Recipe: Cinnamon Buns from Heaven

Day’s Verse:
Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. …”
Exodus 16:4 (context)

Dough:
3/4 Cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 Cup milk
3/4 Cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/4-ounce envelopes (7 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 Cup warm water (note: NOT HOT. Too hot will kill the yeast.)
5 large eggs
8 1/2 to 9 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour

Filling:
5 Cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 Cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Frosting:
1/2 Pound cream cheese, softened
1/4 Cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 Cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (I confess: I didn’t sift it)

Cinnamon Bun 1For the dough, heat the butter with the milk, 3/4 C. of the sugar, and the salt in a small saucepan until the butter is melted. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water, add the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar, and set aside for 10 minutes, until the mixture is bubbly.

Add the lukewarm milk mixture and the eggs into the large mixing bowl yeast-mixture. Beat until well combined.

Add the flour 1 cup at a time, stirring and using enough flour to form a stiff dough. (Note: This takes a long time. I stirred each cup in very thoroughly before adding the next one.)

Turn out the dough onto a floured board (I just scrubbed the counter top and floured it) and knead until smooth and satiny, approximately 10 minutes. (This really does take 10 minutes of constant kneading.)

Place the kneaded dough into a very large, clean, buttered bowl bowl. Roll the dough to cover it in butter. Cover it loosely with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, approximately 1 hour.

This is a good time to do the filling. For the filling, beat together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and softened butter until well combined. It should have uniform small crumbly chunks.

Butter at least two 9″x13″ glass baking dishes.

After the dough has doubled, punch the dough down to release the gases and roll the dough into a large rectangle, 24″ by 36″. Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough.

Roll the dough lengthwise (this may take 2 people) and cut at 2″ intervals to make 12 rolls. Place 6 rolls in each buttered dish. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. (My dough didn’t rise again, but when they baked they puffed up nicely, so don’t worry too much if they aren’t doubled after another hour.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 20 to 30 minutes or until puffed and brown. Cool to room temperature on cookie cooling racks.

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese, cream, and vanilla until well combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time and beat slowly until smooth and soft, not stiff. Frost the rolls and serve immediately.

Theoretically makes 12 large rolls.

This recipe comes from The Last Suppers, by Diane Mott Davidson, 1994, pages 86-88. I made these cinnamon rolls last Saturday and everybody who tried one agreed that they were at least as good as the ones from a store. Good thing they take about 4 or 5 hours total, because otherwise I’d make them all the time.

This Saturday — today — I took pictures of my bike, sat in the front yard reading for a while, and then I cleaned the bathroom and worked on a handbook I’m doing for church. At 11:30 Ian and I walked the dog down to Pup Scrub. While they cleaned her up we got chicken tikka masala at Royal India and ate it at the field part of Juanita Beach Park. We sat on a bench and talked the rest of the time. Then we picked up the dog, walked home, and all three of us guzzled a bunch of water. Now I have to go fix my bike’s rear shifting and Ian’s front shifting, finish the handbook, and take a nap — not necessarily in that order.

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