When I was a senior in high school, our varsity basketball team lost every single game. Following previous undefeated seasons, the 0-20 record was especially hard for the seniors on the team to swallow and a topic that no one especially liked talking about.
At this time, I worked on the school newspaper, where I contributed primarily to the news and features sections.
Since we had covered the basketball team’s undefeated record the year before, someone in journalism class suggested that we highlight the inexplicably humiliating season. No one wanted to cover it, most likely to spare the egos of the seniors on the basketball team, but somehow, I found myself volunteering.
When word spread to the basketball team that I was writing the story, one of the team captains took the predictably childish approach and told the entire varsity team not to speak to me.
Since I couldn’t get the quotes that I needed from the current players, I interviewed the coach as well as the JV captains who were more than happy to see their names in print.
Despite the fact that I reported a balanced story (in which I don’t recall crucifying any of the starting seniors by name), if memory serves me correctly none of them spoke to me for a very long time after the article published.
What I am trying to say here is that I don’t really go with the flow.
When I’m told not to do something, that makes me want to do it even more.
When everyone in the world is doing X, I want to be the one doing Y.
Which is why in a sea of “Top 11 Recipes from 2011” and “Healthy Green Blah Blah For Your New Year’s Diet” I’m giving you a recipe for cinnamon rolls.
Think about it. It’s 13 degrees outside and there is a thin layer of frost coating your lawn.
Do you really want to eat pureed spinach and beets for breakfast? I didn’t think so.
You need something to take the sting out of January mornings and soft dough, cinnamon sugar and creamy icing will do just that.
And as for your diet? What are you talking about? You look great.
For the Dough:
- ¼-ounce package yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- ½ cup hot milk (heated until bubbly on the stove or 30 seconds in the microwave)
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
For the Filling:
- ½ cup melted butter, plus more for pan
- ¾ cup sugar, plus more for pan
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the Glaze:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 to 6 tablespoons hot milk (heated until bubbly on the stove or 30 seconds in the microwave)
- Prepare dough in advance: In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix warmed milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add half of the flour (about two cups) and mix until smooth.
- Add yeast mixture to the flour mix and combine until smooth. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle - it shouldn't stick to your hands and if it does, add more flour by the ¼ cup.
- Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1½ hours.
- When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, roll dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices.
- Prepare rolls for baking: Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. (If you are preparing them the night before, place in the refrigerator and let them rise overnight).
- To bake rolls: When you're ready to bake the rolls, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.
- Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls and enjoy.