Warm cinnamon rolls are one of those comfort foods that can send a body into sensory overload. As if the enticing smell of sweet yeast rolls baking, mixed with the persuasive aroma of cinnamon-sugar-butter combination isn’t enough, then there’s the mounds of vanilla icing poured generously over the clouds of soft, pillowy baked layers of dough……Are you hungry yet?
Our reaction to these sights and smells of baked cinnamon rolls is exactly why places like Cinnamon Bakeries are huge successes. They are irresistible and the bigger the better!
I’ll go ahead and tell you upfront, this is not one of my shortcut recipes. This is the full-blown, from scratch recipe but I do promise to give you all of my tips to make it as easy as possible to make because they are soooo worth the extra time to make.
To bring the eggs to room temperature without waiting 30 minutes is to place them in a small bowl of very warm (not boiling) tap water for 5 minutes. Room temperature eggs really will make a difference in the texture of your dough which affects the end result.
Unless I am working with a yeast dough that is going to rise overnight in the fridge (like my No-Knead Yeast Rolls), I like to use instant yeast, also known as Rapid Rise or fast rising yeast. Why not? The only difference is that the active dry yeast takes a little longer to rise and I don’t want to wait any longer than I have to before I sink my teeth in these babies.
It’s common to dissolve the active dry yeast in warm water, then add it to the rest of the ingredients. I developed this recipe to stir the fast rising yeast into the dry ingredients, then just stir in the hot milk mixture and beat on medium-low to dissolve the yeast to save a step. The milk mixture needs to be hotter (125 degrees to 130 degrees) rather than (105 degrees to 115 degrees) where you dissolve the yeast directly into the liquid. The milk mixture is hotter because the temperature will immediately reduce and it needs to be still be hot enough to dissolve and activate the yeast. You can use an instant read thermometer or my handy dandy favorite infrared digital thermometer.
Another tip is to use a heavy-duty stand mixer with a dough hook. If you don’t have the dough hook, it’s ok to use the regular paddle for this recipe because the dough is not as stiff as, say, a loaf of bread. The stand mixer will allow you to mix the dough longer without adding unnecessary flour needed to turn it out and knead it. Too much flour makes the end result dry and crumbly.
Divide the dough in half on a lightly floured surface. Keep the remaining half under a kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out. Roll out the dough to a 14″x12″ rectangle. The dough should be tender and not stretchy.
Here’s where we slather on the brown sugar/cinnamon/butter mixture-twice the amount of most cinnamon roll recipes! I’ve tested a lot (and I mean a lot) of cinnamon roll recipes over the past 30 years either in the Oxmoor House test kitchen, Coastal Living/Cooking Light, and TIFS (Time Inc Food Studios-now owned by Meredith) or just for my own baking pleasure. Manyt of the recipes, in my opinion, had skimpy amounts of this “delicious goodness” (as my good friend and chef James K. Jones coins the phrase).
Starting at the short end, roll the dough up into a log. In the test kitchen, we used to edit this method “jellyroll fashion” but these days, I’m not sure how many people are making jellyroll cakes. Pinch the edges together to form a seam, then roll the log so that seam is on the bottom.
Here is one of my best tips for slicing this tender, chock-full-of-filling cinnamon roll log. Dental floss is the key. If you have a super sharp knife, you might be able to slice through the dough without mashing it but if you are a good dental patient, you will have some dental floss in a drawer somewhere! I won’t tell on you if it is the free sample the dentist gives you and it is still unopened. As you can see, that’s what I use. In my defense, I use the floss picks….but back to the recipe!
Simply slip the dental floss under the log, crisscross the floss (no need to tie it off) and pull the floss in opposite directions and it makes a perfect slice without making a misshaped, mashed slice. Repeat with the other log.
Place 15 of the cinnamon rolls close together in a 13×9 inch baking pan or dish. If you like the outside edges of your cinnamon rolls to have more of a firm edge/crust, then space them further apart. I like to cut mine about 1 1/4″ wide to make tall, impressive-sized rolls which yields almost 20 rolls.
If you want to make an even 2 dozen, just make 12 (1-inch) slices on each log and place them in rows of 3×4 in two 8-inch baking pans or dishes and bake them slightly less. Cover them with a kitchen towel and let them rise until double their original size.
Now, you may be thinking I did my math wrong, but I realize I have about 5 rolls without a home to bake in at 1 1/4″ slices. I actually like this set up because this allows me to bake the remaining rolls in a small disposable pan I buy at the Dollar Tree and keep on hand so I can gift them to others like church members, friends, neighbors, or my husband is always wanting to take goodies to the office. You can also freeze these extra rolls individually on a baking sheet, then once frozen, place them in a freezer bag and let them thaw over in the fridge and then rise on a weekend when you want homemade rolls but don’t have the time to start from scratch.
Yay! We are almost there! You can see where the brown sugar/cinnamon/butter mixture has slightly melted in the bottom of the dish. This is gold! You don’t want your “warm area free from drafts” mentioned in the recipe to be too warm becasue
This is the most fun part of making these Double Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls! Don’t hold back on the icing and make more if you feel the need! Better yet, make a second batch of icing just for extra dipping!
I guarantee these Double-Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls will not be around long. They are irresistible warm, still yummy at room temperature, and tasty the next day warmed in the microwave. Make these this weekend and makes some friends!
Comment below if you make these and let me know how they turned out!
Twice the amount of brown sugar/cinnamon/butter mixture in the middle as regular cinnamon rolls. Made from scratch and worth every minute.
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1/3 cup salted or unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package fast rising or Rapid Rise yeast (also called instant)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup salted or unsalted butter, very soft Not tub margarine or spread
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup 2% or whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pour the milk in a small microwave-safe bowl and add the pieces of butter. Microwave at HIGH for 45 seconds. Stir, and microwave an additional 20 to 25 seconds or until butter melts and instant read or digital thermometer reaches 125 to 130 degrees. You can also do this on the stovetop in a small saucepan.
Beat eggs on medium-low in a heavy-duty stand mixer just until lightly beaten.
Combine 2 cups of the flour, yeast, and salt on a paper plate or bowl.
Add brown sugar, flour mixture, then hot milk mixture to the eggs in the mixer (in that order) and beat on medium-low until combined. Increase speed to medium and beat 2 minutes.
If you have a dough hook for the mixer, put it in now. If not, proceed with regular paddle. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and beat at medium speed 3 minutes. The dough will be soft and sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (countertop). Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rest 10 minutes. Now is a great time to make the filling.
Combine brown sugar, softened butter, and cinnamon. The butter needs to be very soft or it will be hard to spread on the dough.
Divide dough in half. Cover half of the dough with a kitchen towel. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll the first half into a 14"x12" rectangle. Spread half of the filling on the rectangle to within 1/2 inch of the edges.
Starting at the short end, roll up the dough into a log and pinch the edges to seal them closed. Place the log so the seam is on the bottom. Use dental floss or a sharp knife to cut the log into about 1 1/4' slices. (This will give you 10 slices). Or cut into twelve (1") slices. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Place 15 of the 1 1/4" slices in a 13x9" baking pan or dish. Place remaining 5 rolls in an 8" baking pan, 9x5" loaf pan, or small disposable baking pan.
Or, place 24 (1-inch) slices in two 8-inch baking pans or dishes.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place (about 85 degrees) 45 minutes or until doubled its original size. If the temperature is any hotter, the buttery filling will melt and disappear to the bottom of the pan. A little is yummy. A lot missing from the middle is sad and sticky on the bottom.
Tip: I create my own warm place free from drafts by turning on an oven to 350 degrees for JUST 1 minute then turn it off. The closed door will prevent drafts from lowering the temperature.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Uncover and bake the cinnamon rolls at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden on the tops and do not spring back when touched in the middle. I would rather slightly under bake mine than over bake them if I'm in doubt of doneness. Overbaked rolls equals dry and crumbly.
While the rolls bake, combine powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a medium-size bowl. If you powdered sugar has lumps in it, run it through a wire mesh strainer by pressing it with a spoon.
Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and let rest 5 to 8 minutes. This will be a LONG 5 minutes because the cinnamon aroma will be tempting you. Generously pour the icing over the rolls. Wait another 5 minutes if you can, then enjoy!