I don’t know about you, but the cooling Fall weather and turning leaves brings on all kinds of cravings. For some it’s Pumpkin Spice and everything nice. For others it’s hot apple cider or a warm, gooey apple crisp with a dollop of ice cream. And for still others it’s the smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven with a sweet maple frosting just waiting to warm itself over the top.
If you’re from the Midwest, you may be craving those cinnamon rolls alongside a steaming bowl of hearty chili! Sound strange? It’s actually not that odd for many people living in the plains states. For generations we have enjoyed potlucks, family dinners, and even school lunches with a menu of chili and cinnamon rolls! There is just something about that sweet, spicy, savory, cinnamony combination that makes us Midwesterners feel all warm and cozy inside. In this recipe I’ve added a little extra punch of flavor with a Maple frosting for my cinnamon rolls, inviting Fall into my kitchen at last. (Now if only the weather would cooperate!)
If you want to give this Midwestern combo a try, my family loves this Hillbilly Chili recipe. Or for a more traditional and hearty chili, you could try my Beef Chili recipe. (Just ignore the cornbread waffles!)
Speedy Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting
For step-by-step instructions with photos, scroll to bottom of recipe.
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
6 – 6 ½ cups all-purpose flour
5 tsp. yeast (may use quick rise, if desired)
½ cup unsalted butter, very soft (softened butter seems to hold the cinnamon and sugars better than melted butter, I’ve discovered)
1-2 Tbs. cinnamon
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 lb. powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup strong coffee (I make mine with 1/4 cup hot water combined 1/2 tsp. espresso powder)
1 tsp. maple flavoring
3 Tbs. melted unsalted butter
1-2 Tbs. milk, added a little at a time to see how much you need
Combine milk, water, oil, sugar and salt in microwave safe bowl; heat 1-2 minutes, until temperature is to 120 – 130 degrees F.
While liquids are heating, measure 3 cups of flour into bowl of mixer; add yeast and combine well with flour.
Pour the heated liquids into the flour/yeast mixture. Using the whisk attachment, beat at medium speed for 1 minute, then add egg and beat an additional minute.
Switch to dough hook, and add 3 cups of flour; knead dough for 2-3 minutes. Dough should be soft and pliable, slightly tacky to the touch, but not sticking to sides of bowl. If dough is still too sticky, add remaining 1/2 cup of flour, a little at a time, beating with the dough hook after each addition.
Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes. Punch dough down; then place into a lightly floured work surface. Using your favorite rolling pin, roll dough into a large rectangle, approx. 22” wide by 18” tall.
Spread softened butter over surface of dough, then sprinkle dough evenly with cinnamon, and both sugars. Using your palms, lightly press down over the sugars to kind of “adhere” them to the dough a bit.
Roll up dough from the long edge closest to you, gently tucking dough and the filling as you go. As your are rolling, be aware that if the center of the roll is becoming fatter than the ends, make an adjustment as you go, kind of gently stretching out the center a bit to keep the roll as even in circumference as possible. (This way when you slice the rolls, they are even in size.)
Using a sharp serrated knife or a piece of dental floss, cut roll evenly in half. Now place both halves next to each other, one on top of the other on your work surface.
Make cutting incisions on top of each roll, marking where you want to cut so that both rolls will have the same number and size of rolls. Slice each roll at incisions and place onto a greased baking sheet or pan.
Let rolls rise in a warm place for 25-30 minutes. Bake in preheated 350 degree F. oven for approx. 16-18 minutes (16 small rolls) or 18-20 minutes (12 large rolls) or until golden brown, taking care not to over bake. (If baking the rolls in aluminum pans, be sure to place the pans onto a nice, heavy baking sheet to promote browning on the bottom of your cinnamon rolls.)
While the rolls are baking, prepare frosting by combining all ingredients in a large bowl until smooth.
Let rolls cool for 10-15 minutes, then using a small cookie dough scoop, scoop a mound of frosting onto each roll. When frosting has softened from the warmth of each roll, gently spread the frosting out over the edges.
Serve warm…..with chili!