Cinnamon rolls are a family thing. My family really likes them and my nana is really good at making them! Now that I have my own family, I determined this was the year I would master the classic. I tried countless recipes from old cookbooks, the internet, and my nana’s famed recipe to come up with one of my own.
Cinnamon rolls are a bit of an art. I was taught to feel the dough to determine the right amount of flour, watch them proof and become perfect pillows of greatness, and always ice while still warm so the frosting seeps into all the crevices.
After many test runs, I have the measurements down so that your rolls should always turn out perfect.
I would go as far as to suggest you mix and knead the dough by hand. I have a stand mixer but there is just something about feeling the dough…
READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE YOU BEGIN.
Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch
Yield 12 rolls
- 1 C milk
- 1 packet of Active Dry Yeast
- 1/2 C Sugar
- 1/2 C Unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 4 1/2 C + 1/4 C of Flour (for kneading)
- 2 tbsp softened butter, for coating large bowl
- Cinnamon Roll Filling
- 1/2 C packed brown sugar
- 1/2 C white sugar
- 2 1/4 tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 C softened butter
- 1/2 C - 3/4C chopped pecans (optional)
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 C softened butter
- 11/2 C powdered sugar
- 1/4 C cream cheese
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- In a large microwave safe cup, warm the milk. It needs to be a little warmer than a baby’s bottle. I heated mine for 1:30 but in 30 sec increments to make sure it didn’t get too hot.
- Add 1/2 C sugar and stir till most is dissolved.
- Sprinkle in packet of dry yeast and stir once.
- Let sit for 5 minutes till the yeast+ milk mixture start to foam a little.
- In a large bowl, add yeast mixture, melted butter, salt, eggs, and flour. Stir till it starts to form a ball.
- Lightly flour a clean work surface. Dump dough onto work surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. Add a little more flour if the dough is very sticky. You won't need to add more than 1/4 C.
- Prepare bowl to let the dough rise: Coat a large bowl with softened butter.
- After kneading dough, place in the buttered bowl and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm spot in the kitchen for 3+ hours. (I know this seems like a long time, but the more patient you can be, the better the rolls.) The dough should double in size.
- To make the filling: Create a Paste out of the brown sugar and white sugar, cinnamon, and softened butter.
- After the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough about 1/4 thick in a rectangular shape. Spread the filling mixture all over the dough but leave a strip at one of the long lengths untouched (about 1/2 worth). This is so the dough will seal up after its all rolled. Sprinkle on chopped pecans.
- To roll the dough, start lengthwise and roll towards the strip of dough you left untouched. Move slowly and keep the roll tight. Use your fingers to keep the dough tucked tight and pull up from the bottom with your thumbs. Once all rolled up, cut of the uneven ends then but 1 inches sections.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Spray a baking dish with cooking spray or coat with a thin layer of butter and a sprinkle of flour. Place rolls in the dish, touching and let them proof one more time. Leave them on the counter for at least 45 minutes.
- Bake for 15- 20 minutes. The dough should be a light brown color.
- To make the frosting: mix the butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt till smooth.
- When the rolls come out of the oven, let cool in pan then spread liberally with the frosting.
If you decide to whip up a batch of my homemade cinnamon rolls, be sure to tag me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook (@FirstandFull, #FirstandFull).