Perfect-every-time Cinnamon Rolls for the win! ❤
As the sun sets on my birthday in late September every year, I’m left with a wonderful feeling resting warmly on my chest… only 89 days to Christmas! This is me every year. When I wake up the morning after my birthday, I’m already in the holiday spirit. Prepping my Christmas cake order list, thinking about new recipes to attempt, planning blog content and just being overall excited for the holidays!
Over the last 2 years, an important part of my Christmas planning has been auditioning Cinnamon Roll recipes that I find online. I’m all about that picture-perfect Christmas morning, complete with presents under the tree, the comforting aroma of cinnamon wafting through the air, as the table is set with a breakfast of coffee, tea, pillowy cinnamon rolls and all the Christmas cookies. And some carols playing in the background, to boot! To that end, I was on the hunt for the perfect Cinnamon Roll recipe.
Sadly, the last two recipes I attempted were less than perfect. Tough, dry and chewy, the rolls were just blah. They were roundels of dense dough. Utterly disappointing.
But not this one. This attempt turned out the most flawlessly fluffy, soft Cinnamon Rolls that are everything you want in a good roll. And that’s all thanks to Paula Deen’s infallible recipe.
Here’s what you need:
- Warm Water – 1/2 cup
- Instant Yeast / Active Dry Yeast – 1 tsp
- Milk – 1/2 cup (125 ml)
- Unsalted Butter – 1/3 cup (45 g)
- Sugar – 1/4 cup (60 g)
- Egg – 1, large
- All Purpose Flour – 3 & 1/2 cups (535 g)
For the filling:
- Unsalted Butter – 4 tbsp, softened
- Brown Sugar – 3/4 cup (110 g)
- Ground Cinnamon – 2 tbsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
For the glaze:
- Unsalted Butter – 2 tbsp, melted
- Icing Sugar – 1 cup (130 g)
- Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
- Hot Water – 3 tbsp
Here’s how you make these knockout Cinnamon Rolls:
- Make the dough: In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. Place the milk and butter in the microwave; heat till butter is fully melted. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, milk, butter, and the egg. Add in 2 cups of flour, and using the dough hook on your stand/hand mixer, knead until it comes together (this can also be done by hand). Pour in the yeast-water mixture and add in the remaining 1 & 1/2 cups of flour. Knead until the flour is mixed through.
- Knead the dough: At this point the dough will be wet and tacky. Wet your hands and begin kneading the dough in the same bowl that you’ve been using to mix it. Do not turn it out on to a floured surface or add in more flour. Just keep at it, kneading until the dough goes from tacky to firm, to soft and malleable; a total of 10 minutes. Grease the same bowl with oil, place the dough back in, cover with a kitchen towel and place it in the warmest part of the kitchen (I preheated my oven to 50 ºC/ 120 ºF and placed the dough in) and let it rise for 1 & 1/2 hours until double in size.
- Make the filling: Mix ground cinnamon, salt and brown sugar.
- Shape the cinnamon rolls: Punch the dough lightly to let the air out. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it forms a large even rectangle, and is about 1/2 cm thick. Spread the softened butter all over the dough, and generously sprinkle the cinnamon-brown sugar filling over it. With the longer edge facing you, begin tightly rolling the dough away from you, until you get a large log. Brush some water onto the further edge of the log to secure it. Slice the log into 12-14 equal rolls. Place the rolls in a greased baking dish, spiral face up, cover and let them rise for 1 hour.
- Bake: Preheat the oven to 175 ºC / 350 ºF while the rolls are rising. When the rolls have doubled in size, you may lightly brush the tops with beaten egg wash (optional). Bake for 25-30 minutes until they are golden.
- Make the glaze: In a bowl, whisk melted butter, icing sugar, vanilla and hot water until the icing is smooth, glossy and of a beautiful pouring consistency.
- Serve: Drizzle the glaze over warm cinnamon rolls and serve immediately. Alternatively, the cinnamon rolls can be frozen, while the glaze can be stored in the refrigerator.
My first brush with cinnamon-anything was when my brother brought home a helping of Cinnaparts from Pizza Hut after a friend’s birthday party. Do you guys remember Cinnaparts? I remember loving every bite of the sugar-laden treat, and every time we went to Pizza Hut, I was sure to order it. Until one day I was informed that it was off the menu… forever! 😦
Years later, the cinnamon roll walked into my life when I visited the local Cinnabon for the first time. I was in love. From then on, every time I walked by Cinnabon, I’d stop and take in the sweet scent… then walk to Tim Hortons to get myself a Cinnamon Roll on the cheap-er! 😛 (Early 20s budgets, what can I say?) Also I don’t like the cream cheese frosting. There, I said it.
These Cinnamon Rolls, however, are better than Cinnaparts, Cinnabon and Tim Hortons, for a few reasons. First, they aren’t overly sweet, unless you slather on way too much glaze (which I won’t blame you for). Second, homemade baked goodies taste SO much better than store-bought stuff. Third, your home will smell like heaven all day; and you get bonus spritzes of Cinnamon Roll Scentsation ( 😉 ) every time you warm a bun up in the microwave oven. Fourth, well, you made them! Fifth, they smell like Christmas morning… umm, cozy!
These Cinnamon Rolls are soft, fluffy and cloud like. Squishy to the touch and super melt-in-the-mouth. The spongy bread roll is perfectly offset with the crackle of the sugar and cinnamon filling; just a subtle crunch to make these rolls your happy place!
The flavours are pretty classic – sweet, spiced, earthy notes in harmonious melody. For a richer flavour, I substituted brown sugar for white sugar in the filling; that with fragrant cinnamon and soft butter, and you’ve got a winner. Oh, and the vanilla glaze is so fresh and sweet. Together they make magic!
How to get these Cinnamon Rolls right every time?
- The temperature of the water needs to be warm. Not hot. Forget about thermometers, if you can stick your finger in the water without flinching, or rapidly pulling away, that’s hot enough. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside. If you use active dry yeast, the water will turn frothy. If you use instant yeast, the water will be milky. Both work perfectly well.
- Knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes. Ten whole minutes! Yes, this will hurt, but it’s so worth it. At first, when your dough comes together, it will be tacky, sticky and ragged. Knead the dough slowly and around the 3-4 minute mark, it’ll turn firm, and stringy when pulled apart. It’s not done yet. Keep kneading for another 7 minutes. As you go, the dough will soften but hold its shape. It will feel lighter to the touch than it did at the 3 minute mark. When you’ve kneaded it for 10 minutes, the dough will be soft, malleable and squishy; if you poke it, it will dent easily, without even the slightest spring-back, and that’s exactly what you want.
- Rest your dough for the prescribed amount of time. No short cuts. If you want soft rolls, you’re going to have to give them time.
- Don’t add excess flour. In this recipe, I use no access flour to knead the dough. At the very beginning, when I feel the dough is too sticky to work with, I wet my hands to keep it from sticking. But over time it stops being so sticky and you’ll find that you don’t need to add any excess flour. The only time you need extra flour is while flouring the surface on which you’ll roll out the dough, and even then use as little flour as possible.
- Bake until just golden on top. Do not over bake as the rolls will dry out.
So there you have it, a recipe for perfect-every-time Cinnamon Rolls that will make your mornings feel like Christmas morning; snug, homey and cheerful! Please drop by the comments to share any Christmas traditions you follow in your home, I’d love to read all about them. And if they involve Cinnamon Rolls, I’m giving you a virtual high-five! ❤
Until next week, I hope you enjoy this slice of Christmas time, a couple months too soon! ❤
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