A culinary exploration of natural and local ingredients.

Cinnamon rolls September 24, 2009

Filed under: Pastries — Matilda @ 2:22 am
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Cinnamon Rolls

There are few things that can elicit more reactions on a Sunday morning than cinnamon rolls, and not all rolls are created equal. In my recently developed love affair with all things bread, I hadn’t explored the world of sweet breads, and this recipe from (Bon Apetit, March 2008) spiked my interest almost a year and a half ago. It’s prefaced with an article describing the intense fear of yeast that the author had, along with her resignation to abandon any recipe that called for the use of it.

I, however, do not have the common sense to think about the fact that bread could maybe not work. I delved into it headfirst, and have been happily rewarded with loaves of bread and last week, with warm, sticky-sweet, oozing cinnamon and sugar and cream cheese glaze rolls. The dough is formed with milk and sugar, which makes messing up the yeast virtually impossible. It is rather sticky, and for that reason can be a little hard to work with when kneading it, but try to limit the amount of flour you use to counteract that so that your dough will keep the fluffiness (is that really a word or just a universally inaccurate description?) that is key to cinnamon rolls. There are a lot of variations that can be seen in cinnamon roll recipes and I have yet to try them, but for now… these were fantastic.

(Recipe can be found here, it was first published in the March 2008 Bon Apetit magazine)


* 1 cup whole milk
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 3 1/2 cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 large egg
* 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast (from 2 envelopes yeast)
* 1 teaspoon salt
* Nonstick vegetable oil spray


* 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature


* 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
* 1 cup powdered sugar
* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For dough:
Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 21/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.

Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

For filling:
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.

Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15×11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).

Spray two 9-inch square glass baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.

For glaze:
Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.

– As a note, while stumbling around the internet’s array of recipes on everything you could ever want, I discovered the recipe for making vanilla essence and realized it was just vanilla beans steeped in alcohol. I was at a beach house with friends, and they were hungry, and I didn’t have any vanilla essence, and this has happened to me a lot of times because I always forget to pack it, or buy more of it, and so I used an apple brandy instead of vanilla and it gave it a very warm fall-esque flavor. I would also recommend Amaretto, which I have used in cream cheese frosting as well, or Orange essence.