There's a cookbook I turn to time and again when I run out of inspiration on the Internet. It's a cookbook that thousands of cooks (both serious and aspiring) have, or should have, on their kitchen shelf.
Mine has been to the other side of the planet and back, attacked by mold and humidity of the tropics and questionable storage in the North East of the US. But even though the cover and binding is falling apart, and my edition is a rather older one, it still serves its purpose - a solid cook book with recipes even the most timid of chefs can attempt. This, of course, is Craig Claibourne's New York Times Cookbook.
There's a recipe in there that I have been using for years, a simple basic roll recipe that I modified into making Cinnamon Buns.
The recipe is the Basic Rolls recipe from the cookbook where I just make my own filling and roll it out Cinnamon Roll style.
2 cups milk
1/4 cup of vegetable shortening or butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
2 packages (or 2 TBSP) yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
5-6 cups all-purpose flour
Melted shortening or butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Bring milk to a boil. Then add shortening or butter, sugar and salt and cool to lukewarm.
Soften yeast in lukewarm water in a separate bowl. Once softened, add to cooled milk mixture.
In a large mixing bowl, add half the flour to the milk mixture and beat well. Then add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn out the dough onto a well-floured board and let rest for 10 minutes. Then knead (adding flour as the dough gets sticky) for about 10 minutes until smooth.
Place dough into greased bowl and let rise until double in bulk (about 30-45 mins).
Make filling: Mix together all filling ingredients until well-combined. Set aside.
Once dough has risen, punch down to remove some of the air and turn out onto a floured board. Knead with a little flour until smooth (about 5 mins). Roll out dough in a rectangular shape (approx 10 in x 13 in). Brush on some melted butter or shortening and sprinkle on filling evenly, until entire surface is covered. Roll the dough tightly as if for a jelly roll and pinch down seam firmly.
Cut 1-inch sections of roll and place cut side up in greased baking dish. Cover and let rise for about 30-45 minutes in a warm place. Once dough has risen, brush with remaining butter or shortening and bake for about 30 mins.
Let cool and serve plain or with a simple vanilla icing. Eaten warm is the best - and a bonus is that your home will smell like heaven for a while.