I had just one culinary goal for Christmas: to make cinnamon rolls for the first time ever. When I told my friend, Lauren, I was looking for a classic recipe, she sent me her family's. Thank you, Lauren! She assured me that making the yeast dough was simple—not the intimidating process I'd always imagined—and she was right. The rolls turned out exactly the way I had hoped. Yum. Now go forth and bake, using this slightly adapted recipe. (I may have doubled the amount of glaze...)
4 ¼-4 ¾ c. flour
1 package yeast (¼ oz.)
1 ¼ c. milk
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. butter
1 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. butter, softened
½ c. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
2 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
¼-½ c. milk
To make the dough, combine 1 ½ c. flour and yeast in a large mixing bowl. In a saucepan, heat milk, sugar, butter, and salt until just warm and butter is almost melted, stirring constantly. Add this mixture to flour mixture, then add eggs. Beat with a mixer on low for 30 seconds, constantly scraping sides of bowl. Beat on high for three minutes. With spoon, stir in as much of remaining flour as possible.
Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and knead in remaining flour. Shape into ball, place in a lightly greased bowl and turn once. Cover and let rise until doubled (1 – 1 ½ hours). It’s ready when you press two fingers into dough and the indentation remains.
Punch dough down. Roll into a large, thin rectangle. Spread on margarine. Sprinkle on brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll from short side. Slice into 8 pieces. Place in an 11 x 13 pan. (I used a cast iron skillet.)
Cover and let rise 30 minutes. (Or cover with plastic, refrigerate and let rise the next morning.)
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown.
Once cooled, whisk powdered sugar, vanilla and milk in a bowl to make glaze. Drizzle glaze over cinnamon rolls. Then eat. And smile.
Here are a few variations I'm hankering to try: sweet potato cinnamon rolls, chai-spiced cinnamon rolls, caramel apple sticky buns and biscuit cinnamon rolls (no yeast!).
You can check out my nut-free eats series here.
I'm Julia Soplop, writer and photographer. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.