“The dough should be soft and rich but not greasy. The filling should be slightly sweet, rather than sugary sweet, and potent with cinnamon. The icing should be creamy and thick and boast a tang sufficient to balance the richness and sweetness elsewhere in the roll.”
These are the ideal cinnamon rolls in my book. They are sweet, but not the rot your teeth-stomach ache inducing variety that you can find at your local mall. The aroma of them baking in your kitchen will make your mouth water, but just wait until you try one…
adapted from: The New Best Recipe
*make sure to use good-quality, fresh cinnamon since it’s the predominant flavor. And don’t let the amount of directions intimidate you, they are very specific, but these rolls are fairly simple to make and the payoff is way worth it.
½ cup milk
1 stick unsalted butter
½ cup warm water
1 envelope (about 2 ¼ tsps) instant yeast
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg, plus 2 large egg yolks
1 ½ tsps salt
4-4 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus a little more for dusting the work surface
8 oz cream cheese, softened but still cool
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon (recommended: Saigon cinnamon)
1/8 tsp salt
For the dough: Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until the mixture is lukewarm (about 100 degrees). In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the water, yeast, sugar, egg, and yolks at low speed until well mixed. Add the salt, warm milk mixture, and 2 cups of the flour and mix at medium speed until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute.
Switch to the dough hook, and another 2 cups of flour, and knead at medium speed (adding up to ¼ cup more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, only if necessary) until the dough is smooth and freely clears the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Scrape the dough onto a lightly flour work surface, shape it into a round, and place it in a lightly oiled large bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
For the icing: combine all of the icing ingredients with a standing mixer or hand held mixer, and blend at low speed about 1 minute, then on high until the icing is uniformly smooth and free of cream cheese lumps, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
To roll & fill the dough: After the dough has doubled in bulk, press it down & turn it out onto a lightly flour surface. Roll the dough into a 16 x 12 inch rectangle, with the long side facing you.
Mix together the filling ingredients, and sprinkle evenly over the dough, leaving a ½” border at the far edge.
Roll the dough, beginning with the long edge closest to you and using both hands to pinch the dough with your fingertips as you roll. Moisten the top the top border with water and seal the roll.
Lightly dust the roll with flour. Grease a 9 x 13” baking dish. Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces using plain dental floss or a very sharp knife, and place the rolls cut-side up in the prepared baking dish.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
To bake the rolls: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350. Bake the rolls until barely golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of one reads 185-188 degrees, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan if you are going to be traveling and are are nice enough to share, otherwise invert them on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Turn the rolls upright on a large serving plate and use a rubber spatula to spread the icing on them.