We have an impending snowstorm here, and wish as I may, I still probably will have to go to work tomorrow. If I could stay home, though, I would definitely bake. Alex wouldn’t be able to eat anything I made, but I would still just spend a part of the afternoon playing with bread dough and running the oven.
That said, I did get to bake something else this weekend, so I thought I’d share it with anyone out there who’s lucky enough to get a snow day tomorrow. [If you can stay home and bake, do it!] We had a welcome-back brunch at work this morning, which was my opportunity to bake something big. I would have liked to have made a pastry or loaf of bread, but I really didn’t have any inspiration. I did, however, find a recipe for Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze that looked infinitely manageable and would yield bunches. [I originally found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen, which you can also check out for pretty pictures of the process.]
A note about the recipe: it calls for 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast, but this is definitely only 1 single packet’s worth, not the two it suggests. I used 1% milk in this, but used real butter instead of my usual margarine. I made this recipe in my stand mixer, but the dough is soft enough that you would have no problem whatsoever mixing it by hand. I used the stand mixer to knead the dough as well (probably about 4 minutes), although I finished it off on the counter so that I could incorporate just enough flour into it to make it not sticky. I let this double in a warmed oven, and this ended up only taking an hour and a half.
This was potentially the easiest time I’ve ever had rolling out dough. I got the dough to the proper size (11×15) with very little rolling. I spread semi-melted butter on the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border. I mixed the brown sugar and cinnamon, and spread it evenly over the butter. The dough rolled up smoothly, although it was a little cumbersome to roll up such a long roll. I cut the dough into 18 slices, and put the rolls cut side up in a greased baking pan. Since I was taking them to work, I decided to use a disposable 9×13 inch baking pan I had around. They were a little cramped in the pan, but I decided it wasn’t going to hurt them. I let them rise until doubled. I let them sit on top of the stove this time, since I didn’t want them to overproof, but the doubling process took about an hour and a half this time rather than the 45 minutes suggested, since it’s winter and my kitchen’s cold.
At this point I put them in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I took them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes while I preheated the oven to 375F. I baked them about 23 minutes, until the edges of them were turning golden. I immediately frosted them with the cream cheese glaze since I needed to get to work.
These were really good! They didn’t rise as much as they could have since I crowded them in the pan, but they still filled the pan. The rolls were nice and tender, and they had just the right amount of cinnamon. The cream cheese glaze on them was fantastic. I’ve made cinnamon rolls a few times in the past. I think this recipe was a little easier than the Alton Brown recipe I made in the past, although I honestly can’t compare the rolls now aside from the process. I’d make these again, and you should give them a try too, whenever you want cinnamon rolls.
Want more cinnamon rolls somehow? You can try these cinnamon rolls adapted from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice; these overnight cinnamon rolls adapted from Alton Brown; these super-tender, quick and easy cinnamon rolls; or these gluten-free cinnamon rolls if you need to make something gluten-free.
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3½ cups (or more) flour, divided
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2¼ teaspoons yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (packed) brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Heat milk and 3 tablespoons butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until the butter melts. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and add 1 cup flour, ½ cup sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat with dough hook on low speed for 3 minutes. Add remaining flour, then beat on low until everything is mixed together and dough is sticky. Knead longer, until dough is smooth and elastic. This took me 4 minutes in a stand mixer; may take 8 minutes if kneading by hand. If dough is too sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time.
- Place dough in a greased or oiled bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm space until doubled, about 2 hours.
- Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured (or plastic wrap-lined) surface. Roll out into a 15x11 inch rectangle. Spread ¼ cup butter over the dough, leaving a ½ inch border along a long edge. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the butter. Facing the sugared long edge, roll the dough up in a roll toward the unbuttered border. Pinch the seam closed and place log seam side down. Cut log into 18 rolls (3/4 inch wide).
- Grease two 9-inch pans (or one 9x13-inch pan) well. Place rolls cut side down in pans. Cover with plastic wrap, then let rise in a warm kitchen until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- To do these overnight, place them in the refrigerator at this point. The next morning, pull them out for 20-30 minutes to let them come up to room temperature. However, be careful with this if baking in glass as the sudden change in temperature can break the glass.
- Bake at 375F until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. If desired, turn out from pans onto baking rack and cool for 10 minutes, then turn them right side up. (I skipped this step.)
- Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, ¼ cup butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer, beating until smooth. Spread on rolls. Serve at room temperature.