February 4, 2011

Cinnamon Roll Bake-Off

Last night, I had the grand idea of making cinnamon rolls for breakfast the next morning.

Our family has a tremendous overnight cinnamon roll recipe. And, we've made them for just about every special occasion you can think of.
Which means that we've made them about a gazillion times.

It's such an easy recipe, that makes a generous amount of rolls, so I've never even thought about trying a different recipe.
Until last night.

I did, what every American does, when they need to find information fast.
I typed "Overnight Cinnamon Rolls" into google.
I was amazed at how many results came back.
Apparently, there are a lot of people in the world that make overnight cinnamon rolls.

So, then I looked over a few recipes to see if anyone had one similar to ours.

Then, I decided, I was going to play "Iron Chef" in my kitchen and have a Cinnamon Roll Bake-Off.
Our family recipe up against 3 tough competitors.

I chose the 3 recipes that came up on google first. Plus, they were all a little bit different from each other in some way. So, I thought it made the competition fair.

The first recipe I chose came from Food Network. It was Overnight Cinnamon Rolls by Alton Brown. Link to Alton Brown's recipe  One of the interesting ingredients in his recipe was buttermilk. And egg yolks.

The second recipe I chose came from All Recipes. You know, people put some crazy code name up there, so this recipe came from DENDES5238 and is called Overnight Cinnamon Rolls I. Link to All Recipes  This recipe seemed fairly straight-forward. Nothing too different about it from any other recipe, other than the icing. And, I wondered if that alone would make or break it's chance of winning.

The third recipe I chose came from Ree Drummond off her Pioneer Woman cooking section. It was named, Cinnamon Rolls 101. I know that she has gathered quite a following and has some pretty down-home recipes. My guess was that she would be the toughest competitor. Link to Pioneer Woman Recipe  Her recipe was interesting. Different than any other because it had baking soda and baking powder added. Of course, lots of butter too. But, the most interesting factor was the icing. It sounded gooey and good.

Of course, then there is our family recipe for Overnight Rolls. It's the best... 'nuff said.

So, after I had my recipes all together, it was time to get busy and make this dough.

Oh, did I mention that I decided to do this at about 7pm?
You know me, I like to plan things out...

Anyway, after a good hour or two of making cinnamon roll dough, and letting it rise, it was time to take it out of the bowls and display it on the counter.

As you can see, the Food Network and All Recipes dough made a small batch. Only 12 rolls. However, our family recipe and The Pioneer Woman's made a large batch, about 2 1/2 dozen.

Are you doing the math?
Yes, I made over 70 cinnamon rolls.

This fact alone made my husband declare that I was trying to make him fat.

However, if you are lucky enough to live within a one block radius of us, you were delivered fresh cinnamon rolls this morning for breakfast.

After I rolled each pile of dough out, put the filling in, cut them up and put them on the pan, it was time to cover them and let them do their yeasty business during the night.

Now, I should note a few things here...
1. Both the Food Network and All Recipes recipe were lacking in butter for the filling. Really, only 1 1/2 tsp? I guess they thought they were making up for it with the brown sugar... but, that was kind of disappointing.

2. My family recipe and Pioneer Woman's recipe allows for the use of lots of butter. This will, in turn, make your rolls seep butter, sugar and cinnamon EVERYWHERE! So, just be ready for a gooey mess.

3. Don't forget to butter the pans. Your beautiful rolls will forever be stuck on the sheet if you don't.

4. Start a little bit earlier than 7pm.... especially if you are going to be making 4 different batches of rolls. Or, just make one batch of rolls. But make sure you use my recipe.

Now. Let's fast forward to this morning.

I awoke, not as early as I should have, to run downstairs and fire up the oven.
After all, there were a bunch of rolls to be made!

I put trays of rolls in, took trays of rolls out.
Our house smelled like a Yankee candle. Or, better yet, like Aunt Sue's shop in Dunlap, Iowa where they make the absolute best cakes and rolls. (Seriously, check it out if you're ever in Western Iowa).

Every pan of rolls looked scrumptious. I knew this was going to be hard to declare one the winner above the rest.

I moved on to making the icing for each recipe.
This, in turn, made my kitchen look like a bag of powdered sugar had erupted.
It was messy.

I plated (a little term I picked up from the Food Channel) the rolls. Some on chinet, some on my every day dishes.
You didn't expect me to use my china, did you?

It was time for my panel of judges to help me determine who was the winner.....

Granted, they are a little young. And maybe a bit biased. But, here were some of their observations....

"I like Pioneer Woman's because the dough is soft. Her sauce is kind of good too."

"Uhhh... this one tastes sour."

"Mmmm... this is sooooooooo sweet."

"I can't get my fork to cut this one."

"Is this Grandma's? Because I like her the best."

There were even more comments, but I won't bore you to death with them all.

The children declared the winner to be.................

Sharon's Overnight Rolls. (They just are the best. What can I say?)

Here is a quick description about each of them. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion... so yours may differ from ours.

Alton Brown's recipe.  This had an interesting taste. I'll leave it at that. The icing was good and, if you're looking for a roll that keeps it's shape well, this is the roll for you.

All Recipes:  This roll was a little dry. And a little tough. It held it's shape well. I would recommend, however, if you do make this recipe to change the icing. It was not the best.

Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond):  I am a fan of her recipes. She did not disappoint with this one. The icing was good. The roll was soft and sweet. It was an all-around tasty cinnamon roll. But, it didn't make me want to leave behind my family recipe.
Her dough takes a little more effort than my recipe. Time is of the essence in this household and I had to take that factor into account.

Sharon's Overnight Rolls:  Simply the best. Easy to make. This roll will never fail you. It has a soft, sweet texture. The icing is rich and creamy. It is a recipe worth your time and effort. Your taste buds will thank you.

Sharon's Overnight Rolls

                                      Dough1 pkg. dry yeast
                                  1/4 cup lukewarm water
                                   1 tsp. sugar
                                   2 eggs, beaten
                                   1 cup sugar
                                   1 T. salt
                                   3 cups lukewarm water
                                   10 cups flour
                                   1/2 cup oil
                                      Filling:  1 cup brown sugar
                                1 cup white sugar
                                1/2 cup melted butter
                                                 A generous amount of cinnamon sprinkled on top  
                                       Frosting:  6 ounces cream cheese, softened
                                    1/2 cup butter, melted
                                    1 tsp. vanilla
                                    3 T. heavy cream
                                    3 cups powdered sugar

Combine yeast, 1/4 cup water, and 1 tsp. sugar until yeast is dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. Combine eggs, sugar, and water; beat. Stir into yeast and mix well. Beat in 7 cups of flour. Add oil and salt. Add 3 more cups of flour. Knead lightly. Place in greased bowl. Let rise for about 2-3 hours, punching down as needed.
When dough is ready, divide in half. Roll out each section to a big rectangle. Spread with melted butter and filling and roll up, lengthwise, sealing well. Cut into rolls and place on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise overnight.
In the morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes or until browned. Frost with cream cheese frosting.


Katie Fiene said...

This sounds like a lot of fun. I can't wait to be in our own house and start baking again.

Linda said...

Katie, have you found a house yet?

Anonymous said...

Okay, I should have read the whole post. I figured since you said, "place on a greased baking Sheet (not sheets)" that the whole recipe of Sharon's overnight rolls was supposed to fit on one sheet (so I only cut them into 12). Yes, they did look enormous. I haven't baked them yet, so I think I'm going to go cut them in half. . . >Sigh<