Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

by Lauren Matthies


Do you ever get in over your head?  You have this sudden idea that you don't think all the way through and then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose.  That was me with these cinnamon rolls.  At 9pm I decided that we needed cinnamon rolls the next day.  I started them and at 9:15pm I realized that I was exhausted and had probably overextended myself.  Sure enough, it ended with a crying baby and me running around like a chicken with my head cut off (I just realized how horrible that phrase is...I'll have to come up with another one that's less violent).  At least we got delicious cinnamon rolls out of it.

The good thing about these cinnamon rolls is that you can make them ahead.  If you want fresh, warm, homemade cinnamon rolls in the morning, you can plan ahead the night before and do most of the work, leaving you with a little rise, bake, and assemble time the next day.

Delicious cinnamon rolls ahead...

I only needed 4 1/2 cups of flour, but you may need a little more.  Just add it slowly until the dough is mostly smooth and not sticky.

Henry was asleep during the rise of course, and woke up right when the dough was ready to be worked.  You can see how quickly it rises.  If you want to speed the rise, turn your oven on, and set the bowl on top of the oven.

Here's how I grease my bowl.  Just pour olive oil on a paper towel and wipe it in the bowl.

I just rolled the dough out with my hands.  Don't worry if it isn't smooth.

I also used my hands for the butter.  It's a little messy, but if your butter is super softened (I leave mine out during the rise so by now it is really ready to go) it's really easy to spread.  Also, Henry was yelling for mommy at this point so I was trying to move as quickly as possible.

I didn't mix my sugar and cinnamon ahead of time, but if you want it to be perfectly even, go for it!  Also, feel free to use more butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  I don't like too gooey of a middle.  My favorite part of cinnamon rolls are the dough and frosting.  If you're a person who lives for the middle of the cinnamon roll, add some more.

Roll it up.  Hopefully you have two hands to work with, but if you've got a needy baby in your arms, you can still do it!

Cut it up!  You can make smaller rolls by making them a little more narrow.  I made nine.  I like them a little bigger.

In the fridge to nap overnight.  Sleep tight cinnamon rolls.

In the morning...sitting at room temperature before heading into the oven.

Making the frosting.  It can take quite a while for all the lumps to disappear, but keep mixing.  Here's another place you can make your rolls a little sweeter.  I prefer more of a cream cheese flavor.  If you want more sweetness, add more sugar (you may need more milk to keep it runny enough).

While my cinnamon rolls were baking, I noticed that the tops were getting brown faster than the rest of the rolls were cooking.  I took some aluminum foil and set it on top.  This will help prevent the tops from burning.

Out of the oven and ready for the frosting!  You can even eat them like this if you like.  I usually tear off a tiny bit to make sure they are cooked throughout.  Everyone's oven varies a little bit so just watch them while they bake (while you drool).

I just pour my frosting on top and then spread it out with a spatula.  It's a lot of frosting, but I like it oozing everywhere.

Enjoy your yummy treats!

Recipe

For Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 cups flour (more if dough is wet)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Combine 1 cup warm milk and 1/2 cup sugar in bowl of a standing mixer.
  2. Sprinkle yeast on top and stir lightly.
  3. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Add 1/3 cup butter, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon salt and stir.
  5. Add flour slowly, stirring with paddle attachment.
  6. After adding the fourth cup of flour, switch to the dough hook.
  7. Knead dough at a medium low speed while continuing to add flour 1/2 cup at a time, until dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
  8. Roll dough into a ball and place in a greased glass bowl.
  9. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour and a half.
  10. Roll dough into a rectangle of about 16 x 20 inches
  11. Spread 3 tablespoons softened butter onto dough.
  12. Add 1 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon on top of butter (mixing them ahead of time is optional)
  13. Roll from the long edge and cut  into 9-12 equally sized rolls.
  14. Place rolls side to side in a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  15. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight (if making the day of, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes).
  16. The next morning, remove rolls from the refrigerator and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.
  17. Place baking sheet and rolls into oven and set oven to 400 degrees (allowing them to start baking while the oven is preheating).
  18. Bake for 20-40 minutes until rolls are mostly golden brown to brown and dough is cooked through.
  19. While rolls are baking, make the frosting.

For Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Spread over cinnamon rolls immediately after removing from oven.