Winter mornings are made for cinnamon rolls, and this recipe is perfect for spontaneous morning bakers—follow these steps to ensure the dough rises, bakes and is ready to frost in less than an hour. No need to plan, follow your appetite and please your housemates with these easy-gooey treats.
- 1 cup milk warmed to 110 degrees Fahrenheit
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 packet (2 1/2 teaspoon) instant yeast (also called rapid rise yeast)
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
Cream cheese frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Then turn the oven off. Grease a 9-inch ceramic pie plate or 9-by-13-inch baking pan with butter. Set aside.
- Combine warmed milk and melted butter in a small bowl. Use a cooking thermometer to measure temperature and ensure the mixture is warmed to about 110 degrees. Sprinkle entire contents of yeast packet over the milk mixture and set the bowl aside.
- Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook*, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, salt and egg until combined. Pour in warm milk mixture and beat on medium speed until the dough begins to form a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Continue beating for 5 minutes on medium-low speed. Remove dough and form it into a ball with your hands. Place it in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Mix the cinnamon-sugar mixture: While the dough rests, make your filling by whisking the granulated sugar, brown sugar and ground cinnamon together in a small mixing bowl until combined. Set aside.
- Once the dough has rested, turn it out onto a floured work surface. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 9 by 14 inches in size. Use a knife or an offset spatula to spread the 1/4 cup of softened butter evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Then sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar filling evenly over the buttered dough.
- Beginning at the longer edge, tightly roll up the dough and give the final seam a pinch so that it seals. Use a knife to slice off about 1/2 an inch off each end (which you can discard) so the ends are even. Cut the remaining dough into 11 or 12 equal pieces (11 rolls fit in a pie plate; 12 rolls fit in a rectangular pan).
- Place each of the cut cinnamon rolls into your greased pie plate or baking dish. Cover the dish with a damp towel and place it in the warmed (but turned off) oven to rise for 25 minutes.
- Make the cream cheese frosting: While the dough is rising, in a medium bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer filled with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy. Carefully fold in the confectioners sugar and vanilla, then beat on high speed until completely combined.
- Once the rolls have risen, remove from oven and uncover the dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place baking dish on the center rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the rolls are golden and cooked through. Remove and let cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes.
- Spread warm rolls with prepared cream cheese frosting and serve warm.
*If you do not have a stand mixer with a dough attachment, you can simply stir the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 5 minutes.