Homemade cinnamon rolls are a favourite with my husband, daughter, and our friends and family. The funny thing is that though I love baking for others, I actually am not a fan of baked goods? I love the incredible smells that permeate the air while I’ve got goodies baking in the oven. The entire house smells heavenly. I’m just not a bread/pastry/sweets person. Wait. Unless it’s key lime pie. Key lime pie is my kryptonite.
I’ve been baking batches and batches of homemade cinnamon rolls these past few months. COVID-19 and being sheltering in place has had us doing a lot of cooking, baking, and experimenting with different culinary techniques. Bread making has never been one of my strong suits. A) We weren’t really big bread eaters in my family and B) I’ve been intimidated by all the amazing home bakers on the island.
When I first moved up to rural Northern Ontario and when Farmer John and I first started dating, one of the very first questions the ladies in our little hamlet asked me was, “Do you make a good homemade bread?” That was followed by, “How’s your homemade pie crust?” Apparently, it was imperative that every good farmer’s wife knew how to make a good pie crust and a good loaf of bread. Yikes! Those were two things I was not good at.
Practice makes perfect, and I also discovered that my issue was not that I couldn’t do it, but that I was extremely impatient. Not so much a lazy baker, but an impatient one. The whole idea of letting dough rise and then waiting again for a second rise really irked me. I like things done as efficiently as possible and in as little time as possible.
Some things require patience.
A good bread recipe is one of those things.
Now that I’ve learned how to appreciate the art of bread baking, I’ve been whipping out batches and batches of homemade cinnamon rolls for friends and family.
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
The key to a good cinnamon roll is a really good sweet bread dough. The recipe dough for the sweet bread was given to me by a friend’s grandma a while ago, and I feverishly wrote down the ingredients and steps as she told me what to do. I have committed to memory the best as I could, and I think they turn out really well each time.
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup lukewarm milk
- 2½ teaspoons dry active yeast
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup melted butter or margarine
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- ⅓ cup softened butter or margarine
- 2-3 tablespoons good quality cinnamon
- Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- ⅓ cup butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
- splash of milk (optional)
- pinch of salt
- Heat milk to lukewarm temperature, making sure milk is not too hot.
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk with a tsp of sugar in a large bowl. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
- Wait until yeast mixture is frothy.
- To the bowl of your stand mixer, add the sugar, butter or margarine, salt, eggs, and flour and mix until well incorporated.
- Pour the milk/yeast mixture over the flour mixture and using the dough hook, mix well until well incorporated and the dough comes clean from the side of the bowl. If it's too sticky, you can add a bit more flour.
- Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Next, combine your brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Grease a 9x13" baking dish with cooking oil or butter.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until about 16" long x 12" wide and about ¼" in thickness.
- Spread the ⅓ cup of butter evenly over the rolled out dough and then sprinkle with the sugar evenly over the surface of the dough. Spread evenly with a spatula, making sure to cover the surface well.
- Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge.
- Cut the dough equally into 1½ inch slices, and place in a lightly greased baking pan.
- Place the cut rolls in the prepared pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise for another 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. **Cooking time can vary greatly! In my oven, these cinnamon rolls bake for 22 minutes. I made them in a friend's oven, and they baked in 25 minutes. It depends on how hot your oven runs.
- While the rolls are baking, it's time to make the frosting. Mix the cream cheese, butter, confectioner's sugar, vanilla, salt and milk together using your stand mixer or electric mixer until it your frosting is fluffy and smooth.
- When the rolls are done, let cool for a few minutes, and then spread generously with the cream cheese frosting.
This recipe makes 12 good sized cinnamon rolls OR 8 giant cinnamon rolls.
Hope you enjoy these homemade cinnamon rolls as much as our friends and family do!