Soft gooey center with bursts of cinnnamony flavor and a slightly crispy exterior with a tangy not-too-sweet glaze??? Yes, PLEASE!
The Pursuit of a Perfect Recipe
My first experience tackling cinnamon buns was in college. I remember the intense feeling of satisfaction as I pulled my first batch out of the oven, the aroma of fresh bread and spices filling the apartment. This recipe has been years in the making as I’ve searched for that perfect cinnamon roll, one that has a soft gooey center and plenty of cinnamon flavor but that isn’t too sweet. I can’t get enough of how the tang in the cream cheese glaze tempers the decadence of these big rolls. Every family needs a cinnamon bun recipe that they rely on for special weekend breakfasts, and this one is definitely the go-to in my house. You can even assemble these the night before and let them rise in the refrigerator overnight, then all you have to do in the morning is bake them!
I don’t think anyone can resist the warm, inviting scent of cinnamon rolls filling the house on a lazy morning. Get ready for some ooey-gooey goodness! These rolls are glazed with a classic cream cheese frosting, but you can always get a little indulgent and drizzle some maple syrup on there as well. If you feel like switching things up this weekend, give the Sweet Orange rendition a try!
WHAT’S YOUR PROOF?
This recipe is designed for anyone and everyone, from baking beginners to seasoned bakers with no time to waste. The key to most bready bakes is the finicky proofing step, which directly affects the texture. It can take some practice to fine tune; if your bread is under-proofed you will have trouble shaping it but on the flip side, over-proofing a dough will cause it to collapse. By upping the yeast measurement, I’ve made this step easier. It will only take a quick 15 to 20 minutes for the rolls to rise to the occasion!
Nothing beats pulling out cinnamon buns from the oven, the aroma of fresh bread and spices filling the air… it’s what dreams are made of! Each roll results in a soft gooey center with bursts of cinammony flavor and a slightly crispy exterior.
2 (.25 oz.) packets dry active yeast (4 ½ teaspoons)
2 cups warm whole milk (105-110°F)
5 to 6 cups all purpose flour
⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:
1 cup powdered sugar
½ package (4 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine yeast and warm milk; let stand for 5 minutes until bubbly. Turn the mixer on low and add 1 ½ cups of the flour, the sugar, melted butter, egg, and salt. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes. One cup at a time, add an additional 3 ½ cups flour and mix until the flour is fully incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky or not pulling away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft, not stiff. Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 12” by 8” rectangle.
For the filling:
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Starting with the long side, roll up the dough lightly. Trim the ends and cut the roll into twelve 1-inch-thick slices. Place the rolls, cut side down, in a greased 9×13-inch baking dish and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 20-30 minutes.*
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Bake the rolls until the tops are light golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Let cool in the pan.
For the glaze:
Meanwhile, using a hand or stand mixer, beat together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla until smooth.
Drizzle the glaze over the cooled rolls. The cinnamon rolls can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days.
*Cook’s note: You can also prep the rolls to this stage the night before and let them rise in the refrigerator overnight; just bring the rolls to room temperature the next morning before proceeding.
SWEET ORANGE ROLLS: Substitute a filling of ½ cup sugar and the zest and juice of 1 orange for the cinnamon sugar. Substitute a glaze of 1 cup powdered sugar, 2-4 Tablespoons orange juice, 1 teaspoon grated orange zest, and 4 Tablespoons softened unsalted butter for the cream cheese glaze.
Looking for more simple weeknight recipes? Check out Recipe Club.