I cannot take full credit for this recipe, as it was my son, Vail's idea. Yes, he is too young to drink coffee, and yes, I let him anyway. These rolls are gorgeous, with espresso icing and tiny bits of coffee granules hidden inside the swirls of the schmear of buttery cinnamon and brown sugar. I am so glad he collaborated with me. You will be too.
*This recipe takes roughly 3 hours from start to finish due to two rises. Plan accordingly. It is absolutely worth it.
Best served hot and fresh! Reheat by warming at half-power in the microwave for 20 seconds.
Notes: Butter is unsalted.
ESPRESSO ICED CINNAMON ROLLS
Ingredients: 3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp. sugar, 1 tbsp. rapid rise yeast, 1 large egg, 3/4 cup milk, 9 tbsp. cold butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 1/2 tbsp. instant espresso granules, 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tbsp. hot water.
1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and yeast.
2. Cut 7 tbsp. of butter into chunks, then heat in a saucepan over low heat until melted. Slowly whisk in the milk. Heat through, to lukewarm.
3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and crack in the egg. Pour the milk mixture into the well, and mix everything together with a dinner knife.
4. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Try to add as little flour as you can to keep it from sticking to the counter. (The wetter the dough, the better the roll!) Poke the dough. The depression should come back up. If not, knead a little longer.
5. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a damp towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours.
6. Punch down dough. Roll out into a rectangle- I use a ruler to coax the edges to line up.
7. Melt remaining 2 tbsp. butter and brush over the dough. Sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1/2 tbsp. instant espresso granules. Roll into a log. Cut into 10 pieces (see tip below!)
8. Preheat oven to 400* F. Butter well, a 9-10 inch round baking dish or cast-iron skillet. Place rolls into the dish and cover with the damp towel. Let rise for 35 minutes in a warm place- the rolls should rise to fill in the gaps between themselves.
9. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
10. Make icing: stir together 1 tbsp. instant espresso and 2 tbsp. hot water until dissolved. Add to powdered sugar and stir until smooth and drizzle-y, add a touch of extra hot water if necessary. Pour over the rolls. Sprinkle over a bit more instant espresso granules, if desired.
Tip: The absolute best way to cut cinnamon rolls is NOT to use a knife- this deforms the rolls into squares...Instead, use a long piece of dental floss, and "tie off" each piece. As the tie slices through the log, it will not deform the roll. :)