Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls
If there is something that I love to do in the beautiful Arkansas fall weather, it’s to camp. Morning hikes, setting up the campsite, hanging the hammocks and sitting by the fire – there really is nothing better than leaving the everyday busyness of life and escape to the woods.
Though, I’m just the chef for the camping trip this weekend. Invitation denied. “Man camping” is a trip that my husband attends with our friend, Ben, and his family. It happens once a year and is full of inside jokes, secrets and undoubtedly a handle of whisky around the campfire and a great deal of rifle shooting in the national forest. They listen to the Little Rock game on the portable radio, spend full days hiking and getting lost, and cook chili in the dutch oven at night. If you can’t tell, I’m thoroughly jealous that I get to stay in Fayetteville this weekend.
This year, each camper has to bring something to contribute to the food stash for the four-day extravaganza, so I had to send the men off with something delicious to eat while in the woods for the weekend. And what better campfire food than a tray of freshly baked cinnamon rolls? This may just be the best year of camp so far.
Though, cinnamon rolls are a tricky thing to make. They take hours to rise, not to mention to mess caused from rolling, filling and cutting each individual roll.
Not anymore. Here is the secret to great cinnamon rolls – overnight dough. I googled to get a basic recipe and then added my own ingredients to make it just right, and boy were they good. Breakfast the next morning – yes please. Leftovers to take to camp? Even better.
For the dough:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 package active-dry yeast
½ cup white sugar
3 large eggs
5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) margarine
1 cup milk
For the filling:
2 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
½ cups dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons margarine
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
Grease a 9×13 glass baking dish and set aside. Stir the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and mix until incorporated. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it starts to boil, then add the margarine. Let cool for 10 minutes and add to the flour mixture.
While the dough is resting, add the dry ingredients for the filling into a medium mixing bowl and mix together. Melt the margarine and add to the mixture. Add the vanilla. The filling should resemble wet sand in texture.
Knead the dough on a floured surface or in a stand-alone mixer until stiff, about 7 minutes. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then roll out on a floured surface to ¼- ½ inch thick (the dough will keep rising up as you roll, so work quickly). Spread the rolled dough with the filling and roll from left to right into a long roll.
Using a large knife, cut the roll into 10 individual pieces. Place the cinnamon rolls into the baking dish and sprinkle the walnuts over the rolls. Cover with clingfilm and place in the refrigerator overnight.
The following morning, let the cinnamon rolls rest on the counter for 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 375 F and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Enjoy with cream cheese frosting or simply without icing – the gooey filling is icing enough!
Though I won’t be spending my weekend around the campfire, there’s no reason not to send the boys off in style with something yummy to wake up and enjoy each morning. Maybe there will even be one leftover for me on Monday morning.
Wherever your weekend plans take you, whether it’s to a Halloween party, home with the family or studying in Mullins, cinnamon rolls are the perfect on-the-go treat than can be made in a matter of minutes and enjoyed just a few hours later.