There’s nothing like biting into a gooey, warm and fresh cinnamon roll. But only if it’s made from scratch. If you’re tired of the lackluster rolls you find in the grocery store, now’s the time to try making your own.
This recipe is slightly modified from a recipe by Jerilyn Brusseau, the woman who helped create the recipe for the famous/infamous Cinnabon. This recipe is closer to what her grandmother taught her to make, according to an article in the Seattle Times. Jerilyn Brusseau sometimes replaces up to half of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour, and occasionally she adds half a cup raisins to the dough or ¾ cup walnuts to the filling.
I was pleasantly surprised by the dough in this recipe. The rolls came out of the oven lighter but not dry and not doughy. If you’ve ever had Cinnabon cinnamon rolls from the mall or airport, you’ll notice their rolls are doughy. Of course, since they’re swimming in sugary cinnamon and icing you may not notice after all.
I wanted a regular cinnamon roll with some delicious icing. But if you prefer something more akin to a sticky bun, you can drop the icing and double the filling. Just turn your baking pan upside down onto foil, to allow the syrup to flow over the finished rolls.
For the rolls:
1 cup warm water
3 packages dry yeast
½ cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 (3 ½ ounce) package vanilla instant pudding mix
1/3 cup butter
1¼ teaspoons salt
6½ to 7 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling: (double recipe if making sticky buns)
1 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:2 sticks butter (room temperature)
1 pkg. (8 ounce) cream cheese
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1. Allow butter and cream cheese to reach room temperature.
2. Beat cream cheese and butter together in a bowl.
3. Slowly add in all powdered sugar.
4. Once sugar is in the bowl, beat for additional 12 minutes.
5. When almost done add vanilla.
- Stir the warm water with the yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer and allow it to stand undisturbed for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is scalding, that is, until it is almost boiling, but not quite. Take the milk off the heat and stir in the butter, then stir in the eggs, one at a time, and the salt, whisking well after each addition. The butter and the eggs should cool the milk to a warm room temperature. Add pudding mix and mix well. Add mixture to the mixing bowl that’s holding the yeast mixture.
- Attach dough hook to stand mixer and add six cups of the flour, one cup at a time. The mixture will resemble a smooth cake batter. The mixture will become a sticky dough that leaves the sides of the bowl.
- Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the remaining flour on a smooth board or a countertop and turn the dough out of the bowl onto the flour-covered surface. Knead the dough by folding it over and over itself until it is smooth, satiny and resilient, almost springy. Sprinkle on more of the flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the board or your hands.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a large, well-buttered bowl, turning it once to coat the top of the ball. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until it is doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
- Make the filling by whisking the melted butter, the brown sugar and the cinnamon into a glossy syrup. After the dough has risen, turn it out of the bowl onto a floured board and roll it out into a rectangle, 24 by 20 inches. Spread the entire surface of the dough with the filling and roll it up, starting on a long side and ending with the seam on the bottom.
- With a sharp knife, cut the roll into about 16 equal portions. Place the rolls in two well-buttered 9-by-13-inch baking pans. Cover the pans with a damp towel or plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until they are doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- When they are risen, bake the rolls until they are nicely browned and the filling is bubbly, about 35 minutes.
- Immediately spread the top of the rolls with the icing until just covered.
If making sticky buns:
- Immediately invert the pans onto serving platters or cookie sheets, brush any extra syrup from the pan onto the rolls.