Oh goodness, these cinnamon twists are good. Sugary, cinnamony, frosting-laden deliciousness. I made them as a middle-of-the-day treat, but they would also be great for breakfast or dessert or a midnight snack or a side dish to chicken. There is truly no wrong time or place to consume them.
They do take a while to make since the dough needs to rise for a couple hours, so plan ahead!
(Source: Christmas Baking 2010 magazine)
Start out by grabbing a large bowl.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 package active dry yeast
Set this aside. Pull out a small saucepan and stir the following together over medium heat:
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
Stir until the mixture is warm and until the butter has almost melted.
Add this to the flour mixture.
Add two eggs.
Do you see the cute pipe-smoking guy?
Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, while constantly scraping the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat on high speed for 3 more minutes.
Add 2 1/2 more cups of flour.
Stir it all together. It would be easiest to use a wooden spoon for this part, I imagine. My wooden spoon has mysteriously gone missing (Elijah!), so I can't tell you this for certain.
Place dough on a flat, floured surface.
Knead in enough flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic. This takes between 3 and 5 minutes of kneading. Shape it into a ball.
Place the ball of dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning it once so the entire surface is greased.
Cover and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. This takes about 2 hours. Punch dough down and place onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
While your tired dough is resting, melt 1/4 cup of butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix well and allow the mixture to cool.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle (or oval; hey, it's not easy to roll dough into the shape of a rectangle!). The dough should be between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch in thickness.
Spread the butter-brown-sugar mixture over the dough. It does not have to be even.
Cut the dough crosswise into 1-inch strips.
Fold each strip in half, end to end, and twist several times. Arrange the twists on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets or on 2 lightly greased baking sheets.
Cover and allow them to rise for 45 more minutes. Now would be a good time to preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
While the twists are baking, combine in a small bowl:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2-3 tablespoons milk
Drizzle the frosting over the twists when they are still warm.
My two oldest boys were out playing in the snow when I finished these, so only Sammy was around to witness my unabashed indulging. Incredible!