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What’s better than cinnamon rolls? GIANT CINNAMON ROLLS!!! I have to say I have a fabulous cinnamon roll recipe, but when I saw GIANT Cinnamon Rolls on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe I had to give these a try. They are WONDERFUL! The recipe called for orange zest, but I left it out.

I made these for teacher gifts, and they loved that it was a GIANT! They really are a BIG hit!

Go to Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for a step-by-step tutorial.

*Makes two giant 8-inch cinnamon rolls

INGREDIENTS: Dough: ¾ cup buttermilk, warm 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled 3 large eggs 4 ¼ cups (21 ¼ ounces) flour ¼ cup (1 ¾ ounces) sugar 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast 1 ¼ teaspoons salt

Filling: 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), softened to room temperature 1 cup brown sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon Zest of 1 large orange (about 1 tablespoon zest)

Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest 1 tablespoon orange juice 1 tablespoon milk

DIRECTIONS: For the dough, whisk the warmed buttermilk and butter together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 4 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with dough hook (or you can use a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or electric handheld mixer). With the mixer on low-speed, add the buttermilk mixture and eggs and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Increase the mixer to medium speed and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (knead for 15-18 minutes by hand). If after 5 minutes of kneading, the dough is still overly sticky, add 1/4 cup flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough clears the sides of the bowl but has a slight tacky feel when pressed between your fingertips. (See this tutorial for a visual.)

Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover the top tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, around 2 to 2 ½ hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and orange zest in a small bowl until well mixed and set aside. Spray 2 round 8-inch baking pans with cooking spray and set aside.

When the dough has risen, gently punch down and roll into a 16X12-inch rectangle. Spread evenly with the softened butter. Top with the cinnamon sugar mixture, evenly pressing the cinnamon/sugar gently into the butter. Starting with one of the long edges, roll the dough tightly into classic cinnamon roll form, pinching the edge to seal.

Using a serrated knife (see pictures below for a visual), slice the dough in half lengthwise. Gently take one length of dough and coil it around in one of the prepared baking pans. The layers will want to fall apart a bit, but don’t stress too much, when it bakes to perfection, you won’t notice if it was a little messy going into the pan. I put my baking pan very close to the length of dough and gently lift about four or five inches of the dough into the pan and then coil the rest around itself. Repeat with remaining length of dough (placing it inside the other prepared pan).

Lightly cover the cinnamon rolls with greased plastic wrap and let them rise until doubled. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake the rolls for 18-22 minutes, until lightly golden on top and cooked through. While the rolls are baking, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth. Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and using a spatula, nudge them out of the pan onto a cooling rack set over waxed or parchment paper or onto a serving plate. Drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon rolls. Slice the cinnamon rolls into pie-shaped wedges and serve warm.

Make-Ahead Note: Each time I’ve made these, I’ve shaped them in the pan, covered them with greased plastic wrap and refrigerated them overnight. I pull them out 3-4 hours before baking and then bake them as directed once they have doubled in size.

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