Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

Recently, several of my family members have asked me for my cinnamon roll recipe.  Surprisingly I haven't put it on here yet.  About four years ago, I started making these cinnamon rolls when I was hosting the neighborhood playgroup.  I wanted to serve something that was hard to find here and reminiscent of home.  Most all of us had commiserated at one time or the other about how we missed the pillsbury cinnamon rolls that you take out of the fridge and pop in the oven. Pretty soon, I started making these for my family too, especially on Christmas morning.  I was planning on waiting until next week to make/post these, but when my brother asked me the other day for the recipe, I decided to go ahead and make them anyways.

Cinnamon Rolls:
OVEN:  350'
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
5/8 cup warm water
1 TBSP yeast
2 eggs
5/8 cup buttermilk (you can substitute whole milk- I've done that plenty of times)
2 tsp salt
4 1/2-5 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar
5 TBSP brown sugar
1 1/2 TBSP cinnamon
6 TBSP butter

1 cup confectioner's sugar
5 tsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP butter - room temperature

To start, put 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and warm water in bowl of your mixer- don't mix at this point, just let it sit (if you are not using a kitchenaid- get one :)- but seriously just put it in a large bowl you will be using for mixing).  Let this sit for about 5-10 minutes until the yeast becomes foamy- I even do this if I'm using instant yeast, there's some peace of mind to be found to know that the yeast is working.

Meanwhile, I take a small bowl and mix the sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon for the filling- cover with saran wrap and set aside for later.

When the bowl with the flour and yeast starts to look like below, start mixing with a whisk.
Now, add the oil, eggs, salt, and another cup of flour.  Mix, then add in the buttermilk.  Add another 1/2 cup of flour, your dough should start to thicken like pudding.  At this point, if you are using a kitchen aid, switch to the dough hook.  Before you start the mixing again, add 2 1/4 more cups flour.  Slowly begin mixing by pulsing to avoid a flour explosion.  When the flour is incorporated, if the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, slowly add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides and is a giant ball on the dough hook.

If you are not using a kitchen aid, use the back of a wooden spoon to start incorporating the flour, but eventually the dough will become so thick, you'll want to knead it on the countertops with your hand until it form a smooth ball.

Once you have your dough ball, place it in a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  You have two options here, you can let it rise until doubled (about 1 1/2 - 2 hours) or you can put it in the fridge overnight.  I choose to make my dough the night before to make it easier to have fresh hot cinnamon rolls with breakfast.  Here's what mine looked like the next morning:

I let it sit on the counter for about ten minutes, then I punch it down.  You can roll the whole thing out at once and form a rectangle about 18 inches long and 8 inches wide, or you can divide it into two balls and make 2 rectangles about 20" by 5".  This just lets you make mini cinnamon rolls- better for me with the little people.

Place your dough ball on a lightly floured surface, then roll out into rectangle:

Melt the 6 TBSP butter required for the filling- make sure it's melted, not just softened, the cinnamon sticks better to it if it's liquid. Spread it all over your dough rectangle, leave a little space around the edges:

Using a spoon, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture all over the buttered dough:

Roll the dough into a log along the short side, try to have the seam on the top so you can press it down to prevent the rolls from unraveling after you cut them.  I spread a little water or butter along the seam to help seal it.

The dough is easiest to cut with a serrated knife:

I usually cut my rolls about 3/4-1 inch thick, but it's up to you how big you want them to be.  Place them in a pan side by side, not too tightly, they will expand.  Let sit for 10 minutes, then place in preheated oven.

Bake 15 minutes for small ones, maybe 20 minutes for larger ones, the tops will turn very light brown.

While they are cooking, prepare your icing.  Put the softened butter in a bowl.  Add in the 1 cup confectioner's sugar and vanilla.  Using the back of a metal spoon, cream the butter and sugar together.  Adding the milk 1 tsp at a time, keep mixing with the back of the spoon until it becomes thinner (probably after 3 tsp addition)- then switch to a whisk to help break up any sugar lumps.  Continue to add milk until the icing is thin enough that it pours off the whisk (but not too thin, you want it to be a little thinner than pudding).

Put the icing in a ziploc bag.  After the rolls have cooled about 10 minutes, cut off a tiny piece of the corner of the bag and drizzle icing all over the tops of the rolls.

For my second ball of dough, I formed the rolls, put them on a wax lined baking sheet and covered them with saran wrap and placed them in the freezer.  After about an hour, I removed the pan and pulled the rolls off and put them in a freezer bag.  Now, I have my rolls all preprepared for Christmas morning- all I have to do is cook them and ice them :)  Boy am I glad now that my brother asked for the recipe!

In total, this yielded almost 50 mini cinnamon rolls.  If you do the larger rolls, you should be able to get about 23 with this batch.

And my assistant approves:


  1. Nina was looking at this with me and said "Yum, we need to make too"!

  2. i love cinnamon rolls! its funny...i use a bread machine recipe and my ingredients are totally different than yours, but the final product looks identical. do you ever use a bread machine? oh, and my kids would never go along with a "drizzle" of icing...ours is slathered on;) lol.

  3. Corey- that picture doesn't do it justice, I think I made it a bit too thin and it didn't show up right- the whole top was covered (a bunch of my lightbulbs are out, so the pics are coming out weird), I used to make it thicker, but the confectioner's sugar comes in my suitcase, so I have to use it sparingly- I only have 3 more pounds to last the next 2 months. I don't have a bread machine, but I am interested to try your recipe sometime.