Is there anything more comforting than baked goods? Whether it’s a fresh baked loaf of bread or a homemade cake or cookie, I personally feel so happy when my house smells like a bakery.
Especially when it’s cold outside through these winter months and my boys have been up at the property working and they come home to a cozy warm house that smells like something yummy. It makes me feel good. I don’t know why. I just really like when they come inside and say “Oh wow it smells so good in here! Mama, what are you making!?” This may seem old fashioned or “Leave it to Beaver”-ish, but I really embrace my homemaker role in our house.
My husband has been asking me to make cinnamon rolls for a while now and I finally got around to it. It’s very rare he asks me to make something sweet, so when he does, I’m more than happy to oblige. I don’t have a sweet tooth. I have a mouth full of them. All of them, in fact.
This recipe makes a dozen cinnamon rolls and they are soft, moist and the filling is nice and sticky and gooey (in a good way). I will write the recipe out for the full dozen, but in the photo instructions I will show you how I only use half the recipe at once. We are only three of us at home, so a full recipe is a lot at one time. And Mama doesn’t need to eat a cinnamon bun 6 days out of the week.
1 cup of milk heated to 110 – 115 degrees
1 package of instant yeast
⅓ cup melted butter
2 eggs at room temperature
4 ½ cups of flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup melted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Frosting (optional): (This is the amount used for 6 rolls – double to make enough for 12)
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoons of softened butter
¼ cup of powdered (confectioners) sugar
½ tablespoon vanilla
Heat the milk and pour it into the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the yeast, butter, eggs, sugar and salt. Add all of the flour and then turn your mixer on to the lowest speed to start mixing with the whisk attachment.
When the mixture is just barely combined, stop the machine and switch the whisk attachment out and replace it with a dough hook. Allow the dough hook to work on slow-medium speed for about 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic and turning out from the bowl without sticking.
Turn the dough into a greased mixing bowl, cover with a light kitchen towel and let it rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
During this time you can make your filling. Melt your butter and mix in the brown sugar and cinnamon until combined. Set aside.
For the frosting, use a hand mixer to beat the cream cheese, softened butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until totally combined and smooth. Set aside.
Once dough is risen, flour a work surface and a rolling pin and turn dough onto counter. Roll it out into a large rectangle about 12×16 inches, even in thickness.
Use a rubber spatula, and completely cover the entire surface with the brown sugar filling mix in an even layer. If you find that the spatula is pulling at the dough, a simple and easy method is to spread with your fingers.
Starting on the long edge, begin rolling the dough into a long ‘jelly roll’. Cut off the ends for a clean edge on both sides. Then cut the roll into 12 equal pieces.
Place each piece in a greased, glass baking dish about 9×13 in size. Cover with a light kitchen towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Place baking dish in your preheated oven and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes. The tops should be golden brown. You should check the rolls in the center of the pan to ensure they are cooked through and not doughy in the middle. Add additional minutes if necessary.
Allow rolls to cool and spread the cream cheese frosting over the entire pan or on an individual basis.
Here’s how they turn out:
Add the warm milk to your stand mixer.
Then add the yeast, eggs, butter, sugar and salt.
Then your best little helper will add in the flour, one shaky little hand at a time. Flour dust clouds all around. Don’t sneeze!
With your whisk attachment, mix it until it is just barely combined on the lowest speed.
Then scrape the dough out and switch it out for your dough hook attachment.
Let er’ run for about 5 minutes until the dough is coming away from the bowl and is smooth and elastic, and still a little tacky.
It should stay together like this.
Turn it out into a greased bowl and cover it with a towel and let it rise for about 45 minutes until it has doubled.
In the meantime, get your filling mixed! In goes the melted better, cinnamon and brown sugar.
As Judah is so carefully demonstrating, it should come together in a nice thick sugary paste. It smells fantastic too!
Then get the frosting ingredients into a bowl (please note again that my ingredients listed above were for half a dozen rolls – which is what I am making here. If you want enough for a full dozen at once, double this!).
Use a hand mixer to get it all smooth and mixed up nicely.
Here’s a tip – I put my frosting into a little tupperware container right away. I don’t like to spread frosting on all the rolls. I do it one at a time as we eat them. Everyone can put on how much they like, if any at all, and that way the rolls don’t get soggy over the course of a few days. This can keep for at least a week in the fridge this way – just take it out as you need it. Or as you feel the need to grab a spoon from your drawer from time to time and just eat some right out of the container. You know who won’t judge you? Me. You know why? I do it sometimes. It’s our little secret.
Once your dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured work surface.
Begin rolling it out into a rectangle shape that’s about 12×16 or so.
Give your sous chef his own little rolling pin and put that boy to work!
I called this “rectangle” about good. Please don’t judge me. I know it’s a little wonky.
Spread out the filling.
Then spread it over the entire surface. (Look at Judah – I love him so much. This was the point where he finally tasted the filling and licked the bowl clean. It’s good stuff. I don’t blame him for double fisting it with two spoons at once).
Then start rolling that baby up.
Ta da! I cut the ends off to get a nice clean, even edge.
Then here is where I divide this recipe in half. I cut it in half once.
I took one piece and rolled it tightly in saran wrap and then put it into a freezer bag. I’m saving this for another time. When I take it out, I will thaw it in the fridge overnight, then cut it into six pieces and continue on like I would with the rest below…..
So for the half I’m making right away, I cut it into 6 equal pieces.
Put them into a greased baking dish (A 9×13 is perfect for a whole recipe. I’m using an 8×8 here for the half recipe). I’m also not a fan of wasting, so although it looks a little weird, I took those two ends I cut off and squeezed them in the middle. Why not!
I covered this with a light towel and 30 minutes later they puffed up and are ready to be baked. Put this into the oven for 18-20 minutes (You will want to bake for the full 20-25 minutes if you are making the full dozen recipe). Check at 18 minutes and go longer if needed.
They rise and come out of the oven nice and puffy, soft and golden. The filling inside has gotten nice and runny and sticky and the smell….Goodness gracious is it ever good!
Let them cool for a few minutes and then dig in. They are tender and light and airy. So soft and the gooey filling is sweet and sticky and everything it should be.
This is my husbands version. Plain and simple. No frosting.
This is my version. Fancy and frosted and really, really sweet.
Just in time for Valentines day, these yummy cinnamon rolls are one of the many things I love to make for my husband.
– The Homesteaders Wife