Is there anything better than pulling yourself a cinnamon roll from the bunch, deliciously spiced and covered with a generous drizzle of icing? These are perfect as a dessert, snack, brunch food, and anything in between. While they have a reputation for being difficult to make, if you have the time to do it, you’ll find that it’s a lot more straightforward than most people believe. You can also add in any variations you like including cardamom, nuts, chocolate, tahini, or anything else your heart desires.
You Really Can Make Your Own
What You Need
¾ cup warm milk (whole milk or 2% preferred) (110 degrees F)
2 ¼ teaspoons quick rise or active yeast (1/4-ounce package yeast)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
¼ cup melted butter (salted or unsalted)
3 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup dark brown sugar (light brown sugar also works)
1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
¼ cup softened butter
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz softened cream cheese
3 tablespoons softened butter
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Delicious With Or Without Icing
What To Do
Warm milk to around 110 degrees F, by microwaving it in a microwave safe bowl for 40-45 seconds. Transfer the warm milk to the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Add in sugar, egg, egg yolk, and melted butter. Mix until well combined.
Next, stir in flour and salt with a wooden spoon until a dough begins to form.
Place dough hook on stand mixer and knead dough on medium speed for 8 minutes. Dough should form into a nice ball and be slightly sticky. If it’s too sticky (meaning it’s sticking to the bottom of the mixer, add in 2 tablespoons more bread flour.) Alternatively, you can knead the dough for 8-10 minutes on a well-floured surface using your hands.
Transfer the dough ball to a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour to 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size.
Delicious For Brunch
After the dough has doubled in size, transfer it to a well-floured surface and roll out into a 14×9 inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over the dough, leaving a ¼ inch margin at the far side of the dough.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Use your hands to sprinkle the mixture over the buttered dough, then rub the brown sugar mixture into the butter.
Tightly roll the dough up, starting from the 9-inch side and place seam side down, making sure to seal the edges of the dough as best you can. Cut off about an inch from the ends of the dough as the ends won’t be as full of cinnamon sugar as we’d want it to be.
Cut the dough into 1 inch sections with a serrated knife or floss. You should get 9 large pieces.
So Worth The Effort
Place the cinnamon rolls in a greased 9×9 inch baking pan or round 9 inch cake pan. (I also recommend lining the pan with parchment paper as well, in case any of the filling ends up leaking out.) Cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel and let rise again for 30-45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap and towel and bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes or until just slightly golden brown on the edges. Allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes before frosting. Makes 9 cinnamon rolls.
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread over cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.
To make overnight cinnamon rolls, after placing rolls into the greased pan (after the first rise), simply cover, place overnight in the fridge, and then bake according to the above instructions.