Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

October 19, 2008 § 2 Comments

I have a love-hate relationship with cinnamon rolls, that is if it’s even possible to have a relationship with a food item. I love cinnamon rolls but hate the time-intense home baked ones. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not hard to make cinnamon rolls, it just takes time. But every now and then (or once a decade), on a lazy Sunday morning, I actually feel like making them. My last batch of homemade cinnamon rolls were made from a recipe that came with the original Breadman bread machine. Come to think of it, cinnamon roll dough was the last thing that machine ever churned out. Then it was packed in its box, moved to a new house, then sat in a closet for nearly 5 years before it was donated to charity. Oh well, I wasn’t a big fan of that bread machine anyway.

Although I have several recipes for cinnamon rolls, I wanted just a simple one that didn’t have nuts and didn’t require anything I didn’t have on hand. Well, Mr. Alton Brown came to the rescue. His Overnight Cinnamon Rolls recipe looked easy and simple enough for me to adjust to “same-day” cinnamon rolls (hehe).

I substituted a couple of things on the recipe, whole milk instead of buttermilk, and dry active yeast instead of instant dry yeast. No big issues here. Amount of ingredients did not change. So just print out AB’s recipe and follow along.


For the dough, I heated 1/4 cup of the milk (between 105 to 115 degrees F) and added the yeast to soften it. I used a stand mixer with the whisk attachment to whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and the rest of the milk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast mixture and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. I then switched to dough hook, added all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Scrape as needed to get everything incorporated. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour about 1/4 cup at a time if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds (I just counted 30 kneads). Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

This is what the dough looked like after 2.5 hours. Beautiful!

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough.

Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness.

Using a serrated knife (hopefully it’s sharp so it won’t schmush the roll), slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls. The recipe says it yields 12 rolls but I got 14 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish. As you can see below, I left a lot of room between each roll because they will “poof up” and you want to give them room to expand.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for about 45 minutes. If the room is on the cold side (below 68 degrees F), you can put the pan in the oven with the oven light on. The heat from the bulb will warm the oven enough to give yeast doughs just the right temperature to rise. And after 45 minutes, this is what you have.

Here’s a close-up of these beauties.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, anywhere between 20-30 minutes. Check it around 20 minutes. Mine took about 22 minutes. Remove from oven and set on a cooling rack. (Don’t these look golden delicious?)

While the rolls are cooling, make the icing. You’ll need a hand held mixer or a stand mixer for this part. Whisk the cream cheese in a bowl until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. I did it in batches. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately. I drizzled and dolloped mine. Be careful when removing. These babies can still be pretty hot.

And here you have it, beautiful, warm, fluffy, moist, delectable cinnamon rolls. Taking a bite into one makes the time invested worthwhile. Well, at least when I have a lazy Sunday to spare. And the whole house smell
ed (smelt?) wonderful. Cole was sitting right by my feet the whole time I was in the kitchen making these. Guess he knows when his Mommy is making something good!

Have a wonderful week. Now go and eat well.

§ 2 Responses to Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

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