These homemade cinnamon rolls are soft, with lots of cinnamon, and topped off with a fabulous cream cheese icing. They’re the perfect side for a bowl of chili.
I have had cinnamon rolls on the brain lately.
Making them from scratch has always intimidated me a bit, and after making a particularly dry batch a couple years ago, I just haven’t had the bravery to try them again.
I have two distinctly different recipes—one from my grandma and one from my great aunt—that I couldn’t get enough of as a kid, and I’ve really been thinking about how I want to give them a go.
But I didn’t want to try those nostalgic recipes first and fail at them, so I decided instead to give a stranger’s recipe a try. And they turned out so well.
This comes from the blog “Butternut Bakery Blog.” You can find their original post at https://butternutbakeryblog.com/easy-homemade-cinnamon-rolls/. My only change was adjusting the amount of cinnamon.
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
4 1/2 to 5 cups flour, divided
1/3 cup sugar
2 packets yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
cinnamon to fully coat dough (about 2 tablespoons)
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
In a large bowl, whisk together two cups of the flour, the sugar, yeast and salt for the dough.
In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine the water and butter. Heat for about 30 seconds. You want it just warm.
Add the butter mixture along with the egg to the flour mixture, and mix well. (I used the dough hook on my stand mixture. You can also do this by hand with a big spoon.)
Stir in two more cups of flour to create a thick, sticky dough. Finally, add in the last one-half cup of flour. Once it’s well-combined, either knead by hand or using your dough hook. If the dough is still sticky, add one-quarter cup of flour and continue to knead. If it becomes smooth and not sticky, you’re ready to go. If not, add another quarter cup of flour.
Once you can press a finger to the dough and it doesn’t stick, you’re ready to let the dough rise. Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest for 10 minutes, uncovered.
Flour your counter, and roll the dough out into a large rectangle—about 10 by 15 inches.
Spread the butter for the filling in a thin layer, leaving one-half inch around the outside uncovered (I found this easier to do with my hands than with a utensil).
Sprinkle the brown sugar all over the buttered area, and press it down lightly into the dough. Liberally sprinkle the entire area with cinnamon.
Tightly roll the dough, starting from the long, 15-inch side. Be sure to press it together a bit as you go so you don’t leave open spaces in the roll.
Once the dough is rolled, place it seam-side down and cut it into 12 even pieces.
Lightly grease a nine-by-13-inch pan and place the rolls, cut-side down, into the prepared pan. Cover the pan with a clean towel and place it in a warm spot for one hour. They should double in size during this time.
To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top of the rolls are a light brown.
For the icing, whisk the cream cheese and butter together with a fork. Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread the icing on the warm rolls and eat right away. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
These were soft and full of great cinnamon flavor, and the cream cheese frosting was amazing. We ate them along with some smoked chili Joey made, and they were a perfect combination.
Thanks to this recipe, I think I have finally conquered my fear of trying to bake cinnamon rolls, although I’m still a little nervous my favorite family recipes won’t turn out. But I also know that if either of those amazing women were still here with me, they’d go out of their way to encourage me to give it a try anyway. Maybe even an imperfect recreation can still be pretty great.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly recipe column by Lindsey Young, who describes herself as an enthusiastic amateur cook and can be reached through her website at spiceupkitchen.net.