When it comes to cinnamon rolls, I like mine extra gooey, spread with a thick layer of cream cheese glaze while they’re still warm. They are an inherently decadent treat, after all, so it’s not the right time to hold back, in my opinion. The basic sweet dough recipe – enriched with milk, butter and eggs – is actually fairly easy to make, especially if you use your mixer to knead the dough. If you want to serve the rolls in the morning, you can prep them the night before and refrigerate them in the pan overnight. The next morning, bring the rolls to room temperature and let them rise until doubled before baking.
Makes 9 rolls
- 3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 ¼ teaspoons (7 grams or 1 packet) instant or rapid-rise yeast
- ½ cup (121 grams) whole milk
- 4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (108 g) packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Cream Cheese Glaze:
- 4 ounces (113 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup (115 grams) confectioners’ sugar
Make the Sweet Dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together 2 cups (260 grams) of the flour with the sugar and yeast; set aside.
- Put the milk and butter in a small saucepan and place on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the mixture is just warm (between 120-130˚F). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour the warm milk mixture over the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix to combine. Place the bowl on the mixer stand and, using the paddle attachment, begin mixing on low speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. Add the remaining 1 cup (130 grams) flour and mix at medium-low speed until the dough is smooth, about 1 minute (it will be sticky). Stop the mixer and switch to the dough hook. Continue to mix at medium-low speed until the dough is smooth and just slightly sticky, about 5 minutes (you can do this by hand, if you like). Transfer the dough to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm place for 60 to 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Make the Cinnamon Rolls:
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan.
- Gently press out excess air from the risen dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a rectangle. Roll it into a 14 x 11-inch rectangle. Using an offset spatula, spread the soft butter evenly over the dough to within 1/8 inch of the edge. Combine the brown sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle the mixture evenly over the butter, then gently pat it down with your palms.
- Starting with a long edge, roll up the dough lengthwise, jelly-roll style. Spread a little water all along the seam and then seal it. Roll the log over so that it is seam side down. With a serrated knife, gently trim ½ inch off each end. Cut the log into thirds and then cut each third into three slices. Arrange the slices, cut side down, evenly in the prepared pan. Cover the pan loosely with a tea towel and let proof in a warm spot until doubled in volume, about 60 to 90 minutes. (Or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight; in the morning, bring the buns to room temperature and then allow to rise until doubled in volume before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for 24 to 28 minutes, until the tops and edges are browned and the rolls near the center of the pan are no longer doughy. While the rolls are baking, making the glaze.
Make the glaze:
- In a medium bowl, using a rubber or silicone spatula, beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt until smooth. Gradually beat in the confecitoners’ sugar until no lumps remain. When the rolls come out of the oven, spread evenly with the glaze and serve.