Soft fluffy cinnamon rolls, made with basic pantry ingredients and in record time! See Notes section for instructions on making ahead, doubling the recipe, and freezing.
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
2 T melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1–2 Tbs milk
Dough: Place milk and 4 tablespoons butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for about 1 minute 30 seconds. Butter should be mostly melted, but do not boil. 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 a dough hook if you have one and ad 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: It helps to have butter super soft. 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.
Tip for quick rising: My favorite place to proof rolls is in the oven or microwave (while it’s turned OFF). 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. Just let them sit in there to rise. The hot water will warm up the temp, and also keep the dough moist. You can do this same thing in your oven with it turned OFF. Place your rolls in there and add pan to the rack right below it. Fill the empty pan with boiling water and then quickly shut the oven door to lock it all in there.
For Large Cinnamon Rolls: Double recipe and proceed as written. Line a standard rimmed baking sheet (like a rimmed cookie sheet) with enough heavy duty foil that there is some overhang. Pull sides of foil up to “hold rolls in”. You can also use any other baking dish you like that fits your dough nicely.
To Freeze: After rolls are sliced and before they rise, immediately place in/on a parchment-lined pan in the freezer. When they are frozen, remove them from the parchment and place them in an airtight container or ziplock bag for easier storage.
To cook from frozen: Bring to room temperature and then allow to rise as normal. You can transfer them to the fridge to thaw overnight, and then place them on the counter in the morning to plump and rise, or you can place your frozen rolls at room temperature and wait for them to thaw and then rise (just like you would Rhodes Rolls). The total time for both of these really depends on the temperature of your home and other factors.
To Make the day before: If you’d like fresh rolls in the morning, you can save yourself some time and prepare these pre-baked the day before. Simply follow the instructions as written, but after rolls have been placed in the pan, immediately cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge. The next morning, put them out and let them rise as room temp and continue as instructions describe.