Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cinnamon Tea Rings for Christmas

Can you believe it's only 5 days till Christmas?!

I can't. It's so close! I did the last of my wrapping last night with the fireman. We holed up in our room and wrapped and got all excited about everything.

We have been so busy planning and baking that my schedule got a little frazzled. So, I missed some of the step by step pictures.

I was in my baking madness and we had scheduled events this past weekend. We had to play Santa and deliver gifts to friends. So, I mixed this cinnamon roll recipe up before church on Sunday and set the temperature on the stove to 350. I meant to leave it on a few minutes and then shut it off when we got home.


I forgot...

So, when we got home, the dough had RISEN. It had RISEN INDEED!

It also had started to cook. So, I didn't have time to take photos of the mixing process, or the rolling out process. I had to act fast, man. The dough would continue to cook until I got it working and the heat down. So, I grabbed the first batch and tore off anything hard and got to work.

I wanted to take tea rings to each of our neighbors (9), plus take a large one to work and have a large one for home as well. I figured if I made 6 batches, or 3 double batches, I would have enough. The large rings would each be a batch and a half and we would have 3 more batches to split into 9 rings, getting 6 rings per batch.

I know, it's confusing, but just know that you can get 3 small rings per single batch. They're kinda small, though. It's a more substantial gift to go with 2 rings per single batch. Just depends on what you're wanting to do with them.

We normally never make a single batch. One batch, made into cinnamon rolls is onloy a 9x13 pan. They come out so good, especially when they are hot, that everyone has a couple and half the pan is gone. So, if you have kids in your house, always make a double batch. It's only a small more amount of work because of the steps.

But we're not making rolls, we're making tea rings. I'm getting off the subject.

Each year my mom would deliver rings to the neighbors. And now I'm doing it, too.

So, here's whatcha do.
The Recipe: Double Batch
1/2 warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 packages of yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
Let sit and foam up, then add it to your mixing bowl with
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cup scalded milk (microwave it till warm, don't want to cool the yeast)
Mix well, then add
2 eggs, mixing continuously so they don't start to cook.
Then you have to add 7 cups off flour.
Start with a cup or so, use a mixer till it's too thick to mix. If you need to turn it out on a floured surface to mix in the rest of the flour, do so. If you have a strong mixer, just keep it up until you've added it all.
You can turn it out and knead the dough to get the gluten going, or you can leave your mixer on for a while.

When you're making pastries, you don't want to overwork the dough. When you're working with breads and yeast, working the dough activates the gluten, making it stretchy and soft.

Place doughball in a greased bowl and grease the top of the dough. Cover with saran wrap and put in a warm place. Not a hot place, or it will cook. Trust me, I know.

After an 45 minutes to an hour, the dough will have doubled in size. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough, or tear it into sections to work. This is a double batch, so I cut the dough into 6 sections. I worked the first 3 at one time. I rolled them out into small rectangles. These were about 4x9.

Once it's rolled, I use tub margarine and a spatula. I scoop some up and spread it over the dough. Then, I sprinkle it liberally with cinnamon sugar. Then, I sprinkle it again with brown sugar. There is now a nice layer of sugars on this dough. Keep the butter and sugars about a half inch from the edge, for rolling.

Start at one long end, roll slowly working your way down the roll, to form a long snake of rolled cinnamony sugar goodness. Take the ends and pull them over to pinch them closed. Once you have this long roll, stretch it out a bit. Make it longer if you can and even in thickness.

If you were making cinnamon rolls, right now you would cut them and place them in a pan to raise as rolls. But we aren't. We're making them easier. Just wrap them in a ring on a greased cookie sheet or in an aluminum pan. Pinch the two edges together to seal, try to set them seal side down.

I got the idea for the aluminum pans from the Pioneer Woman. She delivers cinnamon rolls to her neighbors for Christmas. We always did the rings and I think they're a little more Christmassy. But her idea is great.  You just bake it in the pan and deliver it in the same pan. Awesome!

So, the fireman got all of the pans greased and set out and I would plop them in one by one. Then he sprayed the top of them with Pam to keep them moist while raising.
Then use pastry scissors or a knife to make a cut every 1 1/2 inches or so around the ring. This is just to make it pretty. Then put your hands inside the roll and push out a bit to stretch the roll larger and open the cuts a bit. Just a bit. Let them raise for 45 min.

We were worried about the dough raising again since it had started to cook. So, I wanted it in a nice, warm place. The fireman suggested turning on our heating blanket and putting the rings on there. Worked nice.
I placed these ontop of the oven when I turned it on to preheat it to 350. I won't leave them on long, though! Just until the first batch is done.

See how pretty! These three in the back are a bit larger. I was worried about how small the other ones were, so I took a bit of dough from the large rings to make them slightly larger. They're a good size.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes for the smaller ones. If you are making a large ring, bake for 15-20 minutes.

Then I made a powdered sugar glaze.
Recipe Base:
4 to 5 teaspoons of milk to 1 cup of powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon of margarine, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla

You will need to play with it a bit to get the ratio right. You don't want it too runny or it will kind of soak up instead of sit on top of the ring. Just thin enough to drizzle with you fork.

I used cranberries and pecans to dress up the rings. My mom always cut marachino cherries in half as decorations. Or sprinkle with sprinkles or colored sugar after icing. Anything to jazz it up.

Here are the larger ones. They turned out delicious! My middle boy asked me to show him how I made the glaze. He made a small bowl of it last night and poured it over a nice chunk of the ring and ate the whole thing!
Then I got these bags and wrapped the rings for the neighbors. Tied them with ribbon, pretty!

If you're just making one for your house, you could try a single batch, just half of the posted batch. It will be somewhere in the middle size-wise between the large ones and the small ones.

But I warn you, it goes quick! Might as well make the double batch, make two rings and take one in to work or to the secretary of a business you frequent. They will love the gesture!

Happy baking!


Julia said...

Are one of those packages for me ;) Just this morning I was thinking about how cinnamon rolls would be the PERFECT Christmas gift. And then I see this. I don't need to bake more gifts. But I will, because this looks too good to pass up!

JenMarie said...

Awesome! THey really aren't that hard. Just takes time. Just take your time with them, don't stress. Once you accept the fact that they take 3 hours, timewise, it's no biggy. Mix it up, go do laundry, come back and roll them out and shape them, go read a book, then bake them up and eat half a ring, then ice them and let it dry, have a glass of wine, then wrap them up! :)

Let me know how it goes!