I LOVE to bake. Cookies. Pies. Bread. But I haven’t done hardly any baking for many months. My midsection had outgrew my clothes, and I needed drastic measures. So, I quit baking. Week after week, I stuck to my resolve to lose weight. And gradually, very slowly, it has been coming off. But the urge to bake hasn’t gone away. So I decided a few nights ago to make up a pan of cinnamon rolls to bring to work. That way I get to bake, but don’t have a dozen cinnamon rolls to tempt Dave and me to indulge too freely. The rolls are ones I’ve made dozens of times. I use a bread machine, and they are easy for me to make the night before, refrigerate, then bake in the morning. I consider them my “signature” baked goods, what I make over and over again and that people have come to expect (or at least, hope for) from me. I think with pleasure of what I consider other people’s “signature” recipes – my mother’s almond kringles, my sister’s Amish potato rolls. But these pecan cinnamon rolls are mine.
It’s a recipe I clipped from a Better Homes and Garden magazine years ago (decades ago, really). I’ve revised it to use a bread machine, but you can make them the “old fashioned” way if you’d like. Also, the original recipe was named “raisin-pecan cinnamon rolls”. I don’t like raisins cooked into anything, so I leave them out!
Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
In bread machine, add all ingredients. Program machine for dough setting – press start and come back in an hour and half or so. Take dough out of bread machine, punch down and turn out onto lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. While dough is resting, prepare filling:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Combine all filling ingredients, cutting in butter till crumbly.
Roll the dough into a 12 inch square. Sprinkle filling over dough square; top with pecans. Roll up jelly roll style; pinch edges to seal. Slice roll into 12 one-inch pieces. Arrange dough slices in a greased 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Cover dough loosely with clear plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise. Refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours. Uncover. Let stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes (or until nearly doubled in size – it sometimes takes longer for mine to finish raising). (or, for immediate baking, don’t chill dough but let rise in a warm place until nearly double, about 45 minutes). Bake in 375 F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown. If necessary to prevent overbrowning, cover rolls loosely with aluminum foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking. Remove rolls from overn. Cool for 1 minute. Invert onto wire rack. Cool slightly. Invert again onto serving platter and drizzle with Powdered Sugar Glaze: Stir together 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, 1 tsp corn syrup, 1/2 tsp vanilla and enough half and half or light cream (or milk) to make of drizzling consistency.
Serve warm and make new friends.
So yesterday morning I brought the refrigerated pan of cinnamon rolls into work, let the rolls raise, and then baked them in the lunchroom of my building. Mmmm. Love that smell of baking bread, especially when cinnamon is included. And I kind of like how it seems to drive a lot of people kind of crazy – smelling bread baking but not knowing what’s going on.
When they were ready I let my department (of sorts) know they were ready, and some of the quality assurance folks and engineers sat down with me to enjoy them. So nice to hear how much they love them. And almost even funnier to notice the Director of Information Services poking into the lunchroom multiple times, kind of hovering around. But I didn’t invite him to join us. Am I mean or what???
I’m not quite sure…. I like sharing. I like baking. But I also like to choose my “guests”.
All readers of my blog – this invitation goes out to you. Be my guest and join me for some fresh from the oven baked goods. Please!