I don’t know why I shy away from yeast recipes. I see the word “yeast” in an ingredient list and my heart begins to palpitate, I break out in a cold sweat and disregard the recipe completely. Ok, I am exaggerating my reaction a bit, but for some reason yeast breads really do intimidate me. I think I am afraid that I will spend hours and hours waiting for the dough to raise and then what if I spend all of that time and effort and it still doesn’t turn out?
That is the reason I have never attempted homemade caramel or cinnamon rolls. I always thought that making rolls looked like so much effort. Not only do you need to wait for dough to raise, but then you have to roll the dough out and fill it, cut it, let it raise again, bake the rolls and make the frosting or caramel!!!
I don’t know what caused me to get over this irrational fear and make my first batch of cinnamon rolls, but I am so glad that I did! The effort really was minimal and the result was so incredibly, mouthwateringly delicious, I will be making these rolls for special occasions for many years to come!
I think I was partially inspired by my new love for the Pioneer Woman. Yes, I know, “new love”, you ask?? Yes, I mean it. I had no idea how wonderfully down-to-earth and funny Ree Drummond was until a few months ago! Now I record her show every week and stalk her blog for hours at a time. If you haven’t met Ree yet, I encourage you to head over to The Pioneer Woman blog and take a peek. If nothing else, I bet you will find it impossible not to fall in love with her adorable dog Charlie.
The Pioneer Woman is famous for her cinnamon rolls, among many other things. This recipe is adapted from her recipe and one of the main differences is that I used a traditional cream cheese frosting where Ree uses a maple icing. These rolls are soft, tender and flakey and smothered in thick, creamy frosting: everything you could want in a cinnamon roll.
- For the rolls:
- 1 cup 2% milk
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ¼ cup sugar, plus ½ cup
- 1¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 2 cups, plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, plus ¼ cup
- ¼ tsp baking powder, heaping
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup melted butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- For the frosting:
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 Tbsp milk or cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- For the rolls:
- In a small saucepan, combine milk, oil and ¼ cup sugar. Heat over medium heat until just before boiling (bubbles form around the edge of the pan).
- Remove from heat and pour mixture into a large mixing bowl. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool slightly.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and allow the yeast to set for 2 minutes.
- Add 2 cups, plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour and mix to combine (you can do this with the dough hook of an electric mixer or with a spatula). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place into the oven with the oven light on for 1 hour (DO NOT turn the oven on, just the light. The warmth of the oven light will facilitate the dough raising).
- While the dough raises, grease a 9X13 pan.
- Dough will have nearly doubled in size at this point.
- Add remaining ¼ cup flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well to combine.
- Generously flour a countertop and pour the dough out onto the floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large rectangle. Dough should be about twice as long as it is wide.
- Melt the ½ cup of butter in the microwave and pour the melted butter onto the rectangle of dough and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle brown sugar, ½ cup white sugar and cinnamon over butter.
- Begin rolling the top long edge of the rectangle toward you keeping it relatively tight until you have formed a long log.
- Using a bench scraper, or large knife, cut the log in half and cut the two pieces in half again. You will know have 4 equal pieces. Cut each piece into 3 equal pieces and this will make 12 rolls.
- Place rolls cut side down into the prepared pan.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Let the rolls raise again for 30 minutes and then bake for 16-18 minutes or until rolls are lightly browned.
- For the frosting:
- Combine cream cheese, milk and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Add powdered sugar. Spread frosting onto rolls while they are still warm out of the oven.
- To make rolls the day ahead, follow steps up until baking (place the rolls into the prepared pan). Cover unbaked rolls with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, again turn oven light on (DO NOT TURN OVEN ON) and place the rolls into the oven for an hour to raise. Remove plastic wrap, then bake as directed.
- Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman
combine milk, oil and 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan
heat until just before boiling, pour into a large mixing bowl and let cool
sprinkle yeast over warm milk mixture
add 2 cups, plus 2 Tbsp flour and mix
cover and allow to raise for one hour
add remaining flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix well
pour dough out onto a floured surface
use a rolling pin to roll dough into a large rectangle
pour melted butter over dough and spread evenly
sprinkle sugars and cinnamon evenly over buttered dough
roll top edge of dough toward you to form a long log
cut into 12 equal pieces
place rolls into greased pan
allow rolls to raise one more time
make frosting and frost rolls while they are still warm from the oven
Want more cinnamon breakfast treats?