Cinnamon Rolls

Yes, it's a pain to let the dough rise. But I promise you will never — ever — get those things in the can that explodes again. This recipe is adapted from The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, 75th Anniversary Edition (Meredith Books 2004).

Cinnamon Rolls i
Michele Kayal for NPR
Cinnamon Rolls
Michele Kayal for NPR

Makes 24 rolls

4 3/4 to 5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)

1 cup milk

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1 tablespoon half-and-half or light cream

Vanilla Glaze

1 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 teaspoon light-colored corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 to 2 tablespoons light cream

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups flour and the yeast. In a saucepan, heat and stir milk, butter, sugar and salt until just warm. Add to flour mixture, along with the eggs. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl. Beat on high 3 minutes. Stir in at least two more cups of flour, adding more until the dough is stiff.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, turn once. Cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Cover. Let set for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly grease two 9-by-1-1/2-inch round baking pans.

For filling, stir together brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1/3 cup butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Roll each half of dough into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Sprinkle filling over dough rectangles. Scatter with raisins and pecans, if using. Roll up each rectangle starting from a long side. Seal seams. Slice each roll into 12 pieces. Place cut sides down in prepared pans.

Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap, leaving room for the rolls to rise. Chill for 2 to 24 hours. Uncover. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. This will produce the best flavor. However, if you want to bake the rolls right away (and really, who wants to wait 24 hours for delicious cinnamon rolls?) don't chill the dough. Instead, cover loosely, let dough rise in a warm place until nearly double, about 30 minutes.

When ready to bake, brush dough with half-and-half. Bake in a 375-degree oven, 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown.

While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, corn syrup and vanilla. Add enough half-and-half to reach drizzling consistency.

When the rolls are done, remove from oven and set on a wire rack for 1 minute. Drizzle with vanilla glaze. Serve warm. With good, strong coffee.

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