Cinnamon Rolls in a Cast Iron Skillet

I always feel like cooking is a journey for me. Every recipe is a mountain that becomes shorter and shorter every time I attempt it. Which is good! I am starting to link recipes together, ones that have similar ingredients and measurements; it's becoming easier to see the root of most dishes, which is interesting. I am really loving this hobby, though my parents and loved ones keep telling me that I am making their pant sizes go up! Oops!! 
I've been thinking about cinnamon rolls for some time now. It was a mountain that I was afraid to climb. I knew it needed experimentation, consistency, and time - all things I didn't want to waste. That's kind of the thing with cinnamon rolls... they take forever! And I wanted them as soon as I woke up!! But you can't get everything that you want. And these rolls... well, they were worth the wait. This recipe is creamy, buttery, and above all not dry. Whenever I eat cinnamon rolls, I find myself disappointed because I really wanted them to be doughy and chewy and delicious, only to be eating a dry, bread-like dessert. I hope you're not disappointed by these bad boys!!

INGREDIENTS // 

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter

RECIPE // 

  • In an electric mixer, combine the warm water, yeast, and 2 tbsp sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, 2 tbsp sugar, and salt until combined. 
  • Add the canola oil, egg, and vanilla to the yeast mixture. With your electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, slowly begin to incorporate the flour mixture. Mix until just combined and a soft dough has formed, spongy and not sticky. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 to 5 minutes. Make sure you really get some elbow grease in there!
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning it over so the top is greased as well. Cover with a damp cloth and let sit in warm place free of drafts until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Truth be told, my dough did not rise to be exactly "doubled" in size after 1 hour. I let it sit for another 10-15 minutes and was satisfied with the size. If you find that your dough did not rise a LOT but did rise a decent amount, it's fine. Seriously.
  • Punch the dough down and let sit for 15 minutes, covered with a damp cloth.
  • Lightly spray either one 10-inch cast iron skillet OR two mini skillets, about 6-inches with a nonstick cooking spray. 
  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Over the stove, melt your butter over medium heat, stirring semi-constantly until browned, foaming, and smelling wonderful.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 18x12 inches. Brush the dough with the melted browned butter - really slather it on there! The more butter the better. Sprinkle with the brown sugar mixture. Tightly roll up the dough like a jelly-roll, starting with the long end. I find the best way to roll is like a typewriter, starting at one end and rolling back and forth. You should end with a long snake, not a fat log! Press in the edge to seal. Cut into 1 1/2 inch slices.
  • Place cut side down in the prepared skillet(s). Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled size, about 1 hour. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Bake the cinnamon rolls for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Drizzle with glaze immediately!

TO MAKE THE GLAZE //

  • In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 to 1 cup milk or heavy cream, 1 tbsp maple syrup, and 1 stick of melted butter.

These were SO delicious. The evening of the day that I made them, I decided to bring one of the skillets with me to my cousin's house. There were a few of girls having a wine night, and we ended up eating the entire pan! Not too shabby!! I think that making cinnamon rolls is such a fun holiday tradition, and I would to start a new one by bringing rolls over to our family and friends homes. That would be such a fun gift to receive! Have fun baking these - what a delicious treat on Christmas morning!! 

xoxo Kayla