Growing up, cinnamon rolls at my house consisted of opening one of those “pop” tubes and sticking the rolls in the oven. These cinnamon rolls will require a little more effort and time, but it is well worth it! They are even more delicious and don’t have any of the yucky trans fats that the tube variety have.
Unless you are an early riser or plan on eating them late in the morning, be sure to make these the night before. It takes about 3 hours just for them to raise completely. If you are in a pinch for time, you can assist in the raising process by sticking them in a cool oven, with a baking dish full of hot water underneath the rolls. The heat and steam from the hot water will warm the rolls and allow them to rise faster. You can also turn the oven on the “warm” setting, then turn off the oven before placing the rolls inside.
If you are making the rolls the night before, after cutting the rolls and placing them in a baking dish, place them in the refrigerator, covered, until the morning. In the morning, turn your oven on the “warm” setting, then turn the oven off and place the rolls inside. Allow them to raise for about 30 minutes before baking completely.
This recipe makes 12 large cinnamon rolls. Unless you are cooking for a crowd, I’d recommend splitting the rolls into 2 – 8 inch cake pans and freezing one of the pans. Freezer directions are at the end of the recipe.
Yields: 12 rolls
½ cup milk
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) yeast
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg, plus 2 large egg yolks
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4-4 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup packed (5¼ ounces) light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners sugar, sifted to remove lumps
1 ounce cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons milk
Heat the milk and butter in the microwave until the butter is melted. Set aside until the mixture is lukewarm.
In a large bowl, mix together the water, yeast, sugar, egg and yolks at a low speed until well mixed. Add the salt, milk mixture and 2 cups of the flour and mix at medium speed until well blended. If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook, add another 2 cups of the flour and knead at medium speed. Continue to knead and add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is smooth and freely clears the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. If you do not have a stand mixer, simply add flour and knead with your hands until the dough is smooth and not sticky. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to raise in a warm place for 1.5-2 hours, or until double in size.
Mix together the filling ingredients in a small bowl using a fork. Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
When the dough is done raising, punch the dough down, then turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, shape the dough into a 16×12 inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. Sprinkle the filling evenly onto the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges. Roll the dough tightly, starting the the long edge closest to you. Using both hands, pinch the dough with your fingertips as you roll. Take a pastry brush dipped in water to brush the top border lightly with water, and seal the edges closed.
Using a sereated knife or dental floss, cut the roll into 12 equal pieces. Place the rolls cut-side up into a greased baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to raise for 1.5-2 hours, or until double in size.
When the rolls are fully risen, set the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the rolls until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. While the rolls are cooling, wisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth. Glaze the rolls and serve.
*Freezer-Friendly Tip* - If you plan on freezing the rolls, after cutting the rolls and placing them in a baking dish, cover the dish tightly with foil. Keep in the freezer, and then place the pan in the refridgerator the night before you wish to eat the rolls. In the morning, allow the rolls to rise in a warm oven as describe above, and bake as directed.
Source: The Way the Cookie Crumbles, originally adapted from Cooks Illustrated.