Mother’s Day is just around the corner! I love this day, my kids and husband celebrate me and all I do for them, and I get to honor my own mother. If you’re looking for a simple way to say ‘thanks Mom for all you do’, treat her to a delicious breakfast (or lunch or dinner) of cinnamon rolls! Homemade cinnamon rolls are an easy way to impress your guests, people think you’ve been up since the crack of dawn slaving away at these beauties. I’ve made quite a few different recipes, and this is seriously the best best cinnamon rolls recipe I’ve tried.
Like many people, for years the thought of baking with yeast was a frightening prospect. I tried baking cinnamon rolls years ago and killed the yeast with hot water so the rolls didn’t rise and I felt like a failure. When they say that any temperature above 120 degrees F will kill your yeast they’re not kidding. But fear not, you don’t even need a thermometer to make yeast based baked goods. Even slightly warm water is enough to get your yeast going, you don’t need to be at some magical threshold for this to work. As long as it’s not too hot, yeast will rise. So let’s get started!
The original recipe for these phenomenal cinnamon buns is from Judith Fertig’s book I Love Cinnamon Rolls. A few modifications later and you’ve got yourself bakery-worthy cinnamon buns baby.
Before you start, know that you need to do two rises of the dough (one initial rise and one once the buns are formed), so this is not really a wake up and enjoy cinnamon buns with your first coffee kind of recipe. If you want cinnamon buns for breakfast, I highly suggest making them just up to the baking step the night before and then refrigerating them overnight.
- 1 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into four pieces
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
In a large glass bowl or measuring cup heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in the microwave on high for approximately one minute. The butter should be melted and the mixture warm. Whisk in the eggs.
Combine the flour and yeast in a stand mixer bowl fitted with the dough hook attachment. If you haven’t used a dough hook with your mixer yet, prepare to be thrilled. You can churn out yeasted baked goods like a machine with the dough hook, and no sore wrists!
Make sure that the milk mixture isn’t hot (around 95 degrees F or below is your goal) and add it to the bowl. Start the mixer off on low and slowly increase speed as the flour gets absorbed. You should be mixing at about a speed 4-6 after this.
If your dough looks like this, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. Continue to knead until…
Once your dough looks like this, keep on mixing for another 2-3 minutes. What you want is for the dough to make a slapping sound against the side of the bowl. When you hear it you’ll know what I’m talking about.
When the dough is no longer sticky and springs back when you touch it, it’s done! How easy was that right? And you thought you couldn’t bake with yeast.
Spray the dough with some oil and the sides of the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until it’s almost doubled in size. This should take about an hour. Onto the next step!
Preparation, Filling, and Frosting
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces (125 g) full fat cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch of salt
Coat the bottom of a 9X13 pan with 1/4 cup of butter. This may seem excessive, but who said these were good for you. This is what makes the lovely gooey, sugary syrup so don’t skimp!
Sprinkle some flour onto a work surface and roll out your risen dough into a rectangle. It doesn’t need to be perfect, and when you roll it up you can stretch it out to even it more. If you have a French tapered rolling pin this is so much easier than with your standard rolling pin.
Combine your brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Spread the other 1/4 cup of butter onto the rolled out dough and sprinkle with the sugar mixture. If you want to scale back on the cinnamon you can reduce to 1 tablespoon, but then why on earth are you making cinnamon rolls??
Okay, let’s roll! Starting at one end, roll the dough fairly tightly, evening out the ends where needed.
Starting at one end measure out and cut a slice every inch. I like to use a bench scraper for this but you can use a serrated knife.
Now place them into the pan.
Cover with plastic wrap and either put the in the fridge until morning or turn your oven on to 350 degrees F. Depending on your oven by the time it’s reached temperature these buns should be ready to go in, approximately 20 minutes or so. They should look like this:
Bake them for 20-25 minutes, until they are nice and browned on top. While they are baking let’s get that amazing cream cheese frosting going!
Directions for Frosting:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until creamy, about one minute. Add in the cream cheese and beat another minute. Add the confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat for 2-4 minutes until smooth, creamy, and a little fluffy. Set aside until the cinnamon rolls are done.
Once the rolls are out of the oven, wait until they cool just a bit before adding the frosting. Spread it liberally over the cinnamon buns, and voila, you’re done!
Don’t these look delicious?? Cinnamon rolls are super easy to prepare, and as with all yeast based baked goods they just take time. Prepping these lovely little treats the night before is key. Did you know that yeast still rises in the fridge? Just not as slowly. As long as you don’t kill your yeast with too much heat in the liquid you can totally make these. I know you can!
Since Mother’s Day is next week I made this cute little cake topper to make these extra special. Who says cake toppers are only for cake?
I hope you enjoyed my post and found the recipe and tutorial helpful! If you have any questions please leave a comment below, I would love to help!