February 21 is National Sticky Bun Day and you can celebrate with this easy-to-follow recipe for homemade cinnamon rolls.
Is there anything like the sticky-sweet goodness of a sticky bun pastry? Perhaps not, especially when it is served just out of the oven. And what better way to celebrate a day given to honoring the Sticky Bun than to bake a few?
According to Punchbowl.com, the Sticky Bun -- which can be any of a number of breakfast and dessert rolls, like the aforementioned cinnamon rolls, caramel rolls, pecan twirls, monkey bread -- in its modern form is a pastry dish first popularized by German settlers in Pennsylvania. It was called "Schnecken." However, the roots of the "sticky" glazed dough can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians who sometimes added honey and nuts to their bread.
Of course, you could always go to the grocery store and purchase a can of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls or some other branded (or generic) pastry product to celebrate the day, but it's not the same thing as hands-on construction of a doughy sweet treat you've made yourself. Neither is grabbing a pre-baked package of rolls or pecan twirls or whatever. And the same could be said of a quick trip to the mall to the nearest Cinnabon kiosk (and what's with a baked goods company operating in numerous countries throughout the world at least offering some kind of coupon or something for National Sticky Bun Day?).
But here's the hook: In your own kitchen, you can make the cinnamon rolls as large as you like, with as much cinnamon as you like. And as much maple syrup as you like. And as many nuts as you like (and if you prefer). Bonus: You don't have to leave the house. (Well, you don't if you have all the ingredients on hand, that is. If not...)
Here's the way famed southern-style cook Paula Deen makes her Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (via FoodNetwork.com):
1/4-ounce Package of Yeast
1/2 cup Water (warm)
1/2 cup Milk (Scalded)
1/4 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Butter or Shortening
1 tsp Salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Melted Butter (more for pan)
3/4 cup Sugar (more for pan)
2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
3/4 cup Raisins, Walnuts, or Pecans (optional)
4 Tsp Butter
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 to 6 Tsp Water (hot)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
With warm water in a bowl, dissolve the yeast, then set aside. In a large mixing bowl, pour milk and melted butter, adding sugar, salt and egg. Mix. Add 2 cups of flour to the mix and stir until smooth. Add yeast, followed by remaining flour until dough is pliable.
On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for 5 to 10 minutes. Place dough in well-greased (buttered) bowl and cover. Let dough rise until it doubles in size. This takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
After dough rises, punch (literally) down the dough. Roll it out on a floured surface into a 15-inch by 9-inch rectangular shape. Spread melted butter all over dough. Take sugar and cinnamon (mixed together) and sprinkle over buttered dough, coating it. Then sprinkle walnuts, pecans, or raisins (all optional). From the longest side, roll dough, pinching together the edges to form a seal. Cut roll into 12 to 15 slices.
On baking pan, coat with butter, sprinkling on sugar. Take cinnamon roll slices and bunch them up in the pan, letting them rise again until dough doubles in size (this takes about 45 minutes).
Bake for 30 minutes or so (or until nicely browned).
While the rolls are cooking, prepare a glaze mixture of butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Begin adding hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until glaze is as thin as you want it to be. Brush glaze over slightly cooled rolls.
Full time to prep and cook: 1 hour and 50 minutes.
The mixture makes about 12 to 15 servings, according to the recipe, but if you are a real fan of the cinnamon roll (a.k.a. Sticky Bun), it will make about half a dozen!
And happy Schnecken snackin'!
(photo credit: Steven Depolo, Creative Commons)