greased 8- or 9-inch cake pan, leaving a little room between each roll. Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Cover both pans with a clean cloth and let rise until doubled in size, 45 minutes to an hour.
- Bake rolls at 350° until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Immediately brush tops with more softened butter. Remove from pans. While still warm, frost with Vanilla Icing.
- Makes about 16 rolls.
- Whisk 1 /12 cups confectioner's sugar, 2 tbs. softened, salted butter, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 to 3 tbs. milk together until smooth. Glaze should be thick, but still able to pour. Use to glaze cinnamon rolls, muffins, quick breads, Bundt cakes or cookies.
- Makes about 2 cups.
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