These truly are the ULTIMATE cinnamon rolls. When you’re making them, and your scraping sticky dough off the counter and your kitchen and you are covered in flour – don’t lose sight of the fact that people are going to be worshiping you for weeks after you serve them these.
You can leave them to rise for the second time in the fridge overnight, then bake them in the morning and watch your bleary eyed family wander to the kitchen like zombies waiting for these to be ready. They’re that good. Seriously. Try this recipe once and you’ll be making them forever. 😉
I’m not gonna lie – this isn’t the most simple Cinnamon Roll Recipe you can make, it does take a bit of effort working with the dough, but I promise you that the result is completely worth it. Prep time is about 30 minutes, and they’re in the oven for about the same time, so if all goes well you can be snarfing them down in about an hour. The recipe makes a lot – about 2 dozen large ones, up to 3 dozen if you cut them smaller.
The Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls
for the dough:
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 packets active dry yeast - or 20 g fresh yeast
- 8 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder - heaping
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
for the filling:
- 1 ½ cups butter - melted
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 1 ½ cups white sugar
- 4 tbsp cinnamon
for the icing:
- 6 ounces cream cheese - softened
- ¼ cup butter - softened
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ⅛ tsp salt
For the dough:
- In a medium saucepan, stir the milk, oil and sugar together and heat until hot, but not quite boiling.
- Remove from heat and let cool to warm.
- Mix in the yeast and wait for it to activate - when the top becomes foamy.
- Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, and make a well in the center, then pour in the milk/yeast mixture and stir until just combined, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm, draft-free place, for about an hour.
- After an hour, remove the towel and stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining cup of flour.
- (you can use the dough immediately, or keep it refrigerated for up to 3 days, punching it down if it rises over the top of the bowl - it is easier to work with chilled)
To make the rolls:
- Grease several baking dishes with butter or cooking spray, depending on size, you should fit about 6 - 8 rolls per pan. (disposable aluminum pans work great for freezing extra rolls)
- Take half of the dough from the bowl and roll it out into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10" (76 x 25 cm). (the dough is very sticky, so be sure to flour your surface well, it should also be very thin)
- Using a pastry brush, brush half of the melted butter all over the dough.
- Mix the two sugars and cinnamon together, and spread half of the mixture evenly over the dough.
- Starting from the long side of the dough furthest away from you and using both hands, begin rolling the dough tightly towards you - when you reach the end, pinch the seam together tightly, and flip the roll so the seam is on the bottom.
- Use a sharp knife and slice the roll into 1.5" (3 cm) pieces. (you can also use a piece of dental floss, slide it under the roll and cross it over the top, then pull quickly and tightly and the floss will make a clean cut)
- Place the sliced rolls in your prepared baking dishes, being careful to leave quite a bit of space between them, as they will spread out a lot when baking.
- Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
- While the oven is heating, cover the pans with towels and leave on counter to rise for at least 20 minutes.
- (at this point, you can leave the pans of uncooked cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator, and bake them the next day, or you can freeze them and bake them when you want - letting them thaw overnight in the refrigerator)
- Bake for about 15 - 18 minutes, or until golden brown, being careful not to let them brown too much.
To make the icing:
- Beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt together with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Spread the icing evenly over still warm rolls.