If you grew up in Sheridan, odds are you had chili and cinnamon rolls at school for lunch a few times. While this combo may seem like a natural no-brainer thing, outside of Sheridan, it’s less common.
I remember leaving Wyoming for my second tour of college, fresh on my life adventure, and bringing up the combo. I got some looks. I had ventured all the way to New York and it really is like another planet over there. Culture, weather, trees and lunches — all different. No one had eaten that at school growing up and the thought of it was so alien I might as well have said I had Fruit Roll-Ups dipped in ketchup daily. Don’t get me wrong, Western New York is as much of a foodie place as anywhere. Friday night fish and chips, sandwiches as big as your head and, of course, buffalo wings are all staples in most anyone’s book. But not giving chili and cinnamon rolls a chance is just… get out of here.
I was persuaded by a certain member of my household to try a new cinnamon roll recipe and venture from the tried and true. I love her dearly, but these new cinnamon rolls were not the best things on the planet. The next day they were pretty good, though, like a cinnamon cookie with awesome icing. To make the puff-pastry version, skip making the dough and substitute with the puff pastry instead.
My chili is about as basic as you can get. Call me crazy, but I don’t think chunks of vegetables should be anywhere near it. Beans, beef, onions and tomatoes are the winning recipe. But, if you find yourself in love with the odd strange flavor of green pepper in your chili, feel free to add it. They are your taste buds after all.
If you are feeling brave and make the puff-pastry cinnamon rolls, send your pics to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to see if you could master them better than me!
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 14.5oz can stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato soup
1 15 oz. can chili beans (undrained)
1 15 oz. can black beans (undrained)
2 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon thyme
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the beef and onion and saute until meat is browned and onion is tender.
Add the stewed tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce and beans.
2. Season with the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, thyme, cayenne pepper and salt and ground black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 1 hour.
Cinnamon rolls (the most important part, let’s be honest)
For the dough:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup warm water (read your yeast packet for temperature suggestions)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, 1 envelope
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
5 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark)
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons milk, or cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
pinch of salt
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the milk.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast and sugar. Whisk in the egg plus egg yolks. Add the salt, 2 cups of the flour and the butter/milk mixture. Stir with a sturdy spatula until combined.
4. Add the last 2 cups of flour and work it in with your hands, kneading the dough in the bowl for around eight minutes, only adding more flour if the dough seems too sticky or wet. It should be soft, pliable and shiny from the butter in the dough.
5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a large oiled bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until it doubles in size.
6. Line a 9-by-13 baking dish with parchment paper. When the dough has doubled in size, lay it on the prepared work surface and roll it out to about 16-by-12, with the SHORTEST side closest to you.
7. Make the filling by mixing together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. It will be clumpy. Sprinkle the filling all over the dough, going all the way to the outside edges. Start rolling the dough away from you and cut into six equal pieces. Lay the pieces in the prepared baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and let them rise for another 1 1/2 hours.
8. Bake the risen rolls for 25-30 minutes. They will be golden.
9. While the buns bake, make the frosting. Beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add in the milk or cream, vanilla and almond extracts and the pinch of salt. Then add in the light corn syrup. Beat on high until smooth.
10. Spread the frosting generously over the hot cinnamon buns.