By Kipp Rix
I have fond memories of cinnamon rolls that were made by a friend’s mom in the kitchen at Sunland Park race track in El Paso. It was a family ritual to go to the race track on Sunday mornings and end our week with these awesome rolls. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to ask her nor would she give up her recipe, but these are as close as I could get. The secret is allowing enough time during your preparation to let the rolls rise for the second time overnight. Doing so will allow the dough to bubble up again, making the bread light and airy, and also will double the size of the roll itself. If you allow for the full second rise, you need to ensure that you leave enough room between the rolls to allow for complete expansion (at least one inch between rolls is optimal). Another hint is to place a small pan of water under the pan of rolls as they are cooking. This will increase the humidity in the oven and stop the rolls from drying out. These cinnamon rolls are packed full of sweet goodness and are a favorite weekend morning breakfast. Though the prep time seems long (12-14 hours), most of it is the dough and resulting rolls resting and rising to their maximum size. As with many of my recipes, you can prepare these rolls in advance and bake them at the station, but to impress the crew it’s best to fix them in house. The aroma of the rising dough followed by the scent filling the station of the cooking cinnamon rolls will drive the crew crazy. If you want to take this roll up a notch, after the rolls have completed their second rise, top each roll with a tablespoon of brown sugar and cinnamon mixture and a slice of butter; this will turn into a caramel-style topping, adding to more gooiness and flavor.
4 large egg yolks
1 whole large egg
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons butter (melted)
2/3 cup milk
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 packs instant yeast
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 ½ cups chopped nuts (I like pecans)
1 ½ cups raisins
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
2 cups powdered sugar
4 ½ tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a bowl, combine the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar cinnamon, vanilla extract, and butter; blend well with a wisk to combine and aerate.
- Add the milk, yeast, and salt; stir to blend well.
- Stir in 2 cups of the flour. Start adding the remaining flour a little at a time until the dough becomes moist but not sticky.
- Dust the counter with a little flour and knead the dough for 2-3 minutes, dusting with flour as needed to keep from sticking to the counter and your hands.
- Form the dough into a ball and place in lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for at least 3-4 hours in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in volume. If able, it’s best to allow the rolls to rise overnight allowing for maximum rise and fluffy dough.
- In a medium-size bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, nuts, and raisins. Set aside.
- Lightly flour your countertop. Place the dough on the counter and roll out into a rectangle approximately 20 x 12 inches.
- Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving about a ½-inch border.
- Evenly distribute the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a ¾-inch border along the top edge.
- Tightly roll the dough along the long side.
- Once the roll has been formed, cut it into three-inch-thick disks. Place each disk in a buttered baking pan, leaving ¾ inch between disks.
- Cover pans with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free area for 40-60 minutes minimum (best if left overnight).
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Bake rolls for 20 minutes or until the rolls are browned and cooked through. Remove from oven and allow the rolls to cool while preparing the icing.
- In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Slowly combine in the milk until the sugar becomes a thick liquid.
- Use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the tops of the rolls.
- Serve the cinnamon rolls while warm.
Kipp has been in the fire service for 17 years working as both a career and volunteer firefighter in New Mexico. Kipp started cooking at the age of 10 and learned his early skills watching shows like the Galloping Gourmet and Julia Child. Throughout the years, Kipp refined his skills with a focus on grilling foods with a southwestern flair. In 2009 Fire House Publications, LLC released the first of Kipp’s two cook books with the second book released in 2011; a portion of the proceeds from the books helps fund donations towards teaching fire fighters Firefighter Survival “Getting Out Alive”. Kipp’s philosophy of fire house cooking is “Just because you work in a busy house does not mean that you have to settle for ordinary cooking, a crew‘s attitude is directly related to the meals served!“ Each of Kipp’s recipes has been Fire House tested and approved. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a crew picture enjoying this recipe along with your review; each month one entry will be selected to receive a signed copy of one of my cook books.