When I was growing up, my Grandma Mary's favorite saying was "Eating has nothing to do with being hungry", generally to imply that because we had food to eat we should be grateful and eat it - even if we weren't hungry at that moment. This saying was particularly applied to desserts, especially her cinnamon rolls that she'd make frequently for special occasions to help us appreciate the fact that we had enough food to enjoy desserts. This recipe was originally found in a "Better Homes and Gardens" cookbook, and was adapted by my Grandma based off the richer version in the fine print. They're one of my favorite treats, and are frequently made for breakfast, snacks, or desserts at any time of year - but especially during the holidays!
The recipe generally makes around 20 good sized cinnamon rolls, but can easily be doubled - or even quadrupled, for a greater yield. Also, they typically take around 4 hours from start to finish (including time to rise), but that will vary depending upon your skill level and familiarity with the recipe. I have found it beneficial to be able to let the dough slowly rise in the refrigerator so that I can accomplish more urgent things while that happens. I hope you enjoy them!
Step 1: Gather Ingredients and Tools
Total Ingredients Needed:
- 1 Package Active Dry Yeast
- ¼ Cup Water
- 1 ¼ Cup Milk
- ¾ Cup Sugar
- ½ Cup Butter (1 stick)
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 ¾ Cups Flour
- 1 Egg
- 1 ½ Tablespoon Cinnamon
- 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
What Tools are needed?
- Pot (>1 qt.)
- Rolling Pin
- Mixing Bowl(s)
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cloth to cover dough
- Knives/Spoons to spread filling and cut dough
Step 2: Making the Dough - Part 1
1. Dissolve 1 package of Active Dry Yeast in ¼ Cup of water that is roughly 110 Degrees
2. Scald 1 Cup of Milk
Note: When scalding milk the goal is to warm up the milk, not quite to a boil. Back in the day, this would help clean the milk as well... but our milk today is so clean that it is pretty much done just for taste and heat.
3. Combine Scalded Milk, ¼ Cup Sugar, ¼ Cup Butter, and 1 Teaspoon Salt in a mixer
4. Let cool until it is lukewarm
Step 3: Making the Dough - Part 2
1. Add 1 Cup of Flour and beat well
2. Beat in the dissolved yeast and 1 Egg
3. Gradually add another 1 ½ Cups of Flour
4. Knead the dough until it is mostly smooth on the outside, springs back when pressed with your fingers and no longer sticks to them
Step 4: Let the Dough Rise
Cover the dough with a cloth and let rise in a warm area until it doubles in size, usually about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- You can let it rise in the fridge, but it will take significantly longer - which may be what you want. When making them for this instance I let them rise in the fridge for over 24 hours, due to other commitments I had that impacted the timeline.
- This is the main rising step, so you do want the dough to actually double in size. If it doesn't your yield will be significantly lower
Step 5: Roll Out the Dough!
Roll out on a floured surface.
You may need to knead the dough a little more now that it has risen, so that it isn’t as sticky. I typically use a little less than a 1/2 cup of flour overall, but in the pictures I used a little more to make sure it wouldn't stick to the table.
Step 6: Create Your Filling!
Mix ½ Cup Sugar with ¼ Cup butter and 1 ½ Tablespoon of Cinnamon for the filling. The butter should be very soft, but not melted.
If you want to add raisins or nuts or other things, they typically go into the filling
Step 7: Fill It With Goodness!
Spread the filling on top of the rolled out dough
Step 8: Roll Up the Dough!
Start on one side and roll the dough into a long roll
Step 9: Cut the Rolls and Place on the Pan!
Cut the dough about every ½ inch and place onto the pan. I typically line the pan with parchment paper to make clean up easier, but you can also spray it with oil or just leave it and clean it up later.
Step 10: Preheat the Oven and Let the Rolls Rise
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and let the dough rise while it preheats, or if you’re patient until it doubles in size again (I was not patient in this instance).
Step 11: Make the Glaze While the Rolls Bake!
1. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes
2. While baking, prepare the glaze by mixing 2 cups of powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon of vanilla and milk. You don’t need very much milk, but it depends on how thick or thin you like the glaze. I typically use 3 or 4 tablespoons of milk, which is about ¼ cup or a little less, but it is up to you.
Step 12: Remove From Oven and Glaze 'em!
1. Once the rolls are golden brown you want to take them out and let them cool for 3-5 minutes.
2. Drizzle the glaze on top of the warm rolls and enjoy!