Cinnamon Rolls

Mmmh ... So yummy ... Cinnamon rolls, one of my favorite treats. The first time I discovered cinnamon rolls was at a Cinnabon® store in Seattle. I have to admit that I have been lazy about making cinnamon rolls for years, because I could enjoy the cinnamon rolls at Cinnabon®. But once I moved out of the United States, it became almost impossible to find a Cinnabon® around, so it became obvious that if I still wanted to enjoy cinnamon rolls, I would have to bake them myself, which is actually easier than I thought it would be.

There are two inevitable downsides to this delicious recipe though:
First, it takes quite some time to prepare cinnamon rolls as you have to let the dough rest twice (the first time for about 2 hours, and the second time for 1 hour 30 minutes).
Second, I used the help of strong man (Shyamal) to knead the dough, as it is dense and I didn't have a mixer.

To prepare this recipe for eight normal size and twenty bite-sized cinnamons rolls, you will need*:

For the dough:
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar for the yeast mix
  • 1 package of dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup of whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of sugar for the dough
  • 1/4 cup of melted, unsalted butter for the dough
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Some vegetable oil
For the filling:
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup of unsalted melted butter for the filling
  • Some butter (at room temperature) to butter the tray
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter to brush over the top of the rolls before baking
For the frosting:
  • 1/4 cup of cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cup of icing sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of warm milk

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Resting time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes

This recipe can be made with a mixer which is much easier, so don't hesitate to use one if you have one at your disposal, because I didn't use one and I had to ask for some help to my lovely fiancé to knead the dough...
Anyway, with these wise words, let's start our recipe.

Start by adding the warm water and the tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl, then sprinkle the dry yeast on top. You will immediately see some bubbling. Don't mix, just let it sit like that for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, and that's where you will have it easy if you have a mixer, start preparing the dough. So, if  at this point if you are using a standing mixer, set up you dough hook and follow the same step, but instead of mixing manually, just press the button... lucky you!

If you are not using a standing mixer, follow the next few steps.
Add the egg, the milk, the salt, the sugar and the melted butter, and mix.

Once the egg, the milk, the salt, the sugar and the melted butter are mixed correctly, and the yeast mixture is ready ...

... add 2 cups of flour, the vanilla extract and the yeast mixture.

Mix until it is all incorporated.

Then slowly add 2 more cups of flour and mix. At this point (if you don't use a mixer) you are probably going to have to knead the dough.

Once kneaded make a nice ball with your dough and set aside for few minutes while you oil a large bowl.

Place the dough in the bowl and toss it in the oil so it is everywhere. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for about 2 hours to let the dough rise.

Just before the 2 hours wait is over, prepare your filling by adding in a bowl the brown sugar, the sugar, and the cinnamon, and mix.

Once the dough has risen ...

... roll it out on a floured surface into a surface that is slightly bigger than your tray.

Spread the 1/3 cup of soft butter on the dough with either the back of a tablespoon or a brush.

Sprinkle your filling on top of the dough.

Depending on whether you are making bite-sized cinnamon rolls or "normal" size ones, you will have to start rolling your dough a different way.
If you are making bite-sized cinnamon rolls, start rolling your dough from the length of the rectangle.
If you are making "normal" size cinnamon rolls, start rolling your dough from the width of the rectangle.
When rolling the dough, roll evenly by making sure you roll all along the length of the tube, instead of just rolling at the ends or the middle.

Tightly roll the dough into a roll, and finish by spraying some water to the last bit to seal the roll.

Start by cutting the end pieces, and then cut your roll in half, and the half in another half, and so on...

Place your cinnamon rolls down on a buttered tray. Cover them with plastic wrap and let them rise for about 1.5 hours.

Just before the 1 hour 30 minutes wait is over, pre-heat your oven at 175 C (350 F).

After 1 hour 30 minutes, your cinnamon rolls are now ready to be baked.

Once your cinnamon rolls have risen, brush them with some melted butter and bake them for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

While your cinnamon rolls are baked and are cooling down, you can prepare your frosting.
Mix the cream cheese, the butter, and the icing sugar in a bowl.
Once the mix is smooth, add the warm milk until you obtain a runny frosting.

Pour onto the cinnamon rolls...

... and enjoy!

If you don't have a warm place in your house to let the dough rise, you can always use this trick: before starting the recipe turn on your oven to the minimum heat (which is generally 50 C or 120 F), and once you are about to let your dough rise, turn off the oven, and place your dough inside.

*If you feel like you prepare too many, keep the dough uncooked or even the cinnamon rolls uncooked but risen in a cool place for a day, and bake the rest the next day.

As with all the other recipes we put on this site, this is meant to be easy to follow. We are hobby chefs who love to cook, and we are always up for learning new techniques. If you know of anything in this recipe which can be done a different way, whether for increased ease of preparation or better taste, please add a comment below!

Whipped up by Charline Leblond & Shyamal Addanki

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