This recipe has been brought to you by my six year old, Wesley! Well, sort of. I made them. And taste tested them. (droooooool) And decided I had to share them with you all right away! Wes’ school has cinnamon rolls on Wednesdays, and he came home asking if we could make some this weekend. I figured he’d want to help make them, so I set out to find the BEST homemade cinnamon roll recipe.
The recipe I’m sharing with you originated from Ambitious Kitchen, which was shared by a friend. As it turns out, Wes was only interested in helping eat the cinnamon rolls. I may have muttered that if I knew that, I would have just made the kind in the can, but I’m really glad I made these from scratch. For the record, I love the ones in the can too, but I love to cook and bake and like to make things myself whenever possible. These cinnamon rolls totally fit the bill of what I was looking for. Ooey, gooey, sweet, and cinnamonny delicousness. I found the size and sweetness to be absolutely perfect.
So, without further ado, let’s get to it. These require a little bit of effort, but honestly, it’s pretty easy. With a little planning ahead to allow for raising, and a stand mixer with a dough hook to do the kneading for you, you totally got this.
Oh, one more thing. 🙂 I added some chopped apples sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar as well as pecans to half of the cinnamon rolls. Totally yummy!
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen
- For the dough:
- ¾ cup warm milk (110 degrees F)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active yeast (1/4-ounce package yeast)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups bread flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- For the filling:
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- For the cream cheese frosting:
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Warm milk to 100 degrees F. This is important – too hot or too cold and your yeast won’t rise correctly. Add the milk and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to sit for a few minutes so the yeast can activate and begin to foam. (If it doesn’t, start over. You wouldn’t want to go through all of the work only to not have the rolls rise.)
Add sugar, egg and yolk, and butter and mix well. Add in the flour and salt and mix in with a wooden spoon.
With the dough hook attachment, knead on medium speed for 8 minutes. Alternately, you can hand knead on a well floured surface for 8-10 minutes.
Transfer dough to a large, well-oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel, set in a warm place or in the oven on “proof,” and let rise until doubled in size – about an hour to an hour and a half.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll into a rectangle approximately 16-18 inches by 9 inches. Spread softened butter on the dough, leaving 1/4 inch margin along one of the ends*. (Keep reading before you do this.) Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and spread over top of sugar. If you wanted to add anything else into your rolls, such as apples or nuts, this would be the time.
*Now, here is where you have a decision to make. I rolled mine starting with the long end. If you want your rolls to be fatter, start with the short end. If you are going to roll starting with the short end, you’d want to leave that 1/4 inch margin with no butter along the opposite short end.
Tightly roll the dough up, pinch the edge of the dough to seal it, and place seam side down. Lightly score the dough in 1 inch sections to ensure even cutting. To cut, I used a piece of thread, placed the thread under the roll, and then pulled up while pulling the ends across each other to pinch the dough. This method keeps the soft rolls from being squished. You could also use non-minty floss or a serrated knife.
Place rolls into a glass baking dish that has been greased well with softened butter. The size of your baking dish will depend on if you rolled long ways or short ways. 🙂 Leave a bit of space between each roll – about 1/4 of an inch. Cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel and let rise again for 30 minutes.
At this point, you can either cover and refrigerate to bake the next morning, or you can bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. If you are baking the next morning, remove the rolls from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to bake.
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 warm cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.