Breads,  Breakfast / Brunch

Cinnamon Rolls

It was time again for treats for our EMS.  My challenge is to make approximately 50 individually wrapped treats by 7:30 am.  Ooey, gooey Cinnamon Rolls had been on my mind for their October treat, but I knew I would have to time it correctly.  The prepping, rising, baking, glazing and wrapping….I’d have to begin at 3am!

Cinnamon Rolls are wonderful, decadent treats.  Walking in a mall, the smell of a nearby Cinnabon Store tempts and teases shoppers.  Indulging in a warm roll, peeling the layers of cinnamony goodness and licking the sweet glaze from your fingers; I had to make this treat work!

And it did!  Just like I can make my bread or pizza dough the night before, this dough works just as well.  I have made this recipe many years ago from What’s Cooking America and loved having it ready to bake in the morning.  I decided to make individual rolls using cupcake tins, but they can be made in a baking dish.  In the morning I simply took the pans out of the refrigerator and allowed them to warm and raise a bit, about 30 minutes.    The dough actually raises a bit through the night.  I brought the icing I made the night before to room temperature, glazed each roll, sprinkled on some Halloween fun and once the glaze dried, which was very quick, I wrapped each one up!

Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup milk, heated for 1 minute in the microwave

1/ cup warm water

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup butter, room temperature

2 eggs slightly beaten at room temperature

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sugar

5 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (optional, helps the dough rise better and easier to roll out)

3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

Cinnamon Filling (see recipe below)

Frosting (see recipe below)

In a large stand up mixer, combine all ingredients in the order given except the Cinnamon Filling and Frosting.  Using the dough hook, mix everything together until a soft dough forms.  Continue kneading with the dough hook on a low setting for about 5-6 minutes or remove dough and knead by hand about 10 minutes.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, approximately 1-2 hours.

Butter a baking dish, or spray cupcake tins, set aside.  After dough as risen, roll and stretch the dough into approximately a 15×24 inch rectangle.  Brush on 1/2 cup softened butter (listed in the Cinnamon Filling) over the top of the dough with a pastry brush.  Sprinkle Cinnamon Filling over the butter on the dough.  Starting with the long edge, roll up the dough gently; pinch seams to seal.  Rolling the dough too tightly will result in cinnamon rolls whose centers pop up above the rest of the roll as they bake.

With a sharp serrated knife, saw very gently into 1 1/2 inch sections.  Place cut side up in a prepared baking pan, flattening them only slightly.  The unbaked cinnamon rolls should not touch each other in a baking sheet before rising and baking.  Do not pack the unbaked cinnamon rolls together.

At this point, the cinnamon rolls can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight or frozen for 1 month.  Before baking, allow rolls to thaw completely and rise in a warm place if frozen.  Frozen rolls can be taking out of the freezer 10 to 12 hours before baking; overnight they can be placed on the counter, not in the refrigerator.

If refrigerated, place on the counter to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes before baking. 

If baking immediately after rolling:  Cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size (after rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan). 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake approximately 20-25 minutes until they turn a light golden brown.  Dark coated pans will bake the rolls quicker.

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.  Spread on the frosting while still warm.  Best served warm.

Cinnamon Filling:

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

4 – 5 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Soften the butter; set aside. In a bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts. Mix well to combine.


2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

¼ cup butter, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon maple syrup

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter and mix until creamy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and maple syrup until well mixed and creamy. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before spreading.

I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.

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