It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Like, oh, almost a year. How are you? I missed you. It’s good to be here with you again.
So much has happened since we last chatted. I had a baby (another girl, named Adelaide (Addy) Scout, who is the sweetest little one you will ever meet and she’s already 10 months old and almost walking and what the heck why does time move so fast). We settled into a new home. I’ve been working for General Mills as a recipe development consultant and video storyboard artist (sounds fancy, but basically I draw pictures on an iPad of pretend food and try to make it look somewhat professional) part time, while also taking care of my littles. Avery, who is almost four years old (WHAT I KNOW), has been going to preschool twice a week and growing like a weed — but really. She’s in 5T clothes and she’s not even four years old yet. Anyone want all of the 3T clothes I bought that she never wore? Ugh.
Let’s see, what else… Elliott, my dear husband, has continued working as a physician assistant at an emergency room in the Twin Cities. It’s hard work and he’s often exhausted (and I’m often exhausted from working my job and taking care of small people all day long) so our hobbies these days include crashing on the couch to watch The Alienist and Silicon Valley re-runs and dreaming big dreams for our family. ← THAT is so very vague and elusive and I apologize for that, but I have to withhold details until we’re ready. But trust, I will share everything when the timing is right.
That little nugget of info can be partially tied into why I stopped blogging and why I am now blogging again. Here’s the thing — I have no regrets at all in my decision to stop blogging last year. It was a very necessary step for me and my mental health, for my family, for so many reasons. Because I wasn’t blogging, I was able to really take the time to enjoy those early (and oh so sleepless) months with Addy, to focus on other passions and dreams, and to just find more joy in a life lived offline. To be honest, I never had any definitive plans to come back to blogging. I didn’t think I missed it.
But then I realized — actually, I kind of do. But here’s what I missed: I missed you. I missed being able to share really delicious recipes with my internet friends. I missed being connected to this community, being able to share photos of food I made or ate and have people “get it” and share in my happiness, being able to get really nerdy-deep into baking and have conversations about it with a larger audience (I mean, I could talk my daughter’s ear off all day about the science behind what makes a light, tender crumb on a cake but let’s be real — all she cares about is that there are sprinkles on it). I missed food blogging at its core.
Here is what I did not miss: I did not miss the self-imposed need to grind out content week after week. I did not miss feeling like I was always behind on what I was “supposed to” be doing as a blogger. I did not miss having FOMO. I did not miss having to coordinate pins on Pinterest, tweets on Twitter, posts on Facebook, images on Instagram. I did not miss fighting with algorithms and keeping up on e-mail newsletters and fielding pitch e-mails for work without compensation, etc. etc. You get the idea.
So when I decided to get back into this, I promised myself, and you, this one thing: I am doing this how I want to do it this time. I’m ignoring the numbers, the pressures, the should-dos and should-not-dos. I’m going to be more real here. I might post more real-life stories with real-life (unedited? gasp!) photos. I am going to post much less often, or more often, or basically whenever I want to post — whenever I feel inspired to post, rather than when I feel like I need to post. Since there are a few big things coming up on my end that I want to share with you, they might be more integrated into the content of this blog, too. I’m going to take this whole thing slow and steady. This is Girl Versus Dough 2.0, and I’m excited to share it with you. I hope you’re excited, too.
And now for the grand finale — these cinnamon rolls, which I almost named “The Very Best Cinnamon Rolls of All Time” but then I thought that to be too pretentious so instead, I named them ooey gooey overnight cinnamon rolls but with a secret hidden message that is to say: “these are the very best cinnamon rolls of all time.” I just call it like I see it — er, taste it.
These roll babies are a riff on Alton Brown’s original recipe but I’ve updated a few of the techniques and also made my own cream cheese frosting that I feel is exactly what you dream of cream cheese frosting to be when you dream of it. Which I do, often. It’s equal parts creamy and light and sweet and tangy and when you spread it on top of these tender, ooey gooey rolls that are jam-packed with cinnamon flavor, the whole combination makes you wake up and realize that oh, this is what a cinnamon roll is supposed to taste like. And that makes it worth every minute you have to wait for them to be ready to eat. Trust.
I hope I didn’t make your eyes glaze over with this novel of a blog post, but if you’re still with me, hi, again. It’s good to be back.
- 4 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 whole egg, room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
- 2¼ teaspoons (1 package) instant dry yeast (not rapid rise)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- In large bowl or bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, 6 tablespoons butter and buttermilk. Add 2 cups flour along with yeast and salt; whisk until just combined. Replace whisk attachment with dough hook and add ¾ cup flour. Knead on low speed 5 minutes (alternatively, knead dough on floured surface for 10 minutes). Add more flour as needed until dough is soft and moist but not sticky. Continue to knead in stand mixer 5 minutes (5-10 minutes by hand) until dough no longer sticks to sides of bowl.
- Lightly spray large bowl with cooking spray. Shape dough into ball and place in bowl; turn to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 2 to 2½ hours until doubled.
- Meanwhile, make filling: In medium bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and salt until well mixed.
- Grease bottom and sides of 13x9-inch baking dish with butter. Punch down dough; turn out onto lightly floured surface and gently shape into rectangle, long side facing you. Use rolling pin to roll into approximately 18x12-inch rectangle. Brush 1½ tablespoons melted butter over dough to within ½-inch of top long edge. Sprinkle filling mixture over dough, then gently press into dough.
- Beginning with long end nearest you, carefully roll dough into tight log. Firmly pinch seam to seal and turn so seam side is down. Using serrated knife, cut dough into 12 equal-size rolls (about 1½ inches each). Arrange cut side-down in prepared baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (8 hours) up to 16 hours.
- When ready to bake, remove rolls from refrigerator and place in oven that is turned off. Place shallow pan on rack just beneath rolls; add enough boiling water to pan to fill ⅔-full. Immediately close oven door and let rolls steam 30 minutes until puffy. Remove rolls and shallow pan from oven.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Return rolls to oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes until deep golden brown.
- While rolls are cooling, make frosting: In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar with electric hand mixer or in bowl of stand mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread over warm rolls and serve immediately.