Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

What breakfast could possible be more special than homemade cinnamon rolls?  I can’t think of one, partly because these are so good and partly because they should only be enjoyed on rare occasions, which is no problem once you realize the investment of time (about three hours) required for these little babies.  Yep, you read correctly, three hours!

Cinnamon Rolls

But most of that time you aren’t actually working, just sitting around waiting on the dough to rise, and I discovered that you can do most of the work and waiting the night before, and just pop them in the oven in the morning. Otherwise I would never have made these–I don’t care if the pope is coming over, I will not get up three hours early to make breakfast (even if I were Catholic).

Cinnamon Rolls

Another up side is that these freeze beautifully.  I baked half of them and saved the other half in the freezer for a couple of weeks, and they still tasted just as good.  So, do the work once, and you get the pleasure twice.  And if I still haven’t convinced you that you really should try these, then take another look and imagine that these could be yours, um, in a few hours.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls Recipe  Makes 18 cinnamon rolls

adapted from Smitten Kitchen‘s adaptation of Bon Appétit

1 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise or instant yeast (from 1 envelope yeast)
1 teaspoon salt
Nonstick vegetable oil spray

3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make dough first:

  1. Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, about 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.
  2. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl.
  3. Add additional 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl.
  4. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by the tablespoon until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl.
  5. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. (You may also use a KitchenAid’s dough hook for this process.) Form into ball.
  6. Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel.
  7. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Make filling while dough rises:

  1. Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt in medium bowl.

Once dough has risen:

  1. Press down dough. Transfer to floured work surface.
  2. Roll out to 15×11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough. Sprinkle cinnamon mixture evenly over butter.
  3. Starting at the longer side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up.
  4. With seam side down, trim ends straight if they are uneven.  Cut remaining dough crosswise with thin sharp knife (I used a bread knife) into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).
  5. Spray two 8 or 9-inch square glass baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel.
  6. Let dough rise in refrigerator over night, or in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.

Make glaze in the meantime and bake:

  1. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth.
  2. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up and glaze.

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