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Homemade cinnamon rolls on a baking sheet.
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Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

If you like your Cinnamon Rolls gooey, rich, and drowning in cream cheese icing, this is the recipe for you! The dough is made with yeast because: There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total proofing time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 485kcal

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter divided (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast or 4 1/2 teaspoons (see note 1)
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water 110 degrees
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 cup butter melted (1/2 stick)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (slightly warm, for after the 2nd proof, see note 2)

For the icing:

  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese softened
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (4 ounces)

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a scalding temperature (when a skin forms on top of the milk, about 170 degrees), stirring frequently. Remove immediately from heat after scalding.
  • Meanwhile, combine 1/3 cup butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour scalded milk over the top and cool to 110 degrees to 115 degrees, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the eggs.
  • While the scalded milk mixture is cooling, add the yeast to the warm water (110 degrees) and let it "bloom" for 5 minutes (see note 2).
  • In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine 4 1/2 cups flour, yeast, and water. With the motor running on low, slowly drizzle in the scalded milk mixture.
  • Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until shiny and smooth, 6 to 10 minutes. If the dough is sticky after 3 minutes, add the remaining ½ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Using a small, microwave-safe dish, melt the remaining butter for 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Turn out the dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl and brush with 1 teaspoon melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let proof (rise) in a warm place (80 degrees to 85 degrees) until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours (see note 3).
  • While the dough is rising, mix the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until combined.
  • Coat a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan with nonstick spray. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 12-inch by 18-inch rectangle and brush with the remaining melted butter.
  • Sprinkle filling to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the dough and press into an even layer. Using a bench scraper or metal spatula, loosen the dough from the counter if necessary.
  • Starting at a long edge of the rectangle, roll the dough to form a tight cylinder. Pinch seam to seal. Arrange cylinder seam side down and cut into 12 equal pieces. Using your hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal open edges and keep the filling in place.
  • Arrange rolls in prepared cake pan. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let proof in a warm place (80 degrees to 85 degrees) until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes (see note 3). Pour heavy cream evenly over the rolls after this second proofing.
  • While the rolls are proofing the 2nd time, make the icing. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, buttermilk, and powdered sugar and stir until smooth.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Bake until the rolls are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Switch the positions and rotate the orientation of the sheets halfway through baking time. Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle with icing.

Video

Notes

  1. Active Dry Yeast: Fleischmann’s, Red Star, Bob’s Red Mill, or Saf are all good brands. Just make sure the yeast is fresh and hasn’t expired. Can you use instant yeast? Yes you can. Keep reading--I'll show you how to tell if yeast is good.
  2. Heavy Cream: This is a make-or-break ingredient that gives these cinnamon buns extra-special gooey appeal. Adding slightly warm heavy cream will keep the rolls rising as they should during baking.
  3. Room temperature ingredients: When it comes to baking, using room temperature ingredients, especially eggs, is important. If you forgot to leave the eggs out,  warm them up in a bowl of warm water.
  4. Blooming yeast: In this recipe, you add yeast to 1/4 cup lukewarm water (90-110 degrees). At the end of 5-10 minutes, the yeast should look foamy. If it does not, the yeast isn't alive and should be discarded. Yeast activates at 40 degrees and dies at 140 degrees.
  5. Proofing: "Proofing" is a fancy term of waiting for yeasted dough to rise. To create the perfect place for proofing, preheat your oven to its minimum temperature (170°F, 200°F, etc.), but shut it off once the temperature reaches 110°F.  Place your dough (in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap), on a baking sheet and in the oven.  The oven temperature will drop when you open the oven door, but enough residual heat will remain that your dough should steadily rise. In this recipe, the dough should double in 90 minutes to 2 hours under these conditions.
  6. Make ahead: These cinnamon rolls can be made to the point of the second rise (once they’re rolled out, cut, and added to the pan). Cover them, refrigerate the pan until morning, then bring them out and let them go through their second rise. Add heavy cream and bake, proceeding with the recipe as planned.
  7. Freezing: Roll out, cut, and fill the baking pan with the cinnamon buns. Wrap the baking pan in layers of plastic wrap and foil and freeze. When ready to bake, take them out and move the to the refrigerator, letting them thaw overnight. The next morning, take them out and let them warm up while you preheat the oven. Bake according to the recipe, adding 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.
  8. Orange icing: For an orange twist, add a tablespoon or two of orange juice and a tablespoon of fresh orange zest to the icing.
  9. Maple and pecans: Add 1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans to the filling mix as well as 1 tablespoon of real maple syrup for another layer of cinnamon bun perfection. You can add even more toasted chopped nuts over the icing, if you want to.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 488mg | Potassium: 135mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 758IU | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg