So, who loves a soft, fluffy, sticky, and gooey cinnamon roll first thing in the morning? I do! Who loves eating a soft, fluffy, sticky, and gooey cinnamon roll on snowy morning? I do! There is just something special about eating a yummy cinnamon roll on an icy, cold morning. Now that I've finally had the chance to bake, that is exactly what I did!
If you know me well enough, you know that I hate getting up early in the morning. I am definitely not the person you'd want to talk to at 6:30 am. But hey, I know I'm not alone on this. Plenty of people are not morning people, and that's ok! Because of this, I went searching for a cinnamon roll recipe that could be baked in the evening and still taste amazing in the morning. I know that if you aren't a morning person, you are not going to want to get up and bake a batch of cinnamon rolls. Many baked goods like cinnamon rolls tend to become dry and dense if not eaten the same day they are made. But these cinnamon rolls taste absolutely divine even after you heat them up the next morning!
Another factor that causes people to shy away from making cinnamon rolls is yeast. So many people are scared of working with yeast dough, but they shouldn't be! The only hard part of working with yeast is waiting for the dough to rise, which can take up to two and a half hours all together. The process of making cinnamon rolls is actually quite simple, and I think this recipe is pretty darn fool-proof! Unless your yeast is dead coming out of the package of course, which has happened to me a few times. You begin making these cinnamon rolls by combining some flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter, and an egg into a large bowl. Next, you have to heat the milk over the stove. To be honest, this is the part that always scares me the most. If the milk is too cold, your yeast won't activate. But if its too hot, you'll kill your yeast! Yikes! Most recipes call for your liquid to reach 120 degrees. Since I don't have a thermometer, I just use my finger to see if I think it is warm enough. I removed the milk from the stove once it felt like hot tap water. Not scalding hot, just a little warmer than warmer! I suggest frequently sticking your (clean)finger in the milk to ensure that it does not become too hot.
Once your milk has been heated, add it into the bowl with the flour, sugar, salt, butter, yeast, and egg. Beat it together using a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. I personally liked to use the hand-held mixer because I feel like I have more control over the dough. This mixture will look pretty smooth, with a minimal amount of lumps. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in enough flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. When I say gradually, I mean it! Keep in mind that when you knead the dough in the next step, more flour will be incorporated. Too much flour will lead to a tough, dry, cinnamon roll. And nobody wants that, right?
Next, sprinkle a flat surface lightly with flour. Again, this flour will be incorporated into the dough when you knead it! The less flour you use, the better! You will knead the dough for about five minutes; this activates the gluten to the point of allowing your dough to rise! If you aren't sure how to knead, all you do is fold the dough in half, give it a strong push outwards with the heels of your hands, quarter turn it, and repeat! Fold, push, turn, repeat! See, making cinnamon rolls even gives you a workout! Or in other words, an excuse to eat two cinnamon rolls :D
Now its time to let your beautiful dough rise for the first time! Just spray a large bowl with some non-stick cooking spray, place the kneaded dough in the bowl, turn the dough around to give it a non-stick spray coating, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and place it in an airtight place to rise. I heated my top oven so the bottom oven would be slightly warm and placed the bowl in the bottom oven. If you do not have two ovens, simply place the blow in the oven without heating it. My dough took a full hour and a half to rise until it was doubled in size(which is what you're looking for).
Take your risen dough out of the oven and give it a good punch to deflate it. I know its hard to punch your gorgeous dough that you've made with love, but you have to do what you have to do! Even if it does mean putting your dough through a little pain.
Sprinkle a flat surface with a small amount of flour again. Roll your dough into a 15"x10" rectangle. I found it easiest to stretch the dough into shape with my hands and than roll it out to smooth it. Yeast dough is very springy, so sometimes rolling it just isn't enough. Now take some softened butter and spread it over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border on the dough without butter. I also used my (clean)hands for this step. I know it sounds yucky, but the heat from your hands makes the butter more spreadable, and using a knife could tear the dough! Once your dough is all buttered up, sprinkle on a thick layer of brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon! Roll the dough up tightly starting form the 15" side and cut it into about 1" slices. I got about 17 rolls when I cut the dough.
Place the rolls in a greased 9"x13" pan. Its okay if they're a little snug! Now they will rise for a second time. It took 1 hour for the rolls to become doubled in size. As soon as they've risen, you can finally bake them up! Remove them from the pan and allow them to cool before packing them up in an airtight container(I just used a large Zip-lock bag).
Just look at how roasty-toasty and pretty these are!
As appetizing as they look, no cinnamon roll is complete without a glaze. For the glaze, you will make it over the stove. I know that sounds strange, but I've learned from Sally at Sally's Baking Addiction that if you cook a glaze rather then just mixing it, it will have that "crackled" effect once it sets. I didn't allow the glaze to set on my cinnamon roll, though. I have no problem with a sweet and sticky glaze! If you're going to eat the cinnamon rolls the following morning, simply transfer the glaze to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. Now when you wake up, all you'll have to do is heat a cinnamon roll(or 2) for 25 seconds in the microwave and slather on the glaze!
I hope you really enjoy these wonderful cinnamon rolls. They are moist, fluffy, stuffed with cinnamon, and perfectly sticky!
3 1/2-4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 packages fast-acting dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
1 cup milk( I used skim, but any type of dairy milk will work)
1/4 cup(1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp low-fat cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk(I used 2% for this)
Yields: 15-17 cinnamon rolls depending on how large you slice them
In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add in the butter and egg.
Heat the milk over medium heat until it feels very warm to touch. Add the milk into the large bowl with the butter, egg and flour mixture. Beat this on low speed with a hand-held or stand mixer until just fully incorporated. With a wooden spoon, stir in a 1/2 cup of remaining flour at time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Remember: you will incorporate even more flour when kneading the dough.
Sprinkle a flat surface lightly with flour. Turn out the dough onto the floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, sprinkling more flour onto the flat surface just to keep the dough from sticking. Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray and transfer the kneaded dough into the bowl. Turn the dough in the bowl so all sides of the dough are coated with non-stick spray. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place it in a warm, airtight place(an unheated oven will work). Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, between 1-1.5 hours. My dough took a full hour and a half to rise.
Once the dough has risen, punch it down in the bowl to deflate it. Lightly sprinkle a flat surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and shape the dough into a 15"x10" triangle. I stretched my dough into shape with my hands since it tended to spring back when I only used a rolling pin. Spread the softened butter onto the dough, but don't spread it within a 1/2 inch of the edges. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture onto to the buttered dough. Tightly roll the dough up, starting from the 15 inch side. Cut the roll of dough into 15(1 inch) slices.
Spray a 9"x13" pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the cut cinnamon rolls into the pan and cover it loosely with plastic wrap. Put the pan in a warm, airtight place for 30-60 minutes until the rolls are doubled in size. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the rolls for 27-35 minutes or until golden brown.
While the cinnamon rolls are baking, make the glaze: heat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla over medium heat and whisk until smooth. Remove the glaze from the stove. If you are making the cinnamon rolls and glaze ahead of time, allow the glaze to cool and store inside an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Once the cinnamon rolls are baked, immediately remove them from the pan and transfer them to a cooling rack. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes and drizzle them with the glaze.
If you are making the rolls ahead of time, allow the rolls to cool completely and store them in an airtight container until you are ready to eat them. Heat the rolls for 25 seconds in the microwave and drizzle them with the glaze.
*Please read the post above for further important details regarding the recipe.
Recipe Adapted From: Betty Crocker
*Please do not take this recipe or photos from my blog and use them as your own. If you do wish to post my recipe on your blog, please ask for permission by emailing me. Thank you.