Cinnamon Rolls & Lovers.

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Cinnamon is for lovers. Really.Example? Sure.

It’s the early morn, and you happen to be walking the streets of a foggy, sleepy little town. Hands shoved deep into pockets, you stroll and saunter, determined to find a hole in the wall worthy of your patronage. Before you even see the ruddy, warm light streaming from the cafe ahead, you can smell cinnamon. Warm, inviting, homey. Quickening your step, you wander into what seems to be a local bakery, and there are fresh cinnamon buns just coming out of the oven. Your heart smiles; this was what you were searching for. You take two to go, and smile warmly at the grandmotherly figure who hands them over to you with a “Have a good day, sonny.” One hand shoved back into your pocket, you walk at a quicker pace, excited to get back to your hotel, where your spouse is surely starting to stir and wake. You want the reason they wake to be the smell of cinnamon wafting into the room, and you can’t wait to share. The fog is taking on a brighter color as the sun begins to rise, and even though it is still early morning, you are already content with whatever happens throughout the rest of the day because in your mind, it has already been a success.

See, I told you. Lo-vers.

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You can never have too many cinnamon roll recipes in your arsenal, and this recipe is crazy easy, delicate, and scrumptious.
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Can I be honest? I was in the midst of the cinnamon roll ritual-rolling the dough, spreading the butter, sprinkling handfuls of brown sugar, rolling it up, slicing . . . ya, that’s right. I forgot the cinnamon. For the cinnamon rolls. I wasn’t sure if I should keep it to myself as a secret shame, or voice my short comings to friends so I could get it off my chest and move on. Laughing at yourself and moving on is always the better option, by the way.
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Cinnamon rolls are so forgiving, I think. Just like lovers, in a way.Let me esplain.

When you have finished your cinnamon roll ritual properly, and your rolls are sliced and ready to bake, they aren’t always perfect looking (see above). A lot of the time, your cinnamon and sugar spreading abilities are quite uneven, some of the dough may be just a tiny bit thicker in some areas, and some just look downright like duds. But after they’re baked? They have risen and turned a heavenly shade of gold. Some of the centers have risen higher than others, creating what looks like delicious, uneven mountains. The sugars have married the cinnamon and melted into the dough, creating a glaze that can only be described by “yum.” In a word, they are delightful, pretty, and perfect.

So, like lovers, they have their ups & downs. There are always a couple of expectations in the beginning of what you think things “should” be, and you survey what each of you are bringing to the table: two imperfect people. There are mistakes made by both parties, and sometimes things aren’t what you expected. But then you realize the commitment each of you have made to each other, and you realize what a blessing each of you have in the other person. You take those imperfections, those misunderstandings, those hurts, those things that come between you, and you toss it in the compost pile. You don’t come back to that compost pile, revisit the wrongs, and hold things against each other; you move on.  You then see each other with new eyes, and you see your love as the great thing that it is and was meant to be. Your forgiveness of each other (and, quite frequently, yourself) allows you to  become what you were called to be.

Apparently your love was meant to be a delicious cinnamon roll. Win.

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***Editor’s Note: I MADE A MISTAKE!!! I unknowingly posted a recipe that was meant to be kept between family & friends-I am so sorry! I have replaced the recipe with another one of my favorites, but kept the photos the same. Please enjoy-these are also delish!!!***
Cinnabon™ Knock-off Cinnamon Rolls

makes 12 rolls
For the dough:
1 pkg. active dry yeast (1/4 oz. size or 2 1/4 tsp.)
1 cup warm milk (105º to 110º F.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

For the icing:
1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 oz.) cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare the dough:
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.
Mix together the sugar, butter, salt & eggs. Add flour and milk and mix well
Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands lightly dusted with flour. Put in a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough flat until it is approximately 21 inches long and 16 inches wide. It should be about ¼ inch thick.
Preheat oven to 400º F and position a rack in the middle.

Prepare the filling:
combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Spread the softened butter evenly over the surface of the dough, and then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar evenly over the surface.

Form the rolls:
Working carefully from the top (a 21 inch side), roll the dough down to the bottom edge.
Cut the rolled dough into 1 ¾ inch slices and place 6 at a time, evenly spaced, in a lightly greased baking pan. Let the rolls rise again until doubled in size (about 30 min.). Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden on top.

Prepare the icing:
While the rolls bake, mix the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, then add the milk and flavorings. Mix on high speed again until the icing is smooth and fluffy.
When the rolls come out of the oven, let them cool for about 10 minutes, then coat generously with the icing.

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