Mmmmmmm! Cinnamon rolls, get in my belly!
This recipe yields a huge return, so I like to divide it and let it do double time, half of it becomes biscuits and the other half becomes cinnamon rolls.
Cast of Characters in this splendidly delicious play:
1 (¼-ounce) packet active dry yeast2 tablespoons lukewarm water 5 cups Southern soft-wheat self-rising flour* ¼ cup sugar1/2 cup brown sugarcinnamon as much or as little as you want
1 stick melted butter, divided into half...mmmmm butter1 teaspoon kosher salt½ teaspoon baking soda1 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups buttermilk
2 TBSP milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 of melted butter from previous
* Martha White or Lilly White are the top choices
First, dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a small cup or dish. Set that aside until it becomes nice and foamy.
Stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, and white sugar in a large bowl. Cut shortening into the mixture until the pieces are smallish, but not quite all incorporated and mealy. Add the buttermilk to the dissolved yeast. Stir the buttermilk/yeast mixture into the flour mixture just until a dough forms.
At this point, I divide this dough in half. This way you can make biscuits with half and rolls with the other half. It's that easy. Just roll out this half of the dough on a well floured surface to about 1 inch thick, and then cut with a biscuit cutter or a round glass. Gather up the excess dough and repeat. Place these sides touching on a well greased sheet or in a well greased cast iron skillet, and set aside in a warm place to rise for at least 2-3 hours. Once they have risen and doubled in size, brush melted butter over the tops and bake in a preheated oven at 425 for 15 - 20 minutes. These are the closest thing to The Loveless Cafe's biscuits I've ever sunk my teeth into. And if you've ever had The Loveless Cafe's biscuits, you'll be thanking me for this recipe in .2 seconds.
With the other half of the dough, you have options-you can refrigerate this dough for up to 5 days, and it will actually taste better after being refrigerated a day or two. If you want to carry on now with your cinnamon rolls, by all means, do!
Roll out the dough on a well floured surface, to about 1/2 inch thick. I try to get it nice and rectangular, but that's just me. Liberally brush one of the two halfs the melted butter over the surface then sprinkle heavily with cinnamon. I really pour it on. I also like to add some nutmeg and a dash or four of allspice and sometimes a bit of ginger. Put what you like. Then dump your brown sugar all over it. I like to leave clumps of brown sugar, thumb size or smaller. They melt with the butter into such nice, gooey yumminess...
Now drizzle more melted butter over the top of the sugar. I could eat this just as is. But we really want to see the magic happen with these. Now start at one end of your rectangle and roll the dough into a log. Don't worry about being too tight, but don't let it get too crazy loose either. Once it's all rolled up with the cinnamon, butter, sugar mix inside, take a knife and slice this log into 1½ in. thick rolls. Lay these, sides touching in a well greased pie dish or again, in a cast iron skillet. I love baking biscuits and cinnamon rolls in cast iron. I love the almost crunchy outside with the soft, fluffy inside.
Now drizzle more butter over the tops of these. Can you ever get too much butter? Well, my gallbladder says yes, but I say NO! Hell NO!
Now, set these aside in a warm location to rise for a couple of hours. Once they rise, preheat your oven to 425, and bake these puppies for 15 minutes, or until golden and fluffy.
Now to make your icing-
Mix 1 cup powdered sugar with the remainder of the melted butter. Add a splash of vanilla and a couple of teaspoons of milk. Add more powdered sugar for thicker icing, add more milk for thinner icing. Adjust it to your desire.
Drizzle this over the tops of these rolls and enjoy!