The sponge. No really, that's what it's called when you let yeast and its food play around together and make happy bubbles...
En route to the pan, we pause for a little cinnamon-sprinkling action.
Tasty. Oh yes.
With a quick buttercream frosting (powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and water to get it to the right consistency).
In large bowl combine:
2 c. warm water
2 Tbs. instant "rapid rise" yeast
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. honey
1 Tbs. vanilla
3 c. unbleached flour
Cover with towel and let sponge for 10 min. Add 1 Tbs. salt and more flour, until soft dough forms (until you can touch it without having it stick to your finger). I like to use at least 3 cups of whole wheat flour here, plus several more cups of unbleached. Knead on lightly floured surface for 5-6 min.
Now for the fun part. Divide dough in half; roll each half into a large rectangle, about 14x18 inches. Over each rectangle, spread:
1/4 c. softened butter
Plenty of brown sugar
A liberal sprinkling of cinnamon
Raisins, currants, dried cherries, craisins, walnuts, pecans, almonds . . .
Roll dough tightly, starting from long edge. With sharp knife or dental floss, slice into 12 rolls. Place in greased 9X13 pan. Let rise in a warm oven (not on, just slightly warmed and draft-free) for half an hour. Remove pans from oven and preheat to 375; bake rolls for 15-20 minutes.
Once cooled slightly in pan, run knife around edges and invert onto wire rack. Invert again onto a platter and separate rolls with a fork. Frost generously with cream cheese frosting. For frosting, beat together till smooth:
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 T. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar, plus more to taste