Literally can we just take a moment of silence for these glorious cinnamon rolls?
My brother and I (well, mostly me) took a stab at making fluffy, ooey, gooey, gigantic cinnamon rolls this weekend because we had the house to ourselves. AKA we could make as big of a mess as we wanted with no mom around to yell at us! I would say we were successful, wouldn’t you?
LOOK AT ALL THAT CREAM CHEESE ICING. IN EVERY NOOK AND CRANNY.
I will admit, this recipe takes a little work and a lot of patience, but it’s SO worth it. Prepping the rolls the night before allows you to pop them in the oven the next morning without much work, which means you get cinnamon goodness into your mouth much faster.
For yeast beginners, fear not! These cinnamon rolls come together quite easily, only requiring one rise the night before and one in the morning. I promise, anyone can do it with a little effort.
I used my mom’s KitchenAid mixer to mix the dough, but you could certainly do it by hand. The original recipe I used (from Alton Brown) called for the use of a kneading attachment on the mixer, but I just decided to do the kneading by hand. Breaking a sweat while kneading my dough really made me feel like I earned my cinnamon roll. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.
A little tip for proofing your yeast (the thing that gets the yeast all active): Before letting the rolls rise, set your oven to 200 degrees F. When it reaches 200, turn it off, and place the rolls inside. Letting the rolls rise in a warm environment helps to wake up the yeast, allowing them to rise to their maximum. You’re going to do one 2-2.5 hour rise at night before placing them in the fridge, and another 1-1.5 hour rise in the morning before they bake.
This is what the rolls will look like just after the second rise, before they are baked.
Just a short 30 minutes in the oven and your rolls will be perfect. I placed aluminum foil over mine halfway through baking to assure the tops didn’t get too browned. At the end of the whole process, you’ll have fluffy, tender, bakery-quality cinnamon rolls that will impress everyone. No more canned cinnamon rolls for us anymore! The pop from the can scares me anyway.
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
6 ounces milk, room temperature (I used skim)
20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
1 package instant or rapid dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray
8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 -ounce unsalted butter, softened, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons
2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
3 tablespoons milk (I used skim)
5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and milk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed (or by hand) 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, and let sit for 10 minutes.
For the filling: Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Spread the dough with the 3/4-ounce of softened butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; let rise for 2-2.5 hours using oven method. Then, tightly cover rolls with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator over night (or up to 16 hours).
Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let rolls rise using oven method for 1-1.5 hours. Remove rolls and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.
While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand or hand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.