These amazing beauties came from Joy’s cookbook, and yes, they do live up to their name. They are giant. No false advertising here. But they are giant in a right-kind-of-wrong way. I read Joy’s little intro to this recipe before making them, where she admits that whenever she bakes these treats, she eats three of them afterwards. (She doesn’t say what happens to the remaining five rolls).
“That’s crazy!” I thought. “I could never eat three of these things – they’re so huge!” Well… I thought wrong. Turns out, I can eat three of them! Joy confesses it takes her eight minutes to down all three and it took me twenty-four hours, but still. I found that yes, it’s possible to eat three. It might still be crazy, but make no mistake, it is entirely possible.
I’ve always been a huge sticky bun/cinnamon roll fan, but I loathe the packaged stuff you can buy in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It just doesn’t taste fresh. Fortunately, they aren’t difficult to make from scratch – just time-consuming. But, silver lining – most of the time is hands-off because you’re just letting dough rise.
These are the very classic version of cinnamon rolls, with the twist being in the way you cut them into rolls. That is, you cut them into fewer rolls than you normally would, and they come out well, giant! But still delicious and everything you want a cinnamon roll to be. And sometimes it’s okay to supersize, right? My philosophy is, if you’re going to do something wrong, then do it right. And these definitely fit that bill. It is sort of wrong to make a cinnamon roll, already a decadent treat, even larger than normal. But these taste so supremely awesome that it works. Make them, and see if you can stop yourself from eating three!
1 (1/4 oz.) package active dry yeast
1/2 tsp plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2 tbs packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus about 3/4 cup more for kneading
3/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
A pinch of ground cloves
3 tbs maple syrup
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar. Add 1/4 cup warm water (it should just feel warm to the touch). Stir to combine and let sit until frothy and foamy, about 10 minutes. If the yeast does not foam and froth, it’s dead and you need to start over with new yeast.
Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Beat with a wire whisk until combined. Fit the bowl onto the mixer along with the dough hook. Add the 2 3/4 cups flour and the salt. Mix on medium speed until the dough just begins to come together. Turn the mixer to medium-high and knead the dough for 4 minutes.
Add the softened butter and continue to knead for another 6 minutes. The dough will be wet and sticky. Place the dough on a well-floured surface and knead 1/3 to 1/2 cup flour into the dough by hand. The dough will be just slightly sticky. Set the dough to rest in a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and drape a kitchen towel over the bowl. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in size.
While the dough rises, make the filling.
To make the filling, combine the sugars, walnuts, cinnamon, salt, and cloves in a medium bowl. Stir in the maple syrup and set aside.
When the dough has doubled in size, dump it out of the bowl onto a heavily floured work surface. Gently knead the dough by hand until it is no longer sticky, adding about 3 tbs of flour if needed. Knead the dough for about 2 minutes. Place a clean kitchen towel over the dough and let it rise on the counter for 5 minutes.
Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10×20-inch square. Turn the dough so that the short sides are parallel to you. You will roll from the short side of the dough.
Brush the dough with 1/4 cup of the melted butter. You’ll use the rest of the butter after the rolls are baked. Pour all of the filling onto the dough. Spread evenly, leaving a 1-inch border at one of the short edges so the roll can be properly sealed. Lightly press the filling into the dough.
Roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch all along the edge to seal. Place dough, seam side down, on a cutting board (if it’s not there already). Cut into 8 equal pieces.
Arrange the slices, cut side up, in a greased 9×13-inch baking pan. Each roll will have a few inches of space on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in a warm place for 2 hours. You can also refrigerate the rolls overnight. Just be sure to bring them to room temperature before baking the next morning.
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 F. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup melted butter just after the rolls come out of the oven.
While the baked rolls are cooling slightly, make the glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar and buttermilk until smooth. Drizzle over the warm rolls and serve.