I’m a cinnamon roll addict. My addiction started while I was a graduate student, living in Oxford,MS. Every Saturday morning, for 2 years, I would drag myself out of bed, before 8:00 am, to be the first to eat Bottle Tree Bakery’s fresh cinnamon rolls. Bottle Tree’s rolls were anything but average, with their monster size, tender gooey middle and sweet warm frosting. The flavor is burned into my taste buds and no matter where I’ve eaten since, other cinnamon rolls haven’t lived up to Bottle Tree’s excellence. Which brings us to the first official Southern Kitchen.
The Southern Kitchen is about studying different dishes, not just baking a recipe once, but really understanding the secret ingredients. In the Southern Kitchen we will cook a dish multiple ways, over many weeks, in search of what makes a recipe unique. It’s our playground for discovering things like: what makes pecan pie stand up? Pork chops marinated with molasses or brown sugar? What really goes into an oyster dressing? Or what is the secret to pan fried chicken? This is all part of our mission to understand what makes southern food and culture so special, and what particular spark goes in to each meal to make it uniquely “Southern”.
Our first study is to solve my burning desire of “how to make the best bourbon glazed cinnamon rolls”? To get things kicked off we used Paula Deen’s dough recipe for Cinnamon Rolls:
- 1/4-ounce package yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup scalded milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup butter or shortening
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
DirectionsHeat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.
Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting:
Allow butter and cream cheese to come to room temperature. Then beat all ingredients together until smooth.
- 4oz cream cheese
- 3/4 stick of butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon bourbon or to taste
The results were good, but no where close after the first attempt. While making the dough, during its initial rise, I noticed that the dough was not light, but already to heavy for a good cinnamon roll (I was worried I had over worked it). It seems there will need to be more work done finding the correct flour, egg, and butter ratio in the dough to get the correct density, so that the rolls are light and airy and yet still gooey in the middle. I mixed 1 cup of sugar to 3 table spoons of cinnamon with 1 stick of melted butter to create the filling. That seemed to be a fair balance of sugar to cinnamon, but I will consider cutting the butter back to 3/4 of a stick in the future (it became almost to runny to work with). The best lesson learned, in this first attempt, was to allow as much rising time as possible to the dough. I know to make larger rolls, I’m going to need that extra air to fluff up the dough. We will stick with the frosting recipe, since it’s our own concoction.
We’ll continue to search for the perfect dough recipe over the next few months, and we’ll move away from small rolls and increase the dough to get that monster size required to make the best Southern Cinnamon Rolls. If you have any advice, recipes or secret cinnamon roll tips leave us a comment. Leave a comment telling us what we should be trying in the Southern Kitchen or tell us what recipes you are studying in your kitchen. Head over to our facebook page, become a fan, and leave a picture of your Southern Kitchen. We would love to see what you’re cooking. Stay Hungry Y’all !
-The Hungry Southerner