Last Tuesday was Marti Gras, which has nothing to do with this post. Side note: I didn’t know it was called “Fat Tuesday”. Why is that? Who comes up with these names? The world is strange. What I am really getting at is that everyone likes a good party (good over-generalized statement, Nate. Love it!). Parties are fantastic ways to get out into the world, meet new people, connect with friends, and just be all around a social member of society. This sounds great in movies and on Twitter, but for anyone who has been to a party of any degree before, knows how anxiety infested they are. Wear the wrong socks, make an inappropriate joke, or bring a vegetable tray (never be that person for the sake of humanity) and you will be instantly annihilated by judgmental stares and passive-aggressive tweets from the other party guests. This is why I choose to stay home and find solace with the Internet, where is never any judgment.
All kidding and self-deprecation aside, I really enjoy a good party with friends and/or family. As I get older, and more experienced with cooking/baking, I find myself, as I’m going to a party, feeling obligated to make something for the occasion. Even if the host says “Don’t worry about food, just bring yourself and a positive, party attitude”, what I hear is, “I demand food and I demand it now.” Inevitably, my subconscious bullies me into making guilt-tripped baked goods. My twin brother, Jon, and I were invited to a birthday party this past weekend. Unfortunately, I wasn’t going to be able to make the party due to work commitments, but I knew I had to send something fun, creative, delicious, and something that everyone would enjoy. My answer: bite-sized cinnamon rolls with multi-colored sprinkles (keeping to the birthday theme). Nothing says party like baked goods. My other option was banana bread, but I didn’t want to be the short guy and the loser who brought banana bread to a birthday party.
The cinnamon roll recipe I used is incredible. It comes from Momma Crawford who, after finding a recipe for it online, has made it for my family and me for years. These cinnamon rolls are buttery, soft, warm, and have that sugary-sweet aroma that everyone craves on a Saturday morning. I love the smell of fresh brewed coffee lingering in the air as mom pulls a tray of gooey cinnamon rolls out of the oven. The icing is laced ever so evenly over the tops, melting together beautifully with the rest of the roll. Perfection.
The maple-sugar icing drizzled on top literally, and figuratively, “wraps” the whole roll together. It’s soft, ambrosial, and warm with delight. Imagine the center of a gooey cinnamon roll, but the entire thing being that. This cinnamon roll is that fantasy. I know, your mind is blown. I usually make these rolls bigger (woah size queen), but since I was sending these with Jon (who I personally can’t trust around anything sweet because he’ll just devour it and leave it left for dead), I wanted to make these bite sized. Plus, nothing says party like multi-colored sprinkles (seriously, ask anyone.) On a snowy day or a Saturday morning, these cinnamon rolls are practically perfect in every way (okay, Mary Poppins).
- 1 cup Milk
- 1 packet active dry yeast (2 ½ teaspoons)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 1 ½ teaspoons if voiding or avoiding the maple extract)
- ½ teaspoon maple extract (optional)
- 2 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Flour, for dusting
- 12 tablespoons softened butter (1 ½ sticks)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cardamom
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1/8 cup maple syrup
- Rainbow sprinkles, for topping
Pre-Step: Get ready to roll with the punches! Cinnamon rolls that is. What are you gonna do about the haters?
- Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Over low heat in a medium saucepan, heat milk until it reads 100°F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and sprinkle in the yeast (it’s the yeast you could do) and sugar. I know you will be tempted, but don’t stir this mixture. Let it sit for about five minutes. After five minutes, whisk in your melted butter, egg yolk, vanilla and maple extract.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and nutmeg. Making a well in the flour, slowly pour in your yeast mixture. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix together until a rough dough forms, about 3-5 minutes. Once your dough begins to come together, take it out of the bowl and form it into a ball. Place dough into a greased bowl, cover with a towel, and set on the stove top for 1 hour 15 minutes.
- On a floured surface, roll your dough out using a floured rolling pin, about ¼ inches thick. The dough should look like an edible rectangle. With a butter knife and a delicate hand, spread the soften butter on the dough. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and ground cloves. Distribute the sugar mixture evenly over the dough.
- Starting from the length end, gently roll the dough into a cylinder. If you take it slow and believe in yourself, your cinnamon rolls will be rolled perfectly and look beautiful. Cut into one inch slices. Take two buttered muffin tins and place the cinnamon rolls into the tins. Cover with a towel and place on the stove top for 45 minutes.
- Bake at 325°F for 20-25 minutes. Note: if you are making these rolls bigger in size, add about 10 more minutes on the bake time.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together your confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream and maple syrup the desired consistence you want is achieved. Take a spoon and drizzle the icing over rolls. Let set before transporting.