Let me tell you how to win anyone’s heart.
Cinnamon rolls. Or chocolate. But today we’re focusing on cinnamon rolls because Valentine’s Day has a way of overdoing chocolate, you know what I mean?
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some chocolate.
But it’s just like, I feel surrounded. You walk into the supermarket and you’re immediately ambushed by chocolate EVERYTHING. And all of it’s wrapped in pink and red. Soooo much pink, y’all.
That’s why warm, doughy, rolls overflowing with cinnamon and dripping with sweet glaze are so refreshing. You can’t beat that first bite, I’m telling you. Or the irresistible smell. And if you don’t end up with glaze all over your fingers and face, you’re EATING IT WRONG.
Just look into those swirls. I’m pretty sure hypnosis via cinnamon rolls is a very real thing.
I know yeast seems scary, but I promise that if I can do it, so can you. The hardest part about using yeast is getting the liquid temperature right when you activate it. Active dry yeast has to sit in warm liquid (in this recipe it’s almond milk) for about 10 minutes before it is used so it can “wake up.” Once the yeast is activated, it does all the work on its own. Just remember that it’s picky: aim for a temperature you would make a baby’s bath. For a more comprehensive post about yeast, see my blueberry sweet rolls post. I’ll still walk you through all the steps here, don’t worry!
Another thing that usually frightens people about yeast recipes is kneading. Kneading develops the gluten in dough, which gives it that nice, chewy, texture. It’s very important, and not as hard as you think!
You want the dough to be a little sticky when you start, so don’t add too much flour or the rolls will be tough. Flour a surface and place the ball of dough down, flipping it so the outside is coated in flour. Hold the bottom edge of the dough in place with your left hand. Grab the front of the dough in your right hand and use the heal of your right hand to gently stretch the dough away from you, then fold it back on top of itself. Turn the whole dough ball a quarter to the right. Repeat this process for 3-4 minutes, and THAT’S IT! Pull, fold, turn. It’s actually pretty relaxing.
You can tell when you’re done kneading when the dough is smooth and not sticky anymore.
Then you roll it out and spread with margarine:
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar:
Roll up, cut and let rise. Cute!
Deeeeng, look at that before and after.
Since Valentine’s Day was a Friday, basically that means the holiday carries through the whole weekend. Here’s a breakfast/brunch idea that will win you major points! (Or just make it and enjoy it yourself. Homemade cinnamon rolls are ALWAYS worth the indulgence!) Happy eating!
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Simple Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (Dairy Free)
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Makes: 12 rolls
2 and 3/4 cups (345g) all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package active dry yeast (1 packet = 2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup (120ml) water
1/4 cup (60ml) almond milk (you can use cow’s milk if you prefer)
2 and 1/2 Tablespoons margarine
1 large egg
3 Tablespoons margarine, melted
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons almond milk
1. Make the dough: Heat the water, milk, and margarine together in the microwave until the margarine is melted and the mixture is the temperature of bath water. About 107-110F degrees. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let sit for about 10 minutes, or until mixture has become foamy.
2. Set aside 1/2 cup of flour. In a large bowl, toss the 2 and 1/4 cups flour, the sugar, and the salt together in a large bowl until evenly dispersed.
3. Stir the margarine mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and only enough of the reserved flour to make a soft dough. Dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
4. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl (I used a little olive oil) and let rest for about 10 minutes.
5. Make the filling: After 10 minutes, roll the dough out in a 14×8 inch rectangle. Spread the melted margarine on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Add more cinnamon/sugar if desired. Roll up the dough tightly. Cut into about 12 even pieces and place in a lightly greased 9-inch round pan or square pan. Loosely cover the rolls with aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place until double in size, about 1 hour. Here is a trick I’ve learned: heat the oven to 200F degrees. Turn oven off. Place rolls inside oven and allow to rise.
6. After the rolls have doubled in size, take them out and preheat the oven to 375F. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. I covered the rolls with aluminum foil after 15 minutes to avoid heavy browning.
7. Make the glaze: Right before serving, top your cinnamon rolls with glaze. Mix all ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over rolls. If you prefer a thicker glaze, add more powdered sugar and then add salt to cut the sweetness, if desired.