Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Cinnamon Rolls

It’s October and once again, I’m asking myself where the time has gone. I’ve already been in school for over a month now and we are starting to prepare for midterms soon. Despite it, October is one of my favorite months. Usually, that means layering up, not looking too weird with a fuzzy scarf or vest or pea coat. However, I’m in Southern California where it seems as if summer wants to extend her stay. To bring in some kind of fall, I decided to make a batch of cinnamon rolls for my friends that are coming over later. I remember the first time I tried making cinnamon rolls…it was a complete flop. The yeast was either already expired to begin with or I used milk that was too hot, and thus, the rolls did not rise. They came out to be these tiny one inch circular hard biscuits that had a swirl of cinnamon brown sugar inside. Since then, I have told myself no more. Until now. A while ago, I found the absolute best Monkey Bread recipe. It tastes just like cinnamon rolls, so I figured it would be perfect to use.

Cinnamon Rolls

While this dough is probably the easiest anyone can ever make, it does take patience. And time. LOTS of time. You want to allow enough time for the dough to properly rise, for the needed reactions to take place, for the gluten to be able to rest, all that science-y chemistry stuff.

Cinnamon Rolls

To begin, make the dough. Combine the milk, water, and butter into a glass pyrex cup. As it is heated, the milk and water will begin to melt the butter. Microwave until the liquids reach 110 degrees, or just slightly warm to the touch. Once it reaches that temperature, add in the sugar and yeast and stir until it is completely dissolved.

Cinnamon Rolls

In a stand mixer fitted with a dough attachment, measure in the flour and the salt. On low speed, slowly add in the milk mixture. Once it is all mixed in, turn it on high and beat until it comes together, about three minutes. The dough should be sticky, but not too wet where it cannot be managed. If it is too sticky, add in more flour, 2 tablespoons at a time.

Cinnamon Rolls

Turn the dough out into a lightly greased (with butter or oil) bowl and cover with saran wrap. Set it in a warm area of the house or outside if its hot and allow it to double in size. I allowed mine to rise for about two hours.

Once it has doubled and you are ready to use, punch it down and roll it out onto a floured surface. You can see the bubbles that have been released from the yeast.

Cinnamon Rolls

Roll it out into as even of a rectangle as possible. Make sure the dough is not sticking too much to the counter otherwise it will be hard to roll up.

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I use the rolling pin to almost flatten one of the long edges. This way, It will be able to seal up each roll without too much of a noticeable seam.

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After I roll it out, I give it a little time to rest as I make the filling. Simply melt the butter in a bowl and whisk in the cinnamon and brown sugar. Using an offset spatula, spread it out into an even layer of the cinnamon mixture onto the dough. Get every edge except the one that has the thinner border.

Slowly begin to roll up the dough, making sure to keep it tightly rolled up as you go until you get a log. To slice the cinnamon rolls, you can cut it in half, line it up, and cut them in half then in half again. That will give you eight nice sized pieces.

Cinnamon Rolls

Line them up into a baking dish. I’m using my cast iron to bake it in.

Cinnamon Rolls

Leave enough space between each one so that it has room for the dough to spread out and proof during its second rise.

Cinnamon Rolls

Place it back in a warm area and allow the dough to rise one more time for another hour. You will notice it to be ready when it has a puffed appearance.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Make sure you turn the pan halfway to ensure even baking. As it’s baking, whip up the maple cream cheese frosting in a stand mixer. Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth, then slowly add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and maple syrup.

Cinnamon Rolls

When the rolls have finished baking, remove from the oven and immediately spread the frosting over the rolls. This will allow the frosting to melt and fall into every crevice of dish.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

These rolls are incredibly easy to make. They make the house smell amazing, the textures are very fluffy and light, and the cinnamon is powerfully present. I think my friends are gonna enjoy these tonight!

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Dough

2 Tbsp melted butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish

1 c warm milk, about 110 degrees

1/3 c warm water, about 110 degrees

1/4 c granulated sugar

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (one package)

3 1/4 c all-purpose flour, plus more if needed if dough is too sticky

2 tsp salt

Brown Sugar Filling

1 c packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

1/2 c butter, melted (1 stick)

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 package cream cheese frosting (8 ounce)

2 c powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup maple syrup

Liberally butter a baking dish with softened butter. Set aside.

In a large pyrex measuring cup, mix together the milk, water, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Mix the flour and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the milk mixture. After the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is shiny and smooth, 6 to 7 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add 2 tablespoons flour at a time and mix until the dough comes together. Dough should still be sticky, but dry enough to handle.

Grease a large bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl and turn it around to grease the dough. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1-2 hours.

Once it has risen, punch the dough down, and turn the dough out onto a floured counter surface. Use a rolling pin that has been dusted with flour and roll the dough into a rectangle. Use the rolling pin to flatten one of the long edges to create flat border. This will help the cinnamon roll seal. Let the dough rest while you make the filling.

Melt the butter in a glass bowl, then whisk in the cinnamon and brown sugar. With an offset spatula, spread the mixture over the dough in an even layer, avoiding the flattened border edge. Begin to roll the dough into an even log.

Cut into two inch pieces, and line it up in a buttered baking dish. Allow there to be some space between each roll as the dough will continue to expand during the second proofing. Cover with saran wrap and set it back in a warm location for an hour.

Once it has puffed, bake the rolls at 350 degrees for 35 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Turn the pan halfway during baking to ensure it browns evenly.

While it bakes, make the frosting. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese. On low speed, add in the powdered sugar. Once it is incorporated, turn the speed high and let it whip. Slowly drizzle in the vanilla and maple syrup until fully incorporated.

When the buns have finished baking, remove from the oven and slather on the maple cream cheese frosting immediately. It will slightly melt the frosting and allow it to seep into the crevices of the rolls. Enjoy immediately.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

The marriage of bacon and maple. I’ve always seen bacon and maple donuts as well as bacon and maple cupcakes, but haven’t seen very much of them on a cookie. For work this week, we are hosting an event in which two chefs will be teaching a cooking demonstration as the audience learns and eats. The theme for the night is bacon and when I was asked to make a small treat to put into their gift bags, the first thing that came to mind were the marriage of bacon and maple.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

At first, I wanted to do a cupcake, but it would have been harder to gift wrap and put in a box as the frosting makes it more fragile. Maybe in the future I’ll come up with something bacon and cupcake related but for this, I ended up meshing the flavors of bacon and maple with my beloved chocolate chip cookie recipe that has been tried and true since I was in seventh grade. To it, I simply added chopped bacon and drizzled on a maple icing on top. While the actual taste of bacon very subtle, it adds a hint of salt and savory flavor that pairs well with the chocolate!

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

To begin, you need bacon. For this event, I had to make 160 cookies and ended up using 6 pounds of bacon. Yes, that is SIX POUNDS. But keep in mind that I double fried the bacon, rendering off as much of the fat as possible. So really, it came out to about 2-3 pounds that I actually used. The recipe that is put below is for a standard batch of 2 dozen cookies.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

The above bacon is only half of what I used. Fry up the bacon until it has a beautiful golden color on both sides and remove from the heat, draining off as much of the fat as possible.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Next, you want to get it into small pieces. You can use a knife to chop it up, but I find scissors are much sharper and faster at getting the job done.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Now, we go back for the second fry. This removes any of the excess bacon fat…trust me, you’ll be surprised at how much fat will still come off the bacon meat! Once you think it has reached its peak and has removed as much fat as possible, place the bacon bits through a fine mesh strainer and drain out any of the extra oil. Place it in a bowl to cool down.

Now that you have your bacon, it’s time to make the classic chocolate chip cookies. To begin, cream together the butter and shortening. Slowly add the granulated sugar, then the brown sugar. Beat until well combined and scrape down the bowl.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Next, add in the eggs, one at a time and make sure it is fully mixed in before adding in the next! It’ll start to really get nice and fluffy at this point! Then, add in the vanilla.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

After this stage, most recipes will have you add in the dry ingredients, but lucky for you, you have come to the right place as this recipe is not like most recipes. Add in the two bags of chocolate chips. The mixer will get a little bumpy so you might want to lock it in place. I like adding in the chocolate at this point as opposed to folding it in after as it sweetens and deepens the flavor of the actual cookie as bits of chocolate get pressed into the dough. Also, adding it in now will prevent any over mixing of the batter once the flour is added in.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Beautiful. Now, sift in the dry ingredients. It’s very important to sift as it will allow your dough to not only be lump free, but to be light and airy. As soon as the dry ingredients have been mixed in, the dough is ready to be baconed up. Depending on how much you love bacon, you can either add more or less. I added two cups of bacon per batch of cookies. Just remember to save some bacon to the side so you have something to garnish the cookies with!

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fold the bacon into the dough and use an ice cream scoop to drop the cookie dough batter onto parchment paper. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Allow them to cool completely before icing them. To make the icing, simply combine the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and heavy whipping cream and whisk in a bowl until smooth and lump free. The quantities of how much whipping cream you use will vary depending on the consistency of you maple syrup. Some syrups are thicker than others, so if it is thicker, use more whipping cream. If it is a thinner consistency, use less and adjust accordingly.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Use a fork and dip it into the icing and shake it back and forth on top of the cookies. This will give it a messy but chic design. Garnish the tops with bacon bits before the icing sets!

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

An insane amount of cookies makes me dizzy just looking at it.

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Bacon & Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 2 dozen cookies
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1 lb applewood bacon

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp

1/4 c shortening

1/3 c sugar

1 c packed light brown sugar

2 Tbsp molasses

2 medium eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 c all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 c semisweet chocolate chips

Maple Icing (recipe below)

Remove the bacon from its packaging and fry until both sides are golden and crispy. Drain the pan from any bacon fat. Chop the bacon up into small pieces with either scissors or a knife. Return to the skillet and fry one more time to render off any of the fat that is still existing. Once the majority of the fat has rendered off, scoop the bacon bits into a fine mesh strainer and drain the left over oil off. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until fully combined. Slowly add in the granulated sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the brown sugar and continue to mix until fully incorporated. Add the molasses, eggs, and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix on low speed.

Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in all but 1/4 cup of the bacon, saving that portion to garnish. Using an ice cream scoop, drop the cookie dough onto parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cookies are golden brown and slightly browned on the edges. Allow them to completely cool before transferring to a cooling rack.

Maple Icing

1 1/2 c powdered sugar

1/3 c maple syrup

1/4 c heavy whipping cream

In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, syrup, and cream until it is lump free and smooth. Depending on the thickness of both the syrup and creams, you may have to adjust the recipe as you go to get the right consistency.

Once the cookies have been baked and cooled, use a fork and dip it into the icing. Shake the fork back and forth across the top of the cookies, then garnish with the reserved 1/4 cup of bacon.