So today I want to share with you my favorite recipe for cinnamon rolls baked from scratch. They’re not too hard to make, and ridiculously delicious. Flaky buttery dough, and the perfect amount of cinnamon (and you know we’ve ALL had those cinnamon rolls that have waaaaay too much cinnamon, yuck). This recipe is great for beginners just learning how to use yeast. There’s only 1 “rise,” while most cinnamon rolls require 2. I tend to avoid baking things that take a long time, because I have the attention span of a 4 year old, especially when it comes for waiting for food, BUT the trick is to the oven on a low temperature and let the rolls rise in there where its nice and cozy, which speeds things up a bit.
For the rolls:
2 ¾ cups flour, divided
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package instant yeast
½ cup water
¼ cup milk, skim was fine for me
2 ½ tablespoons butter
1 large egg
For the filling:
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the glaze:
1 ounce cream cheese
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the dough, set aside about a half cup of flour, this will be used later. Toss together the remaining 2 ¼ cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.
turn on the stove, melt down the butter, and add in water and milk. Heat until you see teeny bubbles, just before it comes to a boil, it should only take a minute or so. Combine the butter mixture into the flour mixture, then add the egg. Use the remaining flour to stir in as much as you need to make a nice soft dough. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl and maintain a ball form. Lay the dough down on a lightly floured surface and knead for 4-5 minutes. Place the dough into a greased bowl (cooking spray is fine) and set aside for about 10 minutes. I use this time to make the filling, which is pretty much portioning out the butter and combining the cinnamon and sugar.
After the 10 minutes, on a lightly floured surface, (parchment worked great under the flour), roll out the dough into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Spread the butter across evenly leaving some room around the edges. Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture across the buttered area, again leaving some room around the edges (If you had a pizza roller, it will come in very handy here), I just used a knife. Cut the dough into strips about 2 inches thick. I got 8 strips. Roll them up as tightly as possible and pinch the ends so they won’t come unrolled. Place the rolls into a greased 8 or 9 inch baking pan.
Now its time to rise. Heat the oven up to 200 degrees, turn it off and let cool for just a few minutes, and then let the rolls sit inside for about an hour. The easiest way to pass the time is to just forget about them for a while. Go fold laundry, take your dog for a walk, or go to a hot yoga class, whatever floats your boat. After the rolls have risen, take them out and crank up the oven to 375. Once the oven is preheated, place them back since and bake for about 25 minutes.
Now its time to make the glaze. Turn the stove top on low and melt your cream cheese. Next, add in the confectioners sugar, the vanilla, and the half and half one tablespoon at a time. You may not want the whole second tablespoon depending on how thick you want the glaze, so add it in slowly.
Once the rolls are done, they should be nice and crisp around the edges. Add as much glaze as you’d like, and serve immediately.