Sit down kiddies and let me tell you a story. Once upon a time this morning I made this post and hit the backspace key by accident and suddenly my post was gone. And along with it, there was no saved draft category in my dashboard. Cue throwing of things, swearing, stomping of feet, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Pretty much this was me
Then suddenly, like a miracle, as I sat down at my computer to redo all my work (and those who know me personally know how much I HATE REWRITING THINGS), I hit the new post button and what do I find? The post has appeared! So without further ado, the cinnamon rolls!
So let’s face it, there’s nothing better than a hot, sweet, sticky cinnamon roll. You know the moment you step into any mall, the first thing you smell, (and crave to the point of actual pain) is a Cinnabon. That frosty, squishy, tasty–sometimes crunchy if you’re like me and get the sticks– treat that permeates every shop within a 5 mile mall radius. And yeah, the task of making a huge, delicious, squashy cinnamon roll is, well, intense.
These are not cinnabon cinnamon rolls. I know, I led you on for a minute there. I apologize from the bottom of my heart. Honestly what I have here is a decent sized, flaky, buttery roll with just enough filling and frosting to get you through the morning. Not something that will leave you with cinnamon-belly (trust me, it’s a thing) all day long. Something you can prop up next to your coffee and nosh down with relish and not want to die a little inside after. Save the cinnabon for the mall, and serve these up at your next breakfast.
Now, these buns I made are overnighters. Mostly because I didn’t want to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to prep, mix, and knead dough. I wanted to be able to pull out a pan, let them rise, bake, frost, and serve. As breakfasts should be. No kneading before 8 AM, dang it!
However, if you’re more ambitious and awesome than I am and you want to prepare this the morning-of, you can. Instead of the overnight step, just let the rolls rise in the baking pan for about an hour, then bake as instructed.
Ingredients for the dough:
4- cups flour (plus 2 tbsp reserved)
1/4- cups white sugar
1/2- tsp salt
1- packet yeast (1/4oz)
6- tbsp butter (melted)
1- tsp vanilla
3- large eggs room temperature
3/4- cup buttermilk
Ingredients for filling:
1 stick butter
5 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
Ingredients for the frosting
1 stick melted butter
1 1/2- tsp vanilla
Start by attaching your beater or paddle attachment to the stand mixer. In the bowl, combine the four cups flour, sugar, and salt, and give a good mix until ingredients are fully combined. You can also do this with a whisk.
Next you want to start activating the yeast. If you’re using an already active yeast, you can add it right to the dry mixture as the wet ingredients you’ll be adding later will be warm. If not, add the yeast packet into the warm buttermilk. I use powdered buttermilk because it keeps longer, and it allows me to add the powder to already warmed water. If you’re using already prepared buttermilk, microwave it about 45 seconds to a minute, then add the yeast. Stir until dissolved and let activate. You’ll know it’s ready when bubbles form at the top and it has that oh-so-awesome yeasty smell. (FYI, if you’re using powdered buttermilk, just remember it’s one tbsp per quarter cup, so for this recipe it’s three tbsp)
Microwave the six tablespoons of butter until completely melted, but not boiling. This usually takes about thirty seconds depending on your microwave. Set aside, and in a separate bowl, whisk together the room temp eggs. The temp is important because you need to temper the eggs with the melted butter to keep them from cooking. The closer the egg temp is to the butter, the easier it is to temper.
Add the vanilla to the butter and mix thoroughly. Once combined, slowly drizzle the melted butter mixture into the eggs while whisking. It should thicken but the eggs shouldn’t cook. If you notice any scrambling (and trust me, it happens) it means you’ve poured too fast and you’ll have to start over. Once combined, whisk in the buttermilk and stir another few seconds.
With your mixer on low, begin to pour in the liquid. It should combine and thicken right away. The dough will become tacky and sticky and might not combine all the way. This is where you might need to get your hands a little dirty and use your fingers to combine it all. When the dough is fully combined, turn the mixer off and switch to the dough hooks. Knead for ten minutes.
Now, if you have the world’s crappiest mixer with the world’s crappiest dough hooks (here’s looking at you, Hamilton Beach thirty dollar stand mixer on amazon), you’ll need to do this part by hand on a smooth, floured surface. If you’re lazy or like me, you get the joy of employing someone else for this momentous task of kneading for ten straight minutes. Props and shout-out to my husband for undertaking what I find to be the biggest pain in the butt part of any recipe that requires kneading and rising.
Look at this handsome fellow with his fancy smile and alien shirt!
So, back to the recipe.
As your kneading, pay attention to the texture. You want it sticky but pliant, and won’t stick to your finger if you pinch it. If it does, add in the reserved two tbsp flour one tbsp at a time. When I did these last night, I needed about one tbsp extra. Once the dough forms a tight, smooth ball (heh heh, smooth ball) place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. At room temp, let the dough rise 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
Use this time to play games, write a book, or maybe dig into that fanfic you’ve been eyeing. Play a game of bubble blast (curse you level 53!!!), watch some Buffy. You know, just go about your business.
When the dough has risen (IT HAS RISENNNNN!) remove from the bowl and lay down on a floured surface or rolling board. Punch down and knead an additional two minutes by hand. With your rolling pin, roll your dough out as rectangular as possible (which as you can see by the below picture was about zero much rectangular), and a little under a quarter inch thick. (My dough was extremely springy last night so I had to go pizza-dough on it and sort of stretch it by hand to get it to a quarter inch).
The butter by this point should be room temp. Now, this is the fun part. With clean hands, squash the butter up in your fingers and spread around the dough like you’re giving it a kobe-beef style massage. You want there to be chunks of it, not melted, but definitely spread around to every edge. After de-greasing, sprinkle the cinnamon over the top, then the brown sugar, and dig right back in and massage that ooey-gooey concoction until every corner of the dough is covered.
Stretching out the edge of the dough, begin to roll up tightly, pulling the edges out to the sides as you go to keep them uniform. Once rolled tightly, cut into one and a half (or one if you want smaller– or two if you want huge) sections. This dough should make approx. 12 rolls.
In a glass, greased and floured pan, lay the rolls out with about half an inch between them. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. (or leave out to rise and bake if this is morning time)
The next morning, drag yourself out of bed and before you start guzzling your coffee, pull the rolls from the fridge and with your oven on warm (meaning like almost no temp, just a gentle, soft, comfortable heat) place the pan in and let the rolls rise in there for about an hour, or until double in size. You can do this on the counter but if you’re like us and have your AC down to like 70F and you used a glass pan, the warming and rising part will take for-flipping-ever if you don’t use the oven.
They actually can get bigger than this, but I was impatient.
Once the rolls are sized, remove from oven and begin the preheat to 350F
Once the oven is heated, place rolls in the center rack and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until rolls are to your desired brownness. I like mine a little more doughy than most.
When the rolls are done and resting, melt 1 stick of butter in the microwave. Add in the vanilla, and then tablespoon by tablespoon, add in the confectioner’s sugar until the mixture becomes almost dough-like. I probably used close to half a cup, maybe more.
While the rolls are still warm-to-hot, spoon large globs of icing on top of each roll and let melt and ooze down the sides. Then you can either wait until they’re cooled, or you can risk the searing mouth-burns and shovel them down immediately. Guess which option I chose.
Garnish if you like with another sprinkle of cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar, or enjoy as is.
Remember to follow me on facebook, or on instagram @muchadoughaboutbaking (where you can see updates of my food, kids, dogs, and random pictures of things around town that amuse me. I’m not very thematic)
Note- If you like a sweeter bun, feel free to increase the sugar up to 1/2 cup. I like my rolls more bread-y because the glaze is so incredibly sweet, but if you want to go full sugar, by all means, go full sugar!