Occasionally, you need a treat. Right? I'm not alone in this, am I? Sometimes we need that treat more often than others, but we would never admit that. Just like I would never admit that in the last 36 hours I have had 4 of these amazing cinnamon rolls. Including the one I'm eating right now. I've made a half dozen batches of cinnamon rolls in the last year or so, but I think I've finally mastered it to produce the most incredible cinnamon rolls ever. And I'm going to share the secrets with you.
Secret #1--the texture of the dough. This is the MOST important part. You must not add too much flour to this recipe. When you add the flour to the dough, add it slowly and mix well in between, for about 2 mintues between each addition to make sure it is incorporated. In the end, you should be able to touch the dough without it sticking all over your fingers but it should still be sticking to the bottom of the bowl and should be VERY soft and slightly sticky.
Secret #2--the temperature of the oven. You're not making bread here, you're making sweet rolls. You are trying to bake them for a short period of time in a hot oven. If your oven tends to be too hot, lower the temp to 385 degrees, but not past that. Do not over bake them. They should be golden brown, not dark brown. Light.
Secret #3--the filling. First of all, don't try to make these healthy. They're not supposed to be. Embrace the butter and sugar content. Just don't eat the whole pan or make brownies, cookies, and a chocolate cake on the same day...unless you're throwing a party. Anyway, don't be afraid of the flour in the filling. Add it, love it. Be generous when you're spreading the filling over the dough, but make sure to save enough for a layer of filling in the bottom of your pan. This will elevate your rolls from good to incredible. And lastly, do not ignore the step of turning your rolls over at the end. Sure, it's not as pretty, but it will amaze you what that step adds to your rolls.
Now for the recipe.
BEST CINNAMON ROLLS EVER
- 1 cup milk, divided
- 5 Tbs butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp yeast
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups bread flour
- Bread flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter, very soft
- 1-2 Tbs flour (all-purpose)
- Nuts, if desired
- 6 Tbs butter
- 2 Tbs sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
In a glass dish, combine 3/4 cup milk with 5 Tbs butter and heat in microwave in 30 second intervals until butter is melted. Add 1/4 cup cold milk and pour into mixing bowl (or KitchenAid). Add sugar and yeast and let proof for 5 minutes. (It will not get as bubbly as it would in water, but you do want to see some activity going on.) Add eggs, salt, and 2 cups of bread flour. (Sure, you could use all purpose flour or even try to make these slightly healthy using wheat flour, but don't blame me when they don't turn out as good as I'm making them sound...they really can be amazing, but you have to use bread flour.) Mix well. Add additional flour slowly until dough is pulled away from the sides of the bowl but NOT the bottom and is slightly sticky and soft. Cover and let rise about 1 hour - 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, mix together filling ingredients. (I like my butter to be VERY soft.) The flour will help keep the filling from just oozing out of your rolls. Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish (I prefer a glass casserole dish to a metal jellyroll pan.) Pour 1/4-1/2 cup of your filling into the bottom of the pan. (You want it to be more than just a coating, but not a swimming pool.) If you are using nuts, sprinkle them generously over the filling in the pan.
When dough has risen significantly, punch down and roll out onto lightly floured surface. You do not want to add too much extra flour. Roll out into large rectangle until 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Spread filling over entire surface, all the way out to edges. Roll the longer edge inward to create a roll. Roll tightly. Using floss or thread or another string, score the top of the roll into halves. First mark the middle of the roll. Then mark the middle of each side, then the middles of each quarter, etc. Each roll should be about 1- 1 1/2 inches thick. When I made these last night, I ended up with 16 rolls, plus the ends I cut off for my daughter to eat raw. So in theory, 18, though I never count the ends.
Go back and cut into rolls using the floss or string by sliding it under the long roll, crossing over the top where your score mark is, and pulling to cut. Place each roll into prepared pan and filling. Cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (or 385 if your oven runs hot).
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. DO NOT overbake. Remove from oven and let sit for 2 minutes. Then flip over onto another pan or baking sheet and let cool 10 minutes before frosting.
Mix together frosting ingredients. Add more of any ingredient to taste. Spread over tops of warm rolls. Serve and enjoy.
Now, if you would excuse me...I need to go lick my plate...