My husband does't talk about a lot of food memories, unlike me who remembers every meal of every event in my life! But he does have this obsession with his Grandma Tilton's cinnamon rolls. His mom was happy to send him the recipe, and I sort of sat back thinking he might try them some day. I vaguely remember him doing it, but I can't remember how they turned out. So I decided as I was getting things done ahead, that maybe I could make them to the point of the last rise and freeze them. Then, in the morning I could take the thawed rolls out and bake them up for an amazing surprise!
Grandma Tilton's Cinnamon Rolls
1 package yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water (under 110˚ F)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
Scald milk and remove from heat. Add butter, sugar, salt and allow to cool. Note that most times yeast doesn't rise, it is because it has been killed. Yes, murdered by too hot of a liquid. Use an instant read thermometer and make sure that nothing is over 110̊ . In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the scalded milk and 1 1/2 cups of flour until smooth. Add yeast mixture and mix and then add 2 eggs and mix well. I use the dough hook so it is always on a slow speed. Add another 1 1/2 cups of flour and mix until smooth and elastic. Knead for about 7 minutes. I add flour in small amounts until the dough cleans the bowl as it is kneaded. Remove from bowl and place in oiled bowl and cover with a cloth and let rise a few hours until doubled in size.
Roll out on floured board, I did one half of the dough at a time. Roll to a large rectangle. Drizzle a little butter, about 3 Tablespoons, melted on the dough, and then sprinkle brown sugar and chopped nuts (I used walnuts). You want the toppings to reach the edges of the dough. Begin to roll on one long end and tightly roll the dough. Cut into slices about 2"-3" thick. You can make them bigger, just adjust the baking time. Place the cut rolls in a 9x9 square pan that has 2 Tablespoons of butter and a little brown sugar and chopped nuts on the bottom. Repeat for the other half of the dough. Cover well with plastic wrap and then with foil and freeze.
A note: There were no measurements for the butter, brown sugar and nuts, but I always err on the light side. These are not health food to begin with. If they are a little dry on the day we bake them I can always whip up a little confectioner's sugar glaze. But since the bottom of the pan will be a little gooey and caramelized, I thought they would be fine.
So here's what I need to change. I do not like the brown sugar, I am not a fan of that dark gooieness. I cut the rolls too small thinking it would make portions easier, but they really were a tad dry, I think big rolls that are a little doughy in the center is the way to go, but I did put a bit of glaze on them, and that helped. They smelled fantastic, they tasted good, but they are not my favorite. (And I forgot to snap photos of the finished rolls!) I have an old standby for a traditional, non brown sugar, no nut, cinnamon roll that I will blog soon. But hey, these are what Scott loves, they are his memory, and thankfully he knows how to make them!