Friday, December 24, 2010

It Feels Like Christmas: Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Another gem from Muppet Christmas Carol.

The Spirit of Christmas Present is my favorite one in this flick -- he's a hoot. And this song is such a lovely reminder of the good things in life, the things we ought to all slow down and cherish when they happen instead of rushing through them.

Consider this your moment to stop and smell the roses for the holidays.  Or the Christmas morning cinnamon rolls.

I originally got this recipe from the Flylady website.  But the original recipe didn't work out the way I wanted it to taste, so I completely re-worked it.  The great thing about these is that all the real work gets done the night before, so all you have to do is bake them in the morning.  If you have your coffee ready to go, too, then life is perfect and you can sit back and enjoy the presents while your house fills with the most amazing smell as these bake.

Here is my version of Christmas morning cinnamon rolls, that you make the night before and then pop in the oven on Christmas morning:

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls

12 to 24 unbaked frozen cinnamon rolls (These have to be the regular frozen cinnamon rolls made with yeast dough, not the quick bake ones and not rolls labeled "quick rise" -- those will not work, sad to say.  If you can't find frozen cinnamon rolls at your store, use the original Flylady recipe and use frozen roll dough to make some "monkey bread" instead.)
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 large box instant french vanilla pudding mix
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 c. pecans, chopped small
1/2 c. butter, melted  (1 stick)
1/4 c. coarsely chopped pecans

Lightly grease a large (at least 9x13 for 12 rolls, but it depends on how many rolls you are using as to how big the pan needs to be) baking pan with cooking spray.  Place frozen rolls into the pan.  Mix together brown sugar, pudding mix, cinnamon and chopped pecans.   Sprinkle sugar mixture over all of the rolls evenly, tucking down in the sides of the pan, too, where there are spaces.  Pour melted butter over the top. Then sprinkle with the remaining coarsely chopped pecans.

Cover with saran wrap that has been sprayed on the side touching the rolls with some cooking spray (they tend to stick otherwise), and leave overnight at room temperature to rise.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake rolls for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

The frozen cinnamon rolls that we buy come with a couple of packets of cream cheese frosting.  We like to squeeze that on top of the rolls after they bake as we are eating them.  Seriously yummy stuff.

Hope your Christmas Eve is as warm and cozy as ours has been so far today.  We'll be baking some cookies for Santa shortly and tonight before bedtime I'll put my cinnamon rolls out to rise for Christmas morning.

The merriest Christmas to one and all.


Anonymous said...

This recipe didn't work for me. Dry mixture was still dry for the most part and the rolls were just like a hot roll with a clump of brown sugar stuck on bottom. Family was disappointed.

Christy Hardin Smith said...

The key is to coat the entire dry mixture with the butter. Some ovens cook at a higher temperature, I've found, and that can exacerbate the dryness a bit. Try putting the dry mixture on the bottom of your pan, pouring the butter over and mixing everything around to blend it well. Then top with the pecans, and then add the cinnamon rolls on top. Let them rise overnight and pop in the oven in the morning. You just have to flip them over to serve, but that way the "topping" stays moist even if it isn't baking on top. I have to do this when I'm not baking them in my own oven, which cooks more slowly, and they work nicely in a faster oven this way. You just have to flip the rolls over to serve if you want the topping on top. Also, if you like a gooier topping, add a bit more butter -- that can make a difference if you like your caramel topping to be a bit more wet. Hope that helps!