Easy and delicious cinnamon rolls that can be made immediately or stored in the fridge for “overnight cinnamon rolls.” These rolls are light, fluffy, flavorful and are topped with a cream cheese frosting (plus a “secret” inside ingredient!)
How was your Christmas?! I realize it’s been a few days since Christmas has come and gone, but I haven’t been around on the blog to hear how it was! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and are enjoying the holiday season!
Turns out I must have jinxed my family in my last post, because about an hour after publishing that post and getting on the road our big truck broke down AGAIN! This time we were stranded on a highway (not really sure where we were but quite far from any exits). We ended up waiting for a mechanic and then once the mechanic couldn’t fix it we had to wait for a tow. Both of our “helps” had a really hard time finding us and long story short we were on the side of the freeway for over 7 hours. Needless to say, when we were able to get going (without our truck, but another car) we were pretty anxious to just get home! And that’s when they closed down the interstate because of bad weather. Our 2-day journey turned into a full 5-day journey, but we are all safe so that is what I am grateful for!!
AND we made it home in time for Christmas Eve + Christmas. We were able to spend the Eve with Drew’s family and the Day with mine. It was such a great holiday and so good to see family! PLUS little Grey was actually pretty good at un-wrapping presents! And even though the wrapping paper entertained him more than the gifts, it was so fun watching him.
But let’s talk about these cinnamon rolls!! I know it’s time to bring out all these healthy recipes I’ve been stockpiling, but I have just two more (this one included) not-so-healthy recipes that I am just dying to share with you.
I couldn’t wait especially for these cinnamon rolls! These rolls are delicious – light and fluffy with a great flavor. PLUS the cream cheese frosting is absolutely delicious in a melt-in-your-mouth type of way. We served these the morning after Christmas and they were a huge hit – I don’t think there was a single one left.
And that secret ingredient I was talking about? It’s BROWN SUGAR. (Instead of white sugar in the center of the dough.) I can’t even tell you how many cinnamon rolls the hubs and I have made/then consumed, and putting brown sugar in the center is the absolute most amazing thing ever. You’ve just got to do it!
Sometimes seeing yeast in a recipe can be a bit intimidating, but with these cinnamon rolls – not at all! The process to making these rolls is simple with such a wonderful result – freshly baked cinnamon rolls! The biggest thing to note when using yeast in this recipe is making sure it is “proofed” correctly. Essentially the yeast + water + powdered milk+ sugar will form a frothy consistency and the yeast will dissolve. If your yeast mixture looks like that then it’s already a success!!
- 3 cups hot water
- 2/3 cup powdered milk
- 2/3 cup white sugar separated
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons RapidRise Yeast I used Fleischmann's
- 3/4 tablespoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 8 cups white flour
- 12 tablespoons butter softened and separated
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons cinnamon
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 ounce cream cheese
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Set up a stand mixer and pour the hot water into the bowl of the stand mixer. Stir in the powdered milk.
Then stir in the yeast and 4 tablespoons of the sugar. Allow the yeast to get foamy for about 5 minutes. If the yeast doesn't get foamy (or dissolve into the water), the yeast is likely no longer active (dead). If this happens, you will want to start over with new yeast otherwise the cinnamon rolls won't rise or be very light/fluffy.
Next add the remaining sugar, salt, butter, and eggs. Beat until combined and then add in the flour (turn the mixer to low speed) slowly.
Once the flour has all been added and incorporated, turn up the speed and allow the mixture to beat until a soft dough is formed.
If the dough is still sticky, you can add a bit more flour. Add additional flour slowly careful to not add too much flour. (Sometimes the dough just takes a bit to incorporate the flour so you don't want too much extra added)
Remove the dough onto a floured surface and separate the dough in two large balls.
Cover the second ball of dough as you work with the first one.
Roll out the dough on that floured surface to a very large sheet of dough.
Spread 6 tablespoons of butter over the rolled out dough.
In a separate bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread half of the mixture over the softened butter. (Feel free to increase any "filling" amounts).
Tightly roll up the dough and using a sharp serrated knife, or floss/sharp string, separate the rolls.
Coat baking trays generously with softened butter (recommended over anything else such as cooking spray) and then sprinkle flour over the softened butter.
Place the cinnamon rolls about 1-2 inches separated from each other.
Allow the rolls on the sheet to rise for 1-2 hours in a warm environment. I place the trays by the fire place, but an alternative is heating an oven to 250 degrees, turning it off, and placing the trays in the oven with the door slightly cracked open)
Once the rolls have risen you can either bake them right away in a 350 degree preheated oven for 20-25 minutes watching so the bottoms do not get overcooked.
If you are opting for overnight rolls, VERY tightly cover the cinnamon rolls (if any part of the rolls are exposed, it ruins the dough) and place in the fridge.
The next morning, allow the rolls to re-rise in a warm environment for another 45 minutes to an hour before baking.
While the rolls are baking, whip together the frosting by beating all of the ingredients together until smooth. Top the warm cinnamon rolls with the frosting and enjoy while warm!
More delicious cinnamon roll recipes: