If you’ve never tasted fresh-baked cinnamon rolls made from scratch — the tube doesn’t count — you really just haven’t been living the good life. I mean, they are insanely good. I am thankful I have a brood of kids to help me eat these cinnamon rolls, because they need to be shared. The amount of butter and sugar in this recipe is mind-blowing, but everyone needs to treat themselves every now and then, right? It’s all about moderation.
A creamy cup of coffee and a steaming roll with buttery cinnamon filling and gooey sweet icing is truly my dream breakfast. Plus, it sounds luxurious to be able to kick back and enjoy each bite while it’s still hot. Does that ever happen? Not so much in my house, but I can dream. I’d easily push eggs and bacon aside for these, so if you have a sweet tooth, you have to try this recipe.
It isn’t a difficult recipe either, but it does take some time and patience. You are dealing with a yeast dough, which means being careful with your water temperature and your rising environment, and having the ability to plan ahead to let it rise so you aren’t eating breakfast at 10 o’clock in the morning. If you want, you can let it do a slow rise in the refrigerator over night. Then just get up early and pop the pan in the oven. Hmm…maybe I will do that this weekend?
What you need for your dough:
2 1/4 tsps active dry yeast
1/2 Cup warm water (just warm to the touch…not hot)
1/2 Cup scalded milk, cooled to luke warm
1/4 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup melted butter, cooled to luke warm
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
The cinnamon filling requires the following ingredients:
1 stick (1/2 Cup) softened butter
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Tbs + 1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the glaze:
4 Tbs butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-4 Tbs of hot water
The first thing you will want to do is scald your milk. All this means is bringing your milk almost to a boil. You don’t want to boil it because it will curdle. Once you scald your milk, let it cool off until it is luke warm (just warm to the touch).
Combine your yeast and warm water in a small bowl and set it aside to bloom (see my post on pizza dough for an explanation).
In your mixer or in a large bowl, mix together your scalded milk, sugar, 1/3 Cup melted butter, salt, and your egg. Make sure your milk and melted butter are not too hot or you will have scrambled eggs! Add 2 Cups of your flour and mix until smooth. Pour in your bloomed yeast/water and mix in remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky to the touch or starts to pull away from the sides of your mixer cleanly.
Knead for two more minutes in your mixer or on a lightly floured board for 5-10 minutes until you have a smooth, almost elastic dough.
Let your dough rise in your mixer bowl or a large bowl. Be sure to put a little olive oil or vegetable oil on the dough ball, covering all sides (just a little – like 1/2 tsp) so that it doesn’t stick to the bowl as it rises. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and a tea towel and place in a warm area of the kitchen to rise for an hour to an hour and a half, until it is doubled in size.
Tip — I like to preheat my oven to 250 degrees for just two minutes in order to create a nice warm environment for my dough to rise in. Try it. It works like magic! Just two minutes though…don’t bring it completely up to temp.
When your dough is doubled, punch it down and roll it out on a floured surface into a large rectangle (about 15 X 9 inches). Mix your cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and spread your softened butter all over the dough, reserving about 2 Tbs for your baking pan. Sprinkle your cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the butter in an even layer, again reserving a small amount (about 2 Tbs of mixture) for your baking pan. Take the reserved softened butter and spread it in the bottom of a 9 X 13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle the leftover cinnamon sugar on top of this butter in your baking dish.
Start to roll up your dough on the long side and pinch the roll closed as much as possible when you run out of dough. Cut your roll into 12-16 pieces and nestle the pieces, all cozy together, in your prepared baking dish. Let the cut cinnamon rolls rise, covered, for another 45 minutes until doubled in size. ** If you were looking to make these the night before, this would be the place in the recipe where you would put your pan in the fridge for the final rise overnight. **
Once your final rise is complete, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake your cinnamon rolls for 30 minutes until they are a nice golden brown.
While your house starts to smell amazing and those pretty cinnamon rolls are baking away, mix your softened butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze becomes a nice consistency. You don’t want this glaze to be too thin, but it shouldn’t be like a thick frosting either. If you’d like, you can add a pinch of salt to your frosting, but it isn’t required. I just think enhances the savory flavor of the bread that is covered by all that sweety, gooey goodness.
When your cinnamon rolls are baked, let them cool for a few minutes, then spread your glaze on top. Serve hot and enjoy — you worked hard for this moment and deserve it.