The Perfect Cinnamon Rolls
These perfect rolls start with a sweet dough enriched with milk, egg and butter so it bakes up extra-tender and moist every time. Of course, there's a good dose of cinnamon sugar in the filling, plus more melted butter and plenty of toasted pecans. Then the buns are topped with a sweet drizzle of tangy orange-sugar glaze.
Neither too large nor too sweet, these rolls taste best warm, but they freeze beautifully, too, so you can enjoy them anytime.
2 cups milk 3/4 cup granulated sugar 2 packages active dry yeast 1/2 cup warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F) 2 large egg yolks 1 teaspoon salt 7-1/4 to 8-1/4 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softenedCinnamon Sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar 2 tablespoons cinnamon 8 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and divided 1-1/2 cups pecan halves, choppedGlaze
2 cups confectioners' sugar 2 to 2-1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1. Make dough: Combine milk and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, over medium heat, until sugar is dissolved. Cool until mixture is lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large bowl; stir to dissolve yeast. Let stand until yeast is foamy, 5 minutes.
2. Beat milk mixture, egg yolks and salt with wooden spoon into dissolved yeast, until blended. Beat in 4 cups flour, then softened butter, until mixture is smooth. Gradually stir in another 3-1/4 cups flour until blended and mixture forms a soft dough.
3. Grease a large bowl. On lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic, adding as much of the remaining 1 cup of flour as necessary, 8 to 10 minutes. Place dough in prepared bowl, turning to grease top. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1 hour.
4. Make cinnamon sugar: Stir together granulated and brown sugars and cinnamon in bowl, breaking up any small brown sugar lumps with a spoon; set aside.
5. Brush two 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pans with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Sprinkle the bottom of each with 1/4 cup of the cinnamon sugar. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; cut in half. Roll 1 piece of dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush top with 3 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle entire surface evenly with 3/4 cup cinnamon sugar; top evenly with half the pecans. Starting at one long end of rectangle, roll up dough tightly to form a log. Pinch seam edges to seal.
6. With a serrated knife, cut log crosswise with a sawing motion into twelve 1-1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices cut side up in 4 rows, 3 per row, in one prepared pan, with space between the rows. Punch down remaining piece of dough. Repeat process, rolling and cutting with remaining melted butter, cinnamon sugar, and pecans. Arrange slices in remaining prepared pan.
7. Cover pans and let rolls rise until almost doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes (rolls will touch on all sides).
8. Meanwhile, arrange oven racks in middle and upper third of oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
9. Uncover rolls and bake 20 minutes. Switch pans between racks and bake rolls 15 minutes, until golden and the center roll is baked in middle. Immediately invert each pan, turning rolls out onto wire racks. Cool 5 minutes; turn rolls right side up. (Can be made ahead. Cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in large food storage bag. Freeze up to 2 weeks. Thaw completely. Uncover and reheat on cookie sheet in 350 degrees F. oven 15 minutes, until warm in center.)
10. Make glaze: Meanwhile, combine confectioners' sugar and orange juice in bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle rolls with glaze while still warm. Makes 24 rolls.
Nutritional facts per serving calories: 415, total fat: 16 g , saturated fat: 7 g, cholesterol: 46 mg, sodium: 209 mg, carbohydrate: 63 g, fiber: 2 g, protein: 6 g (Nutrition facts are based on one roll per serving.)