Really though, today I had a quick and easy oven-free dinner planned to post because, well, it just seems like it should be that time of year. Plus we’ve had a plethora of sweets lately so this is probably the last thing we need. However, it’s cool and cloudy out so I decided I’d post something I’m actually making right now and save the dinner for next month when I’m sure to be sweating my brains out.
So, cinnamon rolls. We have a great Overnight Cinnamon Roll recipe on the site here, and we have a No-Rise Dough that doesn’t even involve yeast. And even Kate’s fabulous dinner rolls can be made into cinnamon rolls. So it’s not like we’re in a shortage or anything. And heck, I’m not even going to say that this will be the last cinnamon roll recipe we post! There are SO many good ones out there. I know Kate is partial to the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, and all of my friends make amazing cinnamon rolls (although doesn’t everything taste better when someone delivers it to your door step?) Like most yeast breads, I tend to think that good cinnamon rolls are almost more about the technique than the recipe. Seems like everyone has their favorite recipe, but I think part of the reason they taste so good is that when people have a favorite, they know exactly how the dough should look and feel so they come out perfect every time. So I’ll share a few of my little tricks for this recipe in hopes that it will turn out perfect for you too.
This recipe is my “every day” cinnamon roll. And by every day I mean almost every Sunday afternoon when my husband craves cinnamon rolls. I love it because it makes one nice 9×13 pan (some recipes make a gazillion rolls), it takes totally normal ingredients that you probably already have, and it’s quick. Fast to pull together and minimal rising time so you don’t have to spend all day making them. Also a bonus is that there’s no proofing of yeast. Just toss everything in there and it all works out. They’re pretty simple, so if you’ve never attempted homemade cinnamon rolls, give it a shot!
A lot of bread recipes call for scalding the milk. It’s partially to be warm and activate the yeast, but there’s also a really long scientific explanation that involves molecules and protein structures and stuff. I ignore all of that and just toss the milk and butter in the microwave. But here’s my tip: The recipe calls for 1 C of milk. Save 1/4 cup of that and leave it cold. That way after the butter is melted and the milk is hot you won’t have to wait forever for it to cool off enough to use. Add the cold milk and it will bring the temp down.
While the milk is cooling toss part of the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in your mixing bowl.
Add the milk mix and the egg and beat. Now you’ll add some more flour. Next tip: Don’t add too much flour! It took me a long time to figure this out. It wasn’t until one day after I was newly married and I actually watched my friend and cinnamon roll guru LeeAnn actually make them that I realized just how soft cinnamon roll dough should be. It seems like it would even be too soft to roll out, but when you gently dump it on a well floured surface it works just fine. Remember that a soft tender dough results in soft tender rolls. Too much flour and your rolls will be dense and dry.
For the filling I mix everything together and spread it on in one step, If you want, you could spread on butter, then sugar, then cinnamon.
I’ve told you this before, but one thing I always keep in the kitchen is dental floss. It’s the best way to cut bread dough. Using a knife often ends up smashing it. And yes, that’s mint flavored- don’t worry, it won’t flavor your dough!
Use a piece of floss to score the roll of dough into 12 pieces. Tip: If you want even sized rolls start from the middle. So for 12 rolls, divide evenly in the middle and then divide each of the halves into thirds, and then into thirds again.
After the dough is evenly scored, slip the floss underneath, then cross over top and just pull to slice. Use this same method to cut these Cheesy Garlic Bread Swirls (have you guys all tried those? They’re amazing. They make me happy.)
Place the rolls in a greased pan and cover with a clean towel. Tip: Heat a small bowl of water in the microwave until it boils. Open the door, quickly move the bowl aside and set the pan of rolls in and shut the door (with the microwave off). Just let them sit in there to rise. The hot water will warm up the temp, and also keep the dough moist.
After 30 minutes they should be nice and plump.
Then just bake ’em up. They should just be barely golden brown. I watch the centers- as soon as the centers are set and not dough-y they’re good to go.
Honestly I’ve never measured icing before, ever. I just grab some powdered sugar, add some vanilla and melted butter and then add milk until it’s the consistency I like. I put it on warm so it melts in all the cracks. Cream cheese is good in there too as it cuts the sweetness a bit.
And of course, you MUST eat cinnamon rolls while they’re warm. Must.
The insides are soft and ooey gooey
And the very best part is the middle, right?? I love that part.
I hope you all have some cinnamon roll weather soon!
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
2 T melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbs milk
Dough: Place milk and 4 Tbs butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. Butter should be at least partially melted. Stir and set aside. In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 C flour, yeast, white sugar, and salt. When milk mixture has cooled to warm (not hot) add it to the flour mixture along with the egg while the beater (paddle attachment for those using a stand mixer) is running. Beat until well combined, about 1 minute. (Switch to the dough hook now) Add remaining flour only until dough barely leaves the sides of the bowl. It should be very soft and slightly sticky. Continue to let the dough knead for 5 minutes. If you are not using a stand mixer, turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 5 minutes by hand. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and let rest for about 10 minutes while you make the filling.Filling: make sure butter is softened well. Mix with brown sugar and cinnamon.
Assembly: Roll dough into a rectangle about 12 x 14 inches. Spread brown sugar mixture (it will be slightly thick, you might have to “crumble” it) over the surface and use your fingers or the back of a spoon to gently spread around. Roll up from the longer side of the rectangle and pinch edges closed. Score the roll into 12 equal pieces and then cut into rolls. Place in a 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover pan with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. In the mean time, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
When rolls have finished rising bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. If desired spread with icing while still warm. Makes 12 rolls.