January 4, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

Hello there loyal readers (all six of you)!

It has been a long time since I have posted. A very long time and I apologize for that. This past month has been pretty hectic: holidays, traveling, and being just plain busy. While that is no excuse, I hope to offer some entertainment and assistance with procrastination (of which I am more than happy to help with, especially as I have noticed that the peak traffic on this site occurs during normal business hours).

With that aside, I bring you a post on cinnamon rolls. Made by scratch. With cream cheese frosting that bears a slight resemblance to Cinnabon. Yum.

I actually made these for the UC Cannoneers during a pre-bonfire meeting. It was a rather entertaining opening conversation. They rolled in hungover to my place (Golf Party occurred the evening before and most of you know how that goes), and were about to ask if we could move the meeting to IHOP for some greasy goodness. I preempted their request with a query of my own: "Would you guys like cinnamon rolls?" Needless to say that was all she wrote.


This recipe is easy and delicious. First decide if you are planning on baking them right now or in a couple days. If you decide you have to have them right now, set aside about 2 hours to allow for the bread to rise. The dough is good for a couple of days if you want to pop them in the fridge or freezer for a later date.

Begin by preparing your yeast. Take one cup of milk and heat it up to about 100 degrees. Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Dissolve well. The better dissolved, the better the dough. While it's inevitable there will be clumps, do you best to get rid of them. Let the yeast and milk mixture sit for a few minutes and then check for bubbles.  If the bubbles exist, then the yeast is alive and well.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, butter, and eggs. If you are using a stand mixer, use the paddle initially and switch to the dough hook once the mixture begins to set. After the running the dough hook for about three minutes, remove the dough and finish the kneading by hand.

Knead the dough until it has reached the point where it is "doughy" but no longer sticks to your hands. You are ready to begin the first rise. Roll up the dough into a ball and coat it in a small amount of oil (a couple drops is enough) and place into a covered bowl. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size. This should take about an hour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and using a rolling pin (or your hands), shape it into the form of a rectangle. Once rolled out, let the dough rest for about ten minutes. This allows the gluten to relax and will make for a more flaky roll. During this time, you can prep the brown sugar and cinnamon filling.

Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together. Once the rectangle shaped dough has rested, generously spread the softened butter all over the top of the dough. Slather the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture over the top of the dough.

Now begins the fun part (and somewhat challenging if you don't pay attention). Begin at one side of the rectangle and roll up the dough. Make sure the ends are even or you will lose the filling. To seal up the end of the roll, use some water and a brush to ensure the roll stays in roll form during baking.

At this point you can either stop and leave until ready for a later baking or continue. Wrap the roll in saran wrap. If saving for a later date, place in the fridge for up to 48 hours until needed. The second rise will occur slowly in the fridge. In fact, leaving the dough overnight in the refrigerator will produce optimum rolls the next day. If you are the more impatient type, let the rolls sit in the plastic for about 30 minutes in a warm place.

Once ready to bake, make sure the oven is preheated to 400 degrees. Cut the rolls in 1/2 to 3/4 inch sections and place onto some baking implement. These can be made in round cake pans, on a cookie sheet, or in a Pyrex container. Any will suffice, but cooking time might vary slightly so be watchful.

Bake the rolls in the oven for 13 to 16 minutes.  As I mentioned previously, this will vary on oven and baking pan. During this time, you can prepare the cream cheese frosting. I highly recommend a stand mixer for this as it will save you an incredible amount of time. Also, if the ingredients are at room temperature, the frosting will come together easier. Beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioner sugar, vanilla and salt until a nice gooey mixture is formed. Once the rolls are done baking, let sit for two minutes prior to spreading on the frosting. This ensures proper melted yummy goodness. Serve immediately.

Cinnamon Rolls


1 cup milk, warm
2 eggs
1/3 cup butter, unsalted
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp yeast (one packet should suffice)

1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tbs cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, unsalted

3 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cups confectioner sugar
1/4 cup butter, unsalted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp Kosher salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Take 1 cup of the milk and heat it to 100°F. Dissolve the yeast in the milk and make sure it is well-combined and no clumps remain(should be bubbling after a few minutes).
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt, butter and eggs. After the dough forms, remove and knead by hand. Knead for a few minutes and then place the dough into a bowl with a few drops of oil. Cover the dough with the oil and then cover to let the dough rise. Allow it to double in size.
  3. About an hour later remove and roll out into a square sheet and let it rest for 10 minutes. During this time, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together to form what will become the gooey cinnamon stuff.
  4. Coat the dough square with an even layer of butter and sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture over the entire square. Roll up the dough and seal with some water. At this point you can place in the fridge overnight for a second rise (makes for a more flaky roll).
  5. Cut the roll into 1/2 inch pieces and place in a pan. If you did not already allow it to undergo a second rise, leave these pieces in the pan for about 30 minutes.
  6. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 13-16 minutes. During this time, prepare the cream cheese frosting.
  7. Beat together the cream cheese, confectioner sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt until a good consistency is reached.
  8. Once the rolls have completed baking, let cool for 2 minutes before spreading the frosting on and enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. This post is *almost* BayleyBakes worthy! Nice pictures Pdiddy