What are you doing New Year’s, New Year’s Eve?

After 24 years as an adult, I have decided to learn how to cook. It’s not that I wasn’t capable until now, I just didn’t have the desire. Too time-consuming, too messy, too hard! I know that cooking meals in my own kitchen (not just putting a frozen pizza in the oven or heating up prepared meals from Central Market but real cooking that requires me to open cans, measure stuff, and clean a pot or two) will be better for my pocketbook and my waistline, so I’m rolling up my sleeves and getting on with it.

I’ve been working up to this for a while, watching Chopped, Cupcake Wars, and The Next Food Network Star (total girl crush on Giada De Laurentis); reading blogs and salivating over recipes like this one; buying cookbooks like Healthy Cooking for Two (or Just You) and Cooking Light: 5 Ingredient 15 Minute Cookbook, which sit pretty on top of my refrigerator. (Occasionally, I take them down and dust them. Okay, not really.) After a couple of years of rigorous training, I’m finally ready to tackle a subject that has fascinated me for decades: the culinary arts.

Today I went to the store and purchased ingredients for not one, but two of Pioneer Woman’s recipes. I also bought salad fixins and cornbread to go with the soup I plan to make tomorrow. Tonight, attempt number one: PW’s cinnamon rolls. I already had most of the ingredients from my pantry reorganization/restocking project, so the only things I needed were milk (I used 2% instead of whole – I hope that’s okay) and yeast. I got out all of the ingredients and necessary cookware, and went to work.

First, I prepared the dough:

Scalded milk, oil, and sugar, then added yeast, then flour
Attempted to stir the flour into the dough
Let the dough rise
Added more flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the dough, working it in by hand

Then I rolled it out:

Can you have too much flour when rolling out dough?
Not quite the 30" x 10" rectangle PW recommends, but I'm getting there

Next came the filling:

Melted butter
Cinnamon and sugar
Butter, sugar, and cinnamon, oh my!

Finally, the dough was ready to be sliced and put in pans:

Can you see how the middle is thicker than the ends?
Yep, more butter!
Are we there yet?

Out of the oven at last!

Gooey, sugary, cinnamon-y goodness!

I wish I could have taken a picture of how my kitchen smelled when I took the cinnamon rolls out of the oven! I was a little worried that they would be too doughy in places, and I was right, but the parts that were cooked were delicious! I made the icing while the rolls were in the oven. PW puts maple flavoring and a little bit of coffee in hers, but I just made the regular powdered sugar icing without any flavoring. It is oh-so-delectable on the fresh, warm cinnamon rolls!

I saved half of the dough and refrigerated it for tomorrow. When I roll it out, I will take a closer look at the thickness of the dough to make sure the middle and ends are approximately the same. I also think I put too many rolls in a pan (PW warned against overcrowding. Shoulda listened to her.) In case you missed the link to the recipe at the beginning of this post, here it is again.

I’m pretty happy with my first attempt at making cinnamon rolls. I know it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful, (thanks, Nester!) and I’ll have to practice until I get it down, but I’m willing to make the sacrifice!

Cheers and Happy New Year!

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