ANNOUNCING: Change is part of life, and apparently, it's part of blogging, too. As of September 5, 2013, I'm merging The Virtual Goody Plate with Disco Mom Takes on the World and whatever else may henceforth spill from my fingertips (and kitchen), into one great new blog. I hope you'll join me there in exclaiming, "THIS IS AWESOMELAND."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

JoAnn's Big "Eat 'Em Today" Cinnamon Rolls

Happy September! In honor of Back to School Month I am moving these BEST CINNAMON ROLLS on EARTH to the front of the queue - they are the PERFECT after school snack.Ever since starting this blog I have been on the hunt for a truly divine cinnamon roll recipe. I've tried three or four over the months but none were quite what I was looking for. I wanted something soft, yeasty, stretchy and perfectly sweet and spicy. I don't know why I was looking so hard, when I had JoAnn Randall's recipe at my fingertips all along.

JoAnn is my friend Shanna's mother. I've never actually met her - she lives in Rigby, Idaho - but I have heard endless wonderful stories about her and I have tasted many of the recipes that come from her kitchen, each better than the last. As a farmer's wife and mother of ten, JoAnn made almost everything from scratch, three times a day, seven days a week, for years and years for her family. I imagine in those circumstances it wouldn't take long to become a pretty amazing cook. At least in JoAnn's case that is definitely true.
These are called "Eat 'Em Today" Cinnamon Rolls because the fresher they are, the better. But I have frozen some, double wrapped in plastic and foil, to be microwaved later, and they still satisfy mighty well. JoAnn used to make these for things like football teams and church brunches since they make two dozen. The day I made them, I kept a pan for myself (ahem, I mean my family), brought some to my neighbor from whom I'd borrowed a beach umbrella for the Assateague Island trip, took half a dozen to my sister Maren's family, and shared some with the guys working on our basement (it was only human of me since they had to smell them cooking all morning!)

A few notes - the recipe I got was a copy of the one Shanna had, and in reading it, it was obviously written for someone who already knows the recipe. I had to call her to ask for things like length of raising times and amounts of filling ingredients since they never measure, they just know what to do. I did some estimates but there is wiggle room for what you like. Just don't wiggle too much or they won't be the BEST CINNAMON ROLLS on EARTH.
So if you've got a great cinnamon roll recipe, pass it my way, I'd love to make it and compare. But if you don't have one, look no further. You do now. You can thank JoAnn.

JoAnn's Big "Eat 'Em Today" Cinnamon Rolls

4 cups milk, scalded
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
6 T butter, melted
2 T yeast
1/2 cup warm water
10 to 12 cups flour

Soft butter
Lots of cinnamon
Lots of brown sugar
Raisins and/or nuts, optional

1/4 cup soft butter
4 T cream or milk
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla and/or almond extract (I did 1/2 tsp of each)

1. Dissolve yeast and a pinch of sugar in 1/2 cup warm water. Heat milk until steaming and bubbles form around edge but not boiling. Cool slightly. Add beaten eggs, salt, sugar, melted butter, and yeast/water mixture; mix well. Add flour 1 cup at a time but don't add too much - the dough should still be quite sticky.

2. Place dough in very large greased bowl, cover and raise for about 45 minutes. Punch down and raise again for about 45 minutes. (I put the dough in my biggest bowl and it was still spilling over the edges and onto the counter after the second rise. I obviously need a bigger bowl.)

3. Pour dough onto large clean floured surface. Knead a little flour into the dough to make it easy to handle. Divide dough in half and set one half aside. Roll remaining half into a large square. Top with softened butter. Sprinkle cinnamon on very generously. Then spread handfuls of brown sugar around generously. Sprinkle on lots more cinnamon. If adding nuts and raisins, press them gently into the dough. Raisins go along the top 2 inches of dough so they will be in the center of the rolls.

4. Roll the dough tightly from top towards you. Use dental floss to divide in half, half again, and then in thirds, for 12 rolls total. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment, silpat, or sprayed with cooking spray, a dozen per sheet. Repeat with other half of dough.

5. Allow rolls to rise, covered loosely with plastic wrap, for about 25 minutes. The way to tell if they are ready is: if you poke the dough and it follows your finger out, they need to rise some more. Your poke should leave a mark.

6. Heat oven to 400. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (watch them after 15 so they don't overcook.)

7. To prepare frosting, cream butter and 1 T cream. You could add a little cream cheese if you like. Add powdered sugar and extract. Add the rest of the cream gradually until it's a spreading consistency you like. Frost rolls while still warm. Little helpers like this part.
Recipe from JoAnn Randall


kat said...

so . . . what's going on in your basement? something fun?!!!

Disco Mom said...

Ha! I wish! Especially for the money we're paying.

It's not a basement as much as an underground crawl space. It floods every time it rains - not exactly what you're hoping for in your only storage area. So we had a drain and waterproof system put in, our first major "improvement." Wish Rog were here ;)

kat said...

and by the way, your pictures are making me salivate. well done.

Kelsey Carreon said...

Can I just say that coming to this site satiates all my cravings for carbs... just seeing all the baked goods is enough for me!

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