Introduction: The Best Cinnamon Rolls in the Universe
I am making a claim...a bold claim: these cinnamon rolls are the best you will ever put into your mouth. "But haven't you tried Cinnabon?" you ask. My cinnamon rolls put Cinnabon to shame. These tasty morsels will make you want to slap your mama, sing a song, and run for president. I think you get the point. What you are about to learn how to make exhibits the perfect balance of sweetness, moistness, fluffiness, and any other word that ends in "-ness" and positively describes a heavenly baked good.
Enough talk...let's BAKE!
Step 1: Ingredients
This recipe is based on one written by Steve-VA on BigOven. I followed the recipe to the 'T' twice. The results were phenomenal, but I have found several ways to make it even better. First, the amount of butter in the rolls and in the pan led to soggy bottoms (no one likes soggy bottoms!) on the rolls. Also, I cut the amount of frosting (which was much too much) in two to save time and cost of ingredients. The ingredients list of the original recipe called for much too little flour. I've edited how much you'll need. I will also provide you with various tips and tricks so that these cinnamon rolls will knock your socks off the first time, the second time, the third time...and every time after that!
Here's what you'll need:
1 Tsp Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Milk (Whole or 2%) - 110-120 Degrees Fahrenheit
2 Active Yeast 1/4 oz Packages
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar (Light or Dark)
3 Tbsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Butter - Room Temp
1 Cup Milk (Whole or 2%) - Room Temp
2/3 Cup Melted Butter < 110 Degrees Fahrenheit
2 Tsp Salt
2 Large Eggs (Slightly Beaten)
7-8 Cup Bread Flour (High 11% - 12% Protein)
4 Oz Cream cheese - Room Temp
1/2 Cup Butter - Room Temp
1 3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tbs Orange Juice - No Pulp
1/3 Cup Melted Butter
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
Let's do this!
Step 2: Yeast and Cinnamon Mixtures
This first step is the most important. Without this lovely yeast mixture, your rolls will be hard as a brick and flat as a pancake...well maybe that's an exaggeration. Anyway, yeasts are single-celled organisms that consume sugar and release carbon dioxide, ethanol, and delicious flavors and smells. The release of carbon dioxide is what makes the volume of the bread (or, in this case, roll) increase or rise. However, your yeast can only do its job if it is allowed to ferment. If your yeast mixture is too cold, the yeast will not activate. If your yeast mixture is too hot, the yeast will die. You want to make sure your yeast mixture is between 110 and 120 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat 1 cup of whole or 2% milk until it is between 110 and 120 degrees. (About 45 sec in the microwave on high). Mix both 1/4 oz packets of Yeast and 1 tsp of granulated sugar into the warm milk. After the initial mixing, set off to the side for a few minutes, and do not remix.
Easy enough right? In a few minutes, you will see the top start to bubble up like the picture. That means that it's working. The smell might remind you of your grandmother's homemade bread...YUM!
Set the yeast mixture off to the side. And mix 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, 3 tbsp cinnamon in a small bowl. Set this cinnamon mixture off to the side and pull 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter out of the fridge to warm up to room temperature.
Done? OK, let's move on to my favorite part: the dough.
Step 3: Dough
You will need a large bowl in which to make the dough. I use my sweet mama's KitchenAid mixer.
In the large bowl of your choice, mix 1 cup of whole or 2% milk at room temperature, 2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup melted butter. Remember when we talked about making sure that the yeast mixture was the right temperature? That idea applies to the dough as well. When we mix the yeast mixture into our dough, we want to make sure that it's not too hot to kill the yeast and not too cold to prevent it from rising.
After your milk/sugar/butter mixture cools down to below 110 degrees, mix in 2 tsp salt and 2 eggs slightly beaten. Now, you can pour your now fluffy yeast mixture into the batter and mix. Once your batter is smooth, begin adding the high protein flour one cup at a time until you reach 5 cups total. Don't mix too fast...#3 on the Kitchen Aid is a perfect speed. After mixing 5 cups of flour into your dough, check its consistency. You may need to mix in 2-3 more cups of flour in order to create a slightly stiff dough.
Then, place your dough onto a surface sprinkled with flour. The dough should fall out of the bowl when you turn it upside down. Set a timer for 8 min and go to town. Fold the dough in half, press down, rotate the dough 90 degrees, fold the dough in half, press down, and repeat this process. This is called kneading. kneading is what will give your roll its heavenly texture by aligning all the little proteins.
Finally, grease another large bowl with Pam or Crisco and put your dough into it. Cover with a clear plastic wrap, and set in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. However, avoid direct sunlight. If you are making these in the summer, a shady spot on your porch would be ideal. If you are making these in the winter, perhaps set it by your fire or heater.
Step 4: Frosting
While your dough is rising, this is a perfect time for you to clean up your cooking area and move on to making the frosting. "Making" is probably a poor word for what you are about to do. "Crafting" may be a better term for this legendary process.
First, remove 4 oz of cream cheese and 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter from the refrigerator and let warm up to room temperature. This is a good time to clean out the large bowl you used for mixing the dough. You will need it to make the frosting.
After the cream cheese and butter has warmed up to room temperature, mix both together in your Kitchen Aid for around 3 minutes using the standard flat beater. Don't go crazy with speed. The #2 setting on my Kitchen Aid is just right.
Next, replace the flat beater with the metal whisk attachment and whip the butter and cream cheese for 5 minutes. Now you can go fast. Crank your mixer up to "medium-fast" which is #6 on KitchenAid machines.
Now, this is where the magic happens. Whip 1/2 cup of powdered sugar into the frosting in 1 min intervals until you have whipped in 1 3/4 cup. You may have to periodically use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure all the powdery goodness is being mixed in.
Finally, whip for one more minute, in which you will add 2 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 tbsp of orange juice.
I used to put all this delicious frosting into a plastic bag and then cut off one corner to ice the finished rolls. However, I ended up just using a small Tupperware and applying the frosting with a knife. The "bag method" led to a lot of waste.
Step 5: Roll the ...er... Rolls!
Now that you've crafted your frosting, the hour and a half in which your dough has been rising should be almost up. By now, your dough should have doubled in size!
Remove the plastic wrap and punch your dough down. That's right...smack dab in the center. Then let it rest for 5 minutes.
After the five minutes is up, use a rolling pin to roll out your dough until it is a rectangle roughly 15 inches x 20 inches. Then, use a sharp non-serrated steak knife to cut this large rectangle into two 15 inch x 10 inch pieces.
Now you can grab the softened butter and cinnamon mixture that you set off to the side. Spread the butter evenly over the two sections and follow with the cinnamon mixture. It may look like too much. Trust me...its perfect!
Finally, carefully roll the two sections into two tight rolls and cut each roll into 1 to 1.5-inch sections using that same sharp, non-serrated steak knife.
Step 6: Prep the Pan and BAKE!
You're almost done. Hang in there!
Grab a 13x9x2 inch metal pan and coat with 1/4 cup melted butter. Sprinkle the pan with 1/2 cup of sugar and place the rolls side-by-side in the pan. Squeeze them close together. This will make them even fluffier!
Now, ladies and gentlemen, the moment you have all been wait for. Brush your rolls with a bit of butter and put them into the oven on the middle shelf. Once your rolls are in the oven, preheat to 350 degrees and set a timer for 30 minutes. While the oven is preheating, your rolls will have time to rise a bit more.
When the timer goes off, check your rolls with a knife to see if they are thoroughly cooked. Usually, I have to bake them for an additional 5 - 10 minutes.
Step 7: Frost and Enjoy!
Once your rolls are fully cooked, remove them from the oven and slather them with the delicious frosting that you crafted earlier.
I hope you enjoy making and eating them as much as I do!
Participated in the
Baking Speed Challenge
Tip 2 years ago on Step 3
Try this variation for caramel topped cinnamon rolls. Adjust accordingly if you like more caramel. Skip the frosting use 1/2 cup butter, 1/2cup whipping cream, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar bring to a boil and boil for approximately 2 minutes. Spray your pan with pam or grease/ butter it and pour hot mixture into pan (optional nuts and or raisins could now be added) and let cool. Now place your rolls into pan, bake as stated. When done place another pan close to the same size over cooked rolls and turn over so they fall into the fresh pan leaving you with warm fluffy caramel topped rolls. Don't get me wrong I like cream cheese icing but caramel might be a better topping IMHO.
Reply 2 years ago
Oh my! That sounds absolutely glorious. Thank you for the tip! I will definitely try that. My little brother is caramel's #1 Fan.
2 years ago
Love seeing that tattered recipe! That's how you *know* it's awesome :D