"Pioneer Woman" Ree Drummond whips up one of her favorite family recipes:
(Makes 40 to 50 rolls)
1 quart whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
9 cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 scant teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups melted butter, plus more as needed
1/4 cup ground cinnamon for sprinkling
2 cups sugar, plus more as needed
• Maple Icing
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon maple flavoring or maple extract
1. For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat; do not allow the mixture to boil. Set aside and cool to lukewarm.
2. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.
3. Add 8 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour.
4. Remove the towel and add baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a kxing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl.
5. To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches.
6. To make the filling, pour 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly.
7. Generously sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the sugar over the butter. Don't be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar! Because the way I see it, if a little butter and sugar is good, more is better. That's my motto in pretty much all areas of my life.
8. Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly toward you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Don't worry if the filling oozes as you work; that just means the rolls are going to be divine.
9. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together. When you're finished, you'll wind up with one long buttery, cinnamon-y, sugary, gooey log.
10. Transfer to a cutting board and with a sharp knife, make 1½-inch slices. One log will produce 20 to 25 rolls.
11. Pour a couple of tablespoons of melted butter into the desired pie pans or baking dishes and swirl to coat.
12. Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd.
13. Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 13 to 17 minutes, until golden brown. Don't allow the rolls to become overly brown. While the rolls are baking, make the maple icing!
14. In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and salt.
15. Splash in the maple flavoring.
16. Whisk until very smooth. Taste and add in more maple, sugar, butter, or other ingredients as needed until the icing reaches the desired consistency. The icing should be thick but still pour-able.
17. When the rolls come out of the oven, notice the gooey filling inside. Mmmm. At this point, your kitchen is by far the best smelling place on earth. You could sell tickets.
18. While the rolls are still warm, generously drizzle icing over the top. Be sure to get it all around the edges and over the top.
19. As they sit, the rolls will absorb some of the icing's moisture and flavor. They only get better with time... not that they last for more than a few seconds! Make them for a friend today! It'll seal the relationship for life. I promise.
Cinnamon rolls can be frozen in the pan, unbaked. Just cover them tightly with foil after you place them in the pan but before they rise. Then, when you're ready to bake, allow them to thaw and rise before baking. Ice as directed. An easier method is simply to freeze the baked, iced cinnamon rolls after they've cooled slightly. Then just pull them out of the freezer and warm them in a 250ºF oven for 15 minutes. I stock up my freezer with cinnamon rolls before the holidays begin, and I'm always so glad I do.
Add finely chopped pecans to the rolls after sprinkling on the cinnamon and sugar.
Substitute 8 tablespoons of orange marmalade and 1 cup brown sugar (per half batch of dough) for the cinnamon and white sugar, then substitute orange juice for the maple and coffee in the icing.
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