Yeasted cinnamon rolls can be intimidating for even the most competent baker, but we’re here to tell you that this recipe is easy. Almost dangerously so: Once you’ve figured out how to make it, you won’t want to stop making it. It’s such a satisfying project: The tangy smell of the yeast. The buttery ball of dough, springy and elastic under your hand. The deep sense of accomplishment you feel sliding a pan of cinnamon rolls into the oven before your family has even gotten out of bed.
Of course, the smells that waft out of the oven are so sweet and cozy, even the grumpiest member of your household will cheerfully wake up. Is there any better breakfast than a super soft cinnamon roll slathered in a very fluffy, very tangy cream cheese frosting and eaten hot out of the oven? No, there is not.
Cinnamon Rolls & Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings: 12 rolls
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for surfaces
- 1 pkg instant dry yeast
- 2 ½ Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
For the sweet roll dough:
For the cinnamon roll filling:
For the cream cheese frosting:
- To make the sweet roll dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, combine 2 ½ cups of the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and egg.
- In a small pan, heat the milk and butter over medium-low heat until the butter melts and the mixture reaches 120º.
- Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture. Switch to a dough hook, and then turn the mixer on low, combining the ingredients.
- Slowly add the remaining flour until the dough forms and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft and tacky, not sticky.
- Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a large, lightly greased mixing bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down.
- Preheat the oven to 350º. Lightly butter a baking dish measuring 9 x 13 inches.
- To make the cinnamon roll filling and assemble the rolls: In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Roll the dough into a 9 x 15-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on the dough. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
- Beginning at the long side, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the long edge of the dough to seal in the filling.
- Cut the dough into 1-inch slices and place the rolls into the buttered baking dish.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in size. They’re ready when you can leave an indent in the dough with your finger.
- While the rolls are rising, warm the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
- When the rolls are ready, remove the plastic wrap. Pour the warm cream evenly over the rolls. Bake the rolls for about 15 minutes or until light golden brown.
- To make the cream cheese frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all the ingredients.
- Mix on medium-high until fluffy, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Slather the frosting over the warm rolls and eat them immediately.