Rene Cruz, pastry chef at San Francisco’s Presidio Social Club, was raised in a small town in California called Sanger and has fond memories of devouring cinnamon rolls at the annual 12-day The Big Fresno Fair, which recently celebrated its 133rd year. “The intoxicating smell of the sweet cinnamon in the air really brings me back to my childhood enjoying the warm sweet pastry,” says Cruz. The key to cinnamon roll success: Don't rush the mixing process and give the dough enough time to rest. Cruz says the final product of this cinnamon roll recipe is light and fluffy—not over indulgent. Pair with a hot latte for a sweet, nostalgic morning.
Brown Sugar Cinnamon Roll
For the dough
1 cup water (~110°F)
1 tablespoon yeast
2 pounds all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
2 ½ teaspoon salt
2 ounces oil
For the cinnamon roll filling
8 ounces brown sugar
8 ounces butter, room temperature
½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the vanilla glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
How to Make It
Make the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add yeast and water and let sit for 5 minutes.
With the paddle attachment set on low to moderate speed, add flour, powdered sugar, salt, oil, eggs, and butter. Mix until the dough gathers around the paddle attachment.
Once all the dough is incorporated, place it on a greased and parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover in plastic wrap and let rest for 2 to 4 hours, or overnight, which Cruz says is best.
Once rested, stretch and roll the dough into a 18 x 13-inch square. Stick it in the freezer for a few minutes so it’s firm enough for the rolling process.
Make the cinnamon roll filling. In a stand mixer, whip the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon together until light and airy.
Fill the buns. Spread an even layer of the filling onto the dough after it’s chilled and is firm enough to handle. (Note: Here’s where you can incorporate add-ins like thinly sliced apples, nuts, or raisins.)
Shape the buns. Gripping onto one 18-inch side, roll away from you while tugging on the dough to create tension. Cut the roll into 6 large cinnamon buns. Each roll is best placed in a tall baking dish over parchment paper and nonstick cooking spray.
Proof the dough. Allow cinnamon rolls to proof in a warm area from 45 to 60 minutes. Then, cook in a 350°F pre-heated oven and bake cinnamon roll for about 20 to 30 min. The best outcome is using a thermometer and bringing the internal temperature of the rolls passed 180°F.
Once cinnamon rolls are at right temperature. Invert the baking pan and drizzle vanilla glaze to your liking. The brown sugar mixture will create a "brown sugar glaze" for coating the cinnamon rolls once turned out of the pan.
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