I like to think of this as the recipe that started it all. I was homeschooled throughout high school. I would finish all my work on Monday and have the rest of the week to just do nothing. Having the sweet tooth that I do, I began to bake. God was I awful at it. I would scorch the chocolate, burn muffins, over salt dough, and kill the yeast. Eventually, I started to teach myself the basics (and patience) and I got better. Slowly but surely. Cinnamon Rolls were my turning point. This was the first recipe that I didn’t actually mess up the first time. I fell in love with the process (and obviously the flavor) and just kept remaking them. I kept trying different doughs, different filling ratios, and different frostings till I finally perfected them. Now, Cinnamon Rolls are my thing. It’s usually what people ask me to make, and definitely the first thing my family asks for when I go to visit. I love making them and enjoy every second of it. Especially the eating part. I’m gonna walk you through it and hopefully, you’ll enjoy them too!
In very many recipes you will need to use softened butter. I’m not gonna lie, I always end up microwaving and getting it pretty soft without melting it. I’ve perfected the technique. It just isn’t the same though. There is a drastic difference in the texture of your frosting when you actually let the butter soften on its own time. And the ease of spreading softened butter on the cinnamon roll dough makes all the difference. When the butter is a little melted you end up with a gloop of buttery sugar the just drips out, but when its softened everything just molds together and you have the perfect swirl when you cut the rolls. Plan ahead, and soften the butter. As for the dough. First off, I add Wheat Gluten. It makes for a stretchier dough that bakes so much nicer. The final product is definitely better. I made it for years without it and they were still amazing. But if this becomes a thing for you too, I highly recommend Wheat Gluten. You will notice a difference. I also am careful with adding flour. As you knead the dough it may seem sticky and you can add more flour. Before you do though, oil your hands slightly and try shaping the dough into a ball. If it’s a sticky mess knead in more flour, otherwise you don’t want to add more because you will end up with a tough dough. Another thing that I do is let my dough rise in a rectangular or square pan. I push the dough into it then let it rise. This way once I flip the dough onto the counter to roll its already in somewhat of the shape that I need and I don’t have to mess with trying to get circular edges squared. Finally, I whip my cream cheese frosting for about 15 minutes. You can just throw it together and set aside. However, when you softened the dough correctly and you whip it for 10 to 15 minutes you truly end up with this amazingly airy frosting. It’s the stuff dreams are made of! Take this recipe step by step and I’m sure you’ll come up with some product that’s amazing.
- 1 Cup Warm Milk
- 2 Eggs
- 1/3 Cup Melted Butter
- 4 1/2 Cups Flour
- 1 TBSP Vital Wheat Gluten (Optional)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 Cup White Sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1/3 Cup Softened Butter
- 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1 TBSP Cornstarch
- 2 1/2 TBSP Cinnamon
- 4 oz. Cream Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Softened Butter
- 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/8 tsp Lemon Zest
- Step 1 Begin by slightly warming the milk to no warmer than 110 degrees. In the bowl of a mixer add the yeast and 1 tsp from the sugar for the dough. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- Step 2 Once the yeast is slightly bubbly add the eggs, melted butter, wheat gluten, salt, sugar, and 4 cups of flour. Slowly begin mixing the dough. Begin to knead the dough with the dough hook. Add more flour to keep the dough from being extremely sticky. You want a soft dough (See Recipe Tips).
- Step 3 After kneading the dough, place in a slightly greased bowl and cover. Place in a warm spot till dough doubles in size (about an hour).
- Step 4 Meanwhile prepare the filling. Mix the light brown sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Step 5 Once the dough has risen lightly grease the countertop and Prepare a 9×13 pan by buttering slightly or lining with parchment paper. Roll your dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter onto the dough leaving the top 1/2 inch without butter (for sealing purposes). Slowly and evenly sprinkle your brown sugar mixture op top of the butter. Press it into the butter and dough and begin rolling your dough. You want to roll it tight but not tight enough that you stretch and tear the dough. Roll it so you have a 21-inch wide roll.
- Step 6 Once you roll it, let it sit on the sealed edge and cut the roll in half using a serrated knife. Cut each half in half again. You now have four pieces. Cut each one into three. Place the rolls in the pan evenly spaced apart. They will rise and stick together!
- Step 7 Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another hour. If you want you can place in the fridge before allowing it to rise and take it out the next day to rise and then continue with the baking process.
- Step 8 Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Once they are golden brown they are usually done. Every oven is different. Mine is a little hotter so typically takes 15 minutes, while my moms take about 18. If you have a convection setting use it!
- Step 9 While the rolls are baking prepare the frosting. With the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter. Add the vanilla. Beat for 1 minute. Add the sugar and slowly mix in then beat till incorporated. Add the lemon zest and beat for 10 to 15 minutes. This is how you will get a perfectly fluffy frosting.
- Step 10 Once the rolls come out of the oven smother them with half the frosting immediately. This way it’ll sink into every nook and cranny. Allow the rolls to sit for 10 minutes before serving. If you serve immediately you’ll en up with a gloppy mess. Add more frosting if desired after the initial ten minutes. Store at room temperature for up to three days and reheat by microwaving. Enjoy!