how to: make homemade cinnamon rolls

To kick off our how-to-mania-week, I'm super excited to introduce my blogging BFF, Jaimie, from Living in the Light!  And wait until you see what Jaimie prepared for you guys today!  I know I'll be trying this recipe as soon as I get home from the beach... heck, we might be trying this recipe out tomorrow... cinnamon rolls for beach week??  Brilliant.  Jaimie... take it away!
Hi!  I'm Jaimie from Living in the Light.  I'm so happy to be guest-posting for Julia today!  It's an honor to write for one of my favorite bloggers, and I'm excited to start this how-to series with something yummy!

Cinnamon rolls are usually a special treat; they look like a lot of work and taste like they should be for dessert only!  I'll tell you a secret: growing up, my mom would make them for breakfast, as an accompaniment to chili or chicken soup, and it wasn't very difficult to do.  Now I do the same for my husband and me, and I often make cinnamon rolls when we have company for breakfast.

When Julia asked for ideas of how-to posts, I asked to share this simple tutorial on how to make homemade cinnamon rolls.  Now you'll see how easy, delicious, and even healthy homemade cinnamon rolls can be.

(This recipe was adapted from a recipe for Angel Rolls from Taste of Home magazine.  My mom changed it to make the recipe for cinnamon rolls.)

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
3 1/2 c flour (2 1/2 c white, 1 c whole wheat)
2 T sugar
1 T yeast (or one packet)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c warm soured milk or buttermilk*
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/3 c warm water

4 T (1/2 stick) softened butter
1/3 c brown sugar
2 T cinnamon

frosting (adapted from a recipe from The Cake Doctor cookbook):
4 T (1/2 stick) softened butter
4 ounces (1/2 box) low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

*to make soured milk, pour 1 T lemon juice into glass measuring cup.  Add enough milk to make 1 cup.  Microwave on high one minute.  Milk will appear thick and curdled.

1) Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  In large bowl, combine 1 c white flour and 1 c whole wheat with sugar, yeast, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Add milk, vegetable oil, and water.  Beat until moistened.
2) Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.  Dough should leave sides of bowl but still be soft and slightly sticky.
3) Turn dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 2-4 minutes.  Let rest 10 minutes.
4) On lightly floured surface, roll out dough into rectangle approximately 11x15 inch rectangle.  (No need to be exact.)  Spread evenly with softened butter (the back of a soup spoon works well for this).  Sprinkle liberally, to edges of dough, with brown sugar and cinnamon.

 5) Starting from a short end, roll up dough, using enough pressure to roll tightly.  (Use both hands.  The only reason I'm using one in the photo is because the other hand was holding the camera.)

6) Pinch closed the edge of the dough along the length of the cylinder to keep from unrolling.

7) Using a sharp, serrated knife dipped in flour, cut into 16 slices (or 12 if you want bigger rolls).

8) Place rolls on greased jellyroll pan.  Another way to bake them, which I have started doing since I took these pictures, is to fit six or eight rolls in each of two greased pie plates.  This squeezes the rolls together, which makes them rise higher and have soft sides, unlike when they're baked spread apart in a large pan as shown in these pictures.  Either way works just fine; it depends on how you like your cinnamon rolls which way you do it.

9) Bake rolls for 15-18 minutes or until browned on top.  While rolls bake, make frosting.

10) To make frosting, beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla in medium bowl until well-combined and creamy.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar until desired consistency.  If baking cinnamon rolls in pie plate, make frosting fairly thick and spread over hot rolls as over a cake.  The frosting will melt into and between the rolls.

Alternately, make a glaze (as shown below) with 2 T milk, 1 tsp vanilla, and approximately 1 cup powdered sugar.  Spoon over cinnamon rolls.

However you make them, these cinnamon rolls are delicious.  And with very little sugar and part whole-wheat flour in the dough, you can feel good about eating them as well.  They taste great without the frosting, if you want an even healthier option, but the frosting is, well, the icing on the cake!

If you make these, leave a comment or hop over to my blog and let me know what you think!  Happy baking!