There is quite possibly no better aroma than a pan of these big, puffy rolls baking in the oven, fragrant with cinnamon and brown sugar. If you prepare these the night before up until the final rise and baking, then all you have to do in the morning is let them come to room temperature and then slide them in the oven to bake.
Growing up my mom would only bake cinnamon rolls on special occasions so they were always a much anticipated treat. You can drizzle these decadent rolls with a pool of maple icing like I did or smear a healthy helping of cream cheese frosting that I top my carrot cupcakes with here. I recommend swapping the lemon zest in the cream cheese frosting recipe for a little orange zest.
In case you were wondering what Oliver is up to while I bake, he is never far. He loves to bake with me because it usually entails pulling everything out of the cupboards and watching the standing mixer do its thing. He has the cutest little booty dance when the standing mixer kneads the dough. He loves anything with a good beat.
Baking cinnamon rolls from scratch can be a daunting undertaking so I have done my best to produce clear instructions along with a few pictures to help out.
- 1¼ cup milk, warm
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ cup butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 3-4 cups flour
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- Maple Icing
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon maple flavoring
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- To make the dough, in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
- Add the granulated sugar, eggs, 3 cups of flour and salt. Attach the dough hook and knead on low speed, adding a little more flour if needed, until the ingredients come together.
- Toss in the butter and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and springy, about 7 minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly oiled, bowl. Cover will plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size.
- Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
- Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.
- Roll out dough into a rectangle about 9 by 14 inches.
- Spread with melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Starting at the long side, roll the rectangle into a log. Trim the ends and cut the log crosswise into about one to two inch slices. You should end up with about 15 pinwheels.
- Arrange the slices, cut side down, in the prepared pan.
- Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm, draft-free spot until puffy, about 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight, then let stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before baking.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the center roll is cooked through.
- Meanwhile, make the maple icing by combining powdered sugar, butter, maple flavoring, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Whip until smooth and spreadable.
- Pour maple icing over hot cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.
The dough after it has doubled in size. You know it has risen enough when the dough does not bounce back when indented by your finger.
You should need little flour to prevent the dough from sticking when forming the dough into a rectangle. I like to use my fingers to push the dough into shape instead of a rolling pin.
I never measure my butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. I like to spread just enough melted butter to help the cinnamon and brown sugar adhere and sprinkle enough cinnamon and brown sugar until it is evenly coating the dough.
It is best to use a freshly sharpened knife or some dental floss to cut the pinwheels.
Place the pinwheels cut side down with just a little bit of wiggle room between each roll.
This is what the rolls should look like after they have risen in the pan for about an hour. Nice and snug next to each other.
Ta-dahhh!! Beautiful, golden brown cinnamon rolls.