We live in a world of giant food. Every day there seems to be something else supersized. A few weeks ago the challenge was “fad foods” – I immediately knew what I had to make: a GIANT cinnamon roll baked in cast iron, nonetheless, to truly play into the hottest trends of the season.
At over nine inches wide and five inches thick, this cinnamon roll certainly fit the bill of GIANT. The massive roll comprises of layers of homemade dough stuffed with a cinnamon and demerara sugar filling.
Of course, no cinnamon roll is complete without a generously helping of frosting – and not just any frosting; thick cream cheese icing that oozes into every nook and cranny.
The demerara sugar is the secret to the perfect GIANT cinnamon roll. While the typical mixture of butter, brown sugar and butter works for your standard size cinnamon roll, the big grains of demerara add a bit of texture and enhance the brown sugar flavor.
Cooking the cinnamon roll helps to evenly cook the giant cinnamon roll all the way through. No room for soggy bottoms or raw centers in this kitchen!
The final result is something beyond heavenly – several layers of cinnamon-y goodness sandwiched between a cake-like dough. In some instances, such as those regarding the size of cinnamon rolls, bigger really does mean better.
Giant Cinnamon Roll
- Grease the cast iron with butter and set aside. Microwave the milk for about 30-45 seconds, until it reaches 110 F. It should be warm to the touch but not steaming hot. Stir in the white sugar and melted butter. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and let bloom for 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add four cups of flour, salt and baking powder to a large bowl and whisk together. Pour in the milk mixture and combine with a wooden spoon until a thick dough forms. When it no longer sticks to the sides, cover the bowl tightly in plastic wrap and cover with a towel. Let the dough rise for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough and stir in the remaining cup of flour. Lightly flour a flat surface and knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. If the dough is too sticky, add in a quarter cup of flour as necessary.
- Roll the dough into a large 15 inch by 30 inch rectangle, about a half inch thick. Mold the edges smooth or trim with a knife. In a small bowl, beat together the butter, demerara sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon. Spread the butter mixture across the rolled dough, all the way to the edges.
- Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into three long strips, about 4-5 inches wide. Take the end of one strip and roll it from left to right. Set it on the left end of the second strip and roll again from left to right. Repeat with the last strip until a large cinnamon roll shape is formed. Place the rolled dough into the buttered cast iron. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove the plastic wrap from the cast iron. Tent the cinnamon roll with foil and pop into the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the cinnamon roll is puffed up, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and puffed up. Check that the center is baked through and continue cooking, at 5 minute intervals, as needed.
- While the cinnamon roll finishes baking, beat together the cream cheese, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir in the powdered sugar until the frosting reaches your desired consistency – I recommend going for the thickness of toothpaste. Pour the frosting over the still hot cinnamon roll, as desired. Let the cinnamon roll cool for at least 20-30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!