Brioche Cinnamon Rolls.

I know what you are thinking . . . “That last post was quite thoughtful & riveting, but I sure hope she’s got a recipe for us this time around . . . “I do, friends. I do.
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These ding-dang bad boys taste like heaven in a flaky, buttery, rich dough whose only explanation can be outrageous amounts of butter & eggs.I woke up at 5am, 3 hours before my alarm on my day off, to make these. You see, I made the brioche dough the night before. Which means it was in its second rise (the overnight rise) in my fridge, anticipating becoming a cinnamon roll. I had promised the dough as I was kneading it that would be its future, & I couldn’t stand the thought of letting it down.As I made the dough the night before, I was amazed. It seemed as if I just kept adding butter. A sure sign that things are headed in the right direction.

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Rolls & toes & tea towel = comfy breakfast palette.Also, my husband didn’t know what a palette was! As a kid, making a palette on the floor meant a sleepover, a picnic, an excuse to lay out a blanket & camp out for a bit. To him, strictly construction. Webster was very helpful on this . . . we were both right.We had this discussion last weekend when we went to Tacoma to visit friends. We drove down on a Saturday afternoon, picking up another dear friend along the way, & drove to Tacoma. It was sunny & slightly warm & perfect. We had dinner, drinks, laughed, recalled stories of when we all lived together in Scotland, & chatted about what the future held for each of us. BC bound for now for us, Romania for them, & transition period for another. God has been so good to each of us on our journeys, & I am so grateful that our paths have crossed at all.  The next morning we got up, had breakfast, & hit the road again. A whirlwind trip that filled my soul & refreshed my spirit. Worth it.

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Road trip & handsome husband. I love him.
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Risen, ready for baking.The recipe may seem extensive, but trust me, it’s worth it. And after a couple times, you totally get the hang & rhythm of it.Depending on your mood, your soundtrack to cinnamon rolls may change.

If it’s a slightly melancholy baking session, “Wait,” by Alexi Murdoch will do nicely. It’s ok; sometimes I cry while I’m baking too.

If you’re full of energy, “We Are Young,” by Fun. will do the trick, even if you’ve heard the song a gazillion times (because, face it, I think we all have). Even busting out Nate Ruess’ previous band, The Format would be acceptable/radical.

If it’s just a day, a normal baking time, & you have no inclination to any mood, it’s a toss up between Of Monsters & Men & The Black Keys. Silence & sunrise will also fit this bill.

Enjoy. xx

Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
{makes 12}
THE SPONGE
1/3 cup warm whole milk (100- 110 degrees F)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 large egg
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

THE DOUGH
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten, room temp
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (approx)
6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

Put the milk, yeast, egg and 1 cup of the flour in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer.
Mix the ingredients together with a rubber spatula, mixing just until everything is blended.
Sprinkle over the remaining cup of flour to cover the sponge.
Set the sponge aside to rest uncovered for 30-40 minutes.
After this resting time, the flour coating will crack, your indication that everything is moving along properly.

Add the sugar, salt, eggs, and 1 cup of the flour to the sponge.
Set in the mixer, attach the dough hook, and mix on low speed for a minute or two, just until the ingredients look as if they are about to come together.
Still mixing, sprinkle in 1/2 cup more flour.
When the flour is incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 15 minutes, stopping to scrape down the hook and bowl as needed.

During this mixing period, the dough should come together, wrap itself around the hook and slap the sides of the bowl. In order to incorporate the butter into the dough, you must work the butter until it is the same consistency as the dough.
You can bash the butter into submission with a rolling pin or give it kinder and gentler handling by using a dough scraper to smear it bit by bit across a smooth work surface.
When it is ready, the butter will be smooth, soft, and still cool- not warm, oily or greasy.
With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter a few tablespoons at a time.

This is the point at which you’ll think you’ve made a huge mistake, because the dough that you worked so hard to make smooth will fall apart- don’t worry, don’t panic- carry on.

When all of the butter has been added, raise the mixer speed to medium-high for a minute, then reduce the speed to medium and beat the dough for about 5 minutes, or until you once again hear the dough slapping against the sides of the bowl.
Clean the sides of the bowl frequently as you work; if it looks as though the dough is not coming together after 2-3 minutes, add up to 1 tablespoon more flour.
When you’re finished, the dough should feel somewhat cool.
It will be soft and sill sticky and may cling slightly to the sides and bottom of the bowl.

FIRST RISE: Transfer the dough to a very large buttered bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 2- 2 1/2 hours.

SECOND RISE AND CHILL: Deflate the dough by placing your fingers under it, lifting a section of dough, and then letting it fall back into the bowl.

Work your way around the circumference of the dough, lifting and releasing.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight, or for at least 4-6 hours, during which time it will continue to rise and may double in size again.

AFTER THIS LONG CHILL, THE DOUGH IS READY TO USE IN ANY BRIOCHE RECIPE.

Good morning! Now . . .
Line a 13×9 glass pan with parchment paper; set aside.

In a small bowl, mix 1 cup packed brown sugar & 2 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon together. Set aside.

Pull the dough from the fridge & dump out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a couple times with hands, then roll into a horizontal rectangle, about 1/2-1/3″ thick. Using a pastry brush, spread1/4-1/3 cup melted butter around the entire surface (leave the seam edge farthest from you bare, but only by 1/4″. That way the dough will adhere.) Sprinkle brown sugar + cinnamon mixture on top of the butter. Go over the filling with the rolling pin/ your hands to make sure it is packed on well. Starting from the long edge closest to your body, roll up the dough tightly (but not too tightly).  Cut each roll about 1/2″ thick.  Be careful when cutting the rolls as you don’t want to flatten the roll.  Use a warm damp sharp knife (dip the knife into a bowl of warm water, or hold it under warm water from the faucet) and dab it onto a towel to dry off excess water.  Then using a wide sawing motion, and gently holding one side of the roll, cut one slice.  You’ll need to repeat that process with each slice, being sure to wipe off any dough and cinnamon on the knife before proceeding. Place the rolls in the prepared 13×9 pan as you are slicing them.

After placing the rolls in the pan, they’ll need to be left in a warm place again to rise until doubled in size.  This takes about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F and place the pan in the oven when the rolls are ready.  Bake for 14-20 minutes or until golden.

While baking, prepare the
Cream Cheese Glaze:

4 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
3/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons (or 1 ounce) softened cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Place all the ingredients into a bowl and use an electric mixer to mix until fluffy.

As soon as the rolls came out of the oven, put a dollop on top of each roll, let it melt for a minute, then spread the dollops over the rolls.

Source: brioche adapted from Julia Child, cinnamon roll bit roughly adapted from Sweetest Kitchen

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